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Trap and Skeet

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Published on: Jul. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

way to shoot.

Recreation vs. Competition

Across Missouri, thousands of people shoot in competitive matches and in recreational leagues each week. Lynn Gipson, who manages the Kansas City Trap Association facility in Smithville, estimates that close to 2 million targets were thrown at their trap and skeet fields last year.

"I think one of the reasons that we see increasing numbers of shooters is that people have found it tougher and tougher to find a place to hunt or target shoot," Gipson said. "They just want to come out and shoot, and we offer a great place to do it here."

Missouri has produced a number of trap and skeet champions over the years, including Jordan Holmes of Kearney, who as a 15-year-old captured the 1999-2000 Missouri Handicap Trap championship. Jordan broke 100 consecutive targets-a feat accomplished only one other time in state history-to beat more than 1,000 contestants.

"Shooting trap is an exhilarating feeling," said Holmes, who had only begun shooting three years earlier. "It's a challenge though. When you don't break them all, you want to keep striving until you do."

Though competitive shooting can be lucrative, most shooters find the social aspect to be the most appealing aspect of the sport.

"The people I've met though this sport are absolutely the best in the world," said Rodney. "I love being outdoors with others who are friendly and enjoy shooting as much as I do."

Ranges In Action

Though firearms are forbidden in most places of employment, Greg Toczylowski sees someone carrying a gun into his "office" almost every day. Toczylowski works for the Conservation Department as the training center supervisor for the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Training Center, which is part of the Forest 44 Conservation Area in southwest St. Louis County.

"My job is simple," Toczylowski says. "In running this facility, our intent is to promote the safe, ethical and lawful use of firearms in hunting and recreational shooting."

It's a job he clearly enjoys. Toczylowski's eyes light up when he talks about the aspect of the work he loves best: working with youngsters in youth hunter education and shooting programs.

"It's really neat when somebody comes up to you and says, 'Hey, I know you don't recognize me, but you taught me hunter education some year way back when, and I still remember the things you told me'.'" said Toczylowski, who will celebrate 25 years with the Department in October. "It's rewarding to me to be able to pass on this heritage."

A typical day at the range is always busy for Toczylowski and his crew, which includes four permanent and four part-time employees, plus 12 volunteers.

"We had nearly 50,000 people out here in 1999 using this facility for shooting, attending classes or taking part in special events," Toczylowski said. "Those numbers just show how important it is that we have public ranges in the metro area so that people have a safe place to go and shoot."

Where To Shoot

The Missouri Department of Conservation operates four supervised shooting ranges:

  • Bois D'Arc-Greene County, (417) 742-4361
  • Busch Memorial Wildlife Area-St. Charles County, (636) 441-4554
  • Henges Range and Training Center/Forest 44-St. Louis County (636) 938-9548
  • Lake City Range-Jackson County (816) 229-4448

In addition to trap and/or skeet fields, these facilities typically offer a covered rifle/pistol range, a shotgun patterning range and an archery range. Exact configuration varies by location. All are open to the public, but a nominal fee is charged to use the ranges. Shooters are encouraged to call ahead for specific information, such as range hours and availability.

Also, the Department offers many more unsupervised firearms and archery ranges on its areas. For information about Conservation Department unsupervised shooting ranges, contact your local Conservation office, consult the "Missouri Conservation Atlas" or go to www.mdc.mo.gov/areas/ranges on the Web.

For information about trap and/or skeet shooting, visit the Missouri State Skeet Association's website, www.geocities.com/Colosseum/ Mound/2436/moweb.htm, or go to www.motraps.com, or call or e-mail association president Mike Rodney at (573) 946-0903 or mrodney@aci-boland.com.

The Missouri Trap Association's website address is www.motraps.com or you can write to RR1, P.O. Box 396, Linn Creek, Mo. 65052-0396 or call (573) 346-2449.

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