A love of the outdoors inspires an engaging sporting experience that caters for novice shooters and expert shots.

Story By Kathy Mexted

A shrill blast from the shoot master’s whistle starts the annual team event, The Cobaw Cup, and four team members simultaneously shoulder their shotguns. The first flying targets pass overhead. The captain takes two fast-moving clays, a right and a left, while his teammates pivot, their sights aimed high, chasing the rest. The exertion of lifting and lowering the weapon to reload about 25 times in quick succession, while trying to keep up with the barrage of targets, certainly concentrates the mind and gets the adrenalin pumping, and the smell of burnt gunpowder blending with freshly cut grass creates a heady mix in the still morning air.
During this first drive hundreds of clay pigeons whirr by. Some are crossing, some high overhead and others sideways – each coursing unpredictably over its 100-metre journey. After each couple of shots, the gun is broken open and spent cartridges are pumped out in a dramatic puff of smoke. An eager ‘stuffer’ stands at the shooter’s side ready to replace them from a leather bag around his neck. This speed of cartridge replacement is both an art and an exercise in teamwork.
Sixteen traps, some of which are on four high towers, enable more than a dozen clay targets to be released in many configurations. They are controlled using an electronic remote-release system and the aim of the exercise is for each team to hit as many targets as possible. Fifty metres behind the team are a couple of counters noting how many targets pass through untouched. The other four teams are watching from the sidelines. The team with the highest strike rate is the winner and by the third round there are friendly wagers being made about the outcome. Nearby, an experienced shooter claims this to be the best simulated target ground in Australia.

This story excerpt is from Issue #76

Outback Magazine: April/May 2011