Don’t get cocky when you’re on a hot streak

You can’t miss. Every time you pull the trigger, the pellets find their mark. Unfortunately, every hot streak seems to be followed by a cold streak that’s twice as long.

Man, it’s great to have a string of shots that isn’t marred by a single miss. You shoot at a bird, and it goes down. Every time. It’s even better when that streak comes along when you’re hunting with friends. Better yet, when you’re hunting with your father-in-law.

You feel so good when you can’t miss that it’s hard to stay humble. But no matter how strong the urge is, resist the temptation to gloat. Even a little bit. Because the shotgunning gods don’t like a braggart. Not at all.

I had one of those hot streaks a few years ago. It started with a goose hunt with two friends. I was on the upwind end of the blind when the geese came in. My friends, who have the lease on the blind and because of this will remain nameless, each took a shot at the passing birds. They missed. I pulled up on the lead goose, touched off a shot, and the bird crumpled. I racked the slide, fired again, and another goose fell. I was on top of the world. I resisted the urge to rub it in, even when a lone goose came in a little later. My partners each shot again and missed again. On my third shot of the day, I had my limit. But I still held my tongue.

A few days later, we went to a pheasant ranch. The streak continued. I didn’t miss all day, but I made the mistake of razzing my friends about missing.

And that was the end of the streak. The next time the three of us went hunting, our fortunes were reversed. I couldn’t hit the inside of a barn with the doors closed. And man, did I hear it from my friends. But I deserved it.

My penance was long and miserable. My hot streak only lasted 10 shots, but I punched about 50 holes in the air without so much as bending a feather after I shot off my mouth. It’s a lesson I won’t soon forget. Stay humble, no matter how good you’re shooting. From now on, I will.