Shoot Sporting Clays on Lana’i

Whether you are a beginner or expert, Lana'i is an ideal location for sporting clays shooting.

Nov 30, 2009
Manager Dennis Rapp (right) begins every lesson with cautionary safety instruction.
Manager Dennis Rapp (right) begins every lesson with cautionary safety instruction.
Photography John C. Russell

Sporting clays shooting on Lana’i: To someone who enjoys this pleasurable and challenging sport, does it get any better? And for someone who’d like to be introduced to sporting clays shooting, could there be any more striking place to learn than the island of Lana’i?

To those who know sporting clays shooting, the usual images are of English or Scottish moors where the sport began. It was initially a training exercise for would-be hunters keeping their aim sharp by breaking clay targets—or “birds”—on the same terrain they would eventually be prowling, shotguns in hand. The targets were projected in patterns that mimicked the flight of local birds such as woodcock or pheasant, or the darting of small woodland game such as hare and rabbit.

People found it such fun, though, and particularly those who had no bent or yen for actual hunting, that it became a true sport. And so it is at Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays.

An Introduction

You will follow a useful regimen upon electing to shoot. The short drive from Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele to Lana‘i Pine Sporting Clays may remind some of those faraway moors as the air cools and pine and ironwood trees envelop the terrain. The first step, according to manager Dennis Rapp, is to outfit the shooter properly. The club offers shotguns in different gauges, including both Berettas and Remingtons. Most men, he notes, will use the heavier 12-gauge shotguns; most women and children will use either the lighter 20- or 28-gauge.

Safety, he cautions, is critical, and every lesson or round begins with careful handling of the shotguns. They’re fine pieces of equipment and immediately dominate the concentration. For the beginner a 45-minute lesson with one box of shotgun shells is the necessary introduction to shooting. That happens under the watchful eye of Rapp or other instructors who guide the shooter in the broad and fine points of aiming and firing.

The Stations

A sporting clays course is arranged in stations; there are 14 at Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays. They’re named by the game the flight pattern of the clay targets represents. Thus the shooter meets what may be the familiar pheasant, mallard and teal. But there are other aspects unique to Lana‘i. No English shooter ever called “Pull!”—the command that initiates the rejection of the flying target—for a Hawaiian quail, for example. And no English shooter ever reached a sporting clays shooting station that, on a clear day, afforded a view of the nearby island of Molokai.

Many people are often apprehensive of guns—but shouldn’t be. With expert instruction such as Rapp and his instructors provide, even novices can be proficiently breaking targets after only a brief period. What sporting clays shooting requires and rewards is a smooth, fluid gesture with the shotgun firm on the shoulder and one cheek on the stock that brings the barrel to exactly the right point of release. With a target low overhead, one “covers” the target and fires. With a target overhead, flung from one of the club’s six tower stations, more of a lead is required to intercept the target with breaking shot.

The Thrill

The thrill of breaking targets never gets old, not even for observant and experienced instructors. His greatest satisfaction, Rapp explains, “is being able to take somebody who’s a little apprehensive about shooting, but who wants to try something different, and get them over their fear of shooting a gun. Often they’re really surprised, especially the ladies, how easy it is to break targets. And when you see them smile after doing that, well, that’s the pleasure for us.”

(Other shooting activities available to Four Seasons guests include trap, skeet and wobble traps. Archery is also an option. Your Concierge will be glad to make reservations for you to pursue.)


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