MDC holds wingshooting workshop for waterfowl and upland game bird hunters

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St. Charles, Mo.—There's no doubt that good marksmanship skills play a key role in hunting success. But it takes more than a sharp eye to be effective at hunting migratory and upland birds. Proper shooting technique and understanding ammunition characteristics are both just as crucial. They're also critical to reduce the unwanted wounding of birds.

Wingshooting season starts in September. Effective Wingshooting for the Hunter--Shotgunning is a workshop that sets its sights on giving hunters the knowledge they need to become better wing shooters.

To accommodate as many hunters as possible, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will present the workshop two times at MDC's Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in High Ridge. The first workshop will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, and the second opportunity will be Saturday, Sept. 19, both from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This intermediate program is designed for experienced shotgun hunters. It will help hunters be more efficient at hunting birds like dove, quail, pheasants, migratory birds, waterfowl and even turkeys.

Underestimating distances and overestimating their effective shooting range is the most common mistake hunters make. The goal of the workshop is to improve wingshooting not only by honing shooting abilities, but also range estimation. The latter can be challenging when targets are flying through the air, where there are no trees, landmarks or terrain for reference.

The workshop will also cover the characteristics of steel shot. The US Fish and Wildlife Service requires the use of non-toxic steel shot on waterfowl-hunting areas. It is also mandatory on many MDC areas used for upland game bird hunting.

Participants will learn about wounding rates in waterfowl, performance differences of steel and lead shot shells, and techniques to improve wingshooting and distance estimation skills.

Twelve and 20 gauge non-toxic/steel training ammunition for use during the class will be provided free of charge, as will target clays. Participants must bring their own shotgun, choke tubes, and enough normal non-toxic hunting ammo for patterning their shotguns. Those under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants should bring a folding chair, sunblock, sack lunch, snacks and drink. Water will be provided.

One of the most important goals of improving wingshooting accuracy is to reduce the unintentional wounding of birds. Reducing the number of wounded birds by using better shooting techniques can send many more birds back north every year to nest. That will mean bigger bird populations down the road and better hunting for the future.

Each workshop is free and open to anyone 14 years or older. Space is limited for the classes and advanced registration is required. For more information or to register, call 636-938-9548, ext. 0 or email The Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is located at 1100 Antire Road, just of I-44 exit 269. Other range programs are listed at