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bulletRules of Etiquette
bulletThe Most Dangerous Things To Ruin Scores
bulletPower of Mind
bulletThe Genius Factor in Trap Shooting
bulletFinding Gun Clubs
bulletBenefits of a Coach
bulletSquad Leader
bulletTax Deductible Trap Shooting
bulletGo to next page of articles

Rules of Etiquette

Courtesy rules when shooting in competition.

To care for other people.

For more information
Talk to experienced trapshooters.

Here's a few rules to abide by when shooting registered shoots.  Very handy to know when attending your first shoot and a refresher for those who know better but forget the rules.


  1. When walking with your shotgun always make sure the action is open.   The rules are generally well observed here but a good reminder anyway. 

  2. When in Vendor's Row shouldering those new guns do not point the gun at people.  Yes, we know the gun is unloaded but it's also rude and uncaring for those who see the muzzle bore staring at them.  Find a place alongside the Vendor's stand and point with courtesy.  We all have made this mistake as our mind in on the new gun and it's easy to forget this rule.

  3. When watching shooters shoot keep conversational volume down, especially for the back fence shooters.

  4. Do not speak to shooters who are walking from trap to trap during the event.  Many are in deep concentration and they need to remain focused.  Talk after the event ends.

  5. Keep your dogs on a leash and under control.  Not everyone loves your pet and it is a nuisance if your dog is running around leaping on peoples legs, chasing other dogs, etc.  If your dog barks at night do something about it.  A veterinarian can prescribe a sleeping pill for the pet or other anxiety medication.   People need to get some sleep!

  6. Be careful when walking near gun racks or you may bump the rack and knock over the guns.  When pick up your gun from the rack do so slowly as you turn to walk away with the muzzle facing down or up.  There is always someone behind you who you can hit with the muzzle if you are not aware of this fact.

  7. Do not let your children run around bumping into people.  Assign them to a play area to play games, not in the clubhouse.

  8. Keep the restrooms clean.  Do your part to make the experience enjoyable for the next person.  If you drop papers on the floor please do pick them up.  If the trash can is full and overflowing simply tell management about it and they will remedy the problem.

  9. If you enjoyed the shoot tell management.  Send them a little letter or note.  These people work very hard to conduct a registered shoot and a compliment often is all that is needed to reciprocate the joy you had to them.  If there are problems?  Tell management not other shooters.  They can't solve a problem if they are not aware one exists. 

  10. Leave your camping space the way you found it. 

  11. When having late night gatherings keep the music down or off.   Don't yell and laugh loud after 10 p.m.  Respect the other shooters who want to sleep.  Sure, you won't hear complaints about it from trapshooters but still keep your fellow campers needs in mind.  


  1. Never turn around on post facing the puller or audience with the gun facing in their direction.  The gun must always be facing up or down.  Keep the gun pointed into the trap field when changing posts.

  2. If you shoot a semi-auto use a shell catcher.  It annoys shooters to have shells flipping at them.

  3. Do not fumble around with excessive body movements when waiting your turn to shoot so as not to disrupt other shooters on the squad.

  4. Keep a reasonable squad rhythm going, not too fast, not too slow.   Sometimes you can't if the squad is in error machine-gunning at rapid pace.   Ultimately you have to play your own game, but keep the rhythm in your mind as best you can.

  5. Check your reloads and your gun before shooting.  Constant dud loads and gun jams will certainly destroy your scores... and the squad will silently thank you for being professional.

  6. Don't be afraid to turn down a target if you must.  It upsets the squad rhythm but that's expected in the game.

  7. Do not be rude to the puller if you receive slow or fast pulls.   Simply check the switch button first to make sure it's working okay.  If it is, then kindly instruct the puller to stand up or stand closer to hear your call.   If this does not solve the problem the puller may be tired.  Ask for a replacement puller, politely.

  8. Do not talk to other shooters on the squad during the event unless they are open to conversation.  Do not make comments like; "Those targets are hard to see today."  This sets up other shooters for a fall in scores and it will do the same for you!  Watch out for what you think, for as you think it will be.

