Hunting season is a distant memory, and you’re going to struggle when the doves start flying this fall if you don’t keep yourself in shotgun shape. Have no fear, that’s what shooting sporting clays is for. 

Any dove hunter can tell you, there is a world of difference between shooting at those small feathered rockets and shooting at the round discs of clay. They’ll also agree that just holding the gun, swinging it, acquiring the target, and pulling the trigger are all functions that benefit from repetition and practice, and that will pay off in the fall. 

So there you are, shooting away at clays, and you find that this is actually a pretty addicting sport. Made up of numerous stations that launch clays at various speeds, angles, and distances, a sporting clays course has been called the golf course of shotgunning by many outdoorsmen.

Before you know it, you’re halfway through the course, your shotgun is operating as an extension of your body, and you can’t seem to miss. Ohhh. Well, there goes that feeling, but you’ll get it back at the next station.

You’re done and it’s time to tally up the score. Your buddy that invited you started off hitting everything as you struggled to warm up, but then you came on strong in the last half of the course, so maybe you overtook him? Hmmm, finished in the middle of the pack – not too bad considering you haven’t taken a shot in months.

Suddenly the score isn't as important as that feeling in your stomach. It’s not nerves; you’re hungry as a horse! Now you’ve got to get back to your truck, load up, and then find a place to eat. 

It’s going to be tough eating with the guy that finished on top. He’s already a burden with his bragging, but he deserves it and maybe some steak will quiet him down. And the guy that finished last? Oh man, he’s sulking like you don’t want to know, and that’s not going to be fun.

What you’d really like to do is mingle with some of the other shooters that were ahead of and behind your group. That cute brunette with the Benelli that raised her eyebrows when you scored that double would be a joy to eat with. And you'd like to find out more about that modified Blaser the guy behind your group was shooting. Too bad there’s not something like…..wait a minute….that’s right, you’re at the Clinton House Plantation, and it’s Shoot and Dine night!

You had your shotgun fun, and now it’s time to chow down on some lowcountry boil and mingle with all the other shooters. It’s the best of both worlds! 

The next Shoot and Dine night at Clinton House Plantation is May 26. Shooters get 50 clays apiece, with the shoot starting at 5 p.m., followed by the meal at 7. You can RSVP to Mike Johnson at

Click here for more information about the Clinton House, which has much more than sporting clays.