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The straight story about skeet shooting

4:03 pm December 13th, 2013

HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
The lack of game and shortened hunting seasons in America at the beginning of the 20th century made it difficult for hunters to practice enough to become proficient wing shots. Some hunters turned to trap shooting, but it was of limited help because there are no incomers or crossers in trap shooting. In 1920, Massachusetts grouse hunter Charles Davis and several bird hunting friends, frustrated with the situation began brain storming for a solution that would produce a more realistic means of horning their wing shooting skills by duplicating all shot presentations encounter in a live bird field. After trying several design plans, they came up with a game they called Shooting Around the Clock or Clock Shooting.
The clock was a circle with a 50 yard radius. Around the circle were 12 shooting stations with a trap set at 12 o’clock. Each shooter took two shots from each of the 12 stations and used the 25th for a snap shot at the target from the center of the circle. The layout reproduced just about every type of shot a hunter might encounter in the field, but the practice of shooting from all directions ended in 1923 when a chicken farm was started next door to Davis’ property.
Undeterred, Davis, his son and friend William Foster simply placed a second trap at 6 o’clock to throw toward the 12 station, thus cutting the range in half so all shots went in a direction away from the chickens, yet maintained all the left and right shot presentations from the original field. The setup has been used ever since for skeet shooting.
Realizing clock shooting could produce competitive shooting, Foster set out to make it a national sport. The game was introduced in the February 1926 issues of the National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazines, and a prize of $100 was offered to anyone who could come up with a name for the new sport. The winning entry was credited to Gertrude Hurlbutt, who chose skeet, derived from the Norwegian word for “shoot”
In 1926, the first National Skeet Championships were held. Afterward, the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) was formed and headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. During World War II, skeet was used by military trainers to teach gunners how to lead flying targets.
Thanks to a flock of chickens, a casual wing shooting practice involved into one of to-days most popular sports.
Some of the above information was extracted from “The History of Skeet, American Hunter” (July 2013).

Fishing news

• Migrating coho continue to inundate the Cowlitz River. During Nov. 18-24 Joe Hymer of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reported 1,435 coho, 692 coho jacks, 10 fall chinook, 19 winter steelhead, 16 summer steelhead and 290 cutthroat trout were recovered at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Under permanent rules, Nov. 30 was the last day of night closure and the anti-snagging rule from Mill Creek to barrier dam.
• The WDFW is seeking public comment on a proposal to formally end releases of hatchery steelhead in the East Fork Lewis River and the North Fork Toutle/Green River watershed as early as next year. It would also prohibit future releases of hatchery steelhead in the Wind River, which has not been stocked with steelhead since 1997.
CindyLe Fleur, WDFW regional fish manager, said the proposal would create several wild stock gene banks in the lower Columbia River, where wild steelhead populations have been listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1998. The goal of the proposal is to preserve key wild steelhead populations by minimizing interference by hatchery produced fish. Research has shown those interactions can range from interbreeding to competition for food and habitat.
The department plans to plant 35,000 steelhead smolts currently earmarked for the East Fork Lewis River in the Washougal River and 20,000 in Salmon Creek. The department is still looking for a place to relocate the 25,000 smolts currently scheduled for the North Fork Toutle/Green River watershed. WDFW established the state’s first official steelhead gene bank last year in the Sol Duc River on the Olympic Peninsula.

Outdoors writer Bob Brown can be contacted at robertb1285@fairpoint.net

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