Saturday June 4th was my birthday. So in celebration of me getting older the guys and I returned to Springrove Preserve for a round of sporting clays. It was a great day.
The day started out a whole lot better than the last time we went to Springrove. Joe was running late, as always. What he didn’t know was that Coach Taylor and I had set the meeting time 30 minutes before the time we wanted to leave, to take care of Joe running on Joe time. I managed to get out of the house this time without locking my keys inside. So when Joe showed up we were right on time and ready to go.
We got to Coach Taylor’s house in Kingstree a little before nine o’clock. We had time to stop by Hardee’s to eat breakfast and tell a few war stories before we headed to St. Stephens and Springrove Preserve. We arrived right on time at ten o’clock. They had everything waiting on us. I am ashamed to say that I did not get the name of our guide. (Do you call the guy who throws clays for you a guide?) He was a nice guy, a retired state trooper with lots of stories and a good sense of humor.
When It came time for us to shoot the other guys threw me under the bus, they made me shoot first. We shot six clays at the first station, two singles, a report double and a true double. My first shot was a clean break. The second shot was a clean miss. I was scratching my head over that one. It was an easy shot, but none the less, I missed. Then came the report double. I shot and made a clean break on the first clay. He threw the second, I drew a bead and pulled the trigger, nothing happened. My gun had jammed. This would be a bad omen for the rest of my round. When he threw the true double, I forgot to take the gun off safety. I managed to get off one shot before they both hit the ground, but I put not one pellet on target. Two of six. Horrible. Everyone else shot a good round. It seems I would be playing catch up the rest of the day.
I shot several rounds with my gun jamming on the second shot before I figured out what was going on. I usually shoot three inch steel shot in the gun. The low brass field loads I was shooting didn’t have enough punch to kick the casing out. I started shooting a high brass shell the first shot and it only jammed one more time.
Coach Taylor, Bernie, and Joe went back and forth with the lead several times during the day. I stayed at the back end trying not to get farther behind.
I enjoyed all the different types of shots presented. Sporting clays do a much better job of letting you know what shots you need to work on to improve your marksmanship. They were really very challenging. We all found busting the rabbits to be exceptionally tough, well, everybody but Coach thought it was tough.
When it came time to shoot the last round Bernie was ribbing me for bringing up the rear. This round mimicked ducks dropping in on you. I broke all five. No one else did. I guess that’s why I usually kill more ducks than the other guys.
At the end of the day we all felt that we seriously needed to work on our shooting skills. I won’t say who shot best or who shot worst, just that I wasn’t either.
We are going to buy some skeet and work on some of the sporting clays stations that we had the hardest time with. Hopefully the next time we shoot sporting clays we will all shoot better. It really is hard work trying to become a better duck hunter, but it’s all in the name of improving, the Briary River Way.