SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in cooperation with a number of partners and co-sponsors, today announced its schedule of wingshooting clinics to be held at sites throughout Illinois from March through mid-November.
Wingshooting clinics are intended to provide instruction and improve the shooting skills of beginning shooting students as well as 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 successfully at flying clay targets. 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. Most youth/women’s clinics are provided at no cost to participants, or have a nominal registration fee. Shotguns, shotshells, clay targets, safety glasses and hearing protection are provided.
Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-on and include extensive opportunities to shoot a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for hunters. From ducks and doves to pheasants, quail and rabbits, hunters will find clay target presentations that resemble their favorite and most troublesome hunting shots. 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 4-hour shooting session. The clinics are designed primarily to improve the wingshooting skills of hunters but are not limited only to 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 these 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. The hunter clinic fee ranges from $30 to $35 per participant.
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 2019 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 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.
Another special type of wingshooting clinic involves combining a youth wingshooting clinic with a pheasant hunt. Advantages of this combination of activities for the participating young hunters includes enhanced shotgun safety training, improved wingshooting skills and higher success when afield hunting. There are nine of these wingshooting clinic/pheasant hunts scheduled during the spring and fall in 2019.
To access the 2019 IDNR Wingshooting Opportunities Schedule and information on registering for clinics, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/wingshooting/Pages/default.aspx.