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Up North: Shooters Aim for Success as Skeet & Clay Courses Open

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: May 20, 2020 10:52 PM

Close to the end of Old Vermilion Trail lies a white barn. The preserve has offered pheasant hunting for 35 years, and for the past 20 years, sporting clay and skeet shooting.

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"It's been a long winter without much shooting and it sure is nice to get out here on a nice sunny day," said Tom Ellich of Hibbing while shooting with friends last Friday. "The grounds are so beautiful and well kept, this is the best place to shoot in the state of Minnesota."

Much like golf courses, Manager Burt Schweiger was able to open the Northland shooting range in late April since the outdoor activity allows for social distancing.

If you're unfamiliar with the sport, he recommends asking for help as someone who knows the sports well himself.

"My dad kind of got this going, he got it going first of all, and we were at the age where we were doing a lot of hunting and shooting as kids and we just kind of gravitated towards [it]. We were all interested in it," said Burt Schweiger, manager of the Old Vermilion Trail hunting preserve.

Targets will test your skills but Schwieger assured there's nothing set up that can't be hit.

The variety of targets led ome shooters to describe the game as 'golf with a gun'.

"It's set up like a golf course. There's usually 10 stations that we shoot at," described Perry Ludwig of Duluth while shooting clay pigeons.

"You'll shoot like four or six birds at a station and then you'll move from one to another, and it's a variety of all different targets," added Tim Faldet of Duluth while shooting with Ludwig and Ellich. "That's what makes it nice for me."

Open shooting is already underway and summer leagues start June 2nd. The course is open Tuesdays-Thursdays from noon to dark for open or league shooting.

The brand of gun you bring with may not impact your score, with Berettas and Brownings popular last Friday, but the fit can.

"Gun fit is very important, probably more important than most people think," Schweiger said on being successful in skeet shooting. "After that it's just practice, maybe a little coaching, but shoot different clubs [and] shoot different targets."

Changes are made to targets every week, making return visits feel like new adventures with good people.

"It's a really friendly game. The people in this sport are really good. We're all very good friends, in part because of the game," said Ludwig about Ellich and Faldet.

For more information on clay and skeet shooting opening at Old Vermilion Trail, click here.

Credits

Alicia Tipcke

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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