How to Shoot Clay Pigeons

How to Shoot Clay Pigeons
A "clay pigeon" is a small disk designed to let shotgun-shooters practice on flying objects. Shooting clay pigeons, called trap shooting, allows you to become accustomed to aiming at flying animals such as ducks and geese. In order to shoot clay pigeons, it is often helpful to have a pigeon thrower, called a trap---this is not necessary, however. One of the most significant reasons that clay pigeons and shotguns are used is because the supplies are cheap compared to other shooting sports using more expensive ammunition.


Difficulty: Moderate

Trap Shooting

Things You’ll Need:
  • Shotgun
  • Shooting glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Clay pigeons
  • Pigeon trap
Step 1
Select a shotgun based on your personal preference. You may use any size shotgun while shooting clay pigeons, but 20- and 12-gauge shotguns typically are most popular.
Step 2
Choose your target area in a safe location. Check your state and local laws about using pigeon traps on private property or go to a shooting range.
Step 3
Load the pigeons into the trap. You may purchase pigeons at many department and sports stores such as Wal-Mart and Sports Authority. Ensure that the trap is stable on the ground and weighted down if necessary. Sand shooting bags work the best for this.
Step 4
Aim the trap in the direction you want the pigeon to fly. You can make it shoot across the target area in front of you or shoot out straight in front of you. You will need a second person called a puller who will fire the trap switch and release the clay pigeon.
Step 5
Wear proper protection when shooting clay pigeons. Always use safety glasses rated for shooting and ear protection. Popular choices are foam ear buds and noise-canceling headsets.
Step 6
Point the shotgun in a safe direction when you shoot. Aim it away from people, cars, streets, trails and other areas where damage to personal property is a possibility.
Step 7
Assume a position where you will be able to aim rapidly. Stand off to the side a few feet in front of the trap.
Step 8
Say "pull" when you would want the clay pigeon to fire. The puller will release the pigeon at this point, and it will be thrown into the air in front of you. As the pigeon flies, quickly aim for it and fire. The pigeon will break apart when you hit it.

Tips & Warnings

Check ahead at shooting ranges as some already have shooting traps on location.
Never keep your gun loaded. Always load it just before you intend to shoot it, and discharge it before you leave the range.


Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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