Viking’s Gareth Hume has a passion for shooting that is infectious, so much so he’d like everyone to get involved!
So I was lucky enough to be introduced into the world of shooting at a young age! With a love for the outdoors, it started out in the fields hunting vermin with an air rifle and rapidly developed into much more. Wanting to advance, I started out on the clay scene at the grand age of 12; helping out on the traps and starting the adventure of clays! This opened a whole new world of shooting and I have never looked back!
So why for everyone?
Personally, I think it should be compulsory! With a Clay Ground never far away it’s a great opportunity to get out of the house, meet great people and challenge yourself whilst having a bit of fun! With so many different disciplines and possibilities it’s never a dull day and will appeal to everyone of any ability. For me the “Pull” to clay is endless, whether it’s enjoying a friendly shoot, competition or brushing up on skills out of season! Some of the best days are those where you just want to have some fun, blow the cobwebs out and have a good giggle!
Starting out early
I was lucky enough to get good advice and tuition from the beginning. This is a crucial factor and another must is managing to break a few! If you’re looking at starting out, definitely get some good advice early! You will build on this and a strong foundation is flawless!
What to shoot?
The possibilities are endless and everyone will find their speciality (hopefully anyway). There are the main stream disciplines that are found at many clay grounds; Skeet, trap and double trap are just a few. Nearly all have a form of sporting clay which is a must for any shooter. Most sporting clays have some resemblance to that of game and prove to be a fun challenge regardless. I find it fun and great to shoot as a group. The layouts are different everywhere so you’re never scared of getting bored and each possesses it’s own challenges. The layouts are usually changed regularly too.
Simulated Game Days
Growing in popularity are the simulated game days. A gentle and affordable break into the game shooting scene, often found on some top estates replicating some of the best game drives too. They usually consist of a hearty dinner and a few drinks after but any opportunity to shoot one shouldn’t be missed! Always a great day out on your own or with some friends. My favourite clay shooting by far is the Driven Flush or Grouse Butt! A set number of clays flying towards you, passing over head continually and usually shot in a team of 2-5. The driven are simulating pheasant and usually high up, the grouse lower and seemingly faster. It’s a real challenge and keeps you sharp. Not only does it test your skills of shooting and reloading, it requires good communication between you and your fellow shooters. Too many times have we looked at one another as a flurry of clays fly over and we all have our guns broken reloading. Even an experienced shot can be flustered and everyone gets the kick of adrenaline; It’s a real buzz!
Am I good enough?
The question that can hold us back. The biggest part of clay shooting is enjoying it! Everyone starts out at the beginning and very few of us hit everything from day one, if ever. Like most things, experience is everything and comes with practice! See each shoot as a school day and listen, watch and get stuck in as it is the only way to develop. Even if you just want to shoot for the fun of it, keep your eyes and ears open as you’ll be sure to pick up some tips along the way (and probably lots of bad ones too). Learn from missing, try everything and enjoy it!