The woods ring with the sounds of shotgun blasts all around, but you hardly notice. You are one with your shotgun, anticipating the clay to be released and the rush you get with the impact when your shot pattern meets the clay at its apex. The mini fireworks display as the clay disintegrates is the thrill that drives you. Before you have a second to think, another clay is in the air, and your gun follows your eyes’ lead and you keenly set on crushing the clay to complete the pair. Without a doubt, sporting clays has become my latest obsession, and it appears that this is contagious, as my daughter Caroline has caught the bug as well!
Over the past month I have had the opportunity to participate in two fundraising tournaments, shooting clay targets with shotguns. Taking lessons prior to the shoots was a necessity.
Most people assume that being a hunter means you are naturally at home with shooting clays. That is not the case with me. The few times I shot clays over the years, I found it frustrating and puzzling. That’s because I was truly “winging” it. It wasn’t until I had a couple of formal lessons from some of the best instructors in the business that I finally realized that there is a method to being successful at shooting clays.
I was thrilled to meet Elizabeth Lanier of Lanier Shooting Sports this past February, and she got me on track with a lesson when I attended a G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Really Into Shooting) weekend at George Hi Plantation in Garland, North Carolina. Without a doubt, I felt that at last I had solid foundations to work from, and I had a sense of excitement about shooting clays, rather than the apprehension I had felt about it for many years.
Two weeks prior to the fundraising events, I took a couple of lessons with Ken Podraza at Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, South Carolina and found his instruction to be invaluable as well. Since Caroline has recently joined me in my real estate business (we’ve become Boineau Team Real Estate), she expressed an interest in participating in the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors shooting fundraiser. Because she had no experience shooting clays, lessons were vital. She is a fast learner, quite competitive, and found herself to be a natural, shooting over 35% in her first tournament. I am so thrilled to have a partner who wants to practice as much as I do.
We recently decided to obtain a membership at Back Woods so we can keep improving our shooting skills. Caroline is not a hunter, yet, but she has found a shooting sport that she is excited about, and that makes me very happy since one of the main goals of my Camo365 blog is to bring more girls and women into the shooting world so that we can help protect our gun ownership rights for generations to come.
As an avid dove, duck, and quail hunter, I find that shooting clays offers many similarities to wing shooting. The outdoor woodsy setting and the presentation of the targets provide for a very realistic shooting opportunity during the off-season.
The long summer season is the perfect time to practice, and the enjoyment it brings as you see yourself gaining confidence with your skill set is very exciting. Some might say that it is too hot to shoot clays in our sweltering summer months. But we have found that we can get in a full round in the morning, and it’s not so bad. Of course, the shade from the trees and breezes are helpful too!
Also, we have the opportunity to use the rifle range and pistol range as part of our membership at Back Woods. The friendly staff makes you feel comfortable and welcomed.
Being relatively new to the sport, we did not anticipate winning any trophies this year. The events are meant to be fun, and they are, but putting a good score on the sheet is always in the back of your mind. Only a couple of girls participated in the event, and part of my plan for 2018 is to help promote the shooting events and to bring in more female shooters!
We laughed when we saw that the winners were given trophy statues that were figures of men. So look out—next year we are hoping to win, and we will be looking for a trophy with a girl figurine!
As written for Waccamaw Outdoors Magazine
Maggie is a Realtor, Próis Hunt Staff member, and a hunting blogger. Her blog site is camo365.com, and she welcomes new subscribers!