Trap Shooting in the wind becomes a game of trial and error. Depending on what wind direction, trap thrower direction, and precipitation elements you might give some of these tips a try.
Last night i was shooting at a local club with about 15-25mph winds out of the west with the unfriendly addition of snow. Our trap house faces north and throws some pretty hard left and right angles. In this wind direction the left angles are catching the wind under the bird and shooting up rapidly, while the right angles are getting pushed by the wind and going flat without much lift. On top of all that the strait aways are jumping up and down rapidly and curving to the right. Once it started snowing the games got down right brutal! The name "gamey birds" has been given to these birds from thier unpredictable path. Here are some of the options I tried along with what others were trying.
Riding the bird out. When I decide to ride the bird out I still hold my gun at the normal hight, this is because the birds dont seem to catch any wind till they get above my sight picture. Once I see them above my barrel they have just caught the wind and entering thier unpredictable path. I then run the birds down and shoot in the anticipated path. Of course in the wind the clays have the tendency to jump up and down rapidly. Strait aways at our club are known for doing this in the wind. Whenever i'm attempting this method I try to slow down and take a deep breath before my shot. Anticipation will naturally make you want to shoot quicker from fear of the bird getting away. I try to wait untill I think the bird has a stable path before I shoot.
Quick shooting. This is what I usually end up doing after the calm "riding the bird" trick stops working. When attempting this I definetly hold a lower gun to see the birds quickly. I hold my barrel right on the front of the trap house. When the bird comes out of our trap it holds a normal flight for about 10-15 feet before the wind takes control of it. I try to shoot within this distance. In this system I think there is more instinct than most other options ive tried. But this is about the only way to shoot a consistant bird in these conditions.
Altering shooting components. If you are shooting an ATA event or a registered shoot this is not allowed. And this is not something I do, but alot of guys like to jump up to a heavier shotshell load like an 1-3\8oz shot. I am currently shooting an old 870 TC and my shoulder could not take that many beatings in one night! This allows them a little bigger pattern for the interception of the bird. Last night all of our games were from the 27yard line so i just kept shooting my 1-1\8oz handicap load. There are a few guys who make adjustmants to thier gun to lower the POI (point of aim). I don't do this either, I can't see the point in altering a gun that is dialed in on normal shooting days just to shoot a few gamey birds. But it must work for them.
So, needless to say nobody shot great scores last night and shoot-offs were thin and quick. But by using these methods I ended up only paying $4.50 for a night of trap shooting when quite a few really good shooters ended up paying $30-$40 bucks.
Shooting on windy days is extremely unpredictable but alot of fun. It also can be nerve racking if you let it get to you though. Most shooters end up not taking trap shooting too seriously in these conditions and for the most part end up cracking up and just having a good time. As for me I feel as if i have an advantage from being a little versitile. This is a good time for me to catch up on some money that was lost on those calm nights when everybody shoots good scores. I hope these tips help you capitalize on the lower scores that accomodate these windy days of trap shooting.
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