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If you're suffering from hunting withdrawals, don't fret. You can hunt all summer in the comfort of your home.

We live in Arkansas, after all. We have an unlimited supply of houseflies to keep you busy until traditional game seasons open in the fall.

Killing houseflies encompasses all essential hunting skills. You can spot-and-stalk, still-hunt, pass-shooting and snipe. You can decoy flies or hunt over bait piles.

Swatting is the most common and most traditional method for dispatching houseflies. It is comparable to hunting with a crossbow because a fly resting on a counter, floor, dresser or vanity has virtually no time to react to an implement traveling at roughly 900 feet per second. It's very effective, but it's never certain.

A fly escapes a miss at astonishing speed and performs maneuvers that shame a mourning dove. Regroup quickly because the odds are still very much in your favor.

In a bathroom, quickly shut the door to confine the fly. After a frantic dash around the room, a fly will often circle back and land nearby. Make it count because a second miss will spook a fly into hyperdrive.

Boone and Crockett and Pope & Young do not recognize houseflies, but all fly hunters have encountered trophy specimens. They are large and as noisy as a Cox model airplane with its buzzy little .049 glow fuel engine. The sight and sound of a Boone and Crockett housefly triggers a hunter's predatory instinct almost as powerfully as a towering set of antlers.

Killing a Boone and Crockett housefly on the ground is unrewarding and borderline unethical. In the spirit of fair chase, you should bust them on the ... fly.

Hitting a fly on the wing with a swatter connects with a satisfying smack, followed by a secondary impact of the fly slamming into a wall or a shower curtain. He's only stunned and extremely dangerous. Finish him off quickly before he recovers and attacks.

An ingenious fly hunter recently invented a gun that shoots table salt. Devotees report this to be a lot of fun, but it often takes multiple shots to kill a fly. We consider this a waste of salt, and it also makes a mess. We have enough work to do without creating more.

Instead, we prefer sniping houseflies with rubber bands. Thin newspaper bands are faster, but I prefer the greater terminal ballistics of the thick and wide white bands.

Rubber band sniping requires a good bit of practice, and you should limit shots to drilled distances. A rubber band rises on release, so you must aim low. Range time will help you perfect the technique.

Advance on a stationary fly. Cock the rubber band, aim, take a deep breath, slowly exhale and release.

The impact on a vertical surface will usually flatten or dismember a fly. A horizontal shot will knock a fly a good distance. Recovery often requires advanced tracking skills.

The most challenging method for dispatching houseflies is still hunting with your bare hands. It is equivalent to stalking with a longbow, and it proves that the hand is indeed quicker than the fly.

Approach a stationary fly slowly. With your hands apart, slowly position them in a bracketing position a few inches above the fly. This almost always seems to paralyze a housefly.

Don't blink. Blinking often prods a fly from its trance and allows it to escape before you spring your trap.

With your hands rigidly outstretched and positioned above the fly, clap hard with your palms flat and fingers taut. The fly will rise straight up and into the trap to be crushed.

Cupping your hands creates a chamber within the trap that often allows the fly to escape unharmed. It is very aggravating to waste a perfectly good stalk in this way, but don't despair. The fly will land shortly and fall for the same trick again.

Elitists scorn this method as barbaric. With hundreds of confirmed kills, I assure you that it awes even the most radical insect welfare activist, and besides, we don't have hand soap for decoration.

Fly hunters aren't the liars they are reputed to be. Inexact is more like it. One typically starts losing count after 50 kills. Therefore, recovery is mandatory, and keeping accurate records is essential.

Of course, a skilled hunter quickly depletes his supply of game. To replenish, simply open the back door.

Sports on 06/23/2019

Print Headline: Hunting on the 'fly' makes for great practice

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