What to Say When Your Duck Hunting Buddy Whiffs

By author of The Duck Blog

Choose Your Words Carefully When Commenting on Misses

You'd want your buddy to say something nice after you miss, right? Return the favor this season. Photo © Bill Konway

Every waterfowl hunter misses now and then. There’s no shame in that, especially when you consider the rugged environs we hunt, the awkward positions we often assume and the speedy, twisting nature of our targets.

Practice and repetition help us miss less and hit more. Experience guides us in choosing and preparing for quality shots. But still, human error sometimes kicks in, and our imperfect nature manifests itself in the form of embarrassing three-shot whiffs. Afterward, we tend to be tough on ourselves. However, good hunting buddies will often say something post-miss to buoy our spirits and boost our confidence.

That's a nice gesture. In that spirit, here’s a quick list of tried-and-true lines to offer after your buddy whiffs.

Shot: hard crosser

You: “Ah, tough chance. No shame there.”

Shot: flushing bird

You: “Man, they’re quick. Tough to position your feet right before you shoot.”

Shot: flaring geese

You: “Dang, they’re spooky. Tough birds.”

Shot: any opportunity at any diving duck

You: “Hey, that wind plays havoc with your pattern. Heavier loads, maybe?”

Shot: easy incomer

You: “Hey, they’ll fool you. Sometimes, the easiest shots are the hardest.”

Shot: bird passing slowly overhead

You (smirking): “Uh … heh, heh. I got nothin’.”

Shot: bird hovering in the decoys

You (muffled laughter): “Um … well … uh, you’ll get the next one.”

Shot: repeatedly missing birds hovering in the decoys

You (choking on laughter): “We’re in no hurry. Keep grindin’ ’em.”

Shot: repeatedly missing birds hovering in the decoys while becoming increasingly frustrated

You (not even attempting to hide laughter): “Enough. Tomorrow will be a better day.”

Shot: repeatedly missing birds hovering in the decoys while becoming increasingly frustrated and possibly disassembling shotgun and tossing it overboard in pieces

You (ear-shattering belly laughter): “Deer hunting. Maybe we should go deer hunting.”

Ouch. On second thought, maybe it's best to keep quiet and hope your buddy's shooting improves.

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