Trap Rules & Etiquette

woodstock-gun-club-rifle-shooting-in-the-upper-valley-area-nh-vtTo help out first-timers to trap shooting at the Woodstock Gun Club, we thought we’d post some useful Dos and Don’ts to get them started.

To learn the basics of trap, please see Trap Shooting by Robert Sturgeon it gives a great overview of the fundamentals. Our view on this page is to provide an even more basic guide.

1) The first rule is keep safety foremost in your mind, when not shooting keep your barrel down or up and of course never allow your gun to be pointing even close to your fellow shooters or the spectators.

2) A shell should only be chambered when you are on the line, preferably just after the preceding shooter fires. If for any reason you have a shell chambered and shooting is halted, you should remove the shell. NEVER walk around the trap field with a chambered round.

3) Be aware of whether someone is in the trap house. The orange cone on the roof usually, but not always, indicates that someone is loading the machine. The scorer will normally indicate when it is safe to proceed.

4) OK, with safety mentioned, lets go into how a round takes place. If you wish to shoot, approach the scoring table and let Jon, or whoever, know your interested. It is generally a good idea to start with station 5, the farthest to the right. Number 1 is difficult because you always have to be ready to begin the round and end the round, when you are number 2,3,4 or 5, you simply shoot after the person preceding you shoots. I suggest number 5 as a starting position for two reasons: 1, its the hardest, and you might as well get it over with. And secondly after shooting your first five shots, you move over to position 1, and you get that over with as soon as possible.

5) Shooters fire five rounds from each position, in order. So on the first round its 1,2,3,4, 5 then through the order four more times. 25 shots all together. After number 5 has fired the 5th shot, the scorer will call out “Rotate!”. Each shooter moves one postion to the right, number 5 walks behind the line, with his gun pointed down and when he reaches station 1, says “Ready on Number One!” With that, shooter number one looks at the scorer to see if hes ready and starts shooting.

6) He indicates his readiness by saying “Pull!” in a loud enough voice that the person with the launching trigger can hear…. Dont forget, everyone on the range has ear protection on and is half-deaf. Some people have peculiar calls, more grunts than Pulls and theyre always kind of entertaining. Personally, I like to stick with tradition and avoid ridicule, so its a basic “Pull!” for me.

7) Its considered bad form to argue whether or not you hit a bird (clay pigeon), usually alot of people are watching and when it comes down to it, all the really matters is if you hit all 25. Dont forget, to count the scorer has to see a part of the clay break off, a puff of black or orange does not count as a break. Scorers are human, too. So just buck up and prepare to show them by hitting all 25 on the next round.

8) When not shooting, you should stay back from the line, in the chairs no closer than the scorer. If you feel like talking, especially so loud as to annoy those shooting please move back to the hillside, or preferably the clubhouse. A little banter is OK, within reason, sort of like at the 18th green of a big golf tournament.

9) Another act of good form is to help fill the trap machine. Yes, it can be a little tough to crawl into the house, kneeling on broken birds, getting oil and grime on your fancy new hunting duds, but remember this is Vermont, were all equal. None of us is a lord and endowed with some kind of right to have the locals and old-timers serve us. So get in there and do your duty, statistically you should be filling it every 5th round, but usually two people do it. That means you ought to be in there almost every other round!

10) You are also expected to pick up all your spent shells. Throw them in the black buckets placed before each station.

11) If your gun should jam, or not not fire when the trigger is pulled, treat the latter with extreme care. Get that shell out safely! Try to clear the jam and get ready for your next shot. Its happened to most everybody, so your fellow shooters will understand and provide assistance if you need it. If you have repeated troubles with your gun, and are on the verge of slowing down the round and bothering those on the line, use your common sense and dont hesitate to excuse yourself to discover the cause and repair your gun. Sometimes the reason is you havent cleaned your gun recently. I should know! The best preventative is to keep your gun in good order, and to know its workings well.

12) Upon finishing, please remember to pay for your rounds. It is currently $4 for members, $5 for non-members. A limited number of boxes of 12 gauge ammo is stored in the clubhouse for those who run low, the cost per box is $6.

13) Please feel free to ask members for advice at any time, youd be surprised how helpful they can be once they open up. Theyll even let you use their guns, once theyre assured you know the basic rules and etiquette. This short page is in no way an exhaustive guide to trap shooting at the Woodstock Gun Club, so please email your questions, corrections or things we missed at any time.

We hope youll come up to the range and join us for one of the most fun and addicting outdoor sports known to man!