SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in cooperation with partners and co-sponsors, will conduct wingshooting clinics 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 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 and successfully shooting a shotgun 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 while some 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. The clinics consist of two wingshooting sessions each day. A short briefing about shotgun safety, handling and on-range safety protocols occurs during the first 15 minutes of each four-hour shooting session. The clinics, designed for shotgun shooters with reasonable experience, will improve the wingshooting skills of hunters and others who enjoy shooting sports. 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 fee is $30 or $35 per participant for hunter clinics.
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 2020 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 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 eight of these wingshooting clinic/pheasant hunts planned during the spring and fall in 2020.
To access the 2020 IDNR Wingshooting Clinic Schedule and information on registering for clinics, check the IDNR Website at www.dnr.illinois.gov. The Wingshooting webpage can be accessed directly at the following link: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/wingshooting/Pages/default.aspx.