Women in Clay Shooting: Breaking Stereotypes and Shattering Clays

The world of clay shooting has long been associated with masculinity and tradition. But in recent years, there has been a significant surge in the participation of women in this exhilarating sport. Women in clay shooting are breaking stereotypes, shattering clays, and carving out their place in what was once considered a predominantly male domain.

Empowering Women in the Clay Shooting Arena

Clay shooting encompasses various disciplines, including trap, skeet, and sporting clays. What was once viewed as a male-centric pursuit has witnessed a remarkable transformation. With more women embracing the challenge of aiming, shooting, and hitting moving clay targets with precision.

The Rise of Female Participation in Clay Shooting

Traditionally, shooting sports were often perceived as intimidating or unwelcoming for women. However, a growing number of women are challenging these perceptions and actively participating in clay shooting. The reasons for this shift are diverse, ranging from a desire for outdoor recreational activities to an interest in refining marksmanship skills.

Overcoming Stereotypes

One of the primary challenges women face in the world of clay shooting is the persistence of gender stereotypes. The image of shooting is that of a masculine activity, deeply rooted in historical associations with hunting and combat. Which can deter women from trying their hand at this sport. However, the narrative is changing as more women showcase their prowess on the shooting range.

Skill, Precision, and Determination

Clay shooting is not about physical strength; it’s about skill, precision, and determination—qualities that are not bound by gender. Women who engage in clay shooting often find that the sport provides a unique platform to showcase their capabilities on equal footing with their male counterparts. Achieving success in breaking clays requires focus, coordination, and the ability to read the flight of the target, skills that are honed through practice and dedication.

Creating a Supportive Community

As the number of women in clay shooting grows, so does the sense of community and support. Many shooting clubs and organizations actively encourage female participation, fostering an inclusive environment. This camaraderie helps women feel welcomed, supported, and inspired to pursue their passion for clay shooting.

Advancements in Equipment and Apparel

The shooting industry has responded to the increasing number of female participants by developing specialized equipment and apparel. From firearms with adjustable stocks to accommodate different body sizes to clothing designed for comfort and functionality, these innovations contribute to a more inclusive experience for women in clay shooting.

Encouraging the Next Generation

The rise of women in clay shooting is not only about the present; it’s also about inspiring future generations. Many female shooters are actively involved in mentoring programs, encouraging young girls to explore the world of shooting sports. By sharing their experiences and expertise, these women contribute to the continued growth and diversification of the clay shooting community.

Challenging Preconceptions

The involvement of women in clay shooting challenges preconceptions not only within the shooting community but also in society at large. Women are proving that they can excel in traditionally male-dominated activities, reinforcing the idea that passion and skill know no gender boundaries.


The increasing presence of women in clay shooting is a positive and transformative development in the world of shooting sports. Women are breaking stereotypes, demonstrating exceptional skill, and contributing to the evolving landscape of clay shooting. As the sport continues to attract a diverse range of enthusiasts, the contributions of women will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of clay shooting, making it an inclusive and welcoming pursuit for all.

Located in the Willamette Valley between Salem and Portland, Oregon, Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School is the premier clay target shooting range of Oregon, offering a variety of recreational and competitive shotgun sports. This shotgun-only facility is open to the public and does not require reservations. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Oregon, Mid-Valley Clays is a creative change of pace!

Mid-Valley Clays offers activities for everyone – from first-timers to experienced shooters. Our on-site Pro Shop offers everything you need to enjoy a fun day at the range – shotshells, gear, even shotgun rentals.  We have several professional shotgun instructors who are ready to help you establish and/or sharpen your shotgun shooting skills. We also offer Sporting Clays5-StandSkeet, and Trap shotgun sports.

The Art of Trap Shooting: From Novice to Sharpshooter

Trap shooting is a captivating sport that combines precision, focus, and quick reflexes. Whether you’re a novice looking to try your hand at a new hobby or an experienced shooter aiming to enhance your skills, understanding the art of trap shooting is crucial for success on the clay field.

Embracing the Basics

Trap shooting involves shooting at clay targets, commonly known as clay pigeons, released from a trap house situated in front of the shooter. The targets follow various trajectories, simulating the flight patterns of birds, and offering a dynamic and challenging experience.

For beginners, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals. Start by understanding the layout of the trap field, recognizing shooting stations, and familiarizing yourself with the trap machine. A typical trap field has five shooting stations arranged in a half-moon shape, with shooters taking turns at each station. The trap machine throws targets away from the shooter at varying angles, elevations, and speeds.

Mastering the Stance and Mount

Proper technique begins with adopting the right shooting stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, body weight slightly forward, and knees slightly bent. Your upper body should lean into the shot, ensuring stability and balance.

The gun mount is a critical element in trap shooting. Consistency is key, and the gun should come to your shoulder in the same manner every time. Practice the smooth, deliberate movement of bringing the gun to your cheek and shoulder, maintaining a fluid motion without unnecessary adjustments.

