The origins of Clay Pigeon Shooting
Clay pigeon shooting is a hugely popular sport in the UK and further afield in countries such as the United States.
It's also known as clay target shooting or trap shooting in the States. Locally, in Scotland, it is sometimes called clay "doo" shooting.
It dates back to the eighteenth century when the wealthy would release live pigeons from traps, with people then shooting them. Due to the welfare of the birds, it was stopped and replaced with clay pigeons, that is, circular discs made from clay material from the ground.
It was George Ligowky, a keen American shooter, who invented it. This new way of shooting was not only more moral based on the health of live pigeons; it was a lot more consistent. You could release the same type of target over and over - practising until you got it absolutely right. With live birds - that's almost impossible to do. This practice helped many live game shooters to improve their technique and get ready for the 'real' bird shooting season.
At House of Mulben, at our clay pigeon shooting we welcome all ages above 16 to us. We use 20 bore guns, as they are lightweight and don't kick as much as the more commonly used 12-bore guns. These 20-bores still pack enough punch to break at clay at 45 yards, though. You get the potential to take on clays a long way off but don't have a sore shoulder afterwards. We generally use 28gram cartridges too.
Today, modern clay pigeon shooting is thriving. More and more clubs are being set up throughout the UK and Europe. It's becoming a family sport with more and more women becoming involved.
In summary, clay pigeon shooting evolved from live pigeon shooting, embracing clay targets as a humane and consistent alternative. Today, clay pigeon shooting remains a thriving activity enjoyed by people of all ages and sexes and is even recognised as an Olympic sport.