Shooting a 4 1/2 inch disc that is hurling through the air at 45 miles an hour is easy, right? For many of us shooting those tiny clay pigeons can be a tough skill to master; however, for Morgan Dulaney practice makes perfect. This rising star is just 18 years old and already has one national title under her belt.
How does she do it? Carducci Tactical got to spend a few minutes with this delightful young woman on the range and could not help but be impressed not only with her skills but her dedication, as well. Morgan recently won the National Last Man Standing competition at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Nationals in Sparta, Illinois. Trapshooting comes natural for Morgan who has been shooting her entire life. The humble teenager understands the hard work and dedication needed to compete not only on the range but in life.
This fall she will be attending the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh majoring in nursing. School is not her only obligation. Morgan has taken on the challenge of establishing a SCTP club at her college. It takes courage and confidence to take on this task and I asked her why this was so important to her. Morgan responded, “It is a big commitment, but there is no better way to help the competitive shooting sports cause than to actually get out there and try to start a program. ”
The Scholastic Clay Target Program’s mission is simple and straight forward. The program’s goal is to introduce school-age youths to the clay target sports. The program focuses on safety and providing a positive and supportive program that instills leadership, responsibility and commitment in the young athletes. Morgan will have assistance from the SCTP and the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
SCTP has taught Morgan how to handle challenges with grace and maturity. She expressed, “Sometimes when I explain to people that I have a gun club through my school they ask a lot of questions. People do not realize that it is not guns that hurt people, it is the person behind the gun. I explain to join SCTP we MUST have hunter safety before we can even think about shooting. Also on our team, we have a no strikes policy. Basically, the first time you endanger yourself or someone around you – you are done – not just for the day, but for the duration of the school year. SCTP is a positive influence in my life, and I always try to invite people to come and see what we do and join in the fun.”
I decided to take Morgan’s advice and try trap shooting for the first time at a recent outing in Ogden, Utah. As I watched Morgan hit clay after clay, I grabbed a Remington 12-Gauge shotgun and tried my luck. What are Morgan’s words of wisdom for a first-time shooter? “Don’t be afraid. Shoot a smaller gun and work your way up. Shoot lighter loads and try a pad for your shoulder. Do not be scared – just have a positive attitude and go into it with a positive outlook.”
I did not get a chance to shoot against Morgan, but I asked for instruction to help with recoil. Morgan explained, ” There are two big things that you need to remember when you are shooting trap. First if you are right handed when you lift your right arm it will create a pocket in your shoulder for your gun to fit into, so make sure your gun is going into the right spot. Secondly, remember to pull the gun tight to your shoulder. If you don’t pull the gun tight, it will kick harder. Try to remember to keep it snug.”
Morgan’s skills do not stop on the range. SCTP has allowed her to motivate others with her words of wisdom. “SCTP has taught me the only way to be a good leader is to know how to be a good follower,” explains Morgan. “You have to put yourself in other people’s shoes and try to use motivation that you would be convinced by yourself. I learned that people at any age – young or old – want you to give them information you believe in and to be sincere. Try to connect with them and that makes it easier to motivate them.”
The best piece of advice that she shares with young shooters? Morgan does not disappoint in explaining to set goals and aim for the best. “For people who already shoot, I would say to aim high and do not be afraid to fail. You might not be the best right now, but if you keep working the possibilities are infinite. For people who do not shoot yet – try it once. If you don’t like it then you never have to do it again, but don’t be afraid to try something because it is different or because you are scared of what someone might think. In the end, all that matters is how you feel about it – nothing else is important,” she continues.
My final question for Morgan was about her insight on attracting more women to the shooting sports. Morgan admitted that she was not sure about joining SCTP since there was only one other girl on her team. She took the leap of faith and hopes that other women “have someone to look up to and look to for advise, guidance and encouragement.” With role models like Morgan, I am sure the sport will continue to explode with growth and popularity.
Morgan Dulaney is a rising star in the shotgun sports with a target set on GOLD in the 2016 Olympics. She is a positive role model for women and young shooters promoting safety and integrity. Morgan spends long hours training to stay focused. One of her goals is to inspire young girls not only in shooting but in making smart life decisions. Morgan sums up it up best in her words by stating that she hopes to “show that girls can kick some butt in the shooting sports.” I know I will be following her path as she strives for a medal. Morgan Dulaney is a determined young woman who will be tomorrow’s hero.