THE FOUR SEASONS RESORT LANA’I, The Lodge at Koele Hits the Mark: ESCAPESEEKER Experiences the Thrill of Sporting Clays Shooting!

Lana’i – HAWAII–Whether you are a beginner or an expert, I bet most of you have no idea that in the tiny island of Lana’i you can find one of the world’s most ideal location for sporting clays shooting.  When I signed up to give this sport another try—my first experience with the sport was in Ireland—I was definitely not expecting to find such a class act operation.  But then again, I’m at the Four Seasons Resort!  HELLO, of course the experience would hit the mark!

On the island of Lana'i: "The Lodge at Koele, a veranda-wrapped plantationesque mirage rising amid the surprisingly cool, sweet-scented uplands of the interior." ~ K.M. Kostyal, Nat Geo

The Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays’ Manager, Dennis Rapp, dressed in his crisp kahki Clay Shooting uniform,  picked up my ESCAPESEEKER team from Koele Lodge, a welcoming, immaculately landscaped country lodge nestled in Lana’i’s central highlands.  As I described my sentiments about Koele Lodge to a local native, “I feel like I’m visiting the country home of a very wealthy, loving  Grandma.   Her response, “Mel, we like to say, we’re visiting Uncle David.”  She was making reference to Los Angeles entrepreneur, David Murdock who bought the island in 1985.  More on that later.  For now, let me tell you more about this incredible Sporting Clays Shooting operation that draws sportsmen from around the world.   For a novice like me, there was no better place than to learn it from such seasoned pros, and less I forget, in  such a stunning island environment.

AM I IN HAWAII? Pine and ironwood trees span the Koele Lodge landscape

The short cool drive from Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele to Lana‘i Pine Sporting Clays through pine and ironwood trees that span the landscape made me almost forget that I’m truly in Hawaii!

Upon arriving, the first step, according to manager Dennis, is to outfit the shooter properly. Not a problem–of course, we love being outfitted properly so that no matter how we shoot, we will at least look the part right?  I learned that 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.

To those who know sporting clays shooting, the usual images are of moors in the United Kingdom 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 so much fun, especially for those who weren’t keen on hunting, that it became a genuine sport. And so it is at Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays.  It doesn’t get any better than this:

Experience the Excitement!

Our Introduction to the sport by native Sporting Clays Shooting expert, Sid:

Sid enthusiastically explains, "I have the best job in the world!"

Safety is #1

#1 is Safety

Safety  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. But it didn’t take long for Sid to realize that we had some very skilled shooters in the group—especially our photographer, Lisa Hensley.  As Sid commented after Lisa hit 5 marks in a row, “Wouldn’t want to get Lisa mad!”

Escapeseeker learning the basics from the Pro...

I, on the other hand was very happy to get his added guidance 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.

PULL!!! It is so thrilling to see the clay target shatter in a zillion pieces!

But there are other aspects unique to Lana‘i.  When shooting back in Ireland and I called “Pull!”—the command that initiates the ejection of the flying target—it was definitely not for a Hawaiian quail, for example. And in Ireland,  my shooting experience did not include a stunning view of Molokai!

A CLAY SHOOTING STATION WITH A VIEW!!! It doesn't get much better than this!

It didn’t take long before I totally forgot my fear and discomfort for guns.  With the thorough instruction and step by step explanation that Sid provided at each station, even novices like me became pretty good at hitting my target.  Sid pointed out that what sporting clays shooting requires is a smooth, fluid gesture with the shotgun firm on the shoulder and one cheek (my mega round cheeks finally came in handy) 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.

Oh What A Feeling:  The Thrill of the Sport

We never grew tired of the thrill of breaking targets.  Sid explained,  “as seasoned instructions, we don’t either.”  I could tell Sid got a lot of satisfaction at hearing three of us girls squeal each time we hit our targets. By the way, there are other options, in case you wish to mix it up a bit:  There’s trap, skeet and wobble traps. Archery is also an option.

ESCAPESEEKER team is game to try anything...

Adding to the excitement and thrill of the sport. Don't worry, this Turkey will not end up in the oven.

And, recently, the Manager, Dennis, added a new interesting course with exceptional “wildlife” targets to add to the challenge and excitement of the sport!

Who new that hidden in the Pines of Lana’i, ESCAPESEEKER would discover a prime Sporting Clays Shooting Nirvana?

For more information:

How appropriately named: Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays

Leave a Reply