As it happens, my old friend and former co worker Wayne regularly pursues his gun hobby by visiting the large and beautiful target shooting range located right here in Markham Park where we are camping. Even though I know nothing at all about firearms, Wayne generously offered to teach me how to shoot trap and skeet. It was great fun, quite difficult, and very interesting indeed.
Both trap and skeet shooting are games where you keep score against your fellow players of how many of the clay targets you hit with a shotgun. But both these games also simulate the rapid movement conditions you encounter when bird hunting.
In trap, the launcher shoots the “bird” (a small clay disk) away from you and you try to shoot it. The launcher oscillates left and right so you can’t guess which direction the bird will go, other than the fact that it will be going away when launched.
When it is your turn, your gun is loaded, and you are ready, you say “PULL” and the range safety officer fires the launcher. The players each take 5 shots from each of 5 shooting positions. Best score out of 25 wins. This also explains why shotgun shells come in boxes of 25, how bout that!
I was predictably terrible although much better than I had hoped. Despite fearing that I wouldn’t hit a single one of the little buggers, I actually scored 7, 7, and 9 out of 25 in three games. I’m told that was pretty good for a first outing. Wayne and all the more experienced shooters tended to average in the high teens or even low 20’s most often.
Skeet is generally the same … but MUCH harder. You still shoot 25 rounds per game from various shooting positions, but the “birds” are launched from 2 launchers on either side of you (one high, one low) and fly across your line of sight … FAST. Damn near impossible … only 2 out of 25 and I’m shocked I even hit those!
Lastly, with all the news of gun violence and gun policy, I should say how impressed and somewhat surprised I was at the extreme care taken by the range safety officers and my fellow shooters to assure a safe environment. Procedures were VERY strictly scrutinized and enforced.
It was great to catch to catch up with Wayne, and I so appreciate his providing me a glimpse of a sport I had very little awareness of. And my shoulder is almost fully recovered from the soreness of firing 100 rounds with a shotgun!