DAN ALDERMAN, Adventure guy, Austin, Texas
How did I not know about this place?
A little west of Austin sits a slice of Hill Country heaven where you’re encouraged to show off your man-card proudly. With a heaping helping of Jeeps, ATV’s, rifles, pistols and shotguns a guy could OD on adrenaline. The 2100 acres of beautiful, just off FM1431 near Marble Falls, is called Hidden Falls Adventure Park http://www.hiddenfallsadventurepark.com and Copperhead Creek Shooting Club http://www.copperheadclub.com. More about Hidden Falls another time because today was all about spending some time Copperhead Creek’s sporting clays course.
Copperhead Creek sells memberships, however they are open to the public on weekends as long as they don’t have tournaments running or private parties. The club is one of the most complete gun clubs I’ve seen and offers rifle lanes that range from 50 – 600 yards, 25 covered pistol lanes and 8 tactical ranges. But it’s shotgunning that I’ve come for! And although they offer tournament quality skeet and trap, I wanted to train for upland bird hunting so the Copperhead Creek sporting clays course fit the bill.
Golf with a shotgun – yes please!
If you’ve never shot on a sporting clays course then let me give you a little background. If you play golf, think it’s the most frustrating “game” ever and get to about the 7th hole and want to shoot something, then sporting clays is right up your alley. The course consists of 17 different stations that meander through the countryside with each throwing clay pigeons in random directions and random heights. Some fly out and up, some fly across, some fly at you and some even roll across the ground which mimics a rabbit. The National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) out of San Antonio has some great information and gives a lot more details – http://www.nsca.nssa-nsca.org/what-is-sporting-clays-2/. The bottom line is that it’s never the same target twice and it’s freaking FUN!
Now I’ve shot skeet and trap as well as hunted pheasant and dove but I’m a horrible shot! If I actually hit something, it’s typically based on the “even a blind squirrel finds a nut” theory of luck. Enter Martin Jones. Martin is a level 3 NSCA instructor and although the dude is Old School he can shoot. Going back to my golf analogy, I love shooting but I frustratingly suck and if I had any hope of actually hitting something it would take someone like Martin to show me what I was doing wrong.
Stop Thinking and Start Shooting
After meeting Martin at the course, he had me take a few shots to “warm up at one of the easier stations which immediately showed a few things that I was doing wrong. He showed me how to properly move and mount the gun, lead the target and most importantly to watch the bird and not the gun. Which is pretty damn hard since it is right next to your eye! After I stopped thinking and just started shooting, the clays were breaking left and right. I was hitting wobblers, crossers and overhead flyers. Like hitting a sweet golf shot, there’s something about shattering a whirling clay pigeon into a million pieces that brings a level of stoke.
That’s a heck of a deal!
Copperhead is a great daytrip for guys that don’t have a lot of time or money but want to do something that involves guns and talking trash to your friends! The club charges $28 for 50 clays on the sporting clays course which will get you all the way around including mulligans. For about the cost of playing a round of golf at the local muni and 1/3 of the time, you can go shoot the full sporting clays course and stay tuned up during the hunting offseason. So take a little trip out to the Copperhead Creek sporting clays course and experience how much fun bustin’ clays can be.