  9. Do not load your gun until you are on station and the muzzle is facing into the trapfield. 

  10. Watch the warning flag on the traphouse!  Do not load if the flag is showing.  Unload your gun when the flag rises.  And don't forget... some trap setters have poked their heads out of the traphouse not raising the flag.  If this happens stop the squad and have management instruct the setter never to do it again.

  11. If you are squad leader then be the leader.  Make the decisions as best you can and be fair, but don't be a boss.  If you see a safety violation you must speak up about it.  If you see a target being scored as dead when it is not you must not allow the score to be registered.  Don't start any emotional arguments on the line.  Call for the Field Captain to resolve the problem.  When in doubt ask the scorekeeper to place a question mark by the score box.  If you see a squad member abusing staff tell the shooter you'll handle the situation, then do correct the problem with flair.

  12. If two broken targets emerge from the house in succession ask to see one more.  If the target is faulty stop the squad and have the trap machine checked out by the maintenance crew.

  13. Do not start shooting until the puller and the scorekeeper is ready.   Ask first.  You'll receive better targets.

  14. Make sure the scorekeeper calls out the scores at the end of each 5-rounds and correct any discrepancies before resuming shooting.

  15.   If you win or lose in a shootoff, shake hands with your competitor before the shooter leaves.  It's  tough losing so be a good sport and make the loser feel like a winner.

  16.   Do not rush other shooters when changing stations or changing traps.  Allow some time for the squad leader as they have a bit more to do than you do and they need a tad more time to get ready for the next trap.

  17. If you drop targets do not become emotional and fling hulls or exhibit other angry outbursts.  It only makes you look amateur and is very disruptive to other shooters.  Control thy emotions less they ruin your game.

The Most Dangerous Things To Ruin Scores

A Few Trapshooters Perils.

A Strong Mind-set.

For more information
Read "Trap Shooting Secrets" and "Precision Shooting - The Trapshooter's Bible" books.

Here's some inside tricks you should know about.

  1. Do not be conscious of the scores of other shooters on your squad.   This is a great way to divert your full attention to the job you have to do and often will cause you emotional grief when you miss a target and the other shooter(s) did not miss on that trap. Don't worry, they will likely miss on the other traps!

  2. Stay away from the scoreboard before you shoot.  You don't want to know the score you have to beat as it will divert your attention in a bad way.  The moment you drop a target you'll begin the countdown in your head and you know your score will only drop further.  Check scores only after you shoot.

  3. Stop thinking about what you are doing wrong or may do wrong.   Instead, think of what you are doing right... even when things go wrong!  This will enable you to remain focused.

  4. Dropping out of the game.  Once you perform badly on a trap you lose hope and then use the shoot as a practice session.  This is a bad habit.   No matter how many targets you drop you need to learn to mitigate the damage.   If you don't put your all into it, all of the time, you'll always fall apart when targets drop.  Do not let emotions control your game.  Get serious in competitive shooting and it will reward you.  Be a fighter.  The first thing that goes before a disappointing score is the relentless desire to break the target.

  5. Never count the targets you have left to shoot.  You must learn to not devote any special attention to these last few targets.  They are no different than any other.  It's tough to learn, but you'll need to learn it or you'll drop the targets and ruin a perfect score.

  6. Failing to play the options is a mistake.  Play at least one option to 'up the ante' so you can get deeper into the competitive groove and set a powerful internal drive to win back you shooting fees.

  7. Never think of option money when shooting.  Think of winning if you will, but not of losing or winning money.  Money has nothing to do with the act of shooting the target so it is detrimental to contemplate money.  The mind is as fragile as it is strong.  Control your thoughts when shooting.

  8. Shoot your own game.  Do not get swept away in a fast-pace or slow-cautious squad rhythm.  These timing factors are very powerful influences on the subconscious mind and the squad's timing will control your shooting (in a bad way) if you are not aware of your own perfected timing.

  9. Wear blinders and a long-billed hat to give you that tunnel vision effect, reduce side-motion distractions and prevent image reflections from hazing your sight on the target.  If you don't you'll miss allot due to distorting optical illusions affecting the eye's retina.

