– An Overview –

History of Sporting Clays

Sporting Clays started in the 1880’s in England where they used glass balls filled with feathers to practice game hunting. This type of shooting was not only popular with the rich land owners who could afford to hunt, but it was also popular among the less-well-to-do who could not afford the cost of pheasant hunting on game preserves and estates. When the clay target (similar to what we know today), was developed the sport was birthed. It quickly gained popularity in England, enough so that in 1927 the 1st British Open Sporting Clays Championship was held.

Sporting Clays is also known as “golf with a shotgun” because of the similarities of being highly social, and the fact that no course is the same anywhere in the world.

The average size group is between two to five people, and each person shoots 50 or 100 clays during a round. At Silver Willow, there are two different shooting fields, a 10-station and a 14-station course all with automatic machines. These machines throw at different velocities, angles and speeds. All machines are portable and adjustable giving the ability to change the course on monthly or bi-monthly bases and for competitive shoots. Every station has a shooting stand providing a “safe zone” to load and fire a shotgun. Eye and ear protection are required while on the course by participants and observers.

Shooting Etiquette

Please respect other shooters by standing well back and not talking loudly while they engage targets.
Be aware of the shooting order and be ready when it is your turn.
Pick up empty hulls and place them in the bucket before leaving the stand.
Return the iPull controller to the holder.
Please don’t exceed the posted speed limit of 15 km/h while on the course.
All dogs must be well managed and/or on a leash at all times. Please pick up their deposits and dispose in the garbage barrels.

Target Types Thrown at Silver Willow

The Standard – at 108mm it is the most common target used in American trap, skeet and sporting clays.

The Rabbit – like The Standard, is 108mm and is thrown along the ground, simulating a rabbit on the run.

The Midi – is 90mm and simulates a quail in flight.

The Mini – is 60mm and simulates a dove in flight.

The Battue – 108mm and thinner than the rest and is thrown so that only the very edge can be seen (or not seen) until it turns in the air, making it a consistent challenge.