Trap shooting is an excellent way to practice using a shotgun while enjoying the camaraderie of other participants. Each squad allows one to shoot at flying clay targets five times from five different positions. One shoots alternately with four other participants on a line. The point is to break as many of the clay targets as possible as they are in flight. In this way one uses up a box of twenty five shells generally costing about six dollars and use of such a facility generally runs another four dollars for participation in a squad. The fine details of shotgun use such as stance, pointing, swing, painting the target and follow through are beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say this is an affordable pastime suitable for the whole family (over twelve years old that is).
There are a number of places to partake in trap shooting in Columbia County and the surrounding area. All offer the basics of a well laid out trap range and microphones to call for the clay targets that are launched from a trap house via a mechanical thrower. These throwers can run five thousand dollars or more but mostly the cost for participating in a squad is the cost of the clay targets. Most ranges operate during daylight hours. This can be difficult during the winter where daylight is short and the cold weather makes an outdoor range an uncomfortable place to be. Some ranges offering weekday evenings close during the winter months. Others operate during the day on weekends. Some clubs offering this are the Philmont Rod and Gun Club, Kinderhook Sportsman’s Club and Tri Village Rod and Gun Club.
Another alternative is offered by Hudson Fish and Game Club. This Club is located conveniently outside the city of Hudson. At the traffic light intersection on route 9H and Fish and Game Road is a sign that directs people to go a short distance to the Club on Fish and Game Road. Here trap shooting is offered every Friday evening from seven to eleven year round. This is one of few clubs with adequate lighting to shoot at night. Many people are not available on weekends or cannot get out weekday evenings to do a reasonable amount of shooting before dark. For this reason there are regular customers that come as far as Hyde Park to participate at this club. It also stays open unless the weather is seriously dangerous as in lightning. For those brave enough to stand the cold the shooting goes on all winter long.
Mr. Steve Sulzer runs the Friday evening shoots and is in charge of the trap range. There are a couple of people who work with him to keep the trap house running, set up and take down equipment and what not. Many of the regular customers also help with running the activity and will help new shooters with whatever is needed to start out in this sport. Shells are available for purchase but most participants bring their own. For more information call the club at (518) 828-6111.