  10. Take a deep breath before you call for the target (breathe in as you shoulder the gun).  This charges the eyes with oxygen and you'll see the target a lot better than if you don't.  It also triggers enhanced concentration.  Control your breathing rate.

  11. If you get nervous?  Yawn!  You can't be nervous and yawn at the same time.  Try it, it works!  It slows and resets your breathing pace.   You control nervousness by how you breathe.  Believe it or not, it's true.

  12. Be very ready when you line up to shoot your first trap.  Get everything in order.  If one thing is out of place in the routine it will show up in your shooting.  So don't rush to the trap bank.  Also, make sure you are truly ready for the target when you call for it.  How many times did you call just because you felt it was ready due to squad rhythm influence knowing it was wrong?  Be ready for the target.

  13. Do not anticipate which angle of target you may receive.  You prepare for the worst angle and setup for that shot, but you are not surprised when that angle does not appear.  Anticipation will hurt you.

  14. Failing to visualize the three basic target angles you will receive on each post prior to shouldering the gun is devastating to scores.  You'll always remain unsure of how to hit the target if you neglect visualization.  It also trains the subconscious mind to get it right! 

  15. If you shoot a high gun, drop you gun hold an inch or two.  You'll see the target faster and you'll not be so tempted to cross-shoot the target by moving the gun left or right only.  You must ride the track to the target.

  16. Do upset the squads timing when you see those repetitious losses... when one shooter misses and everyone else then misses their target too.  You've seen this happen before.  The subconscious mind has taken over these shooters and has just been told to repeat what it saw and that's why they all missed.  You simply let that lost target hit the ground and tell yourself it is dead.  That breaks the cycle.

  17. Do not shoot a slow or fast pull.  You may be strongly tempted to shoot at it and you may hit some of them but you will also miss a tad too many to keep you out of the money.  That's how it works against you.

  18. Remind yourself not to listen to any negative comments you hear from other shooters; "Boy, that trap sure was a tough one."  "Did you see the background on that trap?"  "That puller was horrible."  These comments if not immediately flushed out of your mind will remain and remarkably fulfills itself into reality.

  19. Shoot to win.  Start now, no matter how bad you are shooting, to begin to learn how to develop a winning attitude.  Believe you are a professional shooter!  That's right, believe it now!  There is no future point in time where you become professional and begin shooting like a pro. It all has to start in the mind today!   Be a pro on the yardage you shoot and you will see better results in your performance and scores.

  20. Do not arrive to the shoot expecting to lose or expecting to shoot poorly as usual.  Mentally you must pull yourself up from the bootstraps and expect the best for you today.  Too many shooters believe themselves to be in slumps and guess what?  Their own thoughts manifest the outcome!

  21. Do not flood your mind with positive statements, "I'm going to break them all today" or "I'm going to win this shoot!"  This only sets you up for a fall as it is an impossible goal and the mind will rebel receiving such overwhelming demanding tasks.  Say, "I'm going to break one target at a time.  Just one at a time."  This will get the job done.   Anyway, you paid good money to break the targets so break them, one at a time.

  22. Do remind yourself to use proper eye and gun holds on each post and on each trap.  Know where to put those holds and you won't let a un-squared or improperly set trap or diverse background ruin your score.

  23. Keep emotions out of your game.  Anger, disgust, sense of failure, disappointment are just a few emotions that will creep into your game.  When you miss a target forget about it.  It did not exist.  The moment you reflect emotions the subconciou will pick up on it and duplicate the same errors and you'll suddenly find yourself struggling with any target that appears to have the same angle as that lost target.  Now you can't hit any of them it seems. 

  24. Be aggressive mentally to kill the target, but stay under physical control.  This aggressiveness must not be allowed to flow into your body moves to the target.  Your swing to the target is still smooth but has a feel of authority in the move, smooth authority!

  25. Failing to use trigger words will keep your scores down. There is an internal battle taking place between your will (conscious mind's desire to break the target) verses the  unconscious mind (to do the exact opposite to miss the target).   It 's true this battle exists and it's gets hot and furious the more of a fine-tuned shooter you become!  Learn the trigger words and you learn the inner power within you... that same inner presence of mind the professional shooters have to master the psychological aspects of the game to remain focused. 

