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Get ready for hunting season with shotgun games

August 10, 2018

The sound of firecrackers and pyrotechnics in summer gets me thinking about the upcoming hunting seasons.

In particular, I have a desire to dust off the shotgun and break some blue rock. Now, with teal, dove and prairie grouse hunting seasons starting in September, there is no time like the present to get the shooting eye in shape with one of the many shotgun games you can find around Nebraska.

Trap

We are a trap-shooting state. If you live in Nebraska, chances are you live near a range or club that has a trap range. Targets in trap are thrown from the same house that sits in front of you as you move every five shots through each of five stations. Since the targets are thrown outward, trap is a good workout for bird hunters prepping for grouse, pheasant and quail.

For full effect, though, you may want to call for your target with the shotgun not fully shouldered, as is the custom in trap.

Skeet

Almost as common as trap. This is a game of angles, with targets thrown from either the high-house or the low-house, and sometimes both at the same time, as you make your way through eight shooting stations.

Skeet can be great prep work for dove and teal. The inclusion of doubles on stations 1, 2, 6 and 7 can help with the discipline needed to pick out a single target when two are in the air.

Sporting clays

Targets might be incoming, crossing, arching through the sky or even bouncing along the ground. The targets usually come in pairs, though not always at the same time. A round of sporting clays often involves 10 to 12 stations scattered about, with each offering a unique target presentation.

These courses are fun, challenging and the best way to get you ready for the upcoming hunting seasons. However, because they require more space and throwers than other shotgun games, there are not as many of them.

The typical round of sporting clays consists of shooting 50 shots, rather than 25 like the others listed, so you may pay a bit more to take part in the fun.

Five-stand

This is a hybrid between sporting clays and trap. As the name implies, there are five stands, or shooting positions. Similar to trap, you rotate through these positions, which have various target presentations more like sporting clays. A few more of these ranges can be found in Nebraska, since they can be placed on a trap field. However, this sport does not seem to have as much of a following as the others do.

And let’s never discount simply busting some blue rock with friends in the back 40. The more practice and fun you have now, the easier those speedy targets of the early season will be.

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