Sporting Clays Provides Both Training and Recreation
Don Mallicoat opened Wings n Clays in Asheville seven years ago. Since then, the store has become the city’s go-to destination for shooting sports equipment. The shop provides a full line of rifles, shotguns, handguns and more, along with a number of classes and certified instructors. But among this suite of offerings, Don has a particular passion. A lifelong clay shooting hobbyist, he happily shares his enthusiasm for the recreational sport with all who might be curious. Newcomers and well-seasoned clay shooting fans alike will find Don’s thoughts and expertise on the subject invaluable.
According to Don, clay shooting is frequently likened to another hobby of his: golf. Though the similarities may not be obvious, it turns out that the two have more than a few things in common. “I’m not sure if it’s because no two courses are the same or because you want to wrap your shotgun around a tree in frustration,” he writes. “I suspect the former.” Indeed, Don says that he enjoys the sport in part because it must be performed outdoors, just as with most golfing activities. Both golf and clay shooting are a great group activity and both require immense concentration. Though that leads to frustration from time to time, its rewards are immense.
The two activities have one major difference, however — unlike golf, clay shooting trains you for other sports. That, of course, is shotgun hunting. Don explains that shooting clays were developed by hunters to keep their skills sharp during off seasons and that different sections of clay courses are designed simulate various hunting scenarios. “Each station represents a different shooting situation you might experience while hunting,” he writes. “The neat thing is [that] unless the course is busy, you can usually stay at one station and shoot at a target that simulates a hunting situation with which you’re having trouble.” It turns out that a day at a clay shooting course is a great way to strengthen friendships and hunstman skills alike.
Though rooted in tradition, new and perhaps unexpected groups of people are beginning to see what Don sees in the hobby. “Young professionals are getting into it,” he says, and notes that the since largest growing demographic for shooting sports is women. No matter who you are, now is a great time to explore this activity in Asheville, with new shooting sports facilities opening up at Brights Creek Mountain Resorts and Tryon Resorts Equestrian Club. Wings n Clays provides all the right tools to get newcomers started, such as a half-day clay shooting class that includes classroom-style instruction and a visit to a range. Those curious can find more information at wingsnclays.com or visit their store, where Don is sure to advise you on how to “golf with a shotgun” just like a pro.