Reader Jeff the Griz writes :
Shooting guns and archery since I was five or six, I moved on to a Brazilian manufactured single shot .410 bore and a compound bow at 10. That .410 gave me years of enjoyment with a small spring cock clay pigeon thrower. With some cheap birdshot and a box of clays I could spend the better part of an afternoon launching and shooting.
Years later I got away from shotguns. I was more interested in AR-15’s, tactical stuff and carry guns. I even got some time in with an IDPA group and started shooting steel targets.
After a move towards the big city and away from my little slice of heaven, hunting has become second to the joy of shooting. Although I have become better at putting small groups on paper targets at 25 yards, it has lost its allure for me.
Recent bad experiences at the local indoor range and the fact that static targets are only fun for a certain amount of time have left me wanting a little more challenge.
This spring my daughter joined the Clay Target Club for her high school for the 2019 season. The USA High School Clay Target League has over 800 schools participating in trap and skeet competitions nationwide. Her school and three others shared the local sportsman club’s shotgun trap ranges each Monday and Friday from April through June.
The club members volunteered their time and experience to instructing new shooters, providing tips to improve scores and keep everyone safe. As a parent, it was thrilling to watch these teenagers shoot and progress.
Towards the end of the spring season they had a family fun day. Unfortunately my wife and daughter had other plans, but I was able to attend with another family and try out my new-to-me Benelli (review upcoming) and shoot a few rounds of trap.
It was my first time on an actual shotgun line with other shooters and my first time trying to bust clays in years. All while using a brand new shotgun.
Using tips from club members and a few I’d overheard through the high school season and my own past experience, I managed a 16 out of 25, then a 19 out of 25 in those two rounds. I was hooked.
It’s been a joy to shoot with my daughter. I have also involved a long-term family friend who used to shoot with his son 30 years ago. I’ve also gotten my 17-year-old second cousin involved (who lives in a liberal household and gets minimal range time) and my uncle who has only been shooting a few years himself.
This past weekend marked the 8th straight weekend I was able to participate in shooting moving clay birds. Trap, skeet, 5-stand, and at the local park with my antique clay thrower. I am planning to shoot the local sporting clays course in the next few weeks if weather permits.
It’s been a blast (pun intended) breaking clays and even missing them. Shotgun sports are a lot of fun, very addictive and enjoyed more when you can shoot with family and friends. I am planning on shooting shotgun sports for years to come and hope to make many memories doing so.
I would encourage fellow readers of TTAG, if current shooting has become a rut and you want to escape the tedium, try something new. Long-range shooting, shotgun sports, competition shooting…there’s something for everyone, and occasionally we all need a little change.
If anyone has school-aged kids and wants to start a team, The USA High School Clay Target League has instructions on their website on how to join and start teams.