Instructor: Gun, technique keys to shooting well

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Todd Rogers loves his job, and it shows.

Rogers, an Orvis-certified shooting and fly-fishing instructor at Wynfield Plantation, has been making better shooters and anglers for the past 15 years.

"For me, there's a lot of fun in teaching people how to shoot well," Rogers told the Albany Rotary Club Thursday at Doublegate Country Club. "My goals are to help people shoot well and that nobody leaves with a bruised shoulder."

A disciple of the Robert Churchill school of instinctive wingshooting of gamebirds, Rogers said the three most important factors in producing a productive shooter are the gun, the fit of the gun in relation to the shooter's body and technique.

"When we build a gun for someone, we take careful measurements then send the numbers to Vermont where the gun is put together," Rogers said. "The fit of the gun, especially the length and angle of the stock, protects the shooter from bruises on his or her cheeks and shoulder."

After the gun and fit are right, Rogers then works on the shooter's technique: how they carry the gun and set up for a shot, specifically shooting stance and positioning of the non-trigger finger on the gun.

The biggest challenge, Rogers says, is often wiping away years of accumulated bad habits.

"Kids are easy because they are a blank slate and have no issues," Rogers explained. "Adults who have been shooting for a while are most difficult because I have to erase years of bad habits and reprogram them."

Speaking about fly-fishing, Rogers said, "Men are more difficult because they try to cast too quickly. I have to get them to slow down. Women are much easier because they tend to have better touch.

"And touch with a fly-rod is very important."

Rogers said he has seen a decline in business over the past three years because of the sagging economy.

"The economy has definitely affected us," he told Rotary Clum members. "We've seen the biggest drop from the local people; the national groups are still coming down. Business has been no worse over the past two years, but it's a long way from where we were three years ago."