Taking Your Best Shot at Trap Shooting

Understand Trapshooting

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There is one sport that is spreading through the United States: Trapshooting. Many people have not heard of this sport until very recently. Trapshooting is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting. It is practiced all over the world, and even right here in Paris, Kentucky. Bourbon County High School and Bourbon County 4-H Shooting Sports both have teams. But very few people know that there is a BCHS Trap Team.

The sport was originally developed to mimic bird hunting and to provide a method of practice for bird hunters. Now it has become an international sport. Many people don’t understand how trapshooting works. In trapshooting, the targets are launched from a single “house” or machine, away from the shooter. On the “field” there are five shooting stations. High School Trap is shot at the 16-yard line. With other organizations, you can go as far back as 27 yards. But in High School Trap they only shoot from the 16-yard line. A squad of 5 is on the field at a time with the Squad Leader at Post 1. The Squad Leader is in charge of getting each round started by first asking his fellow squad members if they are ready, then the Squad Leader will ask the Scorekeeper if they are ready. Finally before the round starts the shooters are allowed to see one bird fly from the house so the Squad Leader will say PULL so the first bird is flung into the air. The Squad Leader is the first person to shoot. They will attempt to shoot one clay and then it will be time for the person at post 2 to shoot. Then to the person at post 3 and so on all the way till the person at post 5 has shot. Then it will go back to post one. You shoot 5 rounds at each post meaning 5 birds/clays per post. When you shoot all five at each post the scorekeeper will say “Squad Rotate,” and whenever a shooter misses a bird either the scorekeeper or the caller will say “Fault” or “Loss.”

A shooter will need either a 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun and their own ammunition. Ammunition must be 7 ½ or 8 shot and nothing over 1200 fps (feet per second). The shooter must also provide their own ear and eye protection. A shooter will have 2 practice weeks, a reserve week (a week that scores will be used if weather conditions are too bad to shoot or not enough people show for practice), 5 competition weeks where scores are sent to the Kentucky High School Trap League and are calculated to determine what group you will shoot with. The three possible groups you can shoot with are Novice, Junior-Varsity, and Varsity. Your shooting group is decided by your average of clays. Shooters will also participate in the State Competition hosted in Berea, Kentucky. Shooters also have the option to shoot at High School Nationals held in Mason, Michigan. However, shooters must be invited to nationals.