Being a successful hunter for some is the ability to get their game into shooting range. For some wildlife species, a fail-safe plan must be followed in the strict sense to get the opportunity to close the deal. For deer, squirrels and turkeys, having a firm rest and a steady trigger finger are the tricks of the trade. But for ducks, doves and other feathered, flying creatures, a high-level of skill is needed to bring home the protein. With the arrival of duck season in a few weeks, it’s a perfect time to practice at the local sporting clays range. 

Sporting clays are more than just typical skeet shooting.  Sporting clays give hunters the opportunity to practice their shots in simulated hunting situations. Most sporting clay ranges offer 10 to 15 shooting stations where clay targets fly from different angles and many different directions over lakes and in forested environments. A typical round provides hunters with 50 to 100 shots and hours of fun. 

While some hunters have specific shotguns for shooting skeet, hunters should always bring their duck gun or specific hunting shotgun with them on the course to get the most out of the practice session. Shooting sporting clays may not provide all of the elements of a real hunt — with multiple layers of hunting clothes, face mask, waders and hours of sleep deprivation — but the opportunity to practice shooting moving targets coming at a variety of directions can be beneficial and provide hunters with an enhanced level of preparation.   

Successful hunters must learn to study their prey and come up with a no-fail game plan to get fur and fowl within lethal range. But if they can’t shoot straight, all the work and preparation has gone to waste, leaving that hunters empty handed and not quite in their happy place.  

Sporting clays ranges are found all over the Carolinas. Most ranges will provide hunters with similar situations at each course. For a detailed listing of sporting clays courses, visit and select North Carolina or South Carolina. Practicing at a sporting clays range can not only be educational and helpful for preparing for the upcoming duck season, but loads of fun at a small price of admission and several boxes of target loads.