Clay target numbers up

By Zac Yates

The sun shone and the clays fell like flies at the NZ Masters Games shotgun target shooting yesterday.

Around 50 competitors took to the Wanganui Clay Target Club's facility on Marangai Rd over the weekend, shooting clay targets with single- and double-barrelled shotguns.

Club president Ken Pfeffer said the event had run smoothly with slightly more entries than 2011.

"We've got a couple of Aussies here today and an English shooter, as well as several New Zealand reps who have shot overseas. We've seen a very high standard of shooting.

"It's been a very comfortable three days of shooting."

Te Puke man Allan Beaver, who won two golds and a silver in last weekend's smallbore shooting, said he had been shooting clays for 17 years.

"I shot a few ducks before then. Or rather, shot at a few ducks. I'm certainly not doing as well today as I'd have liked. I've lost a bit of weight over the past few months and I think that may have something to do with it."

Beaver said as long as someone can see, they can shoot competitively.

"It's a sport you can do from age 12 until your seventies and even later. One bloke shooting here today is 81 and uses a walking stick, and he still shoots fairly well."

Down-the-line shooting, or DTL, has five shooters standing in a crescent shape and taking turns to fire shots at targets launched from a trap. They then move along to the next slot in the line until each has fired at 25 targets.

Wanganui's Brian Hill said DTL and skeet had been part of the Masters Games since the first event in 1989, with sporting clays introduced in 1993.

"I moved to Wanganui in 1989 and came along to the first games but I wasn't part of the club then, but I've been directly involved since 1991. I had to wait a while before I could compete because I wasn't old enough."

This year Hill won several medals including two silver and one gold. He said the biggest problem facing the sport was age.

"It's a shame because we have all these great shooters who are aged 50 and over and there are a lot of secondary school kids doing well but there's this 20 year age gap that's just not being filled."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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