She learned to shoot and go duck hunting as a kid with her dad Herbie. Now, Janaya Nickerson, 24, has laid claim as the first female shooter to win the Atlantic Provinces ATA trapshooting handicap title.
Nickerson and her dad, both from Cape Sable Island in Shelburne County, and both members of the Highland Gun Club in Yarmouth, were among the competitors at the 2019 Atlantic Provinces ATA Provincial Trapshooting Championships in Newfoundland on Labour Day weekend.
Both came home with hardware. Herbie claimed the sub veteran doubles and handicap trophies, while Janaya captured the trapshooting handicap title after a shoot-off win against New Brunswick’s John Roberts.
“I shot 21 out of 25 and he shot 20 out of 25,” she said in an interview.
She shot 93 out of 100 in competition.
An avid athlete growing up, Nickerson said she finds trapshooting challenging and likes the competitiveness.
“It’s a mental game trying to stay focused,” she said. “I like the social aspect too. You get to meet people, you get to travel and compete against a lot of really good shooters.”
Nickerson said she’s been competing fairly steady during the past four years, including at the Spring Grand Trap Shoot in Arizona and Southern Grand Trap Shoot in Florida where she’s won the lady’s runner up in preliminary handicap.
“I’ve been doing good in handicap,” said Nickerson. “I shoot better further back.”
As Herbie explained, everybody shoots at different yardages.
“It’s not easy to shoot handicap,” he said.
In handicap competition the shooter can be anywhere from 19 to 27 yards away from the trap house that releases the clay pigeons. In singles competition it's 16 yards.
Janaya was shooting at 21.5 yards when she won the Atlantic province title, but has gained a yard because of the win.
Nickerson shoots with a Siren 12 gauge over and under firearm. Along with other members of the Highland Gun Club, the father and daughter duo often compete at other trap shoots in the province and beyond.
“We’ve shot pretty well everywhere from Edmonton to Newfoundland,” said Herbie. “We meet a lot of nice people.”
With the Highland Gun Club hosting the 2020 Atlantic Provinces Trapshooting Championships on Sept. 3 to 6, 2020, the pair won’t have far to go next year to defend their titles.
In the meantime, duck hunting season is about to open and by the sounds of things, both father and daughter are looking forward to it.