  26. Failing to watch target breaks.  Watch the small chips fly, focus on one and follow it to the earth.  This helps the eye(s) to flow smoothly and focus on smaller objects so your target appears larger and easier to acquire and hit.

  27. Becoming too cock-sure the target you see is easy.  Usually the straight-trending targets.  Take a second look to determine its true flight angle.   Do not rush these targets.  Do not chase any target.  Setup properly and the target will come to you.  Remember, all targets are difficult and require you utmost attention.  Don't become brain-dead with laziness.

  28. Thinking too much will get you into trouble.  If you use trigger words you will not be thinking errant thoughts and it keeps the mind focused.  Think of putting that sight bead where it belongs!  Do not shoot on timing alone (target distance from traphouse). It's okay to have a zone but the trigger can only be pulled when the sight picture is correct.

  29. Do not shoot behind or over the targets.  You have to remind yourself of this otherwise you will resort to doing actually it.  Try this trigger word, "Low bead forward."  This way you'll put the sight bead on the bottom of the target or under, and ahead of the target.  Say it the moment you insert the shell into the chamber.  Keep saying it on each target if you must.

  30. Failing to dismount gun when stacked-beads do not look right or gun does not feel proper.  You'll end up with a mismounted gun.  You may as well count your lost targets now by deducting 5% from your final score.  You'll easily loose 5-target out of 100 or more.

  31. There is much, much more.  These tips should get you on the right track.  Print out this page and bring it with you on your next shoot.  Read it 1-hour prior to shooting.  Some of these tips will be burned into your subconscious mind and you'll begin to see better results and faster identification and recovery from errors.

As you can see there are many tricks to this game of trap shooting, inside secrets to lift your shooting performance to high levels of achievement.  Those who do not use the tactics are doomed to fail.  Trap shooting is much more than just mounting a gun and chasing the targets hoping for the best.  The time to learn is now.

Power of Mind

To apply the power of mind to increase your trap shooting scores.

One shotgun and a willingness to believe and see positive results. 

For more information
Click here for Science of Mind to subscribe to the Science of Mind Magazine.   Write also to: DeVorss & Co., P.O. Box 550, Marina Del Rey, CA 90294.  

You are well aware trap shooting requires 10% ability and 90% psychology.  It's a mind game!  But just how do you get this sports psychology anyway?  You don't get it... you already have it within... all you need do is discover it and put it to use.

Example.  When you want something you usually get it.  It could be a simple mental command for any consumable product... from a bag of Kettle Chips to a new pick-up truck or whatever.  Thought creates desire which creates results.   That thought/desire created a momentum within, a goal to complete and it gets achieved one way or another.  Let's take the next step...

If you feel blue down in the dumps, have you noticed nothing seems to turn out right?   Trouble begets trouble.  But if you lift your spirits the present and future appears brighter... and it is.  People greet you with a smile, bills get paid and it's a fabulous life.  Just another example of how "thought" generates an invisible power to manifest a physical reality.  Your thought makes things happen in the real world.  You do not need to understand how it works... just that it does produces results.  That's all we'll probably ever know about how the mysteries of mind power works.  Spiritual things are invisble things and thoughts are intangibles in themseves... we can't put our finger on it.

There are many unseen powers around us we do not fully understand yet we see and feel the result;  the wind, the life force within plants, gravity holding the planets and galaxies in their courses, atomic energy within the stars and the invisible atom, the list is eternal.  All are mysteries and all are very powerful forces.  And all that you see was created by the unseen.  Like the laws of physics, you can't see them but you can sure feel them and you can't change these controlling laws regardless to your disposition.

What if, just what if you could take a chance and believe their is a power within you that can turn your life around?  What if, just what if all of the bad things happening in your life are actually manifestations of wrong thinking?  Caused not by thinking negative in itself but rather a deep-seated "belief" in what you think.   So if you entertain thoughts of a failing or negative nature... they materialize!  That's an awesome responsibility isn't it?  Do you think you can believe this?  Does it make sense to you thoughts can produce a tangibnle reality?  Do you believe trapshooters who attend a shoot expecting to lose are going to win?

