What is Trap Shooting?
Trapshooting is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay target shooting (shotgun shooting at clay targets) which include trap shooting, skeet shooting and sporting clays. The Hot Shots may participate in each of these disciplines, the club primarily focuses on trap shooting.
In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single "house" or machine, away from the shooter. There are five stations, each 16 years behind the trap house at which up to 5 shooters can participate. When a group are shooting together, they are called a "squad." In singles, each participant shoots at five targets from each station (for a total of 25 shots per round - the standard number of shotgun shells in a box). The trap machine oscilates in such a manner that the shooter does not know where in the arc the target will emerge when calling "pull." Once the target is released, the shooter fires and breaks the target. There are other forms of trap shooting including "doubles," "bunker," and "wobble." Each of these types of activites have differrent methods and strategies for shooters.
What is the cost, and how does it work?
Shotgun shells and trap coins can be purchased inside the clubhouse. The Capitol City Gun Club discounts the clay target cost to $5 per coin for Hot Shot youths. Each coin is good for approx 27 clay targets. Coins are deposited in a control box located on each trap field. After depositing the coin, the number of available targets will be indicated on a display on the coin box. If there are five shooters, there would be approximately 130 targets available at the start.
Each trap field has a portable green controller referred to as the "pickle." Pickles are obtained at the main counter inside the gun club when shooters sign in. Each station on a trap field has an audio sensor. The pickle can manually control the clay targets, or be set to voice operated which enable the audio sensors at each station. When set to voice, the shooter calls "pull" for the clay target. When the target emerges, the audio sensors temporarily deactivate to avoid other targets being deployed when the shotgun is fired, or when the next shooter loads his or her shotgun.
Etiquette and Practices
Trap etiquette is expected a during official and competitive events, but the Hot Shots are expected to follow formal etiquette during informal shooting. Using proper etiquette at all times maintains safety, and once it becomes second nature, more attention can be focused on hitting targets, than trying to remember etiquette.
Most persons using a semi-automatic shotgun employ a shell catcher - an ejected hull hitting an adjacent shooter in the head or arm can certainly disrupt their concentration. Most shooters carry a few extra shells in case they drop one or have a misfire. Shooters usually avoid picking up any dropped shell, or other item, until after the 5th shooter has fired their 5th shot of the station and the squad is about to rotate to the next position, or sometimes until the end of the entire round. Idle chatting between shots, calls, and unnecessary movement is disruptive and should be avoided. Talking can also cause a target to deploy before being called, and while a couple extra targets are included when each coin is deposited, it can be very sad for a shooter to run out of targets before running out of shells because of excessive unintentionally deployed targets!
Commands from the scorer and other shooters are as important to squad timing as the behaviors of the shooters on the squad. To start a squad the shooter will ask if the squad and puller are ready (usually by calling "Squad ready?" then "Puller ready?"), followed by asking to see one free target, traditionally saying, "Let's see one." During official (and sometimes unofficial) events, the scorer will call missed targets by announcing "loss."
The standard call for a target is "pull," but many shooters like to use their own variations of "pull," or words or noises/grunts that will help them concentrate on the target.