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Hunting terrestrial game birds – equipment

12 January 2017

 

The type of shotgun mostly used

Wingshooting, as the correct way of hunting game birds is known colloquially, is a highly traditional sport that is practised within a strict code of ethics, including the equipment being used. The primary requirement for equipment is a shotgun of good quality with the right calibre for the right type of gamebird. The calibres vary from 410 to 12 guage, with the latter the best general calibre for South African conditions where it forms 94 per cent of the shotguns being used.

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Various types of shotgun exist and they vary from a single-shot break barrel, a double barrel side-by-side, a double barrel over-and-under, various types of single barrel and semi-automatic shotguns. Each type of shotgun is best under specific conditions as they all have advantages and disadvantages, but the double-barrel shotguns seem to be preferred by most of the wingshooters in South Africa. Whether the double barrels are positioned side-by-side or over-and–under seems to be a question of personal taste. While semi-automatic shotguns are effective, they may not be used in some regions for wingshooting because of inadequate safety measures.

 
 




 
 

Importance of the choke

The maximum shooting distance with a shotgun seldom exceeds 40 m, which makes it a close-range hunting weapon. Shotguns have different types of choke which means that they have various grades of constriction, or choke, in the barrel. The grade of choke determines whether the pellets will be concentrated or spread out when reaching the target. An open choke which creates a more dispersed shot pattern is recommended for terrestrial game birds which are usually shot over short distances of up to 35 m. When using a closed choke to hunt terrestrial game birds the shot pattern may be too concentrated which reduces the size of the target. Should the target be hit, a closed choke will often leave little of the bird to be used for the pot... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

References:

Botes, G 1999. Shotgunning – hearing conservation. S.A. Game & Hunt 5(6): 21.

Brooke, R K 1987. A history of the use of indigenous game birds in South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research Supplement 1: 2 - 4.

Potgieter, L 1987. The efficiency of the shotgun as firearm. South African Journal of Wildlife Research Supplement 1: 91 - 95.

Van der Westhuizen, R (Ed.). 2002. Wingshooting. Game bird shooting in Africa. Pretoria: SA Wingshooters’ Association.

Viljoen, P J 2005. AGRED’s gamebirds of South Africa: field identification and management. Houghton: African Gamebird Research, Education and Development Trust.

Viljoen, P J 2016. Wingshooting. In: J du P Bothma & J G du Toit 2016 (Eds), Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik, pages 703 – 705.

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

 

 

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