Trapshooting triggers a growing popularity

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Trapshooting triggers a growing popularity

In days gone by, people lived by hunting, fishing and foraging for wild grains and berries. These days, however, most people frown upon tracking dinner through the city streets. Instead, the hunting tradition continues in the form of leisure sports.

Shooting is one of those activities that people have been enjoying for a long time. Some shooters such as hunters go after real animals, but others aim at lifeless targets.

If you feel inclined to follow your ancestors' footsteps, you can try trap shooting. It is a harmless way to enjoy the fun of blasting something out of the sky.

Je Yeong-I, an office worker, dropped by the Western Valley shooting range in Pocheon county, Gyeonggi province, last week. Ms. Je has become devoted to trapshooting. "At first, I was very scared of the noise made by the gun," Ms. Je said, "but these days I feel euphoric whenever I hit a clay pigeon."

Also at the range this day were several members of the Namyangju City Shooting Association. All were shooting at the clay pigeon targets.

It only takes a few simple lessons to learn how to shoot, but a lot of practice to hit the arcing targets with consistency. The first step is to load a rifle with two shells. A shotgun usually weighs between 3.5 and 4.5 kilograms and each shell contains 280 to 320 pellets. Next, aim right at a pigeon target, which pops out from 10 meters away, traveling at 60 to 70 kilometers per hour. "Pigeon" is the term for the clay targets, about 11 centimeters in diameter. Those clay targets replaced live pigeons that were once actually used.

One of the challenges about shooting is that one never knows which way the clay pigeon will head - to the left, right or straight. You say "go" to signal you want a pigeon to be released.

After that, you only have a couple of seconds to shoot the pigeon before it crashes to the ground. Choi Wu-jeong, a director of the Namyangju City Shooting Association, gave some advice: "Forget about hitting a pigeon cleanly or aiming right. Instead, just follow the path of the pigeon naturally."

Another charm of the sport is the sensation one gets from making a hit. The shattering sound the target makes when you hit it is invigorating. "Trapshooting is an activity that is good for your mental health since it requires a shooter to keep calm and concentrate all the time," Mr. Choi said.

There are about 10 ranges where you can go trapshooting throughout the peninsula.

For beginners, the cost is between 15,000 won (about $12) and 30,000 won to shoot a round of 25 clay pigeons.

Those who join the Korea Shooting Association and pay an annual 50,000 won fee can enjoy shooting at the Taeneung range for just 22,000 won, 6,000 won less than the regular price. For more information, call 02-971-9418.

Also, there are some Web sites such as Netports, www.netports.co.kr, and Nexfree, www.nexfree.com, that offer discounts on trapshooting to their members.



by Sung Si-yoon

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