I was a teenager when I went with a friend of mine to visit his grandparents who lived in a rural area. We were out on the property when I started walking on these pieces of crunchy stuff broken up on the ground in spots. They were bits that were brightly colored in spots with fluorescent orange and green. Some were just red. I did not know what they were, and my friend said they were clay pigeons when I asked. Seeing my puzzled look he told me they were used in the clay shooting sport where you take a shotgun and shoot the clay target disks that are launched into the sky. He told me they have a machine that does it, but some people throw them with a handheld launcher.

I was intrigued, so he arranged it with his grandfather to teach me how to shoot clay pigeons. Being the typical impatient teenager, it was hard for me to get through all the safety lessons of using a gun that was just lecture. When the shotguns came out, I was a lot more intrigued. Understanding the seriousness of using firearms carefully, I never departed or deviated from any of the safety rules right from the beginning. My friend’s grandfather told me he knows some adults that are not as safety conscious with firearms as I demonstrated myself to be.

I remember the first time we went out shooing clays. Because I had such excellent instruction on how to lead the target, I got a full center hit on the first target. Then I got nervous and missed the next five of them. I winged the sixth, and then got a lot more center hits. By the end of the day I was able to take out a couple doubles about two out of five tries. Not bad for a first-time shooter!

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