Area trap shooters get together on Thursday nights

Nathan Hoogshagen takes aim at the Spearfish Rifle and Trap Club. Thursday night events provide social and competitive opportunities for shooters of all ages. Pioneer file photo

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SPEARFISH — Thursday Night events at the Spearfish Rifle and Trap Club provide a tremendous opportunity for trap shooters of all ages and abilities.

“It’s basically a chance to get together, to shoot, and have some fun,” membership chairman George King said. “Regardless of abilities, everybody is treated the same.”

Those events start at 5 p.m. at the range, located about two miles north of Interstate 90 on Highway 85, on the west side of the road near the wastewater treatment plant.The club offers trap and five-stand.

The Amateur Trapshooting Association website describes trapshooting as shooting at a 4.25-inch disk that moves through the air at 42 miles per hour. This flight resembles that of a bird fleeing a hunter.

A shooter calls “pull” and then shoots at the target. The target is “dead” or “lost” if the shooter connects.

“There are different yardages that they can be shot at, depending on the ability of the shooter,” King said.  

The National Shooting Complex Association website describes five-stand as featuring five shooting positions, with targets shot in 25-bird increments. Targets move at various angles from the shooters, who rotate from station to station.

“You will also have true doubles that are thrown,” King said. “You call for the target, and you’ll get two targets coming out simultaneously.”

King coordinates reservations for the rifle and pistol range located at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon and estimates 15 to 25 shooters gather each Thursday.

Special precautions are in place at the Spearfish club given the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are advised by legal counsel, and we adhere to whatever’s being recommended by the CDC, the state of South Dakota, and the city of Spearfish,” King said.

Club members encourage participants to maintain social distancing. That is relatively easy in the sport itself.

“In the trap shooting world, the nearest shooters would be is 9 feet apart,” King said.

Participants, however, are not encouraged to gather in the clubhouse.

Young people shoot at the club, and King said they are showing respect for the new guidelines and one another.

Hand sanitizer is available on the grounds.

“You do not have to be a member of the Spearfish Rifle and Trap Club to shoot at the shotgun facility,” King said. He added membership allows a shooter to purchase targets at a 50-cent discount.

Adults wishing to join the club may do so for $30 a year: January through December. Individuals under age 18 must have an adult member present.

Nonmembers may shoot at the club for $4.50 per round, with members paying $4 per round.

A 12-round punch card is available for $3.50 per round.

Safety is naturally the first and foremost concern, according to King. He said people work together to know what they should be doing.

“In trap shooting, you can’t have the action of your gun closed until you’re ready to shoot,” King said. He added shooters may load one shell at a time.

Participants supply their own ammunition and shells.

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