Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)
to the opp ... reg.trap may help some ,but not a lot for birds . The best formula for birds is seeing the flush and letting your brain see the shot and hit the trigger when the stock hits your shoulder ... skeet is great for doves and ducks , trap for prairie birds ... think about Nick's approach to loads . The guys here are shooting max loads for 16yds - and they don't understand their flinches . There is no reason to do this for 16yd - the little loads will hold up ! 30% more velocity , 50% less recoil for 10% less lead ... Mark is right about live birds if avail - starlings and city pigeons rule . Not often avail ... If clays is what's avail , try walk up trap with a puller - he calls pull when he hits the button , not you - shoot with your feet in the wrong position . OR , stand back skeet from between the pads , OR , SKRAP - trap from stations 1, 2 6,7,8 of the skeet field - our traps are embedded in the skeet fields . Skeet will structure you , and trap will REALLY structure you !
Trap, imo, developed as the practice related to shooting, not hunting....a rather large difference. As a second development...it was a competition game.
Trap is, at best, a clay game with a long and wonderful history...ie tradition. Trap is also one of the most approachable and inclusive of clay sports re participants. For that alone, it deserves kudos.
Trying to make Trap, or just shooting at trap targets, all about birds is to miss what Trap is, again imo.
As mentioned, help with gamebirds is best achieved by gun familiarization, in the use of one's eyes and in making haste slowly.
The downside of clays is in the ease of not ...making haste slowly.
Clays, of all types, tho is a method of achieving comradarie and in developing an enjoyment of competition and bettering one's self at a game....along with making any gun feel--better(or cooking it until it does).
Why folks seek to make clays relate somehow to killing more birds is beyond me....that went out to a great extent with round-the-clock and scorecards.
Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Location: Northern Illinois
If you want to improve your field shooting spend some time at a hunt club shooting live birds. If you have a dog take pup to the club with you. Itís expensive but the closest you are going to come to wild bird shooting.
I have not shot clays for many years but when I shot skeet I didnít think it helped all that much. I shot gun down to try and help me smooth my mount, but in the heat of a grouse flush all of that prep seemed to vanish.
Joined: 01 Dec 2005
John Singer -- Please read this article for a history of Live Pigeon Shooting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon-shooting Here is another article on the history of that game: https://shootingsportsman.com/754/ Note that live pigeon shooting did not "die out" in the 19th century, and is still "not dead". It is still alive and well in this, the 21st century. From its inception, Live Pigeon Shooting has been a competition event, and not "hunting practice". Usually the competitions feature fairly hefty betting by spectators and competitors.
As to the development of the game of Trap, it is a low-cost, more socially acceptable descendant of Live Pigeon Shooting, just exactly as I laid out, and from that ancestry, it has no connection or origin in "hunting practice". You are certainly welcome to consider Trap as practice for hunting, and for some it is, but it did not originate that way, despite what Encyclopedia Britannica might say.
Live pigeon shooting was outlawed in the UK, at the hands of a modern urban-dominated culture dictating against country sporting traditions they didn't understand and still don't want to. Note that Encyclopedia Britannica (Latin for British Encyclopedia) is a British publication, and you will see a modern British orientation in its articles. The article you referenced is probably the result of a viewpoint on the history of this so-called "blood sport" that is filled with modern-day ignorance and bias and perhaps some revisionism. e.g. Counter to what you quoted from that article, Live Pigeon shooting did not "die out" in the 19th century -- rather, it flourished in that century and survived well beyond -- in the UK as well as the rest of the world. It was not prohibited by law in the UK until 1921.
Wow, I never realized that it would be such a controversial issue as to whether trap started as practice for hunting or a form of recreation or gambling. I personally do not care.
Realize that I was merely stating what I had learned and I cited one of my sources.
Back to the OP, I offer the following as germaine to this topic.
In personal collection of books I have a copy of Successful Waterfowling by Zack Taylor. This work was first published in 1974 and as such, I realize that it is somewhat dated.
In chapter 15, Guns for Ducks and Geese, Taylor states:
"You'll hear and read that trap or skeet won't help you in the field because clay targets are declining in speed while wild birds are accelerating. This is one of the most mistaken myths in the outdoor field. The clay-bird experts are crack field shots. It's the reverse that isn't necessarily true. Many excellent game shots are indifferent clay-bird shooters, probably because that don't care and don't concentrate. Any shooting helps your skill. Familiarity with your weapon increases your precision. Go shooting. Start banging at hand-trap targets. I used to go down to the beach in the fall. collect clam shells, put two of them in my hand, and fling them as far as I could, and bust them (sometimes). If you really want to become a sharp shot, take up live-pigeon shooting. You'll get used to birds curving away in the wind."
It has been my experience that trap required a great deal of focus and concentration. My meager mind does not allow that level focus. I find myself getting bored on a trap field.
