Today was a real scorcher; 96 degrees with 87% humidity. That didn’t stop me from taking advantage of a day of sunshine, shotguns and good friends.

All the makings of a GREAT day...shotguns, friends and a whole lot of clays.

I woke up this morning and packed my range bag with two packs of Bee Pollen Burst, a CamelBak jug filled with crushed ice, a sport towel, camera, shells, Revision Sawfly glasses, and my ESP ear protection. I grabbed my gun case and was headed down the road to Montgomery’s premiere shotgun shooting range; Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club. I was meeting a friend of mine, J9 (Jeanne) and her husband Richard for a round of sporting clays.

I have not had the opportunity to shoot clays since I had attended the OSP School last month. I was anxious to see if what I was taught at the OSP school had actually stuck and if my home practice had helped my performance.

As usual, the first shot that rang out was followed by that intoxicating smell of spent gun powder…NOTHING compares to that smell. It briefly brought back memories of turkey season, then a flash of the day I spent on the range with Vicki Ash…but the most ingrained memory was of the very first day that I shot at a clay during a NWTF/WITO event in Tennessee. The adrenaline rush I felt then was none-the-less that which I felt today. I always shake a little on that first shot; not from fear but from pure adrenaline.

That first shot...what a feeling!!

One advantage of sporting clays is that the shooter has the opportunity to “show birds” at every station before having to take the shot. This gives the shooter an idea as to where they plan to break the clay(s). Every station has different presentations of the clays that simulate hunting game. They are also presented as a report pair, the shooter calls pull for the first target and the shot sends out the second clay, or true pair, where both are sent out together when the shooter calls pull. It is a challenging task but very gratifying when you make that perfect shot. We shot crossing clays, quartering clays, springing clays, high clays, rolling clays and just about every other combination. Of course each presentation has a name such as rabbit, springing teal, and other names which either relate to the presentation of the clay or the size of the clay.

Timing a crossing target

The toughest shot of the day...a report pair of crossing and quartering targets from an elevated platform.

Overhead presentation...I always rush these hoping I get a shot before they get away.

Four boxes of shells later and every presentation imaginable I was excited to find out that I had a 15% improvement on a 100 target round. Actually more than I expected since I had not been as faithful with my home practice as I had wished due to a lack of time. This led to the decision that the things that I enjoy most and wish to improve on will need to take some priority in life. At the end of the round J9 and I agreed that we needed to make a regular date of meeting at the range for a round.

Good Shot!! It is always fun cheering each other on and encouraging one another.

J9’s husband, Richard was kind enough to tag along as our cart driver and photographer….he may not have shot a gun but he did shoot a perfect shot…

Richard's perfect shot...How neat? Perfect timing of my blue shells ejecting out of my broke-open over and under

If you haven’t had the opportunity yet this year to get out and shoot some clays, you should–it is the perfect practice for preparing for wingshooting. Don’t let the heat of summer stop you…a little sunscreen, a water jug and a sport towel…you will be glad you got out there on the range. You can find a range near you at http://www.claytargetsonline.com/index.php. Remember to keep your eye on the clay and enjoy your day.

My friend Jeanne (J9) and I...I am thankful that her and Richard braved the heat with me--definitely an enjoyable day!

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