When weather warms, it's sporting clays time

OUTDOORS

February 21, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

Soon the weather will be moderating and many area sportsmen will be thinking about shooting a round or two of sporting clays.

Sporting clays is the fastest-growing target-hooting sport in the country, and a number of fine courses can now be found close to this area.

A few that come to mind are Prince George's County Trap & Skeet Center (formerly known as the Beretta Course) in Glendale, The Isaac Walton course near Bethesda and Foxy Pheasant Hunting Preserve in Charles Town, W.Va.

I'm far from being an expert clays shooter, but I have managed to pick up a trick or two either on my own or by hanging around shot-gunners much more accomplished than myself.

Take the rabbit target that drives so many of us nuts. This target bounces along on the ground and encourages us to point down and straight at the clay target. This usually results in a clean miss due to angles and shot-string length. Raise your head a little and you will shoot behind the target. But, by holding low and following through after the shot, the maddening misses will disappear.

The spring teal is one of my Waterloo shots. This is because I want to let the target, which shoots nearly straight up in the air, to peak and pause before I slap the trigger. After that miss, I'll try to shoot too quickly on the target's rise and miss it again.

The right way to break the spring teal is to hold the muzzles a little higher than normal, but on the known line of flight and wait to shoot until your eyes have sharply focused on the rising clay, but don't wait too long.

Overhead shots that come from behind often will drive a shooter to use bad language. This is because the target is actually falling, which is an unnatural shooting angle. Hold low and sort of roll into the shot.

On low incoming targets, the mistake is to let the bird get too close before shooting. Shoot a little sooner to take advantage of the shot spread, keep your head down and cut back a little on your lead. But, on the high overhead in-comers, you will break them consistently by shooting when they are almost directly overhead after beginning your swing from behind the high in-comer.

Shotgunning authority Don Zutz said head lifting is the major cause of missed outgoing shots, and I fully agree. The risers, like the so-called pheasant flush, seldom give me much trouble, but the low or rather flat risers give me fits.

A friend goes to pieces on quartering angles. John Kostick, a good clays shooter, once told me that most people miss these because they tend to flash the muzzles by the target and over-lead.

I shot a humbling round of doubles with Kostick last summer at the fine Foxy Pheasant course in West Virginia. But I did get one lesson -- on trailing doubles, always go for the trailing target first, then continue your swing onto the lead bird and break it.

Ernie Richards, a top shot from Pennsylvania, said that on doubles thrown at me (a right-handed shooter) I should always take the right target first. Zutz agrees with this, "because pivoting to your left, after that right shot, will naturally keep the gun firmly against your cheek for good alignment."

On report doubles, which means that a second target is thrown (( at the sound of your first shot, the key to success is to get the gun back in the area of the trap and pick up the flight of the second target. One mistake is to leave the muzzle in the area where you broke the first target and try to pick up the second in the same area.

Dug Hill club events

The Dug Hill Rod & Gun Club, on Wine Road near Manchester, plans a public blackpowder shoot beginning at 9 a.m. today. A regularly scheduled public trap shoot begins at noon.

The club also is sponsoring a dance featuring DJ Jack Edwards on Saturday at the Pleasant Valley Fire Hall. Tickets are $7.

Mayberry target shoot

The Mayberry Game Protective Association, located off Mayberry Road near Taneytown, is conducting a still target shoot today, beginning at noon.

Meeting for sportsmen

The next meeting of the Carroll County Sportsman's Association will be at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Deep Run Rifle and Revolver Club.

The association represents more than 1,000 sportsmen belonging to 13 separate clubs and organizations. It is active in a wide range of issues directly related to Carroll sportsmen, including the formation of a public shooting range, hunting in state parks and numerous legislative matters.

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