Try Something New: Student shoots at Purgatory Clay Sports

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Many Americans are supportive of the amendment that gives them the right to bear arms, which can be a very political subject, but it can also be fun to just go shooting.

There is a place near St. George called Purgatory Clay Sports that one of my friends had been asking me to try with him. I finally decided to go.

Purgatory Clay Sports has trap, skeet and sporting clays. All three activities use the same equipment: a 20-gauge shotgun, shotgun shells and orange clay targets. Eye and ear protection are also a must.

Trap and skeet shooting are similar. They are set up in a range where the shooter stands in one area, and the targets are launched out into the field in front of the shooter.

In trap shooting, the clays are all shot from the same place — a bunker directly in the middle of the field.

In sporting clays, the clays are shot from two spots on the far left and right edges of the shooting area. These locations change at every shooting station.

I warmed up with some trap shooting to get used to shooting the shotgun and dialing in on the small clay targets flying across the field.

At first, having only shot pistols before, I was scared to shoot the shotgun. Pistols are much smaller, and I was worried about the larger gun knocking me over since I’d seen many videos on YouTube of people getting hurt by the recoil. 

After I got past the fear of pulling the trigger, I quickly became more confident. After some practice, I could even hit the small orange clay targets with decent consistency.

After I got the hang of shooting the gun and basics — like safe handling, sight picture and reloading — I decided to try the sporting clays. 

The game of sporting clays is played on a field similar to a golf course. There are several stations spread out with two targets to hit at each station. There were two courses designed for different skill levels. Being a novice shooter myself, I picked the easier of the two, and I was glad to have done so.

Sporting clays were more fun for me because of the variety. At every station, there was a new angle to hit the targets from, and none of them flew the same way or from the same direction. Because I had started with the easier course, I actually hit most of the targets, which made it all the more fun. 

There were also obstacles to increase difficulty on some stations, and one target even shot across the ground, rolling and bouncing across the dirt.

I recommend shooting sports to anyone who might be interested about them. There is risk involved with any firearm, but when you make sure to follow the rules, it is as safe as a bike ride in the park. Be sure to use eye and ear protection at all times, learn the proper safety procedures from a knowledgeable instructor, and pick targets that match your skill level. 

   Aside from keeping you safer because you are in your comfort zone, picking a target — or in my case a course — that matches your abilities will ensure you get a rush of fun with every target hit.