January is the start of a new year, a chance to make a fresh-start on life and a busy month for keeping up with New Year’s resolutions.  Losing weight, quitting smoking or starting an exercise program are probably among the top of the list for most.  Unfortunately, by late winter or early spring, most people have abandoned their efforts at reaching the goals they set early in the year.  While it is easy to say, “this year, I am going to lose 25 pounds”, it is more difficult to actually accomplish the weight loss.  Why?  Because most people are either not realistic in setting the goal in the first place, or do not make a plan or follow up on their plan to accomplish the goal.  As shooters, we also need to set goals if we realistically expect to succeed.  However, as individuals, we must have realistic expectations when setting our goals and make a plan to be sure we’re not back on the couch eating Ho-Ho’s by March!


Some of you might say “Oh, I just shoot for fun and score doesn’t really matter to me” or “I’m just going to shoot enough to keep the cobwebs out of my gun”.  If you are content with your current performance level, there is nothing wrong with these attitudes.  However, we all know it is a lot more fun to hit targets than to miss them, so why not try to improve if you already plan on shooting in the off season?  Once you make the decision to improve your shooting, a plan is required to make sure you stay on track.


Before laying out your goals and expectations, it is wise to also take a hard look at the non-shooting parts of your life and ask a few questions (and give yourself honest answers!).  How much time can I devote to shooting?  Am I going to have any significant family commitments this year (this one applies to me since I’m expecting to be a new father in late February!)?  How much time will be required of me at work?  How much money can I devote to practice?  These types of questions may help you more accurately set goals and prevent being disappointed by your perceived shortcomings at the end of the year.  Only after you have taken everything into consideration can you move on to setting realistic goals for yourself.                                       continued on: Page 2


Inside this issue:

Goal Setting Part I:  Wingshooting Success

Volume 1, Issue 1    January/March 2005

Double A Shooting Instruction advocates shotgun shooting at all levels through lessons, shooting clinics, and other activities such as group outings.  In addition, Double A Shooting Instruction promotes local shooting ranges and clubs by introducing new shooters to the facilities and by improving the shooting abilities of existing customers.  For more information on AA Shooting instruction, please visit my website at www.aashooting.com

Inaugural Issue of the Wing and Clay Flyer

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Wing and Clay Flyer...Double A Shooting Instruction’s official newsletter.  The primary  purpose of the Wing and Clay Flyer is to update the shooting public on upcoming events and  provide instructional information on shotgun shooting. 


Published quarterly, the Wing and Clay Flyer will also bring you a variety of general-interest wing and clay shooting articles.  Specific topics may include a monthly feature article, target tips and tactics, the shooting calendar, student spotlights, guest articles, gear reviews, and the wingshooter’s cookbook, just to name a few.


I hope you enjoy this first issue of the Wing and Clay Flyer.  If you have topics you would like to see covered in future issues, please let me know.  I am also happy to publish information on upcoming shooting events. 

Feature Article

through AA Shooting Instruction two times per year (January and September), corresponding with the start of the spring and fall semesters.  Price lists are distributed via email or regular mail two to three weeks prior to the order deadline.

SSSP eligibility is restricted to participants of youth (8th grade and under), high school, and colligate shooting programs and coaches of these programs.

Double A Shooting Instruction is pleased to announce the second year of the Scholastic Shooting Supplies Program.

The Scholastic Shooting Supplies Program (SSSP) was established to promote youth shooting by supplying members of youth shooting programs with high quality shotguns, ammunition and reloading supplies at low prices.  By purchasing large quantities of these goods, costs are kept to a minimum.  Group orders are placed

To participate in the SSSP, please call or send in your name, email address and/or mailing address to AA Shooting Instruction along with the name of your scholastic shooting program.  You will then receive the program price lists and ordering/pick-up details when they are published each semester.

The Spring 2005 program was completed February 5th.  The next sale will be conducted in September.

Scholastic Shooting Supplies Program (SSSP)

“Before laying out your goals and expectations, it is wise to also take a hard look at the non-shooting parts of your life and ask a few questions”

Goal setting:  Continued from Page 1

As a shooting instructor, I spend a fair amount of time helping students with their goal setting and try to help them help themselves with reasonable expectations based on their desires, natural ability and resources (i.e. time and money).  This month we will take a look at an improvement program for the average bird-hunter / recreational clay shooter. 

Joe Wingshooter is an avid bird hunter in his mid 30’s.  He has two pointing dogs, hunts locally throughout the season and travels out of state two or three times per year for ducks and geese.  Joe also has a habit of buying, selling and trading guns each year.  Joe is an average shot, bagging probably around 50-60% the birds he attempts in the field.  With all the time and money he spends in the fall with his dogs and traveling, Joe would sure like to improve his bird to shell ratio.  Joe also has a wife, two kids and a good paying job that demands around 50 hours / week. 

