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Trap shooting event provides a bit of normalcy

by John Kruse/Washington Outdoors Report
| December 11, 2020 1:00 AM

Call it a slice of normalcy in this otherwise surreal year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, politics and innumerable sad and stressful events that have plagued 2020. The annual Turkey Shoot put on by the Cashmere Sportsman’s Association took place Nov. 15.

The small range, located on Turkey Shoot Road outside of Cashmere, boasts two trap houses and is open the bulk of the year. The general public is always invited to shoot clay pigeons for just $4 a round on Thursday evenings starting at 7 p.m. During normal years, there are also school shooting nights when youth from 5th to 12th grade come out and shoot. Brian James, secretary for the club, said 10 to 15 kids will participate in these shoots and the association itself has some 60 members.

Trap is a deceptively simple game. A squad of up to five shooters occupy five designated stations 16 yards behind the concrete trap house. Inside the trap house is a machine that throws clay pigeons at different angles at a speed of 42 miles per hour. Each shooter fires five times from each designated position, and each position gives you a slightly different angle when it comes to shooting at the launched bird. Whoever hits the most pigeons out of the 25 shots fired wins the round.

Serious trap shooters invest in over and under 12-gauge shotguns with long 30-inch barrels. More casual shooters will show up with their 12 or 20-gauge hunting firearm whether it be an over and under, semi-auto or pump shotgun.

This year’s Turkey Shoot drew participants from as far away as Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The 110 attendees, socially distanced and coming and going over a several hour time span, each paid $30 for a punch card ticket that guaranteed the shooter a choice of a slab of bacon or a hefty frozen turkey which by itself is worth the price of admission.

In addition to this, there is a raffle with prizes that raises money for the youth shoots that occur at the range. There was a diverse crowd of men and women at this year’s event. I’d like to say I shot well, but the fact of the matter is a 70-plus-year-old longtime shooter named Steve from Yakima made me look like the rank amateur trap shooter I am, as did several high-school-aged young men and women who had no problem breaking clay pigeons on a regular basis.

A similar event, the Steak Shoot, is scheduled to occur at the Othello Gun Club on Sunday, Dec. 20. Shooting starts at 9 a.m., and for $35 you are guaranteed to win at least a two-pack of ribeye steaks. It is unclear, given the current COVID-19 restrictions, whether this event will take place.

There are ranges with trap shooting available throughout Washington state. Some of them, like the Fort Colville Gun Club near Colville and the Ephrata Sportsmen’s Association Gun Range, offer not only trap shooting but also skeet, rifle and pistol shooting too. A detailed list of where other ranges and gun clubs are located can be found is at http://shooting.org/ranges.