There are just some things that make more sense in Indiana. Shooting guns is one of those things.
I’m about as far as you can get from a rifle-toting, NRA fanatic. However, I’m also not oblivious to the fact that on occasion, a clay pigeon need to die.
I ventured to the bustling metropolis of Wheatfield, Indiana last weekend to put my aim to the test and throw caution to the wind. This was my second visit to the Oakwood Gun Club; the first being several years ago for an early (and inspirational) Fünn Clübb event.
The Oakwood Gun Club is tucked away along a dusty country road, and you’ll probably fly right without seeing it if you’re using GPS. Pull your vehicle (preferably a pickup truck) anywhere in the grass and plod on over to the large house-like structure looming in the distance. This is where you check in and get your weapons and ammo, however, don’t expect much in the way of a lesson.
No need to sign a waiver, show any identification, or prove that you’re not a complete psychopath! Simply collect your ammo and off you go!
Ask Dave, or whoever else is working at the time, for a “cart.” Gun club carts are actually baby strollers that have been converted into gun and ammo box-carrying vehicles. Sure you could carry your own stuff around. But what could be more hilarious than stashing your rifle where your newborn child should go? America.
There are ten sporting clay stations set up in a really nice wooded setting. With lush foliage and curved dirt trails, this place would be really peaceful if it weren’t for the constant blasts of gun fire.
Oh! Remember to bring ear plugs or ask the guy working at the front desk for a pair. You might think they’re for pansies, but no. Unnecessary hearing loss is for pansies.
The ten shooting stands are set up to simulate actual hunting scenarios, in which defenseless animals lose their pathetic lives. Fortunately, no living creatures were harmed during my shooting excursion! And to be honest, not many non-living creatures (i.e. clay pigeons) were harmed either.
Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting that’s often referred to as “golf with a shotgun.” The sport’s been around since the early 1900s, when British shooting schools started using clay targets to practice for driven-game shoots.
For those of you as unfamiliar with guns as I am, the rifles definitely do have a kickback. Your armpit will start to ache by about your 20th shot. Toughen up, it’s not as bad as you expect it to be. And if you’re blessed enough to have transparent white skin like mine, you’ll earn a killer bruise that you can show to all your friends and brag about for days.
Some of the shooting stations are out in the open and some are inside wooden box structures. Some of them are easier than others, but honestly, they all rattled my nerves. When it was all said and done, I hit 14 out of 100 clay pigeons….that’s a shopping 14% for all you non-math majors out there. My very favorite shot of them all was Station #10, target B, where I hit an impressive 7 of 10 and doubled my overall score.
This is a total locals’ place, and not the sort of place you see a lot of women hanging around. The fact that it was Mother’s Day weekend may have had something to do with that too.
But truth be told, the Oakwood Gun Club is a really laid back shooting facility that is beginner friendly and refreshingly non-judgmental. I visited on a Saturday afternoon and it wasn’t crowded either. There will probably be a few old coots shooting long-distance into a field up near the parking lot, and there’s plenty of grassy space to watch, hang out, or have an awkward picnic.
One thing to keep in mind is that sporting clay shooting is not cheap. It costs $29 per person to use the sporting clays and stations, and ammo costs about $6 per box. If you’re going to shoot the recommended 10 shots at each station, you’re gonna be shelling out $109 for you and your hot shooting date.
The shooting course is closed Monday and Friday, open 10-5 Tuesday and Thursday, 10-dusk Wednesday, and 9-5 Saturday and Sunday. So you don’t make a trip out to the middle of nowhere for no reason, send an email to [email protected] to reserve your spot a couple days in advance.
To my knowledge, there is absolutely nothing else to do in Wheatfield, Indiana. But a day of shooting guns requires proper refreshment and celebration. If you’re not in a hurry, take an hour and 20 minute drive down to Lafayette and scope out the brewery scene. People’s Brewing Company and Lafayette Brewing Company are the best places in the area to reward yourself for being moderately hardcore and for not landing yourself in the ER.