Richard Owen reminisces this issue about his youth, a time when he had access to so much land to pursue his beloved quail, he didn't have enough time each fall to hunt it all. In his "Sporting Road" column, he notes, "As 'progress' slowly tightened its grip on the land, our nearby gunning opportunities slipped from our grasp, and our search for new spots entail ever-lengthening drives. The freedom of open country keeps moving farther and farther away."
"Thankfully, sporting clays has served to ease a little of the pain from the mounting cost of shotgunning" Richard consoles. "This hunter's game offers for most of us a chance to walk the woods close to home and shoot at bird-like presentations."
Along with urban encroachment, shifts in agriculture itself can mean fewer places to hunt. With more and more farmers lured to the lucrative business of raising corn, largely to meet the huge demands of the ethanol biofuel market, wildlife habitat takes another hit.
Unless you live in a part of the country that's near huge tracts of state or federal lands, there's a good chance that you, too, have noticed your hunting opportunities dwindling. And some of those destinations are too distant to permit casual weekend forays afield. Like ol' Uncle Richard, we also "walk the woods close to home" on sporting clays clubs to satisfy the desire to smell gunpowder between bird hunts.
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