Category Archives: Shooting

Annual Christmas trip to the country…

Over Christmas break, I usually try to take advantage of the fact that my folks live on an eastern NC farm, and that means it’s politically correct to shoot clay birds in the back yard, and to walk to the woods with a gun in your hand. We had a box of 90 clay birds, and a quick trip to Walmart procured a box of 100 shotshells. My dad, my sister, my son Jason and I went to the field behind the house and set up the trap. I started by missing about 5 birds in a row, but dialed it in after that, and hit about 80% of the remaining birds. Good fun!

The next day, Jan, Jason and Jeff headed back to Chapel Hill. That afternoon, I picked up my over/under and a variety of shotshells and walked to the back of the “Coot Field,” across the road from the house. I had a few bird shells, a few squirrel shells, and a few buckshot…just to cover all the bases. I walked by old marl holes, past the rifle range, and down the path through the pine plantation. Jumped over the water running from the swamp and headed for the small patch of swamp hardwoods. Walked around a bit, admired a cyprus tree, and sat on a log for about 30 minutes. Watched a couple of Pileated woodpeckers fly in for some “grub” 😉 . The last one flew close and spotted me, so I thought I’d move a bit where any squirrels or deer might not see me as well. I sat beneath a large oak, and watched the sun slowly set. A racoon ambled by, about 25 yards away, oblivious to my presence. A squirrel danced across the leaves and up a tree. I looked at him and said “bang,” deciding that I really didn’t want to shoot any squirrels that day. Other squirrels hopped around in the growing darkness. I decided it was time to head back. At the edge of the field, I saw my dad, who’d decided to drive to the back of the field and wait for me. However, he’d gotten the truck stuck, and we both had to walk back 😉 Came back the next morning with the FourRunner and a chain, and pulled the truck out.

Need to kickstart the old blog…

It’s been just over a month since my last posting. I’ve thought about several things to blog on, but somehow it never happened. Lots of excuses, busy at work and at home. I’ve taken on the role of District Chairman for Orange District, Boy Scouts of America…that will keep me busy. However, if I don’t tend my digital garden, no one else will (they better not, ’cause then I’ve been hacked 😉 ). I’m off work until January 4th, so hopefully I’ll have something to say. I have read a couple of books, Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. I really liked Cryptonomicon, and the Lost Symbol felt like a lightweight after reading Cryptonomicon. I should do a book review of that one. Over Winter Break, I’ll try to catch up on my RSS feeds, update all the computers in the house, do a few blog entries, maybe go winter trout fishing, shoot some clay birds…hmmm…better take off a few more days!

Jan and I have done a few fun things. The weekend before Thanksgiving, we hopped a plane to Buffalo to catch the last stop on the Rippington’s 2009 concert tour (great show!). Also did a quick trip to Niagara Falls while we were there. So, what’s a question that you don’t answer affirmatively to the border agent on the Canadian border? Do you have any firearms on your person? Sure, I alway pack heat when I visit tourist destinations…geez, what the world must think of us Americans 😉 . Oh well…

Also, in early December, did the annual Chapel Hill Wine Company Champagne dinner at Acme Food & Beverage in Carrboro. Great food; Champagne really is a great dinner wine.

Can’t think of much else now…to be continued!

Back yard clay birds…

The great thing about living in the country, like my family does, is that you can go out behind the house and shoot clay birds and not bother anyone. December 28th of this year was an unseasonable, shirt-sleeve day…my son Jason and my dad went to the store and picked up a box of 90 clay birds and 100 shot shells. We got the trap out of the barn, and mounted it on the post where we usually shoot, right behind my mom & dad’s house. We shot well, though the day was windy, with some “junk” on the birds, and despite the fact that Jason nor I had fired a shotgun in about a year. Here are a couple of pictures, first of Jason, then of me. Finally, a short video of Jason (with my dad pulling the trap). Sorry about the wind noise on the audio, it was really gusting a couple of times there.

Enjoying some nice weather for Thanksgiving!

I’m in Winterville, NC, visiting my folks for the Thanksgiving holiday…got in Wednesday evening, and had steamed oysters at Wimpies. Got in early enough to go to the rifle range and shoot a bit. My neighbor has arranged a place to go deer hunting, and I hope to get out there later this weekend. I fired a few shots with my .30-.30 to make sure I could hit what I was shooting at. I can still roll a tin can at 50 yards, shooting offhand ;-). My dad is also going to let me borrow a .30-40 Krag he has (with a scope, better for low light conditions). Who knows, I may get a deer.

We’ll probably go to the range again this afternoon to shoot. It’s supposed to rain today and turn much colder, so we’ll try to get out before then. It’s very warm right now, upper 70’s and sunny, but quite windy. I doubt we try to shoot any clay pigeons, as the wind would really put some “junk” on them…

Hope all y’all that celebrate Thanksgiving have a chance to visit family this weekend.

Clay birds & .22 tin cans

One of the things that I enjoy doing when I visit my parents is stepping back to “country boy” mode and shooting clay birds in the “back yard” and and walking down to the range to plink at tin cans with a .22 pistol. Although the weather this Christmas was wet and blustery, we found time to get out and shoot a bit. Here’s a picture of my oldest son, Jason, bearing down on a clay bird. Your intrepid correspondent got in on the action a bit, too. I shot very well, considering it’s been several months since I’ve been to the skeet range.

Earlier in the day, Jason and I walked to the field across the road from the house, and down the muddy field road about 1/2 mile to the rifle/pistol range. I took my Browning Buck Mark, and Jason took my dad’s Ruger. We went through a couple hundred rounds in short order, spinning cans all around the backstop. Great way to spend part of the day.


Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family and slow down from the hectic pace of today’s life. I had a chance to visit my family in Pitt County, and sit down for a nice meal on Thursday evening. My 15-year old son clearly didn’t want his picture taken :-). Got out on Friday and to do some quail hunting, with my dad and oldest son. Didn’t find any quail, but it was a nice walk through the woods and fields. Shot some clay birds later on, and my dad and son both outshot me (but that’s typical). Went through about 5 boxes of shells, until the mainspring in the trap broke. Hmmm…think that’s what I’ll get my dad for Christmas!

Shooting clay birds!

Got out today to enjoy some of this excellent November weather. Went to Buckhorn Gun Club (off Mt. Willing Road, south of I85) for a couple of rounds of skeet. My first round was only 19/25, as I missed one from station 3 & 5, both from station 4, and a couple of others…my second round was better, 22/25, and should have been 23/25, as I missed one that I usually hit about 98% of the time. I missed the high house birds from station 3 and station 4, and the low house bird on station 8. That’s the one I usually powder. Took my “extra” shot on that one, and promptly pasted the bird.

One thing that I have to keep reminding myself is that it’s very hard to shoot in front of the bird, but quite easy to shoot behind one. Remember that your shot column is about 30 inches long when it gets to the bird. Even if you lead too much, you are likely to hit the bird with the tail of the shot column — but once behind, always behind 😉