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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Sporting Clays for Waterfowlers

Bag more birds this fall by breaking more clays over the summer
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  • photo by Chris Jennings, Ducks Unlimited
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By Curtis Niedermier
Illustrations By Mike Sudal


Skeet and trap are fine for summer shooting practice, but sporting clays is the best way to tune up for duck season. On any sporting clays course there are stations set up to mimic decoying mallards, overhead geese, springing teal, and other types of shots commonly encountered while waterfowling. By learning to hit these targets consistently on the course, you can improve your chances on wild ducks and geese in the marsh.  

Keep in mind when you practice that even sporting clays cannot exactly replicate the flight of wild birds. Waterfowl sometimes approach from unpredictable angles and can change speed and direction in flight. Clay targets are much more predictable and always decelerate once they leave the trap. But you can prepare yourself for the variability of real-world hunting by becoming a more experienced and instinctive shooter. "Practice as you would hunt" is always good shooting advice.

Following are five of the most common waterfowl shots that you can practice on the sporting clays course, as well as advice from expert shooters on how to break these targets and improve your wingshooting skills.

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