Experience Days have been working with Sporting Targets for a few years now, and we decided it’s time to get to know them properly! We asked a few questions, and gathered some fascinating answers. Read on to discover why you should take up clay pigeon shooting…
1. How did Sporting Targets come about?
There was originally a small clay shoot on the farm that now surrounds Sporting Targets. A family ran the farm, and it was decided to permanently allocate the land to clay shooting. Thus, Sporting Targets was born, still owned by the same family. The business has grown to what it is now: one of the best clay shooting grounds in the UK. As time went on, the business also diversified into other activities, such as archery, crossbows, air rifles, quad biking and off-road driving.
2. What else is offered at the Sporting Targets complex?
As well as the activities, we have a family-friendly clubhouse offering complementary tea and coffee. There is also a bar menu, offering everything from sandwiches to plated meals, as well as soft drinks. For those who have finished their activities, there is also a bottle bar. The clubhouse is heated with air conditioning, making it the perfect temperature in both summer and winter. On a warm day, we also have plenty of outside seating.
Our shop has everything from keepsakes to clothing. We sell air rifles, air pistols, shotguns, gifts and anything the clay shooter could wish for. We welcome everyone to come and have a look around.
3. What encouraged you to take up shooting and work for Sporting Targets?
My brother originally introduced me to clay shooting many years ago, and I became hooked on the spot. It is like marmite, you either love it or hate it. I started competing, and in the early stages I was given so much advice and guidance - some good, some not so good - I decided to educate myself. I have now passed many exams, and work for the governing body, the CPSA, as well as for Sporting Targets.
This sport can be enjoyed at so many different levels, from pleasure shooting, to taking part in shooting competitions every weekend. I spend most of my time coaching and instructing now, and there is no typical client; everyone is unique! They may be complete novices on the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, or a competition shooter wanting to conquer that nemesis target. They come in all ages from 8 to 80. No day is boring, and no day is the same. It is an amazing sport!
4. Talk us through a typical clay pigeon shooting session.
First and foremost, we must make sure the client is comfortable with the equipment, namely the shotgun itself! This means finding one that is the correct weight and size for you. The next step is finding the correct hearing and eye protection for you. Prescription glasses or sunglasses are sufficient, otherwise we will provide you with glasses to wear. You are now kitted out! Next, we will go through a safety briefing with the respective equipment, so you understand the dos and don’ts, including the correct way to hold the gun, and its operation. Typically, this all takes about 10 minutes. It’s now all about shooting. We will start off with something easy (hopefully!) to build your confidence, and acclimatise you to the environment and the gun. From here, we slowly work forward, presenting different targets, either as singles one after another, or indeed two in the air at the same time. In all situations, we work at your pace and level of ability. There are plenty of opportunities for photographs, and we encourage you to be yourself and have your fun in a safe environment. Typically, a session will last an hour, and depending on your ability you can expect to shoot up to 100 targets during that hour.
5. What does it take to become an accurate target shooter?
Looking in from the outside, the sport can appear out of reach for some. The first point of call is a shotgun licence. This costs considerably less than your TV licence, and lasts for five years as opposed to just one. In the UK at this moment in time, you are entitled to have a shotgun licence, and thus a shotgun. Good training and understanding of what you are taking on is essential, otherwise you’ll be practicing to miss rather than hit targets. The best course of action is to get a good foundation knowledge of the sport - something like the CPSA’s accredited Shotgun Gun Skills Programme. This should then be followed by a series of lessons, separated by practice. You can expect to wait about three months for your licence to come through, and during this period you can gain some knowledge and take lessons. Good foundations and practice make a good slay shooter.
6. What are your top 3 tips for an aspiring participant?
-Clay shooting is more akin to playing tennis or hitting a nail into a piece of wood than any other target discipline. It is a pointing - not aiming - exercise, so your focus is always on the target, never on the gun.
-The gun should be of a comfortable weight and size for you, so don’t be afraid to say it is too heavy. There should always be something lighter.
-First timers are always concerned that it may hurt them, or that they won’t hit anything. What the gun does when you pull the trigger is a lot less than what most people imagine. Hold it correctly and it will not hurt you. When you are armed with these two pieces of knowledge: 1, hold the gun correctly, and 2, keep looking and pointing at the clay, you will hit the target when you pull the trigger.
7. Do you have any upcoming events or future plans for Sporting Targets?
As mentioned earlier, we have many events coming up. We are constantly evolving the business, and looking at ways to improve the customer experience. No matter old or young, experienced or inexperienced, we want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe time here. We will never stop entertaining or re-inventing the wheel.
Thanks to Sporting Targets for taking the time to answer our questions! We had a brilliant time visiting the centre, and would advise anyone to have to a go. Keep an eye out for our visit video and staff review...
Make sure you purchase your own experience today!!