Be careful what you wish for

I finally got to shoot some sporting clays the other day. It’s been a while, maybe even a year.

I went with my recurring shooting buddy Jason. He likes to encourage my shooting habit, which often just means he tells me to buy something I’m looking interested in but I’m not sure I should buy, and I’ve decided that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so I keep him around.

We went to the Minnesota horse and hunt club, which has particularly good sporting clays courses, and I decided to take both my Beretta over/under (because I haven’t used it in forever), and my weatherby pump (because I’m going to be using it for turkeys and felt like I should get more practice handling it).

On the day the weather was dreadful, pouring rain with no sign of stopping (it’s been doing that a lot lately). But we don’t like to waste our limited opportunities to shoot, so we decided to just try and make the best of it.

It didn’t start out well. I put on my expensive waterproof jacket over my shooting vest, but as it turns out it’s not waterproof anymore, not even a little bit. We pushed on anyway, getting wetter by the minute. 

To start with I was shooting my Beretta. I had put on a recoil pad, and with that and the barrel porting it was, for once, nothing but a pleasure to shoot. I pulled out the weatherby towards the end, but I was having so much fun hitting clays with the Beretta that I only used it on one stand. Jason was shooting a first world war vintage, 16 gauge side by side hammer gun, that he recently got for not very much at all. And he was doing pretty well… even if he shouldn’t have been shooting modern ammo through it.

Here’s picture of him posing with it under a tree.

Despite the rain I was enjoying myself quite a lot. I was grateful that I had thought to bring Wellington boots, but frustrated that my ammo was almost floating in the pools of water growing in my vest pockets.

Then the rain started to ease up. 

Great news, you might think, and so did we -but it wasn’t. As soon as the rain stopped, I took off my jacket and rolled up my sleeves just in time for my nemeses to come out to play, all ten million of them. And the mosquitoes were literally and figuratively out for blood. They were landing on me almost faster than I could swat them. It must have sounded like we were playing patti cake out there, there was that much slapping going on. 

But we kept going. The one upside to the situation was that the mosquitoes didn’t seem to like the shooting, and gave me peace at least while I was firing my gun. Of course that could have been an illusion, because I was actually still having a good time and I may just not have noticed them while I was concentrating on the “birds”.

At the beginning I had planned to try and keep score, but the score sheet quickly began to fall apart. This was probably a good thing, because now I am just left with the memory of a fun day had despite the weather, the vague but pleasant impression that I might have been shooting pretty well, and no evidence to prove otherwise.

Here is a picture of me having fun anyway: