I cannot cut grass now. I am preparing lunch, and on top of that its 95 degrees in the shade.

There is always some excuse for all of us that is made up. We all use them, and reasons are varied and nowhere are they more often than on a firearms shooter, be it paper punching or while hunting.

Probably the most used exclude it is that old axiom my dog ate my homework. While an excuse, there are occasions when it is the truth. Just yesterday, I was shooting off the bench at the Dormont Mt. Lebanon Sportsman’s Club, and while I had the range to myself at first, others started to drift in. Finally, there were four of us shooting off the benches. Naturally, the joking turned more serious with each of us owning the best rifle for the job.

As most readers will know, some rifles are built for this type of shooting while others are more at home in the fields or the woods. While the first such one is a bench-rest or target type of gun, the second is built for hunting. It soon becomes apparent that the important thing is the rifle’s ability to place.

By placing, I mean the gun’s ability to place all the shots in one hole. It helps if the firearm has a good trigger pull and a bit wider forearm. This will help prevent the rifle from rocking side to side on the bags. It is harder to shoot a one-hole group with a heavy trigger pull. Many times, a beautiful group will form out of the first four shots only to open up by a last single flyer. It is at this point that the excuses, instead of the bullets, begin to fly.

Like you were right behind me jabbering up a storm, could be true. Perhaps the group of long-range varmint hunters missed because of a tuft of grass in front of the target. Or the wind blew the bullet off course. After all, it could not be the fault of the shooter or the rifle.

Some time ago, I hunted groundhogs with a friend who had a good excuse for every miss and some of them were very original. But the best one was overheard when he and his wife were at odds. After missing an easy 400-yard shot, he said it was his wife’s fault. Maybe he was telling the truth for he said some wives bump their husband’s guns while cleaning and don’t tell. Later, after his divorce, we all came to find out that his wife was a bit smarter than that and sneakier, too. She would adjust his knob that adjusts his sights and mess with his guns whenever she was upset with him.

Yes, everyone has an excuse. Some true, some not.

Just the other day, this shooter had a good group going when he let fly a bullet just outside of the previous four grouped into one hole. Was it the wind? What wind? Was it someone talking breaking his concentration? Maybe, but he claimed neither. Instead, he had a good new excuse to add to the collection. He needed a haircut, but because of the coronavirus could not get one and his hair got in his eyes causing the flyer.

Sometimes, this shooter’s eyes make shots difficult to place, but this time it was not old sol who was to blame, but instead it was his hair. Now that is a new excuse to add to the book.

It can happen. After all, another shooter standing nearby said he had a similar problem, only it was not his hair on his head but rather his eyebrow hairs that had poked him in the eye. Now that is a great excuse and one we can all use during this pandemic – my eyebrow hairs poked me in the eye and caused me to miss.

I wish I had my barber back.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.