Nick Truter is well known on the Clay Shooting circuit, as the owner of justchoking.co.uk and a member of the CPSA North committee as well as being an active member on ShootClay Forum. Nick is working hard to improve his shooting and find his way to the top of the game. I’ve asked him to share his journey as he strives to achieve his goals, here is his first ‘View from behind the trigger’.
Welcome to ShootClay Nick!
The past week has seen the clay shooting world hold its collective breath as events at the Nad Al Sheba Sporting Clays Championship in Dubai unfolded. I, like many others, cursed my absence from the event, but the online coverage via ShootClay almost filled that void and meant that we could at least keep up to date with developments there. Gebben Miles emerged victorious taking the $140,000 prize back to the USA with him, and rumours are already about of plans for the 2015 event and what it will entail.
From a personal perspective three factors determine whether I will attend: cost, format (which discipline, as there is talk of migrating to a Super Sporting style) and dates. They are almost of equal importance to me, but the start of 2015 is already looking increasingly busy with plans already made to return to the Seminole Cup and attend the IWA show in Germany in early March.
On the home front this is my least favourite part of travelling; jetlag week! The week where your body clock is all over the place and concentration and alertness is sporadic at best. I learned long ago not to try anything overly taxing on the days immediately after landing in the UK so avoided shooting at all costs this past weekend, choosing to only venture out on Wednesday down to Manchester Clay Shooting Club for a practice round with friends.
The Seminole Cup is already a memory (but you can read my reports here : Part 1 and Part 2), and the current challenge is to extrapolate what I learned from the experience and begin in incorporate it in my shooting back home. There was a significant amount to take away from shooting the event across all aspects of the trip. I know that I should try to fly direct wherever possible, I stayed and ate in good places so will replicate that in future years, but most importantly I have experienced the unknown; shooting abroad.
I was caught out by a number of things at Seminole, including the weather, the targets and the stamina required to shoot 450 targets in three days. The weather shouldn’t have been that big a surprise and the heat wasn’t in terms of hydration and sun-screen. What did catch me out was the fact that my hands sweated immensely in that climate and a lack of shooting towel added a level of uncertainty to proceedings. The loan of a towel from my hotel bathroom ensured that wasn’t a worry after the first day.
Target wise there was a considerable variety on offer; the majority of which was fairly akin to the targets that we are used to in the UK. It was fascinating speaking to the native shooters as one of their first questions was how are you finding the targets and are they much different. It’s unfair to state that US targets are softer; they do however appear to have slightly different flight characteristics; presumably due to variations in density/compounds and their climate.
Target reading was of paramount importance and I made the mistake in my first round, the Phil Hughes Prelim on Friday morning, of underestimating a selection. To give UK shooters a comparison, the targets were akin to those that you will find at a registered event at either Orston or Grange Farm. Unafraid to mix big chandelles and battues with more comfortable presentations, the majority of targets seemed set at mid range distances.
Shooting over the three days in hotter than normal conditions was always destined to be energy sapping. The sponsored fruit drinks and water stations around the course provided a lifeline and I did my utmost to ensure that evening entertainment didn’t run on too late or become too dehydrating!
Back to the present and I was keen to get the gun back out and continue with the task in hand. Having agreed to meet up with a couple of friends at MCSC on Wednesday afternoon we were able to get loaded up and out on course pretty swiftly, making the most of a rare dry spell up here in Manchester recently.
The course itself was testing featuring everything from close crossing simultaneous pairs shot from a platform, to teals and deceiving fading crossers and midi loopers. Less than a week after touching back in the UK I knew that it would be unrealistic to expect to be back up at full capacity, so was keen to discover what I could do in that situation.
Twelve stands awaited us; ten of which were four pairs and the remaining two were five pairs to make the hundred target round. I shot steadily throughout, making a mistake on each of the first few stands to cost me a few unnecessary targets early on. Later in the round I felt as though I shot better, only making the odd mistake to finish on an 82 all said and done.
Whilst the score is below my best, I was pleased that I had managed to ascertain what the mistake was whenever I had missed a target and usually managed to implement the appropriate correction first time. That proves to me that I am continuing to learn and that both the technical and mental capacity of my shooting is growing steadily. Not only that but my target reading is coming along as the mistakes were less frequent and everything feels as though it is falling into place nicely in the run up to the domestic season really beginning.
I plan on staying local this coming weekend, hopefully taking the opportunity to shoot the Members Competition at MCSC on Sunday, time and weather permitting.