Based on this information, I would guess that Joe is already a pretty decent shot but could become much better with just a little work on the fundamentals and some practice on the sporting clays course or skeet field.  With a demanding work and family life, Joe does not have an abundance of time.                                                                                                

                                                                                                        continued on: Page 3

Text Box: Reloading components, such as those offered by 
Winchester are available through the SSSP.

Ames Izaak Walton League
2066 Stagecoach Road
Ames, IA
Phone: 515-233-1105

Seasonal trap, skeet and sporting clays offered

New Pioneer Gun Club
3140 312th Place
Waukee, IA
Phone: 515-987-4415

Year-round trap and skeet.  Seasonal sporting clays and 5-stand

Charles “Butch” Olofson Range and Training Center
11652 NW Nissen Drive
Polk City, IA
Phone: 515-795-2067
Year-round trap and skeet offered

Club Directory—Central Iowa

Boone County
Sportsman’s Club

Boone, IA
Contact Steve Gus
Phone: 515-432-7772

Year-round trap and skeet offered


Scholastic Update

Goal setting:  Continued from Page 2

Joe Wingshooter needs more than just a couple of trips out to the sporting clays course each summer if he truly expects improvement.  Joe needs a program, although the program does not need to be complex.  Joe’s program should be tailored to his goals and also his non-shooting life (in this case a program that does not demand too much time away from home).  Based on the information above, here is a sample program that could be used to improve Joe’s wingshooting ability:

· Get a gun fitting session – With all of the buying and trading of guns, chances are, one or all of the guns Joe has do not fit properly.  Joe should bring all of the guns he intends to use to the fitting session and have them examined for fit.  When fitting the guns, it is also important to consider the type of clothing being worn (for example a thick parka for duck hunting verses a lightweight vest for quail).

· Get a shooting lesson to review shotgun-shooting fundamentals and develop a specific practice plan to work on areas needing improvement.

· Plan two or three outings shortly after the lesson to practice what was learned.  The first outing should take place within 10 days of the lesson for best retention of material.  In these outings do not worry about score…it is improvement in fundamentals Joe is working for.

· Practice gun-mounting drills at home.  This is probably the simplest, most effective thing Joe can do to improve his skills in the field.  These drills should be started immediately after gun fit has been properly addressed to be sure correct form is being used in the mount.  Only 5 to 10 minutes a night, two or three times a week for several weeks can significantly improve gun-handling skills.  Best of all, these drills are free practice and can be done at any time of the day or night in any weather conditions.

· Join a skeet or sporting clays league and shoot the league in 50 or 100 target increments.  Most leagues are 300 to 500 targets over the course of two or more months, which allows Joe plenty of time to shoot all the targets but maintain a flexible schedule.  While shooting the league, Joe should continue to focus on the fundamentals learned in the lesson.

If Joe is dedicated enough to follow this plan in the off-season, I can guarantee he will put more birds in the bag during hunting season.  The total time investment for Joe would be around 12 outings.  Spread over an eight month off-season, that works out to about 1.5 outings per month…a very doable time commitment even for a man with a busy work and family life.  Cost involved for instruction, targets, and ammunition would be somewhere around $400, depending on target and ammo prices, which works out to $50 per month…less than most people’s cable TV bill.

In the next issue, we will take a look at a sample program designed for the average competitive shooter looking to move up in class and win a few more events.  Until then, Good Shooting!


Ben Berka Completes Level II Skeet
October 6,7,8
San Antonio, Texas

The first week of October I had the privilege to travel to the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas for the National Skeet Shooting Association Level II skeet instructor seminar.  The seminar was conducted by Master level and NSSA chief instructor, Ralph Aaron and assisted by Level III instructor Len Friez (now also a Master instructor).  Five other instructor candidates from across the US were also in attendance.

The Level II seminar prepares the skeet instructor to coach intermediate to advanced level skeet shooters.  At least 100 hours of instruction at Level I are required before taking the Level II seminar.

Some of the topics we were trained on included advanced troubleshooting for the intermediate shooter, developing a shot plan, shooting glasses and lens selection and gunfit.

