Skeet shooting a good way to hone skills for dove hunting

(Ray Sasser/Dallas Morning News/MCT)
"Most shooters benefit from a clay target practice, particularly...
Story by Ray Sasser
The Dallas Morning News
August 13, 2011
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DALLAS — Well-prepared dove hunters basically rely on three clay target games to prepare for opening day. Trap is not the answer, because trap targets are thrown away from the shooter, and most dove shots are crossing shots or shots at birds that are incoming at various angles and heights. That leaves skeet, 5-stand sporting clays and sporting clays.

Skeet is the most common shotgun game. It’s set up on a field with eight shooting positions in a semicircle from a high house trap at station 1 to a low house trap at station 7.

Variations in the angles at which targets are shot result from the shooter moving from station to station. Although the speed of the skeet target never changes, skeet reproduces most common dove shots and is particularly good for practice on crossing shots.

Five-stand sporting clays, as the name implies, moves shooters through five shooting stations, or stands. Targets are thrown from six or eight traps and 5-stand does a good job of simulating field shooting.

Five-stand is often used as a space-saving version of American sporting clays, which requires a considerable amount of acreage. In sporting clays, the shooter walks or drives a golf cart around a course from one shooting station to the next.

The typical course requires 10 to 30 acres and is best set up using woods, hills and other natural features to simulate a hunting situation. There are usually 10 to 14 shooting stations that mimic everything from running rabbits and springing teal to flushing quail and passing doves.

As with 5-stand, American sporting clays uses different-sized targets thrown at different speeds, some appearing suddenly from behind a bush and disappearing just as quickly behind a tree. Most shooters agree that a good sporting clays course does the best job of simulating a variety of hunting situations.

Any shooting practice ahead of the season is better than no practice at all.

(c) 2011, The Dallas Morning News.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Ray Sasser

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