The clay targets don’t stand a chance when Dr Andrew Hoare of South East Vets in Mount Gambier, SA, is on his game.
“The first time I tried clay target shooting was when I was a teenager in Kingaroy, Queensland. The local club had a come-and-try day so I gave it a go. About five or six years later, I was working in southern Victoria as a vet and I joined the local club there. This started a lifelong involvement in the sport. At present, I’m president of the Mount Gambier Gun Club and on the executive for the South Australian Clay Target Association.
“There are three different types of clay-target shooting. With Down the Line, you stand 15 metres back from the trap house and call for a target. You shoot at a rising target that’s moving away from you. “Skeet launches two targets at a time and you shoot in circular motion. Sporting has different types of targets flying at different angles.
“Beginners generally hit about half the targets and work their way up to 90 per cent. To make it into AA level, you need to be hitting more than 97 per cent of the targets.
“I like competing and have won a couple of club championships and won my grade at a couple of state sporting clay shoots. I’ve also won the High Gun at our gun club a couple of times. That’s awarded for the most number of targets shot over the year.
“To be a competitive shooter, you need good concentration that you can turn on and off very quickly. It’s not a sport where physical fitness is a prerequisite but you do need to be mentally tough. Sometimes you just get in the zone and can’t miss a target. Unfortunately, those times are interspersed with many days where you can’t seem to do anything right.
“I’ve been president of the Mount Gambier Gun Club for 10 years. It’s a great mix of people who come and shoot. There’s a wide range of ages and they come from all walks of life. While we have a lot of fun, everyone knows who’s shooting best on the day. There’s also a fair amount of ribbing and heckling going on most of the time. It’s just a good group of people.
“Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot on at work and that’s had a negative impact on my shooting. I plan to get back into form and start competing again. There’s nothing better than hitting a target hard and turning it into a ball of dust, especially in a competition.”