Lack of practice shows in trap shooting

I either need to get back to regularly shooting trap or give up and sell my shotguns. I filled in for a friend in a trap shoot last week, but he’d have almost been better off leaving the lane empty.

There was a time when I could hit 25 out of 25 clays in a round of trap. But that was when I was shooting every week, and sometimes several times a week. Round after round, working on tweaking my stance, my swing, my follow-through. All that practice paid off, and I got to the point that I very rarely heard the call of “lost” from the trap kid in the spotter’s chair behind me.

But then I took several years off. I’ve hardly shot my shotgun at all for the last couple of years, and while I’ve still done OK while I’ve been hunting, I did miss several birds I shouldn’t have missed in that time.

And then I got a call from a friend a couple of weeks ago, asking me if I would shoot on his trap team in a one-day shoot. I knew I would be a little rusty, but Greg said he wasn’t too worried about scores. He said the important thing was just to show up and represent his company in the shoot.

The day of the shoot, it was windy. Really windy. I don’t recall ever shooting clays on a day that blustery. Combine that with my long absence from the trap line, and I wasn’t very optimistic. I told Greg if he had any thoughts that I would be a ringer for him, they were misplaced to begin with, but in this wind, they were even more unlikely.

And I wasn’t wrong. I did alright on the first round from the 16-yard line, considering the wind, but it still wasn’t great. But then we stepped back to the 20-yard line, and I went from sub-par to horrible. I shot a nine. That means I missed two for every one I hit.

It’s a good reminder to practice. Before the bird season starts, get out to the trap club and practice. A lot. That’s where I’m headed now. I just hope the wind dies down.