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What is Skeet Shooting?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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Skeet shooting is a type of target sport in which the shooter uses a shotgun to hit moving clay targets, which are sometimes referred to as "clay pigeons." There are many regional clubs where members have skeet shooting competitions, and skeet shooting is also a competitive sport in the Olympic games, although it is only open to men.

Skeet shooting was invented by a bird hunter, Charles E. Davies, in 1915 under the original name of "clock shooting." The game was modified slightly and reached a wider audience over the coming years, and in 1926, Davies held a contest to determine a new name for his target shooting game. The winner was Gertrude Hurlbutt, of Dayton, Montana. Her entry, skeet, was based on the Scandinavian word for shooting. The new sport of skeet shooting became very popular throughout the United States, and was even used for a practical purpose: during World War II, soldiers practiced skeet shooting to master shooting at flying or moving targets during wartime.

Today, skeet shooting is a common hobby for people of all ages. Though most fans of the sport are male, there are also a fair number of women involved with skeet shooting. For friends or families, skeet shooting together at a sporting club can be a fun activity. For the serious skeet shooter, there are a wide variety of skeet shooting competitions all over the country.

To get involved with the sport of skeet shooting, you will need to purchase a shotgun, ammunition, and safety gear, such as a shooting vest and safety goggles. If you have a large, private yard, and would rather shoot there than at a club, you can purchase your own clay traps and discs. If you have never done shooting of any kind before, you should also enroll in a gun safety course, which will teach you about proper use and storage of your shotgun. If you have children in the home, or ever have children over to visit, such a course is essential to keep your house safe.

For hunters, or those who just enjoy target sports, skeet shooting can be a fun way to pass the time. If you enjoy skeet shooting, you can also try other target sports such as trap shooting and sporting clays.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By RocketLanch8 — On Aug 01, 2014

I like to go skeet shooting every weekend, if I can. I even thought about entering some skeet shooting competitions, but I need to work on my consistency first. I have good days and bad days, but those guys who compete in NSSA skeet shooting contests almost always have good days or even better days.

By AnswerMan — On Jul 31, 2014

I tried skeet shooting at a range near my house one time, and I never really got the hang of it. I think I may have hit two skeet shooting targets the entire time. Shooting skeet is a lot harder than it looks.

One of the instructors at an indoor skeet shooting range took pity on me and showed me the proper technique. He said I was shooting where the target WAS, not where it WILL BE. In other words, I had to get ahead of the target and shoot at a spot in its path. Because I was using a skeet shooting shotgun, there would be a little bit of a spread with the buckshot. I didn't have to hit the clay target dead on.

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