Sporting clays has often been called “golf with a shotgun. ” Unlike trap and skeet, sporting courses run through the woods and use natural terrain in their layout. Trees can be used to obscure a target, and traps are often hidden so the shooter cannot see the launch. Shooters typically start with their gun in a low, un-mounted position. The puller may also delay the target anywhere up to 3 seconds after the shooter calls for it.
A squad consists of two to five shooters and is led through the course by a course guide, who will also launch the targets and score the shots. Guns are loaded only when the shooter steps into the shooting station. Each shooter will be called for his or her turn. The first shooter in the squad has the right to call for a target presentation before they shoot. This is called “the see. ” If that shooter forgets to call for a “see, ” remind them to do so. You need a look at the targets before you try to hit them.
Targets will vary greatly in distance. Some may be virtually in your face, while others may be 50 yards off or more. Changing choke tubes or loads at each new station is a common practice. Experienced shooters have found that changing loads is often as effective as changing chokes. An Improved Cylinder choke with a load of soft lead No. 9 shot will handle targets inside 20 yards. Hard lead No. 8 or No. 7 ½ with that choke will handle targets to 30 yards. Shift to Modified or Full choke and No. 7 ½ trap loads for longer shots.