Sunday, February 11, 2007

More Boom. Jack asked me a few weeks ago if I would be interested in looking into trap and skeet shooting with him. This is the sport where one shoots a shotgun at a "clay pigeon" thrown up in the air by man or machine. I said yes (of course), and yesterday we went to Trail Glades Range, an outdoor shooting range owned by the Metro-Dade Park system out on the Tamiami Trail. There are trap and skit ranges there. The clay pigeons are launched by machines.

I had no idea what "trap and skeet" meant until yesterday. They turn out to be two different ways in which the clay pigeon (the "bird") is launched. Trap is where the bird is thrown up before and roughly away from you. Skeet is where the bird is thrown across, from your left to right or your right to left. These two "games" mimic the way in which wild fowl present themselves to the hunter.

One of the range officers told us that "trap" is easier to learn, but harder to master and that "skeet" is harder to learn but easier to master. It all look pretty hard to me.

The person at the main desk of the range told us that there are two skeet and trap clubs there. There are always two organizations of a kind in Miami-Dade, though less so in the last 15 years, a "Cuban-American" club, for "Cuban-Americans", and the older club (I'll call it "the American club"), which would also be for "Cuban-Americans" and the rest of us too. As the "Cuban-Americans" are now into their third generation here (and becoming more comfortable in English than Spanish), I look forward to getting back to single organizations.

I think it important to note several things about this dualism. First, I learned that the American club, the older club, had built the clubhouse. The other club came later. It was also housed in the American clubhouse, because the American club made it available to them. Second, there was no one there from the CA club, but there were a half dozen or more from the American club. They welcomed us, among them one of the board members. His name was Carlos. May the CA Club soon become part of the history of South Florida, if it is not already so. (And, no, there is absolutely no way I will support Tancredo. I thought I made myself clear on that.)

But the subject is boom and I digress.

The club (I will hereinafter refer to the American club as "the club') has its own trap and skeet range, separate from the ones used by the public. The men we met from the club were using it. They were using it when we walked up, and using it as we left about an hour later. They were doing skeet the entire time. They were good. The range officer we talked to said they were very good. They hit the bird almost every time, where the people we viewed on the public range seemed to hit the birds less than half the time. The men from the club used shotguns that had one barrel on top of the other, "over and unders", and the barrel section of the gun broke open from the stock section for loading. Jack remarked that he liked that part, because you knew that the people walking around with those kinds shotguns were not going to accidentally shoot you, because the practice was to load the guns and snap the barrel to the stock only as it was your turn to shoot. The club men otherwise walked around with the guns broken open and, of course, unloaded. The people on the public ranges had an assortment of types, including semi-automatic and pump types. You would have no idea with these sorts of guns whether they were loaded or unloaded, as far as I could tell.

We also met Bill from the club, he drives from Boca. We met the president, Jerry, he drives from Hollywood. These men must love this sport, and the club must be a good one.

Jerry told me that Homeland Security had just given the county $7 million dollars to upgrade the entire Trail Glades facility, because they want to encourage people to learn how to use guns. That is pretty interesting, but will that point of view change when Hillary is elected?

We didn't do any shooting ourselves, however. One can rent shotguns there, but I was shy of it. I haven't ever fired a shotgun, much less shoot something out of the air which, at first, I had a hard time even seeing. I am going to have to go apart and think about this a little. Meantime, I did what I usually do in these situations. I bought a book.

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