THIS LITTLE TREATISE could easily be called “Confessions of a Lousy Shot.” It also could be called a tutorial in making excuses for being a lousy shot.

Yes, you heard it here first. I am a lousy shot; always have been, always will be.

I could write a book about all the inglorious misses I’ve managed while hunting ducks, ruffed grouse (still partridge in my book) and whatever else I have chased around for 60 years.

Now, every hunter who has ever fired a shot has at one time or another been a lousy shot. The good shots, the ones that more often than not hit what they are shooting at, don’t make a habit of being lousy. They are minor leaguers in the lousy shot category.

Even such a renowned chaser of ducks and partridges, the bard of the Brule, Gordon MacQuarrie himself, admitted to being a lousy shot in some of the memorable outdoor tales he wrote between the years of 1930 to ’56.

In one story “The Little Flight,” MacQuarrie told of the season he and the Honorable Mr. President of the Old Duck Hunters Association Inc. incorporated the most unusual duck blinds of his career.

They dug pits and sunk two barrels into a sandy beach of a small lake. One was a thoroughly cleaned barrel, the other a used pickle barrel that smelled like it was still filled with pickles in someone’s general store.

Guess who drew the pickle barrel for a blind? Anyway, during the course of a day’s hunt, Mr. President shot duck after duck. MacQuarrie missed duck after duck, allowing that “I have missed ducks. I have missed ducks before and will miss them again, but seldom have I missed them like that.”

It was so bad that Mr. President, after watching MacQuarrie miss yet another duck, called an early halt to the hunt “for fear you’ll get the habit permanently.”

Early in my hunting years, I tried to shoot right-handed, despite having nothing but blurs for vision out of my right eye. See, back in the ’50s, there weren’t many eye doctors in this part of north Wisconsin and because I never told anyone, not even my parents, that I was mostly blind in that eye, no one knew of my optical shortcomings.

Being an idiot, I tried to shoot right-handed. I would lean my cheek across the stock as far as I could to line up on a fleeing partridge or passing duck. As you might well expect, I missed almost everything I shot at.

The next year, after I finally revealed my eye problem to my parents, it was learned that it was too late for the vision to be corrected. The nerves to the eye had essentially disappeared, or something like that, and I was consigned to become a left-handed shooter.

After many more misses from that side, I complained to my dad that I should go back to the right side. It got me nowhere. He simply grabbed my 20-gauge and killed three fast-flying bluebills with three shots while shooting left-handed. He probably had never shot left-handed before, but being very skilled at shooting, unlike his son, he could hit them from either side.

As the years went by, I solidified my position as a bona fide lousy shot. Oh, in 60 years I’ve had a few moments, a few shots of glory, but not enough to remove me from my professional status as a lousy shot.

Mallards crossing at 20 yards? Bang and generally all the mallards keep on flying. A Canada goose straight overhead at 30 yards? Same thing. There were times in desperation I even blazed away at sitting ducks or partridges just so I might bring something home for supper, but even then, misses were more common than hits.

The guys with whom I share the little white house on the prairie every fall find it hard to even laugh at me anymore when they see me miss easy shots. A bored roll of the eyes or a half-hearted shrug of the shoulders is about all I get from them these days when they watch me miss yet another easy shot.

Like all lousy shots, I revel in the few fantastic ones I make. Don’t tell my hunting companions, but there have been times I’ve even embellished the shooting prowess I displayed in hitting three ducks in a row, a feat none of them witnessed. All they do is ask “How come there are no shells left in your pockets if you only shot three times?” Somehow, they never believe me when I say I accidentally left the rest of my shells at the house.

Even red squirrels who invade my bird feeders are quite brazen about sitting motionless on a pine branch while I shoot at them. Nine out of 10 times they run away laughing.

You might think I’d have taken some shooting lessons somewhere along the way in an attempt to become at least a mediocre or even a fair shot, but hey, I’ve worked hard for 60 years to establish myself as a lousy shot and never have I ever considered giving up my reputation.

That might be why my wife and I get most of our meat from the supermarket.