Monday, March 21, 2011
I had the opportunity to shoot my favorite gun, the 20ga Browning Gold Hunter, along with an old friend from the wetland conservation world. The weather broke just in time for our arrival to Pintail Point on Maryland's eastern shore. I was instantly reminded of how nice the facility is, and later reminded of it again when we got the bill for 200 shots on clays.
The stations on Pintail's range do a great job of simulating real shots on birds. Which is to say that they are really challenging and sometimes physically awkward. This is not the place to go shooting if you need an ego boost (that place is Baltimore Fish & Game Protective Association, $20 per 100 shots on clays...the last time I was there, anyway). At some stations, we would each hit 4 shots in a row, laugh, and then move onward. Other stations vexed us, and we stayed until we (or at least one of us) got it right. And then I met my nemesis. Pintail Point Station #10. Take a look.
Doesn't seem so bad, right? Now take a look at how the clay pigeon flies.
The picture and my photo editing skills don't quite do it justice, but the clay zooms right past your head and crashes into the ground behind the stand. Full speed the whole way - like a landing teal, wood duck, or dove. I believe I hit 2 out of 12. Phil hit maybe 5 out of 16. Getting an early jump on the shot was a gamble because we had a variable breeze. Tracking the pigeon as it got closer was tough because we had to lead the shot and drop at the same time, and bring our aim close to our body as the clay passed us, just 10 feet to our right. Very tough, and I'll have to return to work on that (sadly) very realistic shot. The vast majority of misses were slightly high and slightly behind.
We eventually blew through 200 rounds, and I was able to borrow Phil's gun (a 12ga Browning Gold Hunter) to confirm that my next gun will indeed be a 12ga. Browning. I enjoy shooting in the early spring and this was a perfect day for it. Can't believe it's already 6 weeks since waterfowl season ended! And only 4 weeks until gobbler, trout, striped bass and more all get started! I guess spring is here.