Sporting Clay Etiquette

An executive at Quality Milk Sales, Rance Miles enjoys participating in outdoor activities. A hunter, Rance Miles likes to practice his shooting skills by sporting clays.

Upholding proper etiquette while sporting clays is necessary to ensure that both amateur and seasoned shooters enjoy their time at a range. Because it is a more sociable activity, maintaining absolute quietness is not necessary–it is appropriate to hold conversations about how to improve one’s shot, and to congratulate a person following a direct hit.

In addition, shooters pay in advance for a specific number of targets to hit. Once all birds are pulled and attempted shots are taken, a shooter should not request that a puller release extra targets. Each target represents a material expense to a shooting range and should be paid for prior to its use. Other rules of etiquette in sporting clays include loading one’s gun only when in a cage, throwing away hulls, and tipping the trap kid following a round of clays.

Sporting Clays Explained

Rance Miles leads Quality Milk Sales as the Artesia, New Mexico-based company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. In his free time, Rance Miles enjoys a number of outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, and sporting clays.

Often referred to as “golf with a shotgun,” sporting clays is a shooting sport designed to simulate situations a hunter would encounter in the field. While each course is unique, a typical sporting clays course offers shooters 10 stations at which clay targets are launched in a way that mimics the unpredictable movement of birds and other small game.

To complete the course, shooters move from one station to the next and attempt to hit as many targets as they can. Every station offers shooters a different challenge, as each sees different-sized targets launched at varying speeds and trajectories.

Although many people enjoy this shooting activity as a casual hobby, sporting clays has gained recognition as a competitive sporting event that is featured in competitions throughout the United States and abroad. Each year, the most skilled sporting clays competitors can be found at the National Sporting Clays Championship and the US Open Sporting Clays Championship.