Barry Sparrow and I travelled this weekend to Emmet County Sportsmen’s Club near Harbor Springs, Michigan to try our hand at their sporting clays range. Even with a slight drizzle going on it was one of the most enjoyable days I have had shooting clay pigeons in my life.
The club has a very well kept clubhouse with a TV, easy chairs, couch, great decor and an immaculate washroom and kitchen. It is staffed full time on the weekend by two extremely friendly hosts who offered coffee, donuts and other treats. The club has a membership option of $100 annually but is also open to the public. The club is focused strictly on shotguns but have reciprocal arrangements with about 5 other clubs in the area including one right next door that includes a 500 yard rifle range. But back to the sporting clays.
The sporting clays range is composed of 12 stations located along a trail through their wooded property. Upon arrival you sign a waiver form and are then provided with a golf cart (if you want) that you use to travel to each of the stations. You are also provided with a card that is used to activate the target machines at each station and records the number of birds you throw. And that is it! Load up the cart with your shotgun shells, eye and ear protection and you are then on your own to shoot a round of 50 or 100 birds. Each station has 2 MEC Clay Target machines a wooden stand that often has a wooden roof and the controller that throws singles from each machine or a double. A clipboard provides instructions on the throwing order. Single A. Single B. A Report B (Report Pairs). True Pairs. etc.
The stations provide a wide variety of target presentations with birds flying in every direction imaginable in very exciting and challenging patterns. Flying away from you, towards you. low and across, up and away. Pretty much anything you can think of. And the club goes out and changes the course around every two weeks. The time flew by and we shot 100 targets in no time at all. And what a blast.
Once we got back to the clubhouse we handed in the card and they tallied up the number of birds and the cost. As non-members we get 100 birds for $38.00 plus 24 show birds and another 5 for breakage. The cart was an additional $15. Fresh coffee awaited us upon our return and some very friendly conversation. The club also offers Skeet, Trap, Five Stand and Crazy Quail. Afterwards a late lunch at the Side Door Saloon in Petoskey which was a terrific way to top off a great day. Barry and I will definitely be going back again and urge anybody with the slightest interest in shotgun sports to join us.
Below is a shot of the 500 yard range at the neighbouring club.