In our trip to Tunica a few days ago, we decided to push ourselves a bit out our of comfort zone. There are quite a few things that people seem to be having a great time doing that are totally new to us and maybe new to you too. We will start with this post on shooting shotguns!

In our case, we got invited to The Willows to try out “Sporting Clays”.  This is where you hit little round disks with a shotgun.  The Tunica CVB had a good post on it which you should read. Assuming you just did, I’d like to go at it from a different angle with some information that will make it VERY easy for you to try it too.

I haven’t shot a gun in years and Mrs. Cheapgambler has NEVER fired a gun so it’s safe to say you can’t be more of a beginner than us. What do we do about the gun?  How do we get there?  What about gun safety? What do you wear? Will they point and laugh? These were all questions running through our minds. It turned out it is all really easy.

First of all, Harrah’s runs a shuttle to the Willows. So after we checked in to our hotel, the front desk told us to just give them a call when we want to go. It appears they pull one of the shuttle drivers from their route between the casinos and the hotel to give you a ride over (no directions to learn, no walk to the parking lot, super convenient).

In our case, Sheri was our shuttle driver  and we told her we had never been to the Willows (BTW, – she had just driven us back from the casino and we ran into her about three more times that day. It got to be pretty funny  – super nice person so hopefully someone at Harrah’s will give her a pat on the back).  She told us about a group of women travel agents she took there that just had a great time so that was a good omen.  When we got there, we drove up to a small building with a number of golf carts where we met Paul and Ben working in the shop. The fact we didn’t know anything didn’t faze them a bit – they immediately went about helping us pick the right size shot gun and grabbed some ammunition for our round of shooting. They also gave us earplugs and goggles (for those without glasses).

Now, in most cases, the guide goes with you as you move from station to station so there is really nothing very hard to do.  In our case, Ben drove the cart and took care of the ammunition and kept score.

Of course, the first thing to do was the safety lesson.  When we got to the first station, Ben went though what to do. A few important things to remember are keeping your gun pointed down range and not resting the barrel on the ground (it can get dirt in it and clog).

He also showed us how to load the guns, demonstrated how the clay machines work and generally answered all the silly and stupid questions a pair of noobs like us would have (with an incredible amount of patience – Thanks Ben).

From here, we were ready to shoot.  When you are set, you simply call “pull” and take aim at one disk and then a second that shot out of the machines. The little orange disks represented birds or rabbits, some far away, some close by. You would make a handful of shots at each station and then move on.

Having three kids, along the way we discussed kids and gun safety, and how old they need to be to visit.

Basically, it really comes down to the child. Many younger kids are taught respect for guns at a young age making this a great family activity.  It’s also not just a man’s sport.  As you see here and on the blog post from Tunica and in the story from Sheri, our shuttle driver, there is no reason not to make this a couple’s activity on your next stay in Tunica. You can find pricing info on their web page.


I think the main thing you should get out of this post is that this is not a sport to be intimidated by and that Harrah’s and Willows have a professional, trained staff ready to make it a very enjoyable, stress free activity. You can do the whole thing in a couple hours and it makes a great break between casinos. In Mrs. Cheapgamblers case, she is already showing picture of her shooting to her boys and sisters and you will likely leave with some great stories too.

Disclosure:  The Willows didn’t charge us for guns and ammo. We paid for our own hotel which was no big deal because of the great deal we found.