Sporting clay shooter readies a shotgun | Romeo Bravo Software

A Brief History of Sporting Clays

Sporting clay shooting is an old sport with well-established traditions and it has grown from a relatively small, but dedicated, core audience (most bird hunters), into a widely popular pastime now enjoyed by millions of people of all ages. Furthermore, as interest expanded, lodges, guest ranches and resorts recognized the benefit of offer sporting clays as an activity for their guests. As such, more and more newcomers are welcomed in the ranks of sporting clay enthusiasts each year.

Going well back in history, and many years before the invention of the clay target, the practice shooting of pigeons in flight was an activity for the elite few who had the ways and means to afford such an experience. Because a shoot required live birds, the sport was not widely accessible, nor had the popularity grown much beyond the community of wingshooters, who desired to practice their shot on live birds with an objective of improving their shooting skills in preparation of hunting wild game birds afield.

Guide assists sporting clay shooter | Romeo Bravo Software
A guide helps a sporting clay shooter enjoy target shooting on a cloudy day
Sporting clays shoot, skeet shooting sportsmen
Participants enjoying a sporting clay shoot in a wooded area

By the mid-1860s, public opinion toward live-pigeon trap shooting began to change, resulting in the development of the first artificial targets, which were hollow glass balls filled with feathers and moved somewhat like live birds when launched.
Later in the 1880s, these targets evolved into clay discs reminiscent of the ones seen today, and they were easier to launch and cheaper to produce than the glass targets that preceded them. These new, more affordable targets meant more people could enjoy the sport and could do so without any ethical conflicts a person may have felt over the practice of shooting live birds.
By the beginning of the 20th century, modern clay target shooting had firmly taken root, and the event was featured in the Olympics for the first time. From this storied past to today, now an estimated 4.2 million men and women enjoy sporting clay shooting in the U.S. each year.


Depending on the size and scope of an operation, the prospect of adding a sporting clays course may be a smart business decision for lodge, guest ranch, and resort owners. The startup and maintenance costs are relatively affordable when compared to costs of adding other activities such as golf or horseback riding, plus sporting clays is an activity that guests can enjoy at nearly any time of year and in a variety of weather conditions. Furthermore, a well-managed operation will be profitable and bring additional revenue to the property. Most-importantly, a well-done sporting clays experience will give your guests yet another compelling reason to make repeat visits and become regular patrons of your destination.

Sporting clay shooter readies a shotgun | Romeo Bravo Software
Sporting clay shooter enjoys target shooting on a cloudy day

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