Shooting a gun properly and hitting a moving target are skills acquired through repetition and practice. For bird hunters, shooting at flying clay pigeons, also known as skeet shooting, is probably the most common and useful type of target practice. A clay pigeon is a small, hard-baked clay disk that can be hurled into the air for the shooter to attempt to track and knock down with a shot from their shotgun. With a large and properly zoned property, this fun activity can be practised safely at home with only two people.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Safety goggles
- Hearing protectors
- Target shells
- Clay pigeons
- Pigeon trap
Locate the best location on your property for target shooting. This area should be free from trees and in an area where stray shotgun pellets cannot injure people, animals or property.
Face out into the open target area with the gun on safety and pointed down at the ground or up into the air. Take a proper shooting stance with the legs about shoulder width apart. Place one foot slightly behind the other, a left handed shooter will have his left foot back and vice versa for a right handed shooter. When ready, tell the pigeon thrower and proceed.
Place the pigeon thrower off to the side by at least 10 feet and slightly behind the shooter. Place the clay pigeon in the trap per trap manufacturers instructions. Aim the trap so the pigeon will fly into the air over the target area. Release the trap and let a practice clay pigeon fly into the target zone. Verify it is flying in the right direction.
Place another pigeon into the trap and signal the shooter that you are ready to throw another target. Stand ready to release the pigeon trap when the shooter signals he wants the pigeon to be released. Release the trap and throw the pigeon into the target zone, away from people, animals or obstacles.
Track the pigeon across the zone by looking down the barrel using the sights on the shotgun. Lead the pigeon slightly as it flies so that it will fly into the pellet spray pattern discharged when the shotgun is fired. Adjust your shots as necessary to hit the targets.
Tips and warnings
- Wear the safety goggles and ear protectors at all times when discharging the gun.
- A single pellet will usually break the target into a few pieces while hitting it with a full spread of pellets will make it disintegrate.
- Consult local ordinances and regulations before shooting on your property.
- Firing a gun is dangerous and should only be done using all proper and appropriate safety precautions.
- Shotgun pellets fired into the air can fly up to 200 yards before coming back to earth. Make sure you have a clear target area before shooting the gun.
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