In 2011, we received approval from the Dike-New Hartford School Board to form a junior high trapshooting team as a club sport. The team operated under the guidelines of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Shooting Sports guidelines, and the guidelines of the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), a national organization with oversight for trap and clay shooting by school teams. The team is self-funded, through personal donations and grants, costing the district no money. In 2013, the team was expanded to include high school athletes, and in 2014, sixth grade students were added to the junior high team. The trapshooting team acquired a trailer to transport trapshooting equipment, through a donation from Kruger Seed Company.
About Trap Shooting
Trap shooting, a spring sport, is becoming increasingly popular in Iowa schools. In 2012, there were 72 Iowa school-affiliated teams, with 1,789 students participating. It is a coed sport, with females making up 13% of this year’s participants. Nationwide, more than 10,000 young people participate in the SCTP.
In trapshooting, the shooter stands 16 or 19 yards away from the center of the "trap house" and shoots at random targets that fly at various angles in front of him/ her.
Shooters are grouped into squads, usually made up of up to five people. There are five positions that each shooter shoots from, for a total of five shots, or one round. This gives participants a different view of the target flying through the air. They shoot 25 clays per round, and complete four rounds, for a total of 100 shots.
A 12 or 20 gauge shotgun is recommended. Ear and eye protection is required. Only one shell is loaded in a gun at a time. The shooter typically wears a pouch containing the 25 shells for that round.
All coaches are volunteers. Anyone acting as a coach, assisting a young person with shooting instruction, is required to complete the Iowa DNR Shooting Sports Coach Certification Program, a one-day program with classroom and hands-on instruction, followed by a 100 question exam. Coaches are also required to pass a criminal background check before certification is granted. All of the training through the DNR emphasizes the safety of all involved. Liability insurance is also provided for each certified coach as part of the Iowa SCTP. The optimal coaching level is one coach for every five students.
Above all else, safety is emphasized at all times when students are trapshooting. Students learn and are held to a strict standard of muzzle awareness (where is the muzzle of the gun pointed), proper shell loading and unloading procedures, safe movement around the trap stand, and other key safety measures. Prior to meets, a safety briefing is held. Coaches and each student shooting is expected to attend. While shooting, the squad leader (shooter in position # 1) checks with each of the other shooters, the scorekeepers and safety monitors at key times to ensure that everyone is ready to proceed. Two safety monitors are also on the trap stand to monitor the shooters for safe behavior.