Facility also provides target practice, western-themed cowboy action shooting

Published in the December 7 – 20, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Airoldi


Photo by Marty Cheek — Irene Popenhager, Coyote Valley Sporting Clays shooting instructor, demonstrates her technique at one of the clay shooting stations.

For 25 years avid shotgun sport enthusiasts have enjoyed the natural beauty of Coyote Valley Sporting Clays located in the hills of Santa Clara Valley just north of Morgan Hill.
Tom and Nancy Ebert purchased a cattle ranch and built the courses in 1992 after he experienced shooting clays at a private ranch in Nevada.

“I had a great time there,” Tom Ebert said. “We thought it would be a wonderful thing to do here and all the stars lined up and we got lucky to get this location and its just been really wonderful ever since.”

Coyote Valley Sporting Clays is open to the public and has an extensive facility featuring two sporting clay ranges, two skeet fields, trap shooting, five-stand, private and group instruction, pro shop and event facilities.

The facility also has a cowboy range that allows for certain clubs to meet for a type of sport called cowboy action shooting.

“Everyone gets dressed up in western clothing,” said Brain Wang, a Massad Ayoob group defensive shooting instructor. “We have a barbecue and a good time. There’s a good community there around this facility.”

Some of the range’s most popular activities are fundraisers and corporate team-building events. Salinas Valley Hospital, local Boy Scouts, South County Sportsmen and churches for Father’s Day all use the facility for fundraisers, said Irene Popenhager, a NSCA level 2 shooting instructor.

coyote-valley-clay-shooting“Instead of golf, they come shoot sporting clays,” Popenhager said. “It’s a great facility for fundraising activities.”

Clay target shooting is a fun and safe shotgun sport for anyone interested in shooting or getting ready for hunting season to open.

Mechanical traps are used to throw clay disc targets in varying directions allowing a shooter with a shotgun the opportunity of a sporting challenge anytime of the year.
On a Coyote Valley Sporting Clays course, shooters are presented with a wide variety of targets that simulate the flight path of different game species (teal, dove, quail, pheasant and even a bouncing rabbit), such as flushing, crossing, incoming and other angling shots.

“Almost invariably when they get exposed they have a great experience and want to come back,” Ebert said. The company offers a variety of packages for the different disciplines and targets for those who want to practice. One of the most popular is the experience package, where people trying sporting clays for the first time, or for groups with mixed experience levels, want to be guided on their outing. The guides (safety instructors) ensure everyone is safe, having a good time and help shooters hit some targets. The experience package is $79 per person, and is by reservation only.

Wang also teaches private instruction for personal home defense by appointment only.

“It does provide Bay Area residents a teaching facility,” he said.


Today, sporting clays is among the most popular of the shooting disciplines and is internationally recognized as a competitive sporting event.

Sporting clays is also used as a form of wing shooting practice and is commonly referred to as “golf with a shotgun.”

“Just like golf, all sporting clays courses are different, always providing the shooter with a constant challenge,” Ebert said.


What: Coyote Valley Sporting Clays
Location: 1000 San Bruno Ave., Morgan Hill
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday
Contact: (408) 778-3600 or visit www.coyoteclays.com

Robert Airoldi