By: Tom Claycomb

I’m an outdoor writer, so it might hit you as strange that I don’t participate in very many shooting events. The reason is because I’m always busy hunting and fishing or writing articles. I get up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. and hit it hard until about 10:30 p.m. The last whole TV show I watched was in 2006. There’s just not a lot of free time.

That said, there is one shooting event we do out here in Idaho that I just love. We do it every summer, and I can only describe it as “Combat Trap Shooting.”

It’s a blast. You ought to try it sometime with a group of friends. I help with a camp every May called Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp. (I plan to write more about the camp soon, if you’re interested. Keep an eye out.) The camp takes a lot of work but is more than worth it. It’s one of the coolest events I do all year.

In June, the camp’s founder, Scott McGann, puts on a potluck picnic for the volunteers. We all eat and shoot the bull and have a good time. This year, everyone brought desserts and side dishes and Famous Dave’s BBQ catered smoked pork ribs, chicken, beans, and potatoes. It was a wonderful dinner…

BUT! The highlight of the night is the trap shoot. Here’s how it runs:

We set up four throwers in a row. Eight shooters line up on the firing line. I don’t know how we ended up with eight, but that seems like the perfect number, and it works great.

Then the throwers start throwing birds. They throw them as fast as they can, and we shooters shoot away, as fast as we can. Run out of shells? No one is going to wait on you. The clays just keep flying. You’ll be grabbing shells and dropping them while you’re trying to cram them into your gun. It works best to wear a pouch on your belt to carry shells or a shooting vest – but even a vest doesn’t hold enough shells.

Due to the nature of the fast shooting and amount of shooting we do, I like to use a semi-auto or I’ll miss out on too many shots. I used an Improved Cylinder choke this year, since the goal is to get the first shot. Although many times you get a shot at a lone bird that escapes and is out a-ways by the time you get to it, the Improved Cylinder worked out fine, even on the longer shots.

I forgot to take my plug out, but it didn’t really matter. Pretty soon your gun is so hot that you have to quit shooting to let it cool down. Without a plug, you’d just have to sit out faster. You could justifiably bring two or three guns.

The reason this event gets you so jazzed is because not only do you have to hit the clay bird, but you also have to beat the guy standing next to you, or the clay is already dusted. You have to be wired to the max.

By the time the most recent “Combat Trap Shooting” event ended (we ran out of clays), everyone had gotten his fill of shooting. The next time you have a get-together and can’t think of a good activity for everyone to do to pass time, you might just want to consider putting on a Combat Trap Shoot. I’ll forewarn you though, you might just end up finding a new sport that you’re going to become addicted to.

Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.