Woodcock hunting is a close-in type of upland bird hunting. Flushes are often directly under foot, particularly when pointing dogs are involved. Therefore, open chokes such as improved cylinder or even skeet are best utilized. Additionally, shorter-barreled firearms work better in tangled briar patches mixed with vines and underbrush.
Woodcock aren’t hardy and their size doesn’t require heavy loads. The preferred shot sizes are No. 7 1/2 and 8 shot. Twelve-gauge shotguns are common in the field, but to avoid being over gunned, shoot 2 3/4-inch shells with no more than 1 1/8-ounce loads.
Both the 20-guage and .410 are also ideal woodcock firearms with the latter adding a little sport to the hunt. Double-barreled and over-and-under shotguns provide that classic look in the field behind a dog on point. Doubles can be choked with skeet-skeet, skeet and improved, or improved and modified if you suspect a shot beyond 20 yards.
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