Learning to shoot: From no skills to some basics

September 1st and a lot of people start trying to pull out fall attire, pumpkins treats and decorations. However, September 1st also marks the beginning of Dove Hunting season for most areas. So others pull out their guns, camo, and ammo.

This past August was the first National Shooting Sports Month, which encouraged people to get out and try some Shooting Sports. Perfect timing for getting ready for Dove Hunting season.

Growing up in Central/ South Texas, a lot of weekends were spent with family on various ranches collecting arrowheads, rocks, and gathering chicken eggs, while the “adults” were out hunting. A few times, I got to go along with them and sit very quietly. Most of the time stayed around the house or cabins. Never really learned to shoot anything except rabbits, but even then my uncle would tell me I was too little to hold a BB gun by myself.

Now, I’ve been out with friends every once in a while to play skeet and trap, but not consistently. I had no idea how much skills you can learn! When I first started dating Kyle, I asked him what his hobbies are and he immediately said, “clay shooting.” So I told him, “that sounds fun, teach me.” Over the past few months I’ve gone with him and his dad to learn sporting clays and skeet shooting.

We went every weekend in August except for the last one because of the rain. First thing I learned, the early bird gets the worm, aka, arrive early to beat the heat and crowd. Plus, you get first pick of where you want to start.

I used to awkwardly hold a shotgun, low, in my right hand with my left hand around the bottom of the barrel, to avoid getting kicked back. The first thing I learned, was to how to hold the shotgun up the right way:

•The gun should be up with the stock along my right check. Keep in mind I am right handed.

•Left arm should be slightly bent (I’m too short for the shotguns I’ve been using and end up almost completely extended)

•left thumb and index finger parallel along the barrel.

•middle, ring, and pinky griping under and around the other side of the barrel.

•palm of my right hand should be along the gun just behind the trigger.(if there’s a name for this particular area, I haven’t learned it yet)

•index finger should be able to reach and pull the trigger with ease.

Next I learned how to properly stand. A lot of it depends on the person and where you are shooting.

feet should be about shoulder width apart

•leading foot should be pointing in the direction your planning to shoot.

•back foot should be slightly pointing in the direction the clay is coming from (This give your hips the range of motion you’ll follow a clay without having to shuffle around)

•knees slightly bent

•slightly lean forward (this really helps me from not getting kicked back off my my feet and on my butt.)

Shoot with both eyes open. Other types of shooting, you close one eye to focus, but with clays it’s different. Follow the clay path with your peripheral.

As a safety precaution, every range requires eyes and ears covered. So glasses and ear plugs. It’s not really they shotgun shells you have to watch out for, but the clays debris can fling back at you.

It’s literally been a blast learning (see what I did there.) Now I’m working on getting the hang of knowing how much lead I should or shouldn’t take. I hope everyone that went out during August also had a blast and now I wish y’all a happy hunting season.


Sydney Charming

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