John's Journal...

Day 5: Lessons on Dove Hunting from Shooting Instructor Barry Kelly of Mississippi’s The Willows

Editor’s Note: Barry Kelly is a master class shooter and the manager of The Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center in Tunica, Mississippi, the site of the 2010 U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship and the 2010 Mississippi State Sporting Clays Championship. Kelly can help you shoot better – especially with dove season starting.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Barry, what will a shooting instructor teach a dove hunter?

Kelly: He’ll teach him to mount the gun correctly, to see the sight plane of the gun, to move his shoulders with the target, and to get his instincts into his shooting. Too, we’ll teach our shooters how to trust their instincts on how to make accurate shots.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: What’s the biggest reason most dove hunters can’t shoot accurately?

Kelly: Ego. I’m the classic example. I grew up here in the South and hunted here my entire life. When I started trying to shoot clay targets competitively, I had several-different shooters tell me to take some shooting lessons. I wouldn’t do it, because I said nobody could teach me how to shoot, since I already knew how to shoot. After a few terrible losses in competitive-shooting contests, I learned I didn’t even know how to hold the gun accurately.

Question: What’s the best you’ve ever done in competitive shooting?

Kelly: I have a 100 straight run (I broke 100 clay targets consecutively without a miss) in sporting-clays competitions in Birmingham, Alabama. I’ve won the Mississippi State Shoot and have been runner-up in several major events. None of that happened until after I took shooting lessons, learned I wasn’t really as good a shot as I thought, and had someone else teach me how to shoot correctly. So, from my own experience, I know that the reason I didn’t shoot doves as well as I could have was because I thought I knew how to shoot doves and didn’t think anyone could teach me anything that could improve my shooting. So, I had to learn the hard way that if you decide to learn how to shoot better and take a little instruction, you’ll really be surprised at how much better you can shoot.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Next year you’ll have a father-and-son tune-up for dove-season course about 3-weeks before dove season. How can a hunter tune-up for doves at a sporting-clays range?

Kelly: Here at The Willows, we have two towers out of which we throw clay targets to simulate dove hunting. We often throw crossing birds and set-up traps to throw targets straight at the hunter or from behind the hunter. We try to simulate as many shots as we can that a dove hunter may be required to take in the field. In our father-and-son tune-up for dove-season course, a father can bring his son or daughter under the age of 18 to The Willows and pay $28 for 50 targets. His son or daughter will get an additional 50 targets free. All these targets will simulate the doves hunters can take in the field.

Question: Is learning to shoot more difficult for an older or a younger person?

Kelly: Actually, I have a 67-year-old student right now who just won a bronze medal in the 2009 FITASC Championship. I’ve only been working with him for about a year.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: To learn more about how to get tuned-up for dove season and participate in the father-and-son tune-up for the dove season program, how do they get in contact with you?

Kelly: They can call The Willows at (662) 357-3154. We’ll be running this 2-hour course on Saturday and Sunday, 3 weeks before the 2011 dove season. After they’ve completed the course, they can stay and shoot more clay targets, if they want. Dove season in Mississippi starts on the first Saturday in September, but we’ll be running these instructional courses in August before dove season begins.

To learn more about The Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center, click here, call Barry Kelly at (662) 357-3154, or email him at

Check back each day this week for more about "Shooting Instinctively to Take More Doves with Barry Kelly of the Willows Sporting Clays in Tunica, Mississippi"

Day 1:Take Doves – Disengage Your Brain with Barry Kelly of The Willows
Day 2: Barry Kelly of The Willows Tell the Shells that Make a Difference for the Dove Hunter
Day 3: Barry Kelly of The Willows Explains How You Can Learn to Shoot Doves Better
Day 4:Barry Kelly of The Willows Explains the Biggest Problem Dove Hunters Have
Day 5: Lessons on Dove Hunting from Shooting Instructor Barry Kelly of Mississippi’s The Willows


Entry 574, Day 5