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How many clays will ready me for the game shooting season?

A reader asked if it was worth practising with clays before the start of the game season.

dropping teal clay

If it is, how many targets would you recommend as being necessary to get ready for the first day of the season?

John Bidwell had this advice: The answer to this depends on how well you want to shoot live birds and whether you want to kill them cleanly. If you want to do the job properly, then preseason practice is essential.

The whole point of practice is to keep ourselves used to the feel and balance of the gun so there’s little point shooting, say, 100 clays off the high tower during September thinking that will set us up for our first day in mid-November.

If that’s all you are going to shoot by way of preparation then do it a couple of days in advance and hope for the best. Don’t expect miracles.

If you are serious about shooting well in the field then set yourself a training programme.

A little and often is much better than a single session.

Fifty targets every couple of weeks during summer doesn’t take much doing, or cost a lot, but you will certainly notice a world of difference when you do get to that peg.

Taking the gun from its slip will then feel like an old friend, not a stranger.