What can a clay shooter do when they can’t see the targets well enough?

Question: I’m an older shooter and went to a shoot the other day where half of the targets were edge-on and a long way out, which meant that it was hard enough to see them, let alone shoot them. I don’t mind being beaten by a good target but I do object to spending my hard-earned cash on a shoot where I am at a disadvantage before I start. Don’t people realise that not all of us have the eyesight that we used to?

Don Brunt replies: Sadly it sounds as if you’ve been the victim of poor target setting. A good course setter shouldn’t put on birds that are ‘eyesight tests’. It sounds as if those targets would probably have been far easier to see if they had been canted over a little to show some ‘belly’, without making them any less demanding a shot from a technical perspective. Edge-on birds are awkward at the best of times, while another common and unforgivable error is throwing a black target against a very dark background. Simply put, if you can’t see it then how can you shoot it? Some target setters are of the mistaken opinion that a good target is one that’s edge-on, 50 yards away and going like a bat out of hell. In reality, a good target is one that uses angle as much as speed and distance to catch out a shooter. Though it can be more time consuming to put the effort in to setting a course that’s well thought out, it will always be more popular with shooters and they will come back again and again if the birds are fair and challenging. If the venue where you shot is a regular one I would be tempted, if this is the usual standard of targets, to vote with your feet and go elsewhere.

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