Bottern aims to sharpen hunting skills through trap shooting


Ibid Photo: Garrett Small

Junior Eric Bottern (middle) aims for a clay pigeon in his first round of the day.

The wind rustles around an open field. The grass moves with each blow as the sun shines down on a clear day. Standing ready with a gun raised, junior Eric Bottern says a command: “Pull.” A clay pigeon shoots out into the blue sky. Bottern aims, fires, and the pigeon breaks into powder.

“That felt really good.”

Trap Shooting has become one of Bottern’s hobby for a couple of years now. He said, “The first time I tried it was when I was probably 14; however, I didn’t start doing it competitively until I was 16.”

At 14, Bottern went to Sun Valley, Idaho where his cousin taught him the rules and tricks to trap shooting. “My cousin Jack was a huge influence on why I started,” he said. “One Thanksgiving, I was in Idaho, and he really got me into it.”

Since then, Bottern has become a trap shooting regular: “I usually go once a week in the spring and every once in a while during the fall.”

“I will always remember when I shot a 23,” Bottern said.

In trap shooting, rounds are scored out of 25. For every disc you hit, you get one point. Bottern said, “I cannot wait for when I get my first 25. It’s really hard to do, but I think it would be pretty cool.”

Trap shooting provides Bottern a chance to work on one of his other hobbies: hunting. “Because the hunting season is so short, trap is a very easy, and fun, way to work on my skills.”

I cannot wait for when I get my first 25. It’s really hard to do, but I think it would be pretty cool.”

— Eric Bottern

So what is the appeal of trap and hunting to Bottern?

He said, “I think shooting guns is great at relieving stress which is why I enjoy trap and hunting. It also is an excuse to get outside and it’s really nice to just be out in nature […] It’s also a great way to spend time with my friends and my dad.”

Overall, Bottern thinks those interested should give trap a try: “Although it may be an unconventional sport, I would recommend it. I think if anyone is thinking about it, they should definitely give it a try.”

Meanwhile, Bottern still works toward a perfect score: “I am getting close, I’m going to get it soon.”