Wether you believe in God, a creator or not doesn't matter because your belief in God or disbelief will not change one law in the universe.  So what if there were a law of an invisible nature that essentially said, "For what you believe you shall be."   Hmmm, your religion or lack of such would not change that law.  The bible indicates that God gave man free will.  What could that possibly mean?  How did this emense universe come to be?  Something, someone created it?  A higher intelligence?  I believe it to be so.  Nothing comes from nothing so there must be something/someone who made all things.  So getting back to the law...

Free will.  The power to create one's own Heaven or Hell on Earth.  Scary thought, neverthless all roads of reason point to this reality.  So, if there is a law in place that gives us free will to create, we should be mindful of what we think for it may just come to be!  However, thinking in itself is not the sole power... it is the "belief" in the thought which gives it that magical quality to create... to change circumstances and change lives.  Faith... that's the key!  Believing you have what you do not already have.  Could it be purely coinciental that many top-gun shooters pray for help and get it?  Could a prayer simply be a belief in a yet unseen result?  Is there power in prayer?  I believe there is power in prayer as long as you believe your prayer will come into being... believe it will materialze with simple faith and it happens.  That's all the proof you'll need... results.. just pure results.

In trap shooting we hear often to be confident and maintain a positive attitude quite a bit and many try to become confident and fail.  Why?  It's not that they did not try hard, it's because they tried too hard.  The harder you try, the less faith you have!  Drop your pen to the floor and it falls.  The law of gravity will not be denied.  The law of thought, law of mind, law of faith requires no sweat or strain from you.  Once you believe your invisible thoughts can create and manifest into the physical world results... you simply believe in your thought and it shall be.  Can you bring yourself to believe this?  Will you put it to the test to see if it will work for you?

I am not an authority on the subject of the power of mind, a student only.  When I first read about these things I was skeptical, though much of it made sense to a degree, I gave it a try.  My life turned around in incredible and fascinating ways.  Then I finally started to see what the Bible and Philosophers of the ages were trying to tell us... we have a greater power within us which can create wonderful things in our life if we will only believe with simple faith, for there are laws in place we can invoke at will to create the desired result we seek, good or bad.  I will say this.  I never really knew what Jesus meant when he said, "The truth shall set you free."   Through his examples of performing miracles he was simply demonstrating the power we have within us already, "The Kingdom of God is within you."  What I thought was complicated religion was really a set of simple laws already in place and the Prophets' all tried to tell us, but we keep missing the boat... it's so simple it eludes us.   It's too easy so it won't work.  How little faith and how blind we are to the truth.  The truth is a law.  A power that is already in existance which is always at work.  If you don't believe, you'll live with the resultes of your thoughts anyway, so it's not a religion as it is a reality as real as the air your breathe.   It's a matter of choice. 

Certainly, this short article cannot explore the deeper aspects of the laws of the universe and the nature of these powers.  I am only explaining, how I understand the power of thought works in relation to an unseen law.  At this point you should take a peek at the Science of Mind.  It is not a cult or a religion and they won't hound you for money.  They will teach you how to change your life by using these laws.  You simply try them and if they work then you know what to do next.  You apply the same priciples to your trap shooting and you'll get results.  They will open your mind to see things as they are and to see the unseen materialize.  And regardless of your religious beliefs, I have yet to read where they interfere with it.  If anything, they enhance your faith with understanding.  And this teaching goes way beyond the shallowness of positive thinking.  You learn positive belief!

What will you learn and experience?

bulletCure yourself from physical illness and pain.
bulletIncrease your income.
bulletGet bills paid. 
bulletResolve family discourses.
bulletDissolve insecurity and fear.
bulletLive life to the fullest.
bulletRemove yourself from poverty and despair.
bulletBuild true confidence.
bulletReplace depression with happiness.
bulletPeople no longer have power over you.
bulletThe cold cruel hand of failure releases its grip.
bulletAnd much more!

