Inanimate Bird Shooting was developed in 1921 in the UK when live pigeon sports were outlawed. The sport consists of shooting at round targets, called “birds” or “clay pigeons”, made of pitch and clay. To shoot one if these targets is called a “hit” or “kill”, to miss one is called “bird away”. The mechanism that throws the “birds” is called a trap. The sport is also known as trap shooting. Other forms are “skeet shooting” and “sporting clays”.
There is a difference between trap shooting and skeet shooting. In trap shooting the birds come out of the trap in a straight line. They can go either straight ahead, straight to the right, or straight to the left. In skeet shooting the birds come out of a tower at different heights and different angles. They can go high in the sky to simulate shooting live birds or they can be close to the ground like hunting rabbits. A real challenge for skeet shooters is when two towers are used and the birds come out at different angles.
Inanimate bird shooting targets are made of clay and are in the shape of an inverted saucer. They come in several sizes and colors that are used for different events and shooting conditions. They leave the trap at very high speed to increase the challenge of hitting them. Orange is the most popular color. It’s easiest to see in most conditions. Other colors are black, yellow and white. The styles of birds depend on the event being played to a certain degree. The Standard bird is the most common. It has a diameter of 110 mm, weighs 105 grams, and is 25 – 26 mm high. The Midi has only a 90 mm diameter but is the same shape as the standard. The Mini is only 66 mm in diameter and is nicknamed “a flying bumble bee” at a height of only 20 mm. The Battue is a very fast bird. It also falls suddenly. It is thin, flat, has a 110 mm diameter. It is more of a wafer shape. The Rabbit is designed like a wheel so it “runs” on the ground. It’s a thicker, flat, standard sized target. The ZZ flies in an unpredictable manner. It zigzags. It is made of plastic, is standard sized and is attached to the center of a two-bladed propeller that is a different color than the “bird” Inanimate bird shooting targets are unique and a are a challenge to those trying to hit them.
Inanimate bird shooting is usually done as a team sport and there is an etiquette that goes with it. The line of shooters consists of five participants. When it’s time for someone to shoot they pull up their shotgun and yell “pull”. This is the signal to release the bird. The shooter has to be quick to find the target and make a kill. When everyone has had their turn they start over with the first person for another round. This continues until the box of shells (25) is gone. If someone hits 25 out of 25 they are either very skilled or really lucky 🙂 If you are interested, locate your local shooting range and try a round or two. You might find it as enjoyable and the thousands of people already doing it.
My husband and I both did inanimate bird shooting (trap, not skeet) for several years. My husband shot a few 25’s over the years and my average was 22. I hit 24 a couple of times but never could catch that illusive 25th bird. We shot together and competed against ourselves and each other. If I had the opportunity I would love to see if I could still hit something.