By: Bob Allen & Bud Decot
As a tournament clay target shooter and hunter most of my lifetime, I’ve always worried about how my vision affects my shooting. Like most people, I’ve gone through the various stages of vision changes– at about age 40, I suddenly found that a phone booth wasn’t big enough for me to hold the phone book out and be able to read it. My shooting really didn’t vary much because I was able to correct my vision with glasses, but I always worried if I had the right prescription, right color, etc.
There is one outstanding expert in the field of shooting vision, and shooters throughout the world agree that he has the most knowledge, is equipped to make the best suggestions, and, if I may get a bit commercial, offers the finest shooting glasses available. With this information before me, I decided that I would ask Bud Decot of Phoenix, Arizona to do this column with me. I must admit that most of these words are his, but I couldn’t say them as knowledgeably as Bud.
Our shooting careers extended near a half century. Bud, in 1935 at age 10, was taught by his famous eye specialist dad, Dr. Val A. Decot, M.D. Bob Allen started his hunting and shooting experiences back in 1939 and has enjoyed championship scores throughout the years. Bud Decot’s involvement and interest in shooting glass manufacturing forced him to retire from matches in 1964,and he dedicated his time and creativity to the sport glass profession.
Here are some of the “wisdoms of vision” both Bob and Bud have experienced.
Most sportsmen do not completely understand the function of their eyes. A lot of them neglect having their vision checked every couple of years. Due to health reasons, some sportsmen should have an annual eye test. It’s widely known that diabetes and blood pressure problems can hinder and endanger one’s vision. Even those who are lucky enough not to require prescription lenses should wear tempered lenses for eye protection. It’s a fact that some eye injuries cannot be repaired back to perfect vision.
It’s important for the sportsmen to understand vision and what they may do to improve their focus on the target. When you’re looking at a moving target, your mind is deciphering the speed and direction with your peripheral vision. You then use your center vision to direct your aim at the target itself. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Look at the few steady champions, then count the “also runs”. To discipline your center focusing power takes mental and physical practice over and over again.
Many of you have heard Bud quote a famous wisdom, “you only look with your eyes — you really are seeing with your mind.” Exercise your mental vision by looking at two objects — one near, one far. Shift your vision rapidly back and forth on these two objects and mentally know you are concentrating on each object before shifting to the other. This simple eye and mind exercising can improve your performance.
In the past, there has been little about eye exercising. However, in recent years there have been two paperback books published that are worth reading, one by Dr. Wayne Martin, Insight on Sports, and by Dr. Leon Revien, Sport Vision. Each one tells how you can improve your sport vision eyes.
Besides exercising the mind and body for better shooting, we must consider protection measures for our eyes. Decot Hy-Wyd Sport Glasses have developed over the years many different lens shades to enhance the target color and fog out the background foliage. A particular lens shade can really help the sportsman concentrate on the flight of the target. Everyone visualizes colors via their own concept. Again, it’s a mental process, however, throughout the years most gunners have enjoyed Decot’s famous target orange lenses and multi-shades of gold tones and bronze shades.
However, only two years ago, Decot Hy-Wyd Company discovered a blend of chemicals that produced the most popular lens shade ever! V-Lite Rose — the principle of this V-lite Rose lens is three fold: a) it deadens the green background, b) it highlights the orange target like it’s ultra-fluorescent , and c) it dampens the sky, whether cloudy or clear, which makes the orange target stand out even more. Even the solid black target used in sporting clays and the lime green target stand out due to faded out background shades. Never before has one lens shade been accepted by so many sportsmen. V-lite Rose comes in #1 light, #2 medium, (both are the most popular), and #3 semi-dark for light sensitive eyes.
As our birthdays add up, our reflexes slow down a bit. However, that’s no excuse for giving up on the targets. Good health, simple eye exercises, and a positive attitude can increase our scores and give us more joy.
Whether you are a competitive shooter, a hunter, or just a fun shooter, give yourself a treat and learn more about how you can improve you vision and focus better on the target.
On a slightly different note, we should focus more on our vision of America and what effect new gun laws are going to have on us. In truth, we have not done our homework in numbers!