Warm weather and sporting clays go naturally together. Whether you shoot to keep your hunting eye in tune or just enjoy the sport, an afternoon or weekend at the range is a great way to relax. However, like golf, sooner or later, a hint of competition creeps into the field, whether you’re competing with your best score, against a buddy, or as a team. To the novice, shooting a shotgun may seem rather easy until the challenge is taken. I once took country singer Trace Adkins to a local clay facility, where he shot two boxes of shells (48) and never broke a clay.

Gil and Vicky 018If you want to boost your skill at shooting and success in life, take one of the one-day courses offered by Gil and Vickie Ash. They’re usually offered at resorts with sporting clay facilities; the instruction can double as a family vacation, especially if your wife wants to participate. Be forewarned, women pick up clay shooting with amazing ease, and you can easily be buying the iced tea at the end of the round.

Covering all of the shooting tips offered in a day’s instruction in a single post is impossible, yet I’ll bet that you’ll learn to break clays in all directions without looking at the front sight bead of the shotgun. Many Gil and Vicky 043sportsmen shoot this way (I do not) and it took some adjustment, yet numerous times I swung on a speeding clay target and powdered it without ever looking at the sight. If that sounds crazy, you have to try it. Gil and Vickie operate the Optimum Shotgun Performance School across the country. You’ll find them warm, caring, instructive, entertaining, and engaging. Tell ’em we sent you.

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.