Spring is in the air, and if you smell it in the next few days, it will probably carry the smell of gunpowder with it. Across the country and region, America’s high school clay target leagues are kicking off their spring season, bringing tens of thousands of student-athletes in grades six through 12 to the lineup of traps and skeet as well as the course of five stands and sports clays. Thousands of these shooters will be new to the shooting sports hobby, and no doubt a little nervous for the first time behind a target thrower in an organized setting. I know I was when I landed an embarrassing shot as I got on my shotgun before I even called my first skeet shot, and I was only 25 when a neighbor m initiated into discipline and charged with nervous energy.
Those nerves are calmed by a little preparation before the start of the season. From getting ready to getting to grips with a new gun or even an old favorite, new shooters able to tick a few boxes will feel better prepared for the exciting and enjoyable new season ahead. Here are some quick tips ahead of the next big trapping season to prepare new and inexperienced shooters for the adventure of a lifetime that is about to unfold.
Take your gear
Make a checklist of these essentials to record a successful league or practice round. Required items obviously include a shotgun and ammunition, as well as personal protective equipment such as safety glasses and earplugs or muffs. Personal choice of a vest or pouch to hold everything on the line is another necessary element. Additionally, it is important to have a selection of chokes for a shotgun, with full, enhanced modified or modified chokes for trap shooting, and more open chokes such as the skeet and enhanced cylinder for skeet shooting . Keep these selections and a key handy, especially if you’re shooting more than one discipline. Finally, as spring can be wet and cold, have a gun solvent picked out with a rag or wipes to remove water and apply this oil as needed after rainy days behind the trap to preserve the condition , functionality and longevity of a shotgun.
wrap it up
Organize needed gear in places where it’s safely stored, easily remembered, and ready to roll whenever it’s time to shoot. Firearms and ammunition, without question or deviation, must go from a locked storage space to the vehicle at the firing facility and return immediately after rounds are completed. Small items like chokes, oil, goggles, hearing protection and the like can be stored in a dedicated shooting sports bag which is easily grabbed and packed with a chosen pouch or vest. Choose a place in a closet for vests and pouches and, if possible, keep the three categories of shooting sports equipment close together for easy access.
Take your best shot
Finally, before the season begins, thoroughly clean and inspect your chosen shotgun. Does the action take place correctly on a semi-auto? Does the chamber close properly on a pump? Do shells eject correctly when an over-under is opened? Confirm everything is working before the start of the season, and weather and facilities permitting, take a few practice laps behind the houses and on the courses you’ll be shooting at to get a feel for the surroundings. Even a few laps on the back 40 with an old tire-mounted pitcher will help build confidence before the season. Take the time now to make sure everything on your shotgun is working properly, fitting properly, and ready to go for the season.
Using the final days before the start of this USA High School Clay Target League season will not only help gain the edge for new shooters when they first step onto the concrete arch behind a trapdoor, but it will will also help everything move more easily. for those with whom they shoot. A little preparation goes a long way with shooting sports and success is sure to follow those pre-season efforts…in our outdoors.