Episodes - Lessons
Clay Target Shooting
Clay Target Shooting

What's one way to hone your hand-eye coordination, sharpen your reflexes and quicken your reaction time? Nope, you don't have to try out for your school football quarterback position. Clay target shooting sports is a realistic option for anyone... even if you're not all that athletic.

So you're probably wondering, how challenging is it? Simply watch this video of two teens who have never handled a shotgun before to see how quickly you can learn with some proper instruction. To discover all the programs across the country where you can discover clay target shooting for yourself, check out the reference links at the bottom of this page.

For instance, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF link below), is one of the leaders in youth development shooting sports programs. Using a combination of education and athletics, they help the growth and personal development of student athletes throughout the nation through a variety of fun, team-based shooting tournaments. They offer both a Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and a Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP), that offer student athletes from elementary through college age a supportive environment where shooting sports serve as catalysts for teaching life lessons and skills that emphasize positive character traits and citizenship values.

Clay target shooting, which comes in several defined types, can be done almost anywhere… where it’s safe. But before you try any type of clay target shooting, you’ll really need two things: 1) proper safety and gun handling training from a qualified instructor, and 2) you really should also take a certified hunter education course such as hunter-ed.com (see the bottom of this page).

Skeet shooting can either be recreational and/or competitive. Participants, using shotguns try to break clay targets that are mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles. Watch the video to get a better idea.

Then there's trap shooting where the clay targets are launched from a single "house" or machine, generally "flying" away from the shooter. Trapshooting was originally developed, in part, to augment bird hunting and to provide a method of practice for bird hunters. But now it's practiced all over the world with a number of varieties, including Olympic trap.

Finally, there's the super-fun Sporting clays. It's full of action and is the closest thing to actual field shooting of all shotgun sports. Rather than having clay birds thrown from standardized distances and angles as with skeet or trap, sporting clays courses are designed to simulate the situations a shooter might encounter when hunting ducks, pheasants, other upland birds, and even rabbits. Since there is no set season and it can be shot at any time, many hunters shoot sporting clays to further their wingshooting skills during the off-season. Targets may be thrown from literally any angle or distance to simulate wingshooting, and six different sizes of clay targets are used to further give the shooter the experience of actual hunting conditions.

To learn more, have your teacher download the lesson activity below, check out the "Learn More" tab and explore the helpful links provided below... and be safe while having fun or earning gold at the Olympics. So enjoy the journey of discovery in all of the content in our America’s Conservation & Hunting Heritage Series funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in partnership with Safari Club International Foundation, a nonprofit org dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation across the country. And even if you don't decide to try the challenge of shooting sports, consider the fact that everyone who participates in these sports helps fund conservation programs that all Americans enjoy.


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