When clay shooting – what is the proper definition of a springing teal and, while you’re on the subject, what’s your preferred way of breaking this type of clay?

Clay shooting expert

JOHN BIDWELL

Clay shooting ‘in the wild’ means a real teal! One that, when disturbed, will ‘spring’ from the pond or stream it’s resting on and rise rapidly to escape danger.

As such any clay thrown to represent it will be launched at an equally steep angle. But there the likeness ends.

Unlike a living teal, a clay runs out of steam quite quickly and then drops back to earth – sometimes making touch down very close to where it started from.

And there are plenty of shooters who prefer to take this target just as it reaches its peak, or as it is falling.

Some course designers make things a little trickier by also angling this clay to the left or the right as it climbs; rarely will a target go straight up vertically from the trap built out in front, or to the side, of the shooting position.

If we genuinely want to replicate the flight of a teal then the clay should be thrown in such a way as to make the shooter take it as it rises, or just as it levels out.

Once that point is reached it should conveniently disappear from view behind a tree, or be deemed beyond bounds as it falls from the sky.

In competition you will always try to take the target where it’s easiest.

Some might say that if it’s being blown back to the shooting position then it could be best to wait until it has almost landed.

Funnily enough I find that most of the time it’s easier to take it on the way up, just before it reaches a peak.

That’s because when travelling with power its flight is more consistent and easier to deal with than when it’s dropping and at the mercy of whatever wind might be blowing at the time.

Just remember… there’s nothing more embarrassing than deciding to shoot it on the way down and suddenly find a bit of wind has blown it off in another direction and you’ve still got two cartridges in the gun!