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Clay pigeon shooting has become one of the fastest growing participation sports around the world. Those who had neither the financial means for game shooting were mostly reluctant to settle for the option of clay shooting. For so long it was perceived as the preserve of game shooters. He is a clay shooter was the dismissive phrase which was more about snobbery.
So what has changed? The image of clay pigeon shooting has altered dramatically. There are now lots of charity shoots, corporate events, corporate clay pigeon shooting events and there are now a lot more shooting clubs and shooting grounds spread around the country.
All newcomers quickly discover the real pleasure of clay pigeon shooting. I can think of no other sport in which a pupil can within one hour achieve a 50 per cent success rate other than clay pigeon shooting. Also each broken clay brings a rewarding experience to the person pulling the trigger when shooting at a shooting club.
Not only is it a great sport for newcomers, it also has much to offer in terms of sporting and individual challenge with clay shooting disciplines and clay pigeon targets to test the ability of the very best.
The number of game shots also taking to clay pigeon shooting is far greater than ever before and this is growing even more with the introduction of simulated game days being done with clay shooting taking place in valleys and woodland areas normally being used during the season for real game shooting days. These simulated game shooting days are becoming particularly popular for corporate events and corporate entertainment.
Clay pigeon shooting presents the perfect opportunity of out of season practice. Some say that the clay pigeon targets are different from the real thing that depends on how well presented by the shooting club or shooting ground organising the clay pigeon shooting, but even at their worst they stil serve to remind the shooter just how crucial it is to stand and mount the gun correctly, and without the accompanying smooth swing the shot and clay pigeon target will continue to elude one another. More and more people are now recognising this. As the facilities at many shooting grounds improve, these people are finding that the practice of clay shooting is hugely enjoyable in its own right. A number of shooting clubs and shooting grounds also offer summer season tickets.
The other big new area of clay pigeon shooting is that of corporate entertainment. Going back only a few years there were just one or two shooting grounds offering such a facility. Now several shooting schools have seen the opportunity and many companies have seen that clay shooting is an ideal option for corporate entertainment and corporate team building experiences. Some companies have also seen the opportunity of offering clay shooting in the grounds of stately homes as a simulated game day. Other companies offer mobile clay pigeon shooting options by taking clay pigeon traps to hotels and other venues where the corporate event is being held. Having been to all the usual golf, tennis and racing days, corporate events find clay shooting days like a breath of fresh air. While it is difficult to enjoy a game of golf on the first outing, anyone under the supervision of a skilled clay shooting instructor can enjoy a degree of proficiency at clay pigeon shooting. Consequently they can derive enormous pleasure from their sense of achievement in a very short time.
So, there is the game shooter who practices clay pigeon shooting more readily than ever before, there is the booming industry of clay shooting as a means of corporate entertainment and of course clay pigeon shooting as a sport in its own right being conducted by many shooting clubs around the country.
Clay shooting, either competitive or informal, now has an enormous following, attracting people from all walks of life. Nowadays it is sporting clay targets which accounts for the majority of the sports participants. Sporting clayshooting has evolved from game shooting practice. In effect it the simulation of quarry species, with the clay pigeon targets presented to the shooter to represent a driven pheasant, crossing pigeon, springing teal and any number of other variations. Often natural settings are used to enhance the overall feel of the sport. Clay traps are concealed behind trees, hedgerows, or in the dips so as to contrive a realistic situation. Apart from being a natural development of clay pigeon shooting, it also has the advantage of giving shooting clubs of all sizes the opportunity of laying on good shoots without installing permanent facilities. It also offers local facilities to people to shoot at their local shooting club or shooting ground and be offered a different challenge on each occasion.
There is therefore the degree of unpredictability in this discipline, and as a consequence each course or layout can be shot purely for the pleasure of the personal challenge.
Trap shooting meanwhile also presents a personal challenge but in a different sense. While sporting shooting is more of a test of shooting skill, trap is very much about competition and mental approach.
Skeet, clay pigeon shooting is the shooting of targets from two clay shooting trap houses set 40 yards apart. There are seven clay shooting positions formed in a semi circle, so that during a round of 25 each shooter will shoot a variety of clay pigeon targets as they are thrown on fixed trajectories from the two clay traps. As such it is good general practice for gun mount and position.
So I think its true to say that clay pigeon shooting is continuing to hit new heights and challenges. The sports official body in Britain, the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA), has in the region of 35,000 members who wish to take part in registered shoots.
Clay pigeon shooting is a sport which can be enjoyed equally by the old and the young, the tall and the short, both men and women and for corporate entertainment or corporate event days. It know no boundaries, it is truly a sport for everyone.