We had the privilege of sitting down with Olympic medal winning trap shooter, Corey Cogdell-Unrein. We talked with her about a range of topics including Olympic trap shooting, her favorite outdoor activities and hunting bucket list.
At what age where you introduced to shooting sports and hunting?
That is a great question. It all started at a young age for me. I think I was about three years old and my first gun I shot was a BB gun. My dad was an avid outdoorsman. He loved to hunt and fish. I remember tagging along with my dad while he hunted. But the shotgun was introduced to me when I was 14 through a 4-H program. This is when my passion for clay target and shotgun shooting all began.
We hear you’re an Olympic athlete, what does that mean?
It depends on the person and the sport. For my sport as an Olympic trap shooter, it is very technical. There is a lot that goes into the mental aspect of the sport. I have spent a lot of time building muscle memory and continue to work on that as I continue to grow. When I am explaining it, I usually refer to it as being like golf in a lot of ways. I am often traveling to world cups and championships and other competitions from January to October. During my training season, I spend a lot of time in the gym to stay in shape. I practice at the range a lot to keep my muscle memory in check. The last piece of my training routine is spending time with a sports physiologist. Being an athlete is my job, and I treat it that way.
What Olympic shooting sport do you participate in?
Before I dive into the Olympic shooting sport I compete in; I want to explain the three different disciplines that exist under the umbrella of Olympic shooting. The different disciplines have to do with the gun you use to compete being the rifle, pistol, and shotgun. I compete in the shotgun discipline, and I participate in the international trap portion.
What is International Trap?
International Trap is different than trap at a local gun club. To start there are five shooting stations. The trap machines are housed in a bunker, that is 60 feet long. The bunker house contains 15 fixed traps. The clay flies at angles up to 45 degrees, left to right and variable heights, with speeds of 50-75 mph. Each person competing in the competition gets the same number of targets, which is rounds of 25. The primary variable is the shooter doesn’t know the sequence the targets are presented. Each competition of 75 targets takes about 7 to 9 hours.
What is your training schedule like?
I start my competition training in January. My training plan depends on the time of year. Early in the season, I spend a lot of time on repetition shooting several hundred rounds each day. In the offseason, I am in the gym a lot. I work on quick twitch muscles, and as competition season approaches I work primarily on competition training. This part of my training regimen shooting for a score and analyzing that score. Post competition season, I just want to stay fresh on the gun. This could be going on a few hunting trips or just practicing at the range.
Tell us about your best performance or most memorable?
I would have to say that it is my first Olympic medal in Beijing. It was a high-pressure sudden death situation. I had only been competing for about two years. It meant a lot to me because it made me the first women in the USA to win an Olympic medal in my sport I think the second would be when I tied the world record in Spain in 2013. I shot a perfect score of 75/75, becoming the second woman behind an Italian shooter to accomplish that feat. Let me tell you this is not easily obtained.
Besides shooting clay, what is another outdoor activity you enjoy and why?
I just love to be outside it is simple as that. I enjoy hunting and fishing. I grew up doing it with my dad and love the experience and variety it offers. I also enjoy mountain biking.
Do you have a hunting bucket list?
Every outdoor enthusiast does. I have three hunts that are on my bucket list. The first is Dall Sheep hunting in Alaska or Canada. I have heard stories that this experience is incredible. The second is Elk hunting, I have never been, and I live in Colorado so I feel that I should do this one soon. Lastly, I would love to go Mountain Goat hunting. I have crazy respect for this animal. I just respect the way they live, and they are just an awesome rugged animal.
Do you have one tip that you would say is your “advice to live by” when it comes to shooting accuracy?
For shotgun shooting especially, keep both eyes open and focus on the front edge of your target. Most people grow up shooting rifles, and that is where the habit of closing one eye gets formed.
Last question, how many shotgun shells do you go through in a year?
(Laughs) I usually go through about 30,000-50,000 rounds.
Check out Corey Cogdell-Unrein shooting here!