Monday, May 12, 2014

Where have all the trap and skeet shooters gone?

I was taken back the other day when a long time trap shooter told me he was passing on shooting registered trap this year in order to concentrate on sporting clays.

Say what!!!

The region can ill afford to lose a trap shooter.

Clubs that hold, what you would call a big shoot, rely on outside participation in order for the shoot to be called a success in regard to attendance, as not to many home grown registered shooters left in the region.  Those who stop shooting registered are not being replaced at no where near the loss rate (in many cases not being replaced, period).

Many clubs that hosted registered trap or skeet in the region no longer hold such shoots. Not even offering target only shoots.  Those clubs were the lifeblood for the bigger club shoots, with each club providing a squad or two who would travel to attend. No longer!

One club just cancelled a scheduled skeet shoot. The third such cancellation for the club this year. They said one canceled shoot would be rescheduled for some time in the fall.  Better get moving on the re-schedule date, as I already have shoot dates penciled in for fall shooting.

Another club that normally holds a shoot or two has no registered skeet shoots scheduled, but maybe we'll see a few shoots pop up on the club schedule in the fall.  How do I schedule for "maybe" shoot dates?  Those that travel can tell you year after year where they will be on any given weekend. Maybe dates, especially after the shoot season has started, has low priority on the calendar

I haven't been shooting registered skeet in any meaningful way in the last several years, but the lack of shoots in the region makes me ask why bother with registered skeet at all?

Trap is in better shape, but only three clubs offering registered trap. One, a two hour drive.  Again, if no outside participation, less local shooters taking up registered shooting each year and attendance is so so.

Many regions are seeing fantastic participation in skeet and trap via SCTP, AIM, 4-H, and boy scouts.  Not so in this region. I am aware of one club that has five young people shooting skeet each week. There maybe one or two more that have some type of youth shooting program, but if they do, there not getting the word out.  Such programs are much needed and hopefully a number of such shooters will take up registered shooting when they reach adulthood and are settled, but registered shooting as we have known it in the past, may not be able to hold on long enough for the next generation to replenish the ranks.

What's the solution?  Beats me.....

Let's put money (cost) aside, as a debate that can go in many directions.

What can we do to enhance the shooting experience?

Years ago I pushed for a change in registered skeet, shooting doubles at station 3,4, and 5 instead of singles, to move the game along.  That went nowhere (thanks for your suggestion).
Allow shooters to shoot back to back events (if room) instead of having to wait until the PM to shoot the second 100.  It's being done, but don't be shy about offering it.
More one day shoots instead of 4-gun shoots (many clubs went overboard).  I was told that shooters wouldn't travel any distance to attend a one day shoot.  Where did that get us in regard to getting local shooters to participate?  I saw a move to one day shoots in recent years, but I fear a little to late.
I don't mind pulling my own, but if nothing else, get someone to sit at the bench or picnic table and track the scores.  They don't have to know the rules, all they have to do is mark loss or dead!

Successful trap shoots refused to limit the number of shooters. What we got was 10 shots per post or take two boxes of shells with a little or no break between 25's.  A fast game as it is, why the push to make it faster, to maximize club profit I would presume.  Many clubs tried it and dropped it like a hot potato, but the damage was done, as those who were thinking of no longer shooting registered found that to be the straw that broke the camels back. 

Nature of the game I guess in trap, but not knowing at what time your going to shoot makes for a long day, especially if shooting more then one gun.  Even when you pre-squad, you find unfilled squads and you end up shooting earlier then planned.  Over filled shoots have you waiting hours to shoot.  No fun shooting the second 100 at 6pm!

 Registered trap went from three hole trap to two hole trap (targets not being thrown as wide).  Sounded like a good idea, but more then a few grew bored over time, as less of a challenge and left the game.  Not saying they were even close to being top shooters, but they enjoyed the challenge. 

In both registered skeet and trap allow for non-ATA/NSSA members (as does the NSCA) to participate.  Many clubs have shooters that won't travel, but if given the opportunity to shoot registered at home club shoots, would.  They pay the same as the registered shooters, but shoot Lewis Class.  At small club shoots, these shooters can make a difference in a successful l shoot or not, and we might even pick up a few registered members.






1 comment:

  1. Sporting is a whole lot more fun. You can talk to fellow shooters without getting growled at by the focused elite. You get to drive around in a golf cart on uneven terrain.

    Sporting shoots cost about the same or less then skeet/trap and is a whole lot more interesting. You can even miss a bunch of targets and still win.

    Not surprising the other disciplines are hurting.

    Dedbird

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