Shooting is a wonderful sport, particularly if you’re a fan of the great outdoors. But beware, it can cause adrenalin rushes, fresh air addiction and lifelong friendships, writes Sam Proctor.
There are many misconceptions surrounding country sports, and shooting often suffers from them.
A regular assumption made is that for beginners, it is difficult to be accepted by those involved, expensive to start, and inaccessible to the majority. As is often the way with assumptions, this is oh so wrong.
I’m not going to tell you that getting into shooting is cheap, only that I don’t believe that it is much more expensive than all the other ‘specialist’ sports.
What you’ll pay for a professional golf instructor, all the necessary clubs and your membership fee will be very like what you spend as an avid clay shot.
But just as you can head to your local driving range and be taught the basics without the need for a large initial investment, you will find clay grounds are hidden all around you and offering fantastic beginner packages.
The shooting buzz
Clayshooting is the perfect way to realise why many let shooting take over their lives. Yes, the first few clays may seem impossibly fast, small and dastardly – defying all your attempts to bring them out of the sky.
But, that rush of satisfaction when one turns to dust is incomparable. Very soon you’ll be addicted and you’ll be asking for higher, smaller and seemingly impossible clays to push yourself.
With each booming retort of the gun, spent cartridges zipping over your shoulder and the acrid wisps of cordite at your nostrils, you’ll only wonder why you didn’t have a go sooner. I doubt that poking a few balls down the fairway after hacking divots out of the grass all morning sounds quite as fun…
Choosing where to shoot
Wherever you are in the country, you will not be more than 45 minutes from a clay ground – and most will be much closer than that. You’ll find some premium clayshooting grounds here, but smaller, less famous grounds found online can offer a similar experience for less money.
Soon you will be touring your county or even further afield to discover new and exciting grounds.