Name: Ben Hodgson
Q: Briefly explain your talent
A: Clay target shooting. It is in the name, you shoot moving clay targets out of the air with a shotgun, but it is more than that, you make friends while you are doing it and it also clears your brain during your time shooting which allows you to focus on what you are doing.
Q: How did you get involved in clay target shooting?
A: I got involved with clay target shooting a year and a half ago when we got two new dogs and we wanted to train them to be gun dogs. My dad said that if they get fully trained then it would be good to be able to shoot ourselves. So, my dad looked around and found ‘Chicksands Clay Target Shooting Club’ and he went along to about 2 or 3 sessions. He asked if I could come along and we thought they were going to say ‘No, it has to be 18+’, but they didn’t, instead they said that they welcome everybody to come along and give shooting a go. After that we really got into it and ended up getting our shotgun licences and buying a gun.
Q: When do you practise, with who and for how long?
A: Every time you go along to a shoot there is a competitive side to it, but it is also very friendly, so every time you go, you practise. When me and my dad want to practise properly with less people around, we just ask Ian at the club and he gives us a date and time to head down to the ground with him and have a 1 to 1 session. When I go with my dad we usually practise for around and hour and a half to two hours.
Q: Who is the best shooter, you or your dad?
A: I would like to say I am better than my dad and I am pretty sure I am because I usually beat him, but to be honest we are pretty much the same as there is only ever one or two points in it, and this is what makes it fun, I really want to beat him and he really wants to beat me. But if I had to say me or him, I would choose me because I win a lot more than he does.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect?
A: The most challenging aspect of clay target shooting is getting used to new traps that you have not seen or practised on before. This is what Chicksands is good at, every time I go there is always at least one new trap either facing another direction, or going long or short, it makes you realise that the smallest differences can really put your shooting to the test.
Q: What are your goals/dreams/visions?
A: For me, it is very ambitious. One day, I would like to be able to enter a shooting competition and win. One of my other goals, that is more reachable, is to shoot better than everybody else in the club.
Q: Is your sport dangerous? How important is safety?
A: Obviously, safety is very important because at the end of the day you are holding and shooting a deadly weapon and that is why Chicksands Clay Target Shooting Club has zero tolerance for being unsafe with your gun and will ban you from site if they need to. Your safety is their number one priority. Also, at the start of every they have a talk about the safety rules and that you have to wear ear and eye protection and a hat, they also say what stands are working today and which ones aren’t. Ian and Gary have said that they are going run some safety courses for anybody that wants to attend. Being safe with a gun is just common sense and you don’t really have to learn anything extra to be safe except for a few things but they are really simple things like how to hold your gun when you are not in the stand and how to carry around different types of shotguns like semi-auto’s.
Q: Any advice or tips for anyone wanting to get involved in clay target shooting?
A: Don’t be scared. When I first started, I was really conscious that other people were hitting more than me and that they all had their own gun. But I soon realised that nobody judges you and they are always willing to help. This allowed me to focus on getting better which boosted my confidence at shooting.