Clay target shooting conjures thoughts of men standing in wellington boots, cammo gear and bright red stupid plaid hats, shouting “PULL” as a flying disk streaks across the horizon.
I am happy to dispel those myths. Clay Target Shooting is nothing like this, in fact I am strictly advised prior to my arrival NOT to wear camouflaged clothing of any description. The clay targets launch automatically. As for the wellington boots and plaid hat that was never going to happen!
My two mates Paul and Steve are joining me for this bucket list adventure. Todays venue is Hitting Targets at Cecil Park. The clay target shooting experience is run by Suzy Balogh who was the 2004 Olympic gold medal winner for the Trap.
For 48 years I have avoided firing a gun. Purely by choice. An air rifle yes, but live ammunition no!
Before I regale you with my feats of glory, let me put something into perspective here.
I don’t like guns! I don’t like what they do!
They maim, they mutilate , they create fear and they cause death.
I accept the use of a gun to hunt on the prevision that what ever is killed is used as a food source. I can acknowledge the need for a gun to protect your livelihood if you are a farmer. What confounds me is the need for guns in a metropolitan environment. I’m happy to relent in this case as it is a sport and requires skill, along with the fact that the targets are made of clay. No blood will be spilled today!
Fear and trepidation
I am decidedly nervous. Is this shotgun going to kick like a mule? Will I be able to hit a target? Am I going to embarrass myself?
Man up for god sake!
Suzy quickly puts everything to rest as she sets me up with the appropriate stance and posture. With a firm grip on the 12 gauge shotgun and the butt of the riffle jammed firmly into my shoulder. I feel the cool kiss of the wood on my right cheek as I peer down the barrel. The interesting thing is I am feeling empowered. As I write this post I find that a little unsettling.
The clay targets are launching directly at us ( the easiest way to track), Suzy lets me know its on its way. A steady exhale, one eye on the target I feel an elevation in my heart rate as I squeeze the trigger. The crack of exploding gun powder startles me and the recoil on my riffle rocks me back with its force. I’m not leaning into the gun and I take note immediately.
Winner winner chicken dinner
My first shot is bang on and I see a pretty puff of pink dust as I obliterate the target. All my fears are put to rest with this one shot. I look at Suzy and she gives me a big smile. The clay targets (traps) continue to arc toward me as I destroy one after the other. This is easy. I am lethal!
My mates take turns blasting the traps from the sky. Paul is quite funny shifting from right handed to left hand and eventually back to right. He couldn’t get comfortable. Steve had shot before and looked very comfortable, putting on a clinic. Impressive shooting indeed.
The traps are now moving away from us. The trajectory is very comfortable to track and I continue racking up “the kills”. My confidence is growing as is my ego. I am pretty excited and shout out to Paul ” I am a better shot than you!” He gives me an odd look and a wry smile.
Suzy changes the trajectory of the targets and this time they move across the front of the shooting station. Left to right, Right to left. Things just got real interesting.
Both Paul and Steve hit one of these targets whilst I on the other hand continue to fire and miss wildly. Wow this is difficult. I receive no end of sledging from the boys, there is no doubt about the inaccuracy of my shooting. If I ever go hunting just tell the animal to zig zag side to side and it will be safe.
We finish the day with some shooting events to encourage bragging rights. Two guns one target and few timed events. The three of us are having a great time.
Clay target shooting conclusion
Clay target shooting and the competition it stirred in me and my companions is tremendous. I recommend you give this a try. Have no fear as the safety of all participants is paramount. The activity although testing is very easy to get a basic competency in a short space of time.
Did I enjoy this experience as much as Archery?
Yes, clay target shooting is a blast….all puns intended!
Has it changed my view on guns….not really. I am anti guns and will remain that way until proven otherwise.
Clay target shooting another This Life List adventure checked off.