Keep an eye on safety when target shooting

OUTDOORS

April 24, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

Trap, skeet and sporting clays are popular shooting sports throughout Carroll County, and as with many sports you have to exercise caution.

Last week I shot a couple of practice rounds of trap at the North Carroll Gun Club. During one round I barely missed getting hit in the eye by a stray pellet that must have bounced off a claybird. As luck would have it, I was looking down and the pellet glanced off the bill of my hat.

That was the first time such an incident had ever happened to me while shooting trap. Trap targets usually are broken at between 35 and 40 yards, so it is unusual for a ricochet to travel that far.

On the other hand, my face has been stung on numerous occasions while shooting skeet. Usually the culprits are fragments of claybirds because targets are relatively close to the shooter. Incoming skeet targets at stations one and eight, for instance, normally are broken well inside of 10 yards.

Some years ago, I was invited along with some other outdoor writers by gun maker Beretta to its Greenbelt course -- the Prince George's County Trap and Skeet Club.

The course (like many built since) consisted of a lot of woods shooting. Eye protection, we agreed, was a necessity because of the possibility of being hit by splinters or bark, claybird fragments or ricocheting pellets.

I wear eyeglasses and some years ago switched to a lens that covered more of my eyes. They are made with optical CR-39 plastic lenses, which are less than half the weight of glass.

Ideally, shooting glasses should sit moderately high on the face, but not so high to leave the wearer unprotected from below. Yellow lenses are good at increasing sharpness, but I find them a little uncomfortable in bright sunlight. Purple lenses darken the sky, flatten green backgrounds and illuminate oranges, green and black targets.

Early Bird Tournament winners

Has the Early Bird Fishing Tournament at Piney Run Park ever enjoyed a calm, balmy day? Last Saturday marked the tournament's 12th year and I can't think of a single good day.

This year, anglers fought hard rain and high winds in the morning, then even higher winds once the rain ceased. The event still drew 535 people, making it one of the state's most popular fishing events.

Mick Crispino took home a check for $700 for catching the biggest fish -- a 6.66-pound catfish -- while fishing from a boat.

Ron Frizzell, fishing from the shore, won $600 for a 5.45-pound catfish. Frizzell also won $200 for landing a 4.72-pound striped bass.

Jim Foor caught a 5.22-pound striped bass that earned him $250.

Other $250 winners were Barry Carmich's 1.28-pound perch, Dave O'Donnell's 1.36-pound crappie; Ray Wagner's 1.82-pound trout.

Mark Greggs won $100 with a .81-pound shoreline-caught yellow perch. Tom Foor, fishing from a boat, claimed $300 for a 6.26-pound catfish, and Jim Foor won $150 for his 6.04-pound catfish.

No one caught this year's $10,000 tagged crappie.

Muzzleloader match today

A muzzleloader shoot is scheduled from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. today at Fort Frederick State Park. Prizes will be awarded.

All percussion and flintlock muzzleloaders are acceptable, but only round balls may be used. Registration is $2, the individual match fee $1.

Junior and women's matches will be held as well as a pistol competition. Junior shooters (13-16 years old) must be accompanied by an adult.

Proceeds are to go for the Department of Natural Resources' programs in Maryland parks.

Mark your calendar for . . .

* May 10: Hunter-safety course begins at the Dug Hill Rod & Gun Club near Manchester.

To sign up, call Baker at (410) 374-4360.

* May 12: The Patapsco Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will meet at 7 p.m. at Greenway Gardens.

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