Skeet, sporting clays and bird hunting are very different. They do not seem to require that level of focus. I can focus momentarily as I prepare to call for a bird in skeet or sporting clays or approach a dog that is birdy, or watch ducks approach my decoys.
I use the mantra: "Gun to my face, focus on the bird".
Joined: 18 Feb 2018
Location: va, ct, mo
I get a kick on OP's that sometimes post a thread and never come back, leaving us to pour our hearts into an answer....never to be thanked and visited by the OP. 3 pages guys. id say we all been had. lol.
_________________ Retired Naval Aviation
Former Member Navy Shooting Team
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Range Owner: Vanzant Clay Pigeon Farm, Mo
Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Location: Western WA
id say we all been had. lol.
I suppose some folks feel that way, but I sincerely appreciate the many germane and considerate comments, and I don't think the topic has been even remotely exhausted yet.
As a clarification, up to the point when I began to concentrate on trap, my field shooting was very good to excellent, in that I was able to down most all in-range birds in the open, and now and then got some lucky shots through brush and leaves as well. I really didn't concern myself about exactly how to drop birds, it just seemed to happen naturally.
Now after some months of steady intense trap practice, my wing shooting now feels mechanistic, clumsy and forced, and I seem to have lost that easy instinctive feel for it, hence the original inquiry. I just hope there is some way to unscramble the egg.
One post mentions the footwork for trap and skeet, which I have recently practiced diligently. But now, it's the first thing I think of at a flush...where are my feet? That can't be right, because it never once crossed my mind previously in the field.
I don't see myself quitting the trap range, but somehow a line has to drawn in the mind to separate wing shooting in the field from the trap range.
And then there are the many articles in the British magazines about their wing shooting techniques which are mostly oriented to driven pheasant shoots with some limited relevance to our field aka rough shooting.
I suppose it's an endless topic, and the thoughts posted by others here have been most helpful.
Joined: 04 Mar 2019
Location: Central Connecticut
Ahhhhh and there is the rub.
Unfortunately, when we start getting serious about targets we get mechanical and lose the instinctive component which is extremely important to all shooting.
Why instinctive? Because that is how your eyes work. Pick a point on the target to focus on. When the target lights up(when you see it best) that is when you pull the trigger and not a moment longer. Why because when you wait you go from subconscious to conscious , once you get to conscious thought your eyes give into the brain and all sorts of stupid stuff happens, mostly you miss.
You need to be instinctive (Not rushed or fast) with all your shooting. Eyes first and pull the trigger on the B of bang. Let your natural hand eye work without the conscious brain screwing stuff up.
The issue I fight going from sporting to game birds is overleading game birds. After a hunt or two things pretty much go back to being just fine.
Joined: 06 Nov 2009
Location: West Coast of WI
Brewster, tell us about your trap gun, and your field gun. Sound like trap is going very well for you, but I can't quite put together a trap gun and good instinctive field shooting in my mind. Different guns, different approaches.
Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Location: Western WA
tell us about your trap gun, and your field gun
My trap gun is a 16ga M12 that is variously shimmed to bring the pitch and LOP into a reasonable fit for me.
My field guns are all different...12 ga 11-87 for waterfowl, 12 ga SxS Bern. and 16 ga A5 for phez, 20 ga SKB SxS for grouse, etc. all which had suited me just fine in the past, myself being average height and build.
Joined: 06 Nov 2009
Location: West Coast of WI
OK, I was wondering if you were shooting a 12 ga. "trap gun" which can be quite a departure in itself from lighter/faster 16 gauge field guns. With that off the table I think its all in your original words below.
Now a different problem has emerged: I can no longer hit anything in the field. It seems not only a problem with the mount and swing, there appears also to be a difference in my eye picture as well between trap and field. What worked on the trap range does not work in the field for me.
You've grooved into trap success with a specific sight-picture from a specific premounted position with "trap-tweaked" gun, and that all goes out the door with field shooting.
My advice is learn a good "ready position" with the end of the buttstock just tucked in your armpit, work on your field mount at home, and then get to the skeet range and shoot low-gun skeet. Of course one doesn't walk around hunting in this ready position, but when my dogs start getting birdy I'm always hitching up into some form of a ready position as I move in. It gives you some structure, but when the wings start beating it comes down to your gunfit, and your eyes being locked on the bird. No sight picture, no precision, just slap that 3 foot pattern out in front. It sounds overly simple because it is, but it's very easy to get off track after shooting clay targets. Ask me how I know!
Anymore when I shoot sporting clays , I shoot each station 1 time each with out lookers and low gun , I don't want to know where the bird is going .
I will sometimes go back to a station if I missed , which sometimes happens alot .
The Club I shoot at has 2 courses , 1 easier and one I would call Hard , I shoot the first half of the easy course and then the whole Hard course and finish the second half of the easy course to help me build confidence again after the hard course .
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