Man Scouts: Shooting Sporting Clays

June 20, eight Man Scouts from New Hope Church drove out to Silver Willow Sporting Club near Carstairs for an evening of shooting sporting clays with shotguns. Few things can compare to the sheer manliness of shooting a shotgun - maybe growing a beard? Anyway, we split into a couple teams and ran through the beginner/intermediate shooting course which is 10 stations with 2 different clay launches at each station where each shooter gets to shoot 5 clays (50 clays in total).

It's been a few years since I shot a shotgun in BC with uncle Terry, but I get the hang of it again pretty quickly. We alternate who goes first at each station since the first clay is sometimes difficult to spot as it flies from different spots in different directions and at different speeds. The challenge is to shoot it early if it is flying away from you and lead your sights ahead of where it will be. The launches are under little wooden shelters and fire clays in a great variety of settings: swamps, clearings, woods, bushes. A few clays come flying from up over your head and you have to spot them as they go flying away from you.

The entire process is very high tech. Your purchase of clay discs is loaded onto a card which is then placed onto a controller. The controller has two options, A and B, which launch the two different clays. The shooter loads their shotgun in a wooden frame and cries "pull" which is signal to the other who is managing the controller. Our group let the first shooter decide what the 5th shot would be: A or B. One of the unique shots was one that was shot along the ground and bounced around like a running rabbit (I didn't hit that one).

I intend to shoot only 25 clays with my buddy, but my buddy doesn't show up so I fire 50 shells and end up with a decent bruise on my shoulder. And yes, I held the gun tight against my shoulder and my face tight too. I end up with a rather modest score of 21 hits out of 50. The best shots are John and Kenton with 35. I admit (or provide excuse for my poor showing) that I got lazy and tired during the last 4 stations. I enjoyed taking pictures and watching others shoot. It was a long week leading up to this night.

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