Nottinghamshire-based Marie Stacey is building up her skills as a clay pigeon shooter. When she's not at Pegasus Planning, where she's a senior planner, Stacey is loading up, taking aim, and squeezing the trigger.
How did you get into clay pigeon shooting?
I first went shooting at a friend's hen do about a year ago. Many of my planning clients have agricultural backgrounds such as landowners and farmers and I've often been invited to have a pop at clay pigeon shooting, but felt a bit nervous. When I eventually picked up a gun and fired a couple of shots, that was it, I was hooked.
What does it involve?
Every Saturday you'll find me at Orston Shooting Range, on a 'skeet' where a clay target is thrown from a trap to simulate the flight of a bird. If you want to own a gun – which can cost anything from £600 for a second-hand weapon to tens of thousands of pounds - you have to go through police checks, but for now I borrow one. It's quite a competitive sport but people are very friendly and always offering advice. I'm not up to competitor standard yet and will take my time – I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Why do you do it?
Clay pigeon shooting is a great sport, as it involves so many skills - concentration, alertness, steady nerves and a no-less steady hand. It calls for lots of focus, when you take aim and squeeze the trigger you have to block out everything else and concentrate only on the shot.
What’s the toughest thing about it?
Each day is different; you may be a great shot one day and the next it all falls apart, which can be disconcerting.
What’s the most rewarding thing about it?
Hitting the clay dead centre, not just clipping it, is amazing. The skeet is 25 shoots and I'm averaging 19 perfect hits – not bad but room for improvement.
Are there any similarities between your day job and clay pigeon shooting?
Both job and hobby require loads of focus: you have to treat each situation differently and weigh up the unique angles and nuances.
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