Perfecting the Swing and Lead

The “swing” in trap shooting refers to the controlled movement of your gun as you track the target. Smooth, calculated swings allow you to follow the trajectory of the clay pigeon accurately. Novices often struggle with over-swinging or stopping abruptly, leading to missed targets.

Understanding lead is another vital aspect. Lead refers to the distance you aim ahead of a moving target to account for its continued motion. For trap shooting, maintaining a consistent lead is crucial, and this skill is honed through practice and experience. Start with a modest lead and adjust based on your observations of target breaks.

Mental Preparedness

Trap shooting is not only physically demanding but also mentally challenging. Focus and concentration are paramount. Train your mind to block out distractions and concentrate solely on the target. Visualize successful shots and develop a routine to help center your thoughts before each shot.

Continuous Practice

As with any skill, improvement in trap shooting comes with consistent practice. Regular visits to the shooting range, coupled with a commitment to refining your technique, will yield positive results. Work on identifying areas for improvement, such as refining your stance, perfecting your gun mount, or enhancing your target-tracking skills.

Joining the Trap Shooting Community

Trap shooting is a highly social sport. Consider joining local shooting clubs or leagues to connect with other enthusiasts. Engaging with experienced shooters can provide valuable insights, tips, and camaraderie. Participating in competitions, whether casual or formal, adds an exciting dimension to your trap shooting journey. And your first step starts at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School! Sign up for some instruction today!

Clay Shooting for Families: Fun and Bonding in the Great Outdoors


At Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School, we take pride in providing family-friendly shooting experiences that bring loved ones together in the great outdoors. Clay shooting isn’t just a sport; it’s a chance for families to bond, create memories, and share the thrill of hitting targets as a team. In this blog, we invite families to discover the joy of clay shooting at our Gervais, Oregon shooting school, conveniently located only 35 minutes outside of Portland and 21 minutes from Salem.

1. An Adventure for All Ages:
Clay shooting is an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by family members of all ages. From young teens to grandparents, everyone can participate and have a blast at our shooting range. Our experienced instructors are here to guide beginners, ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and confident on the shooting line.

2. Safety First, Always:
The safety of our guests is our top priority, especially when families are involved. Our shooting school has strict safety protocols in place, and our instructors will brief you on all safety measures before you begin. You can rest assured that we provide a safe and controlled environment for your family’s shooting adventure.

3. Quality Time Outdoors:
Clay shooting takes you away from screens and technology, allowing your family to reconnect with nature and each other. Spend quality time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and appreciating the beautiful surroundings of our Gervais, Oregon shooting range.

4. Friendly Competition and Teamwork:
Clay shooting creates friendly competition and fosters teamwork among family members. Root for each other’s success, celebrate every successful shot, and share in the excitement of hitting those flying targets together.

5. Life Skills and Focus:
Clay shooting not only enhances shooting skills but also teaches valuable life skills, such as focus, discipline, and patience. As shooters step onto the range, they enter an environment that demands unwavering attention to detail and a calm, composed mind. Whether it’s analyzing the trajectory of a clay target, mastering proper shooting techniques, or adapting to various shooting scenarios, sport shooting cultivates mental acuity and sharpens concentration.

Participating in clay shooting at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School challenges individuals to set goals, measure progress, and practice perseverance. Shooters learn to overcome challenges and accept both successes and setbacks with grace. The sport instills a sense of responsibility, as safety protocols must always be observed and adhered to during shooting sessions.

Beyond the shooting range, these life skills translate into personal and professional endeavors. Focus and concentration become powerful tools for success in various aspects of life, whether it’s academic achievements, work performance, or managing daily challenges. The discipline cultivated on the range reinforces dedication and commitment in all pursuits, making clay shooting a transformative experience that enriches lives beyond the sport itself.

By embracing sport shooting as a means to foster essential life skills, participants not only enjoy an exciting and rewarding hobby but also prepare themselves for success in life’s diverse journeys.

Sport shooting at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School offers an array of benefits that extend beyond the sport. From promoting camaraderie to enhancing physical and mental well-being, and fostering valuable life skills, clay shooting is an activity that continues to capture the hearts of enthusiasts and newcomers alike. As you embark on your clay shooting journey at our Gervais, Oregon shooting range, you’re bound to find an experience that is both exhilarating and transformative. Whether you’re aiming to improve your shooting prowess, bond with family and friends, or simply enjoy the thrill of hitting clay targets under the wide Oregon sky, Mid-Valley Clays has something to offer everyone. So, grab your shotgun, bring your enthusiasm, and join us for an unforgettable clay shooting adventure. Let’s aim high and shatter expectations together!

Clay Shooting Etiquette: Tips for Being a Considerate and Respectful Shooter

At Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School, we believe in fostering a positive and safe shooting environment for all our visitors. Whether you are a seasoned shooter or new to clay shooting, practicing good etiquette on the shooting range is essential. In this blog, we will explore the key elements of clay shooting etiquette, from safety protocols to being considerate of fellow shooters. Let’s aim for a respectful and enjoyable shooting experience at our Gervais, Oregon shooting school, located just 35 minutes outside of Portland and 21 minutes from Salem.

