The game season is ending, but it is important to keep practising, and those who are serious about game shooting should consider clay pigeon shooting as a sport and as a means of shotgun training. There are essentially three forms of clay shooting: skeet, trap and sporting to keep your skills sharpened, and is fun for beginners to the sport and old-timers.
Skeet uses two traps at both ends of a semi-circular layout and is designed to simulate any angle you might encounter in the field. This is useful for improving technique and footwork as well as trying out new guns and methods. When practising in the skeet form, be sure to take your time, stay coordinated and aware of yourself and the gun.
Trap shooting traces back to box-trap pigeon shooting; if shot gun-down, a trap layout can provide excellent live bird training. A trap layout can also be used as a walk-up if given a safe go ahead, which is great practice for the moors and is surprisingly difficult. The lesson to be made in this situation is trying to wrong-foot yourself. The common problem is mounting too quickly, wind milling the gun and shooting high. The aim is to stay cool and keep the eyes in command.
Sporting clay pigeon shooting is the most common form. Developed from practice shooting at Victorian shooting schools, it evolved into a sport of its own. The idea is the clay birds, presented in pairs, simulate quarry species. By shoot sporting gun-down regularly, you will start to become a better game shot.
Beginners to shooting are those who will benefit most from taking up clay pigeon shooting in the offseason. There are new skills to be learned in clay pigeon shooting, and regular sessions are vital if you want to keep your technique and skills well honed.
Get your kit ready for a day of clay shooting, just as you would on a normal day’s shooting, from the gun, to cartridges, ear defenders, food and drink. Get your shooting clothes ready too – this is more important than you think, as your shooting clothes need to be comfortable, flexible and ready for the weather outside.
Don’t hesitate to ask for tips and advice from instructors or other clay shooters on the grounds. Their experience can help with your own techniques, footing and more, to make it easier and more enjoyable. Another way to keep practising is by joining a club. Find one in your area – there are many all across the UK – and join up. The club will be a great way to receive support and help from fellow shooters, and the club grounds will provide the ideal place for you to practice.
Most of all, don’t rush your practices. Don’t be embarrassed about not getting off the stand, or missing a few birds. Everyone has been in the same position at some point, and just remember to relax, stay calm and enjoy it. It is a sport after all!
One of the biggest emerging trends in recent years is ladies shooting. The popularity of the sport has become a movement, with ladies picking up the guns and heading to the shooting line. Catering for both game and clay sport, from beginners lessons, to having a day in the field, ladies shooting clubs are a great way to get into the sport.
There are clubs popping up across the country, encouraging women to get involved with clay shooting. Clubs like the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club and Femmes Fatales are challenging the misconception that shooting is a man’s sport. They and are run by teams of ladies looking to shoot, have fun and share the passion with others.
The clubs are immensely fun and social, with many shooting events held throughout the year, which include conferences, educational days and competitions. Be prepared for a day shooting with friends, with our ladies shooting clothing
and other accessories, making your time doing the sport as enjoyable and fun as possible.
Image by Proadventure