If you’re a game-bird hunter of any kind, including pheasant, quail, duck, or goose, you need to be a reliable shooter if you want to have consistent success. Sure, modern shotgun technology, including choke advancements, autoloaders, and premium loads, have made shotguns better than ever, but it still takes a skilled hunter to drop a fast-flying bird moving with the wind at 30 yards.
One of the best ways to maintain your shotgun proficiency throughout the year and hit the ground running come opening day is to participate in clay pigeon shooting.
This sport can be enjoyed with larger groups or just you and your buddy, so let’s learn more about clay pigeon shooting and why you should get started this weekend.
Firearm proficiency is very important if you want to be a high-quality hunter, and trapshooting allows you to practice shooting on an airborne moving target at multiple distances, increasing your skills and helping you bag more birds during the season. It also helps you practice safely loading and discharging a firearm in a controlled setting, which will be useful when you'r walking the fields or sitting in a duck blind with your fellow hunters.
Honestly, you don’t even have to be a hunter to enjoy shooting clay pigeons, as this simple sport is very affordable and easy to start. A box of over 100 clay pigeons is usually less than $20, and you don’t need premium loads, as the discounted bulk-case loads are perfectly acceptable. (There are a couple of exceptions. Just before hunting season, it’s wise to practice with the same load that you will use in the field, and if you advance into shooting competitions, you’ll likely want a higher-quality shot-shell.)
While most clay pigeon shooters will use a 12-gauge, a lighter 20-gauge is perfectly acceptable too. This opens up the sport for new shooters or people who are too small or weak for larger firearms.
As for equipment, you’ll really only need a few things. After the shotgun, shells, and pigeons, you’ll need a way to throw them, and you can usually get by with a manual thrower. (You can throw them by hand but they probably won’t go far.) You’ll also need safety equipment like eye protectors and eye plugs, but after that, you’re all set.
Clay pigeon shooting is such an easy sport to start that the most difficult part is finding a good place to shoot. For the most part, you have three options.
Private land: If you’re lucky enough to own or know someone who owns open fields, you can likely shoot clay pigeons on private property. You’ll obviously need to know the layout so you are shooting safely, but this can provide a convenient way to practice your shooting.
Public ranges: In most areas, there are public outdoor ranges that allow you to practice your shooting skills, and many have sections that are dedicated solely to clay pigeon shooting.
Gun and sporting clubs: Sports clubs and private organizations all over the country offer you the chance to hone your shooting skills. They are not free, but they do allow you to finely tune your shooting while receiving instruction from more experienced hunters.
Elite hunters know that a successful season takes practice, patience, and high-quality equipment. Get the hunting apparel you need by visiting the online store from NOMAD.