SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in cooperation with a number of partners and co-sponsors, will conduct wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois this spring through mid-November.
Wingshooting clinics are intended to provide instruction and improve the shooting skills of beginners and experienced hunters. Most clinics are conducted on weekends at IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs and shooting ranges, hunting preserves, and farms.
Youth/Women’s Wingshooting Clinics are designed to provide instruction on safely shooting a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Girls and boys ages 10-15, young adults ages 16-18, and women of all ages are eligible to participate. Each clinic starts with a morning shotgun safety presentation, followed by a short small-group hands-on shotgun orientation session with each group’s wingshooting instructor. After a lunch break, students spend the afternoon in the field shooting flying clay targets on presentations designed for beginning and novice shooters. Not only do the students learn to safely handle and shoot a shotgun, but they learn that being skilled at shooting clay targets is a lot of fun.
Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for hunters. Hunter wingshooting clinics consist of two wingshooting sessions each day. A short briefing about shotgun safety and handling and on-range safety protocols occurs during the first 15 minutes of each four-hour shooting session. The clinics are designed primarily to improve the wingshooting skills of hunters, but are not limited to only hunters. The clinics are designed for shotgun shooters with reasonable experience.
Young shooters ages 12 to 15 must be in at least the “Intermediate” skill level category to enroll in the hunter clinics. Young shooters 12 to 15 must also be accompanied by and shooting with an adult who is participating in the hunter clinic. Shotgun shooters 16 and older with beginning to advanced wingshooting skills who want to improve their shotgun shooting skills are encouraged to attend.
Clinics are taught by instructors certified by the IDNR. Many clinic instructors also have a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) instructor certification. The participant-to-instructor ratio is usually four-to-one. Participants are typically grouped with others of similar shooting ability.
The 2017 clinic schedule includes several special events. The IDNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program offers shotgun shooting classes as part of an extensive outdoor skills program. The BOW classes taught by IDNR wingshooting instructors are among the most popular classes with participants. During the National Hunting and Fishing Day activities at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in September, the opportunity to shoot clay targets is available under the supervision of IDNR Hunter Safety Instructors. The Healing Outside of a Hospital (HOOAH) Program provides sporting clays shooting opportunities under the supervision of IDNR wingshooting instructors to active duty military personnel recovering from injuries, and to veterans with disabilities.
To access the 2017 IDNR Wingshooting Clinics schedule and information on registering for clinics, check the IDNR Wingshooting webpage at the following link: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/wingshooting/Pages/default.aspx.