In 2005 I intend to offer a class or two for the intermediate skeet shooter and also offer individual lessons for the competitive skeet shooter.  Check future issues of the Wing and Clay flyer or the website for clinic updates.  BSB

Pocket Coach A Field Guide To Skeet Shooting


The Pocket Coach, A Field Guide to Skeet Shooting by Richard Koch is a small pocket-sized book that will fit nicely in one’s shooting vest or pouch.  The 48 page book takes the reader through a round of American skeet outlining the author’s approach used for each target.  Simple icons are used to show the skeet field, gun, foot-positions, target/barrel relationships (i.e. lead required), hold points and break points.  The book is written from a right-handed shooter’s perspective, so foot positions will be 180° opposite for lefies. 

Overall, this book should be an excellent resource for the beginning shooter as the author does a nice job of using a non-technical approach to outline many skeet fundamentals.  The book can be used by beginners to guide them through rounds of skeet after initial instruction has been conducted and shooting fundamentals are understood. 

One point of disagreement I have with the book is on where to look for targets.  For example, the author advocates looking into the window on Low 6.  The NSSA-approved method calls for looking about halfway between the “proactive” hold point (the gun) and the skeet house.  My students have shown that some experimentation is needed depending on the each shooter’s vision, but the NSSA-approved guidelines are a better starting point.

The Pocket Coach, A Field Guide to Skeet Shooting can be ordered through Shotgun Sports Magazine for $17.97 at http://www.shotgunsportsmagazine.com/books/target_shooting.html or by calling 1-800-676-8920

Book Review

regular rounds, this may not be the answer for improving your game.

Just like duck calling, shooting can be broken down into component parts.  Let’s look at a round of skeet for example.  Skeet consists primarily  of incomers, out-goers, and doubles.  If a shooter can master each one of these shot types individually, why should he/she not be able to master them within a regular round?

The following is a simple 4-round practice routine that I have compiled for use by skeet shooters of all levels.  For novice shooters, skill is developed on incomers before moving on to other, more challenging targets.  For experienced shooters, this routine can better show subtle problems on particular targets.  This routine can easily be shot on

Several years ago when I started duck hunting, a friend introduced me to a line of duck and goose calls manufactured (actually hand-made) here in Iowa.  An audio cassette was included on how to operate the call.  The tape included information on a systematic way to learn calling by breaking the calling routine into it’s component parts.  Throughout the tape, the author used the slogan “Practice with a purpose” indicating the user learns nothing new by simply “making noise” with the call.

“Practice with a purpose” also applies to the clay shooting sports if one intends to improve his/her scores.  Many shooters would like to improve, but still insist on shooting regular round after regular round...pounding out similar scores time after time.  While it may be fun to shoot

your own or with a regular skeet squad.

Round One, Incomers
Low 1:  3 shots
Low 2:  3 shots
Low 3:  3 shots
High 4:  1 shot
Low 4:  1 shot
High 5:  3 shots
High 6:  3 shots
High 7:  3 shots
High 8:  2 or 3 shots
Low 8:  3 or 2 shots

Round Two, Out-Goers
High 1:  3 shots
High 2:  4 shots
High 3:  4 shots
High 4:  2 shots
Low 4:  2 shots
Low 5:  4 shots
Low 6:  4 shots
Low 7:  2 shots





How to Practice:  A Four Round Routine for Improvement

Instructor’s Forum

Round Three, Doubles
Station One:  3 pair
Station Two:  3 pair
Station Six:  3 pair
Station Seven:  3 pair
One extra shot where needed

Round Four
Regular round of skeet

The key to this routine for beginners is to start with round one and progress to round two only when hitting at least 20 out of 25 targets.  Progress to round 3 when breaking at least 20 in round 2 and the final round when breaking at least 20 doubles. 

Experienced shooters should be looking for 25 straights in each round.  Start with round one to be sure you are not giving up any “easy” targets.  Remember...practice with a purpose!

looking at his/her barrel or bead trying to “line-up” the shot (what we don’t want!).  Unfortunately this problem can be difficult to correct, especially when the “aiming”  habit is near permanent.

To be successful with a shotgun we need to forget everything we ever learned about rifle shooting and think about what we learned in baseball.  When learning to catch a fly ball or hit a pitch we were taught to “keep your eye on the ball”.  If an outfielder takes their eye off the ball for even a split second, they will probably not make the catch, or worse yet be making a trip to the dentist!  Looking at your bead or barrel when shotgunning is like looking at your glove when catching a fly ball or looking at the bat when trying to hit a pitch.

If your gun fits you properly and

Perhaps one of the most common problems I see with my beginning students is aiming of the shotgun.  Aiming requires constant focusing and re-focusing of your eyes from the bead/barrel to the target. 

Unfortunately, the human eye can only focus sharply on one object at a time so when focus goes to the barrel, focus on the target is lost.  To consistently hit moving targets requires razor-sharp focus on the target from the time the target is in the air to the time the target is killed or broken.

