Shooting now will pay dividends in the fall
Let’s face it, shooting is fun regardless of the time of year. Unfortunately, too many sportsmen fail to take advantage of the shooting opportunities that may lie on their doorstep. When the fall hunting seasons come around too many hunters go afield without firing a shot since the previous season closed, and there’s no excuse for that.
Many sportsmen’s clubs across the state offer shooting opportunities that provide enjoyable experiences for both friends and family members. If you’ve never shot a sporting clays course you are missing a lot. Bouncing rabbits, streaking grouse and leaping ducks are just three of the combinations of game species simulated by the clay targets thrown by the traps on a sporting clays course.
Shooting a sporting clays course is an excellent way for a hunter to hone their shooting skills while having an enjoyable yet often humbling time. A typical sporting clays course will present shooters with many of the shots they will find in the field, as well as some they won’t. Many hunters think they are good wingshooters until the first time they try their shooting skill on a target rocketing through the trees. After a number of misses, these same shooters often shake their heads or look at their gun as if it’s the reason for their misses.
When planning an afternoon or evening of shooting, keep in mind many clubs are open only certain days a week or on weekends, so it’s a good idea to check with the club to be sure of their hours. Some clubs require a reservation, but most local sportsmen’s clubs do not. Expect to shoot at least 50 rounds because to simulate actual hunting conditions, targets are offered as singles, pairs and “report pairs,” which means the second target is launched immediately after the first shot is fired. The action can be fast and furious and I promise a lot of fun.
The layout of each sporting clays course is varied, and it’s safe to say no two sporting clays courses will be the same. Targets can be launched from hilltops or jump up in front of you. “Rabbit” targets can hop, skip and dart a few yards in front of you or they can come downhill right at you. Each target presentation is unique and this is what makes shooting a round of sporting clays so much fun. Regardless of the course, shooters will find gracious hosts and patient trappers. Many even have voice-activated targets that eliminate the need of a trapper entirely. When shooting a sporting clays course for the first time it’s a good idea to come with a shooting partner. The experience will be enhanced by the banter and comparison of the number of targets broken.