Jeanette Valentine Marksmanship at Lana'i Pine Sporting Clays

Jeanette Valentine aiming at Lanai Pine Sporting Clays; (c) Soul Of America

The Finer Points Of Marksmanship

When Dennis Rapp places a Beretta 20-guage rifle in my hands and tells me to aim for the rabbit, he might as well be telling me to shoot for the moon. My chances of hitting either are about the same. I’m new to finer points of marksmanship. — Jeanette Valentine

Instead of getting a bead on the clay disc that simulates a rabbit, I imagine Bugs Bunny in the cross hairs. I completely psyche myself out.

Dennis manages the Sporting Clays Lana’i Pines Shooting Range, which teaches safety and responsible marksmanship to amateurs like me. The range provides gun rentals, shooting lessons and chauffeured golf-cart rides to reach its 14 shooting stations.

About 80 percent of Dennis’ business comes from people who’ve never held a gun before. “Once we get over the first shot or two, they kind of realize how easy it is to hit a clay target,” he assures me.

I had more luck at another shooting station, where Dennis – a Level III instructor – taught me the correct way to stand, hold the gun and aim (it’s harder than it looks). When I was ready, I yelled “Pull!” and Dennis activated a machine that launched the clay disc into the sky. I hit two.

A station higher up offers a gorgeous view of Lana’i, proving to be a distraction from shooting (or that’s my contention anyway).

Lana'i Pine Sporting Clays

Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays Range; (c) Soul Of America

Lana’i Pines is beautiful property. It’s a treat to be driven by golf cart through a cool, damp forest filled with the songs of birds.

The range also provides lessons in archery and has an air rifle gallery for the little ones. Experienced shooters can test their skills at 14 stations. Many first-timers become hooked, Dennis says.

“There are a lot of people who do sporting clays who’ve never hunted, and they have no intention to,” he adds. “They just like coming out here with a shot gun to take the challenge of trying to break the birds,” Dennis says, using the slang term for discs.

I’m not quite sure if I’m cut out for hunting prey – even the clay variety. But I appreciated learning the amount of skill and precision it takes before pulling the trigger.

Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays
P.O. Box 631380
Lana’i City, HI 96763
Phone: 808-559-4600

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