Duck opener is just a few weeks away, upland season follows close behind, and in some places early goose season has already begun. It’s time to break out the shotgun and get some practice in so you can be effective when the birds start flying. But thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, trap clubs around the country are closed. And even if they’re open in your area, hours may be limited. So what other choices do we have? You’d throw your arm out slinging all those clays by hand. Fortunately, Champion has an electric thrower that won’t break the bank: the WheelyBird 2.0.
This thrower really shines if you are practicing by yourself. It comes with a foot pedal on a 25-foot cord, so you can launch bird after bird—up to 50 before a reload is required—without having to use your hands. But what’s maybe even more useful is the thrower’s remote control. Simply unplug the foot pedal and attach the receiver for the remote, and every time you press the button, it puts a bird in the air. You can even set a delay so you have time to drop the remote in your pocket before shooting.
Using the remote will enable you to practice all kinds of fun, realistic shots that you can’t really practice anywhere other than by running a sporting clays course. Take hard rights or lefts, or even launch them straight toward yourself. The remote has a range of about 75 yards, so you can get into just about any shot you want to practice.
Run the launcher on an old 12-volt battery and you can shoot all day. Thanks to the wheels, the unit is extremely portable, too. Additional attachments, like the randomizing base, can make your practice sessions even more fun and effective.
Despite this thrower’s many positive features, it does have a couple of minor drawbacks. The wheels are too small, so it is difficult to move around on uneven ground. The fit and finish of the handle is absolutely awful, too. But neither of these really affects the actual function of the thrower, so you may find them little more than a minor inconvenience and to be expected at this price point.
The WheelyBird 2.0 sells for around $330, but can be had on sale for closer to $250. So although the unit isn’t as cheap as the ubiquitous plastic hand-throwers, it’s not unreasonable for what it offers. Except for the steering arm, the unit is well made and built to last. Plus, the look on your hunting buddy’s face when he sees you make a crack shot on a screaming teal will be priceless.