1831:
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Evidence shows that trapshooting was first contested in this county at the Sportsmen's Club of Cincinnati, OH. They probably used Passenger Pigeons or Sparrows for targets.
1880:
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Invention of the clay target by George Ligowsky of Cincinnati, Ohio. He would introduce the target at the conclusion of the New York State Shoot at Coney Island to a group of shooters. It became an instant success. He contracted Capt. Adam Bogardus and Doc Carver to tour the country in a series of matches using Ligowsky targets. Ligowsky was also instrumental in the staging of the first national trapshoot in New Orleans in 1885. All the great shots attended including Rolla Heikes, Bogardus, Carver and J. A. R. Elliott. Doc Carver won the event. 
1890:
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On August 22, 1890, the Pennsylvania State Sportsmen's Association was organized at the Crosby House in  Correy, PA. This meeting was set in motion by H. A. Penrose, owner of the Keystone Manufacturing  Company, which made clay targets and traps.

1900:
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First Grand American at clay targets held at Interstate Park in New York City from June 12-15. Again, managed by Elmer Shaner of Pennsylvania. Shaner would manage the first 19 Grand American tournaments until the formation of the American Trapshooting Association in 1919.
1891: The first Pennsylvania State Shoot was held at Williamsport, PA from September 29 to October 2. 
1919:
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The American Trapshooting Association (ATA, 1919-1923) was formed and replaced the Interstate Trapshooting Association. The offices were moved to New York from Pittsburgh. It was this association that designed the ATA logo much as it appears today.
1923:
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The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA, 1919-present) was organized to replace the American Trapshooting Association. For the first time, trapshooting was run and organized by amateurs. The first Grand American under this new association was in Chicago, the final year it would moved yearly. 
1924:
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The new homegrounds of the ATA was established at Vandalia, Ohio. The twenty-fifth Grand American was held at the new homegrounds. There were 16 trapfields. They continue there to this day. George McCarty, living in New Jersey at the time, was the driving force for the development of the new homegrounds. He became the second president of the new ATA.

The best way to get started is to get a friend to take you to a gun club. Pennsylvania is blessed with hundreds of fine trapshooting gun clubs, the most in any state. Once there, he or she can show you how to enter and perhaps even teach you a few fundamentals. It would be wise to go to a practice shoot and shoot 25 practice targets and repeat as many times as you might feel you must before you actually enter any competition. Some equipment you might want to buy is a shooting vest and a shooting bag to hold your shells and empties. Shooting glasses are a must as well as ear protection. One thing you must remember, it takes a lot of time, practice and patience. Don't become discouraged if you shoot poor scores over a long period of time. Keep coming back. 

    

Entry Fee: About $2.50 to $3.00 for 25 targets. (ATA registered targets are more expensive)
Shells
: One box of 25, about $5.50 or $50.00 for a flat of ten boxes. 
Glasses: $50.00 to $200.00 (Shop around)
Ear Protection: $5.00 to $200.00 (Shop around.)

Shooting Vest: $40.00 to $200.00 (Shop around.)
Shooting Bag: up to $150.00 (Shop around. A box or bucket will get you started.)
Trap Gun: $500.00 to $13,000 (Again, shop around, get advise. Many good used guns available.)
Reloader: If you plan to reload your shells, prices range from several hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. Look for a good used reloader for a starter. (Get advise.)

Don't let the cost scare you. If you want to get started, all you need are a gun (you might want to loan a gun from a friend), and box of shells. Pay the entry fee and have the time of your life. However, eye and ear protection is advised.

 


There are three different disciplines in American trapshooting....

Singles:
Each round consists of 25 targets shot from 5 different stations, 5 targets per station. You shoot from 16 yards.

Handicap:
Each round consists of 25 targets shot from 5 different stations, 5 targets per station. You shoot your targets anywhere from 19 yards to 27 yards, depending on your ability.

Doubles:
Each round consists of 25 pair of targets shot from 5 different stations, 5 pair of targets per station. You shoot from 16 yards. 


There have been very few, if any, deaths related to gun accidents in the sport of trapshooting. Gun safety is Job 1 while trapshooting. Some simple rules include:

1. Never move from station to station with a loaded shell in your gun.
2. Always keep the gun pointed downrange.
3. Never carry a loaded gun when not on the firing line. 
4. Be alert to trap boys leaving the trap house while the round is in progress.
5. You must keep the action open on your gun at all times while moving to and from the trap line as well as moving from post to post while you are shooting.
6. Keep your gun in good mechanical condition.

Read the 10 rules of safe gun handling found on this web sit. Click here.


The trapfield should be laid out with the shooter facing north. There are 5 stations as you can see from the drawing. You shoot 5 targets per station in singles and handicap and 10 targets per station for doubles. The shooters are standing at the 16 yard line and will be moved back in handicap along the walkway behind the shooters all the way back the 27 yard line, depending on the shooters ability. The target is released on the command of "pull" from the shooter and will travel at various angles for about 48 to 52 yards at about 50-60 MPH. The shooter must break the target before it hits the ground. You are allowed only one shot in singles and handicap and of course, two shots in doubles. 

 
The most common targets used today are manufactured by White Flyer, Remington and Federal. They measure 4 5/16th inches in diameter and 1 1/8 inches high. Properly presented by a good trap machine, they can be broken with as little as one shot pellet. 

Today's trap machines are highly sophisticated and very expensive. They are manufactured to throw one target for singles and handicap and two targets for doubles. Pictured on the left is a Super Star trap made in Sweden and used by the PSSA at Elysburg for their 52 trap fields. They were installed in 2000 for all of the shoots held at Elysburg. It is completely automatic and no one is required in the trap house to set targets as was required for over 100 years. 

To the left is an Outers wireless voice release. They are placed in front of each shooter and will release a target as soon as the shooter calls for the target. It will not pick up other noises associated with a round of trapshooting, such as the noise from a shotgun or another shooter on the next field along side of you. Many clubs, including the PSSA now use voice release technology for their trapfields. Currently the most popular are the Canterbury Voice Release systems as used at Elusburg.

There are 4 kinds of shotguns you can use for trapshooting. They must be no larger than 12 gauge. The major difference between a trap gun and a hunting (field) gun is found in the stock. It is not recommended that you use a field gun for trap shooting. The four kinds are over and under, single barrel, automatic and pump action