This probably isn’t relevant to you, but it’s not unusual in our household on school days for there to be utter chaos minutes before departure, and since we live over a half hour away from town, there’s no turning back if something ends up left behind. Where’s my book bag?…I don’t have my lunchbox!…Mom, you signed that paper about the field trip, but I don’t know where I put it!…ahem. No, mayhem.
All we have to do is prepare the evening before to avoid the chaos, but do we?…
Well the same goes for a trip to shoot clays (or any hunt), and now as the season is in full swing and there are plenty of trips to the clays course for practice, I’m following the extremely simple directions that were given to me by NSCA (National Sporting Clays Assoc.) Level 3 instructor and real expert, Gil Ash:
1. Pack your shooting bag well in advance so you’re not running around and grumpy before you even leave the house. Then,
2. leave everything in your bag when you get home so you know exactly where your things are tomorrow! or next time you go shooting.
So what goes in the shooting bag?
1. FIRST AND FOREMOST: Ear and eye protection! (Don’t worry, no shooting club will let you shoot without it!)
2. The shooting vest
3. The favorite hat
4. Sunscreen (and you might want to bring bug repellant. Avoid DEET — it’s mean to shotguns — just like it’ll erode flylines if your fly fishing. Be careful!)
5. In my gun case, I always have a pocket knife (never know when you’ll need it!), and a little something to wipe the shotgun down with before I put it back into the case — Dad sold me on WD40 years ago.
6. Uh, the shotgun — in a case or sleeve, and keep it with your shooting bag.
I’m also packing chokes that are interchangeable. You’ll need these only if you really get into the game. Mine are made by Briley and have served me well.
Now put it all in your favorite bag — don’t carry a huge bag, you’ll hate it. And you might end up using it to carry your shells, so a manageable size is desirable.
Mine is a well loved old LL Bean bag. It’s my good luck charm.
Voila! You’re ready to go shooting — and you’re not running like a crazy-person around your house before departure (unless you have kids…).