Dave and I have been friends since high school. He moved to Michigan from Texas and ended up sitting next to me in Algebra. We spent the semester talking shit and being disruptive. I should have failed that class. To this day I still suck at math but I’ll go to my grave believing X+Y=A isn’t math. It’s just bullshit.
Now we’re all grown-up and not much has changed. We’re still smart-asses. Our little sisters are still best friends and Barb-o, Dave’s Mom, still makes deviled eggs for my little brother.
Dave still rocks. From punk to rock to metal he’s always in bands that are solid, loud and bad-ass. I’m still a country boy. Taking any opportunity to cast a line or shoot something. Our hobbies haven’t really crossed paths since our bands played shows together back in high school. Until Dave bought a shotgun.
I’ve introduced quite a few friends to clay shooting but Dave is the first with full sleeves of tattoos and a wicked competitive streak. He’s also the first to break clays with a Mossberg Model 500 complete with a heat-shielded barrel and an extended magazine. Dave’s “cop gun” is an awesome departure from the usual button down shirt tucked into khakis, conversations about mutual funds, sporting a $3,000 over/under crowd. Anything else just wouldn’t be metal enough.
We rolled up to Bald Mountain’s sporting clays course at 10 am. The facility was recently revamped and reopened after going out of business a few years ago. The new course is beautiful. The track is about a mile long and winds through woods, swamps and meadows. The stands are rustic and log-cabiney.
There’s quite a few elevated towers which are really cool to shoot from because you’re almost eye-level with the clays.
Every station features at least three traps. Most of the shots are a reasonable distance with just a few pushing 30 yards. The most difficult birds are low flying, quick, crossing shots that need a lead I couldn’t figure out. I shot the course with an Improved Cylinder choke and #7 1/2 shells. Next time I’m bringing the skeet tube and a couple of #9’s for those lawn burners.
The traps are all controlled with a hand held push-button panel almost like a remote control. It’s easy to pull report pairs and true doubles. There’s even an option to put a delay on the clays so die-hards can shoot the course alone. Almost every trap worked flawlessly. We didn’t have a single broken clay until we got to the final station.
Dave shot great. He quickly picked-up the leads and kept his gun moving. He expected to hit every shot. When he missed he got pissed and studied what he did wrong. Then he’d try the shot over and over until he hit it. The ability to pull whatever target you want makes Sporting Clays the best way to teach a new shooter. The competitive edge depends on the person pulling the trigger.
I don’t think Dave will be an outdoorsman anytime soon. And I won’t record an album. At least we can smash some clay.