As an instructor, “aimers” are easy to spot.  When they swing on a target, the gun moves, then it stops, then it moves, then it stops, then it moves, then it stops.  When the gun is moving, I know the shooter is looking at the target (what we want).  When the gun stops, I know the shooter is

you are using the correct choke for the given target, the shot only needs to be somewhere in front of the target.  Think of this as throwing a handful of gravel into a pond.  The shotgun is sending a swarm of shot out in front of the target.

One way to make shooting more like baseball is to use your left index finger (for right-handed shooters) to “point” down the left side of the shotgun’s forearm.  Once the target is in the air keep total focus on the front edge of the target and just point your finger at the front edge, to somewhere slightly in front of the target.  When you feel like you really see the target well, simply pull the trigger and continue focusing on the dead bird or broken target pieces.



Pointing Your Way to Shooting Success

Beginner’s Corner

Text Box: Finger-pointing exercises can be very effective practice for those having trouble with target focus..  Be sure to pay the club for all the targets you use during these exercises.

Sporting Clays Specialties:  Dealing With Rabbits

Target Tactics

the target speed.  The most common place to miss a rabbit due to loss of target focus is in front of the target (since the swing speed is still moving relative to the initial target speed).  The solution is to focus intensely on the center ring of the target from the time of target appearance through the execution of the shot.

Reason #2: 
Hold Point Too High

In order to properly focus on the target as discussed in reason # 1, we need to be sure our shotgun does not obstruct the target flight path and the view of the target as it moves along that path.  Since rabbits are presented on the ground, the vertical component of the hold point should also be at the ground, slightly below the flight path.  This low hold point

Hang around sporting clays shooters long enough and you will find there are those who love rabbits and those who hate them!  For some, it just seems unnatural to shoot an earth-bound target with a shotgun.  This article will address some of the most common reasons people miss rabbits and provide some solutions to help put more Xs on the scorecard.

Reason #1:
Lack of Target Focus

Given the weight of a rabbit target and the fact that the target is rolling along the ground, the rabbit is constantly losing speed from the time it leaves the trap.  The shooter must have intense focus on the target as soon as the target appears in order to produce a swing speed matching

will ensure the target appears over the barrels of the shotgun where it can be seen.

Reason #3: 
Too Much Weight on the Back Foot

The final reason we will discuss here deals with stance and weight distribution.  Many shooters adopt an upright “rifleman’s” stance when shooting rabbit targets on a sporting clays course.  Approximately 65% of your weight should be on the front foot when in the proper shooting stance.  If the weight distribution is closer to 50/50, or more weight on the rear foot, the result is often a poor move and a miss over the top of the target.  Remember to keep your “nose over toes” to maintain the proper weight distribution.

Text Box: The rabbit (shown lower-right) is the thickest and sturdiest of all sporting clays targets. Focus hard on the center ring of the target to make the target appear slower.

Preheat oven to 400°.  In large pot, bring chicken broth/stock to a boil.  Add  meat, all vegetables, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.  Add half and half.  In a separate pan, melt the butter and mix in flour with a fork until well combined.  Stir butter/flour into the pheasant/vegetable mix to thicken.

Line pie pan or baking dish with one of the crusts.  Pour in pheasant/vegetable mix until the baking dish is level-full.  Place second crust on top and seal edges.  Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.

One of my all-time favorite recipes growing up was Mom’s chicken pot pie.  I’ve since adapted the recipe for pheasant.
Leg and breast meat (cooked, de-boned and chopped) from one or two pheasants
2 Pie crusts
2, 14oz cans chicken broth/stock
1 cup green peas
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup corn
4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
One large onion (diced)
4 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cups half and half
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour

Special Notes
One way to speed up preparation of this recipe is to cook the meat in a slow-cooker.  In the morning, place the meat in slow-cooker, cover with water and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and bay-leaves.  Cook on low all day.  When you return from the field the meat will be fully cooked.  In addition it will be very easy to remove small bones and tendons from the leg meat.

This recipe works equally well with wild turkey.  Enjoy!

Pheasant Pot-Pie


Wingshooter’s Cookbook

Scholastic Update:

Scholastic Shooting Supplies Program


Club Directory:  Where to shoot in central Iowa


Ben Berka receives NSSA Level II Skeet




Book Review:   
A Pocket Guide For Skeet Shooters


Instructor’s Forum:
4 Round Skeet Practice Routine


Target Tactics: 

Dealing With



Beginner’s Corner:  Getting to The Point



Pheasant Pot-Pie