Clay Pigeon Shooting on Exmoor
Clay pigeon shooting is the shooting of clay targets with a shotgun or other type of firearm. The ‘pigeon’ in its name comes from when live pigeons were shot instead of the clay targets that we use today before 1921, when it was made illegal to take part in pigeon shooting competitions in the UK. It has become a popular sport on Exmoor.
There are over twenty different types of disciplines of regulated clay shooting; they can be grouped under the categories of trap, sporting, and skeet shooting. Trap shooting fires targets from traps, which are the machines that project the targets. The traps fire the targets from 15m away from the shooter, at a number of angles and in different directions. Skeet shooting originated in the United States. In this discipline, two traps are set 40 metres apart over a semicircular arc with the targets being thrown at set trajectories and speeds. The sporting discipline is the most popular. It has the largest following amongst clay shooters as there are very few rules, and it imitates much of the traditional clay pigeon shooting aspects before it was changed by Parliament. There are no set angles or distances and is great for simulating quarry shooting.
Traps are equipment vital to the sport. They fire the targets and can be worked manually or automatically. The top of the range automatic traps can hold up to 600 clays. Automatic traps can be set to fire at a number of different angles and speeds. Also important are the guns. Any type of shotgun can be used for clay pigeon shooting; the variety you are able to use may be affected by laws in your local area. The ability to fire multiple shots quickly one after another is considered important, so guns that can do this are often preferred to single-shot guns. However many people like the challenge of using a single-shot gun.
The targets also come in many different varieties. They are different colours in order to contrast with different backgrounds, and are made of a mixture of pitch and pulverised limestone. The targets are made of this material to withstand the high speeds they are launched at, and also to be easily broken when hit by pellets.
Recently invented is a variation on clay pigeon shooting, laser clay pigeon shooting. This is ideal for beginners as it is much safer, as the shotguns are disabled and the shooting is all done by laser technology. The rules are almost identical to standard clay pigeon shooting, and it can also be played indoors. Thanks to this, clay pigeon shooting can be done whatever the weather. The perfect place to stay if you are on a Clay Pigeon Shooting weekend is The Exmoor White Horse Inn. It's full of character, comfortable, luxurious and with a lively bar and locally sourced produce, cooked to gourmet standards in the restaurant, or the option of an additional Carvery and even a spicy curry night and the staff are warm and friendly too. You can read all about our Exmoor Special Breaks here.