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DU Ducks in the Desert National Shoot set for Las Vegas Target Setter

2635 Views 28 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Stuck-N-Kali
I am pleased to announce that I will be setting the targets for the 2023 Ducks Unlimited Ducks in the Desert Western Continental Shoot at the Clark County Shooting Park in Las Vegas March 1-5. After setting many hundreds, if not thousands of targets at major shoots over the years, I had gotten away from tournament target setting to concentrate on my clay course design and shooting instruction business across the country. DU called and said they wanted me to set the Prelim, Main Event and Super Sporting targets for the event. I actually designed the two courses at Clark County so I am very familiar with the terrain and shooting station backgrounds there. Shooters can expect fun but challenging targets that will be sneaky technical. I guess they had some sun and target visibility issues at the shoot last year. That won't happen in 2023. Right now the entry is around 200 shooters and the event usually attracts around 500 shooters. Registration is open on ScoreChaser. Hope to see you guys in Las Vegas.... It will be FUN!
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Been to this shoot a couple times. My two biggest issues were the uncertainty of weather -- we shot in the snow a few years back and it was heavy enough it challenged target visibility pretty significantly and then the next year it was brutal windy and cold; and then the cost of the host hotel was absurdly high for a sporting clay shoot at $240/nt IIRC. Add to that the cost of the shoot itself being high due to it being a fundraiser, and for me it got "too expensive for the high probability of bad weather."

That said, it's a great facility and if it weren't for the above I would already be registered just to shoot Marty's targets! So now I'm watching the weather and will wait to decide until it's just a few weeks out. Fingers crossed :)
Planning bring some of my South Georgia weather to Vegas for the DU Shoot.... fingers crossed. Have spoken with multiple folks at Clark County and the plan is to have both orange and black targets to maximize target visibility on birds thrown close to the ground as well as those thrown against a sky background. No green or pink targets. With some luck maybe the weather will cooperate this year. We'll give shooters some fun stuff to shoot at. Don't worry guys, the targets will not all be fluffy and there will be enough good ones to keep you challenged and entertained.
OK Jack.. here's the skinny... Over the years I've set the DU Continental Shoot targets (back when they only had one national event per year) five times. I set the Quail Unlimited National Sporting Clays Championship 12 times. In all of those events, more than 450 shooters participated in each one, many of them Master to National Champion level. I've never had a shooter run 100 straight in any event I've ever set. The scores in those 17 national events were always between 190 and 196 which makes the top score average between 95 and 98 per hundred targets. The bottom line answer to your question though is that it depends on which Master Class shooters show up. As I'm sure you know, all Master Class shooters are not equal. Right now there are 131 Master shooters entered in the Seminole Cup in South Georgia the same weekend. Many of the top names are among them. Expect good scores in Vegas on fair but sometimes technical presentations paired with targets that most shooters will feel comfortable shooting.
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Nothing anyone can do about weather Jack. If you shoot in enough events, you will encounter a bit of everything when it comes to weather. It can't be much worse than what you guys in California have been dealing with over the past weeks. As long as there is no thunder and lightning, the shoot goes on. You never know, it might be 75 and clear the entire shoot. Whatever the weather, the targets will be visible and shootable.
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OK guys, everything is ready for me to set the DU targets in March. I will be setting 111 traps and 52 shooting stations for the Main Event, Preliminary, Super Sporting and 20, 28 and .410 Small Gauge events. Busy week ahead, but looking forward to setting some entertaining targets for hunters and registered shooters. There are still spots available, so visit Score Chaser and sign up. See you in Vegas!!!
Still time to get on board for the DU shoot the first week or March. Entry is around 275 right now and there's room for more. I spoke with the club and was told that every trap was going to be pulled from both 15 station clay courses for me to set everything fresh. What that means is all new targets that will be set with the forecast winds and sun in mind. Looks like 30+ Master Class shooters are entered, so I'll make sure to give those guys some targets to keep them challenged while having plenty of entertaining birds for everyone else including Hunter Class shooters. Hope to see you in Las Vegas March 1-5!
Back from 8 days in Las Vegas setting targets for the Ducks Unlimited Western Continental Shoot. Congratulations to all of the winners as they had their hands full with the changing winds and colder than normal temps all week. For those who set targets, you know the challenges of setting targets that will be basically the same for all shooters all day. The West has had it's share of weather issues this year and Las Vegas is no exception. The weather forecast for the area was pretty much never right for the gun club location. As a target setter, I have to find a way to set targets that can be shot for all rotations over the course of a day or two days depending on the event. From Thursday through Sunday, I set 57 different shooting stations with two traps per station. Had great help from the Clark County Shooting Complex staff. The courses are set in the Mojave Desert, so there are no trees. You can only imagine what the wind was doing to those targets.

The Prelim and Small Gauge events were scheduled for Thursday and Friday so you can only hope that you get consistent weather so the targets are shootable on both days. Same with the Main Event, which was shot on Saturday and Sunday. Here's what we had for the shoot: Thursday's forecast was for winds 12-15 from the Northeast and then North. Friday's weather forecast was for calm winds from the East. Well, the wind blew 30-35 on Thursday from the North and 15+ from the East, then Northeast, then Southeast, then South on Friday. Every Friday rotation had a different wind.

In the Main Event, the forecast was for winds 22-26 mph from the South and then Southwest on Saturday and Sunday. They even mentioned gusts up to 40 mph on Sunday. Well on both days the wind was East at 15 each morning of the Main until 1:00 or so and then it changed to 20+ from the South.

I'll let those who shot the targets, braved the wind and COLD on the courses talk about the presentations. We got the scores that DU wanted and I think the shooters enjoyed the different speeds, angles distances and combinations of the targets I set for the Small Gauge, Prelim and Main Event. Would have loved to have some target color variety other than orange and a few all black birds. Some of the early morning lighting and reflective lighting of the brown and grey landscape makes all orange target a challenge to see. Setting them to be shootable for three rotations each day for two day events with totally different strong winds each day was truly a challenge.
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