“Clay pigeon shooting is another one of my passions, an excellent exercise that allows me to arrive at the start of hunting season in perfect form.

The months when hunting season is closed is a wait that never ends. There are those that have the fortune of being able to hunt abroad or in some private hunting reserve and there are those that must arm themselves with patience and go hunting for… Clay pigeons!

What better way, in fact, to keep trained and remove the rust that has accumulated during months of inactivity?

It’s true… For us hunters it’s difficult to renounce the emotions that a hunting outing gives, landscapes and moments that remain imprinted in the memory and why we are willing to walk long distances, waiting to spot a wild animal.

But even Clay Pigeon Shooting is a stimulating activity that holds pleasant discoveries. Creative shots and fun are a daily occurrance when I dedicate myself to this sport, most of all when it’s accompanied by a pinch of competition and the cheerful company of friends with whom I can laugh and joke.

Clay Pigeon Shooting is one of the most interesting shooting sport disciplines for me, precisely because of the unpredictability of the launch patterns, that simulate the flight and run of different types of game. Sporting and Compak Sporting are the two different types of clay pigeon shooting that I am passionate about.

Sporting is the type that’s closest to the hunting experience. Taking place in a forest environment or in the countryside, it requires shooters to move from one position to the next, simulating a real hunting situation. Compak Sporting instead is closer to Olympic shooting disciplines. Five shooting stands, massive concentration and many targets to hit!

Both types of Clay Pigeon Shooting allow you to perform and train different shooting techniques. Simulating the movements of different types of wild animals, it’s a sporting activity useful for building confidence with the shotgun that, later, you’ll use during the hunting season.

Double trap, rabbit targets, mini targets are some of the most used shooting patterns, allowing you to refine your aiming technique. Arriving at the opening of hunting season trained helps the hunter be precise in his shots and avoid mistakes, with total respect for the fauna.

Years ago, when I approached this discipline, my friend and instructor Andrea De Candido sought, I admit with considerable effort, to correct my “huntress” approach.

Obviously shooting techniques, targeting methods and hooking of the target are subjective and vary from person to person. But if normally clay pigeon shooting requires mechanical and standard shooting preparation, hunting the shot is instinctive, especially with unpredictable wild animals like the woodcock, and the difficulty grows because in a few seconds you have to evaluate if the shot is fired in safety.

A particularly demanding and stimulating shooting technique is the shot that simulates the shape of a candle: the clay pigeon is launched at high speed upwards until its thrust is exhausted and falls at a reduced velocity. It’s a shot that can be tackled in different ways and allows you to train both the instinctive shot as well as the targeted one.

Semi-automatic or over and under? Which is the best shotgun for taking on Clay Pigeon Shooting?

It’s surely a question that a hunter approaching this discipline for the first time must ask. Certainly, shooting with a shotgun dedicated to sport shooting conveys a lot of security and the sensation that, once hooked, missing the target is almost impossible!

Usually using an over and under shotgun is the most widespread choice for clay pigeon shooting. The aim of the over and under barrels will be more precise than parallel ones, because they are not subjected to lateral movements like for side by side shotguns.

For this activity, the shotgun that I chose is the 12 gauge Feeling Sporting, the over and under shotgun specific for Compak Sporting and Sporting. With its 3.5 kg, it’s great for reducing muzzle climb after the shot and is available with 50 mm interchangeable, knurled chokes that allow the shooter to choose different combinations and to be ready to tackle every shooting method.

It’s also fun to alternate shotguns with smaller gauges when the challenge becomes really tough! Like many other hunters, I’ve always used 12 and 20 gauges both hunting and shooting targets, but my habits changed when I discovered smaller gauges.

Experiencing the adventure of the hunt in the hills or mountains is nothing but stimulating, even more so in the countryside with pointer dogs, but it requires agility and great athletic preparation. Especially for us women, having a light and manageable shotgun on your shoulder can make the difference, particularly during an entire day of hunting. For this, light shotguns like the Feeling, in 28- or 410-gauge, makes the day less strenuous and more productive!

Even the best quality inertial semi-automatic shotguns can be suitable for clay pigeon shooting, as long as its equipped with a shoulder stock capable of absorbing the kickback and reducing the tipping at the moment of the shot, like the semi-automatic Affinity, equipped with a TSA recoil pad.

Affinity Sporting, the semi-automatic born for sport shooting, is another excellent companion for shooting many targets! It’s a question of taste, there are those that love using an over and under shotgun and those that, instead, prefer a semi-automatic.

In the sport shooting ranges, between one target and the next, many interesting acquaintances are made!

Chatting and meeting people that share my same passions is one of the most pleasant things about a day at the shooting range. Everyone has their own ideas and habits, but I’m convinced that listening to advice elevates every shooter, taking him to experiment with new techniques and to go beyond his own limits.

What has struck me most has been finding many young people spending time at the range! I confess, seeing 13-14-year kids next to me in the range training and not missing a shot may threaten my self-esteem, but without a doubt, it’s an incentive to work even harder.

Seeing the new generations develop a passion for this outdoor sport is very important to me. We hope that they too can become great hunters!

If you ever happen to find yourself in Porpetto in Friuli Venezia Giulia and, on the range, you see a girl with an orange cap shooting clay pigeons, well, that’s me… And make sure to stop! It would be a pleasure to shoot a few together.”

Giulia Taboga