Kristen Monroe lives for the great outdoors and is always seeking to learn something new that will lead her on her next adventure. So with the opportunity to “bust some clays” at a NRA Women on Target shotgun shooting skills class, do you think she’d say no? No chance.
I live by this motto; Get the most out of the great outdoors, learn all you can and teach others what you learn. My quest of becoming a knowledgeable outdoors enthusiast has only just begun. To become a better hunter, I practice shooting when I can, talk to experts and read. Recently, I decided to hone in on my shotgun shooting skills by taking the NRA Women on Target Shotgun
class sponsored by the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Picture fourteen women learning everything one needs to know to effectively shoot a shotgun. We started with a lesson in safety, followed by the mechanics of a shotgun, and shooting fundamentals. NRA instructor of 25 years, Kevin Monk and Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, added personality to the lessons that kept it interesting. They gave everyone in the room the confidence to shoot a shotgun that day. The fun really began when we were able put our newly learned lessons to the test.
Not only was it a test of our shooting skills, it was also a test of our teachers. Would any of us be able to break clays? Each shooter had their own certified NRA instructor to guide them along the way. The first one up to shoot was Susan Hriljac, she fired the gun with the whole class watching and sure enough the clay broke into pieces. With cheers from everyone, Sue beamed and was actually shaking from all the excitement. I will never forget the look of accomplishment on her face. Another lady named Diane nudged me and said, “I haven’t done this in twenty -six years, and I am scared to death.” Diane stepped up and broke 4 out of 5 clays.
My shotgun hunting adventures started last year - there were many new things I took from this class. I discovered the shotgun I own doesn’t really fit my properly, it’s also tad long. Pearson explained discovering your length of pull is necessary and determines what size gun stock will fit you best. Bend your arm 90 degrees, then measure from the inside of the elbow, straight down the forearm to the middle of the pad on your trigger finger. Pick up your shotgun, if you can successfully reach the trigger while the butt of the gun is next to the inside of your elbow you have the right size.
I also learned a trick taking care of my cross-dominance. I am right handed and left eyed dominant. The best way to deal with this problem was to shoot with both eyes open and use adhesive tape on my shooting glasses to cover my left eye. Since the tape blurred the vision in my left eye, my brain was forced to rely on the suppressed right eye for information. Before I took this class I saw nothing wrong with closing my left and squinting a bit. Apparently, when you close one eye you cause your open eye to strain.
Increase your knowledge about the wilderness and shooting and both eyes will open up to the greater things they have to offer.