1. Safety First:
The cornerstone of clay shooting etiquette is safety. We prioritize the safety of all our visitors, and we expect every shooter to do the same. Familiarize yourself with our range rules and adhere to them at all times. Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, and remember to engage the safety when not actively shooting. Respect the designated safety zones and only load your shotgun when on the shooting station.

2. Range Courtesy:
As you engage in clay shooting, show courtesy to fellow shooters. Avoid loud conversations on the shooting line and maintain a respectful distance from other shooters. Wait your turn patiently, and when it’s your time to shoot, step up to the station confidently and efficiently. If you notice any safety concerns or issues with equipment, alert a Range Safety Officer immediately.

3. Cleanup and Conservation:
Our shooting range in Gervais, Oregon, is a pristine outdoor environment that we all must care for. Clean up after yourself, collecting spent shells and disposing of any trash properly. Let’s work together to preserve the natural beauty of our surroundings, ensuring that the range remains clean and welcoming for all.

4. Sharing Knowledge and Tips:
Clay shooting is a sport that welcomes both beginners and seasoned shooters. If you have knowledge or tips to share, do so in a constructive and supportive manner. Encourage and assist new shooters, offering guidance to help them improve their skills and enjoy the sport to the fullest.

5. Observe Range Commands:
At Mid-Valley Clays, we have Range Safety Officers who oversee the shooting range. It’s essential to listen and follow their instructions promptly. Range commands are put in place to ensure everyone’s safety, so respect and comply with them without hesitation.

6. Mind Your Gear:
Keep your shooting gear organized and contained within your designated shooting area. Avoid leaving items on the shooting stations or common areas that may obstruct other shooters or cause unnecessary distractions.

Clay shooting etiquette is a crucial aspect of our shooting experience at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School. By following these tips and practicing respectful behavior, we can all contribute to a safe, enjoyable, and harmonious shooting environment. Let’s continue to embrace the spirit of camaraderie and responsible shooting at our Gervais, Oregon shooting school, just a short drive from Portland and Salem. Together, we create a clay shooting experience that leaves lasting memories for every shooter who visits our range.

The Best Sporting Clays Shotgun

The best sporting clays shotgun is the one that fits you!

Shotgun fit isn’t a term you may not hear often, but one that has the greatest impact on your success as a shotgun shooter. Most hunters and sporting clay enthusiasts read a few “The Best Sporting Clays Shotgun” lists, select a factory gun off the rack, test its heft, eye the finish, and purchase it. Now, this isn’t to say that your new shotgun won’t be effective, but it won’t be as precise as it could be because most mass-produced shotguns are designed for the “average shooter’s build,” forcing the shooter to adjust and adapt to the shotgun rather than having the gun adjusted to fit them.

When a shotgun has been properly fitted to the shooter, it feels comfortable to the shooter. When mounted, it becomes an extension of their body, in natural symmetry with their eyes, head, and arms. It rises fluidly to the cheek, rests comfortably on the shoulder, and the shooter’s eyes align almost instinctively down the barrel. Now doesn’t that sound like the best sporting clays shotgun?

So what parts of your shotgun should we focus on? Mount, stock length, and sight picture.


When you mount your shotgun, check the distance between your thumb and nose. We recommend at least an inch of spacing to account for recoil. You want to avoid striking your nose and breaking your concentration on the range or out in the field. You want to keep your eyes downrange and your barrel tracking the next target.

Stock Length

When considering stock length, there are three specific measurements to account for: drop at comb, heel, and length of pull. Using these three measurements to fit a shotgun to your body will significantly affect your shooting success.
A stock that is too long may catch under the armpit or drag on the lower shoulder—delaying your ability to acquire a target. Whereas a stock that is too short may cause a conflict with your face and hand. You should also take into account the seasons. You’re probably wearing a thin shirt when shooting in the summer, whereas you’ll be layered up during the winter months. So a stock that fits you in the winter might be an inch or two too short in the summer. A quick way to adjust your stock length is to add or remove spacers in front of the recoil paid.

Sight Picture

Since most shotguns have no rear sights, the shooter sights along a plane from breech to barrel muzzle. In effect, the shooter’s eye is the rear sight. Thus, the amount of drop at the comb is significant in its impact on success or failure. Should the comb be too low, the shooter’s eye will be too low when the gun is mounted and will miss low. Conversely, the shotgun will miss high if the comb stands too high. Shooters also need to determine if they want to see the rib and the bead or just the bead when sighting down a target. This is a point of personal preference, and there’s no better place to determine your preference than at a trap range, shooting targets repeatedly.

90% of shooters will be happy with their off-the-rack shotgun, but you’re not like everyone else, are you? A discriminating shooter such as yourself should consider working with Mid-Valley Clays Shooting School to choose a shotgun with the proper measurements for your body type, then adjust or alter the stock from there and work with you to determine your optimal sight picture.
Call or stop by our range today and let’s talk about how you can be a better shooter.