How to Shoot Sporting Clays

Learning how to shoot sporting clays can make you the king of the ultimate in all of the clay sports. It combines, in many ways, aspects of both skeet and trapshooting, which makes it more challenging than either sport. The game was designed specifically to simulate field shooting and has been described as golf with a shotgun. On any given sporting clay course, competitors will encounter an array of different targets that mirror the flight path of game birds. Birds of all feather that flush, cross or come in at different angles are covered in this exciting and skillful sport.


The Course

Sporting Clay courses are set in natural surroundings to give it the perfect "in the woods" feel to it. There are between five to ten and sometimes up to 18 shooting stations throughout the course. Each station is equipped with two traps. Traps are the spring loaded devices that launch the clay targets into the air. Unlike trap and skeet shooting, each station on a sporting clay course has its own unique feature to it. A course is generally set up to recreate real bird hunting situations. So, at one station, a shooter would encounter "flush" type birds that zip in and out of trees. Or, a pair of birds where two targets are launched at the same time. A shooter might come across a rabbit. A clay target would be rolled along the ground for this one. It even could be a duck at another station where clay targets are floating. Bottom line, every station is different with its own set of unique circumstances.


More Challenges

To challenge a shooter even more, target size may vary as well. Also, targets may be thrown as singles, or two thrown at the same time. "Following pairs" is when targets are thrown one right after the other or "report pairs," when the second target is launched at the sound of the gun being fired at the first. Most stations launch two at a time. Generally, there are signs at each station telling the shooter what to expect. Sporting Clay shooters will shoot between 50 to 100 rounds of shells per course. The top shooters average an 80% to 85% hit rate. Top trap and skeet shooters average a 100% hit rate.

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