All with the power of thought.  Testimonials from other people revealing the horrible lilves some of these people lived and how it all changed on a dime.  In an instant.  No long waiting or constant begging for God to help...he's already put the laws in place!  All you have to do is use them.  Amazing, but it's real.   It works.  I've seen the results first hand in my own life... so I'm convinced.


bulletNow, what if you could begin to tap into these laws to help you reach higher scores in trap shooting?  Wouldn't that at least be worth a try? 
bulletWhat if it works and your scores skyrocket? 
bulletWhat if it opened your mind so wide you could absorb all the knowledge there is to know about trap shooting without confusion? 
bulletWhat if you began to see trap shooting income filling your bank account? 
bulletWinning more shoots than you thought you could ever win in your wildest dreams? 
bulletWhat if you hated your current job and suddenly all of the nuisances and gripes that tore at your heart and mind vanished? 
bulletThat fears dissolved faster than ice on a warm day? 
bulletImagine waking up and knowing good things are going to happen to you today... and they do! 
bulletImagine what you imagine becoming reality. 

I don't just believe it will... I know it will!   It will happen because there is no one, nobody, that can stop it from happening except yourself.  That's the power of free will.  And the choice is yours to make to whom you will serve... freedom or slavery.  Your choice is your "thought." 

So, if you want to begin this journey to a new life of freedom and understanding invest $12 and buy this book, "The Millionaire Joshua."  It's not a get-rich-quick book as the title would suggest.  It's the story of Joshua leading the Israelites from Egypt with with Moses.  Say what?  That's what I thought too until I read the first chapter and couldn't put the book down!  This book teaches you the principles of these laws and how they work.  It just so happened that Joshua became a multi-millionaire as a side-benefit of using the laws.  A reward you could say.   You can order the book from DeVorss & Co. listed above.  Then at the same time get a subscription to the Science of Mind magazine and tell me what happens to your life.  I'd like to know. 

It took me about 30-days to begin to see some results in the way I was thinking as so much had to be reversed, and a year to really see big results as I learned more about it and started to believe it.  I had a tough time at first with the magazine as it gets quite deep quickly so that's why I say read the book first along with the magazine.  

Frankly, I don't see where a person could go wrong here reading this material.   It's not a religion and it will not upset your beliefs, but only help you to understand ever more what you've always wanted to know.


Visualization - A common trap shooting term, a technique we know works when it is applied.  This is an example of the power of mind to create, to manifest a reality from the unseen by invoking a belief, a thought, a vision into a tangible result.  There is no sweat or strain to use it.  You do it and the results materialize.  It's so simple.  Faith in action. 

Concentration - A frame of mind to focus on a job at hand. It is a thought focused to accomplish a goal which concentrates the energy of mind to perform a specific task.  There is no sweat or strain.  If there is you're doing it wrong.

Confidence - An overwhelming belief in one's ability to get the job done.  It's having simple faith in yourself.  You know you can do because you believe you can.   Faith invoking the power of thought to produce a tangible rise in performance and achievement.

Focus - The professional trapshooter begins this process of getting focused the night before the shoot and maintains a slow state of mind to channel the power of thought upon arrival at the shoot.  Negative thinking is hereby allowed to be flushed from the mind and positive conviction replaces it.  This focus, a thought process, then triggers visualization, concentration, confidence and increases even more focus.  Again, the power of the mind is used to enhance the physical outcome where the invisible becomes reality.

Visualization, Concentration, Confidence, Focus.  All are unseen yet we know of their power to manifest that which can be seen, and it's all part and parcel to the power of mind.  The Science of Mind is simply the study of the mind and how it can create, transform, reverse situations.  A source of power. 

If you shoot enough targets over many years you will learn of these techniques of faith or you can learn them right now without having to expend tens of thousands of dollars to learn it the hard way.  But sooner or later you will have to learn how to manage the inner process of trap shooting... the mind, if you wish to shoot well consistently.

You must have knowledge to excel.  Knowledge of the inner secrets of the game of trap shooting to begin the physical process of shooting targets with precision.  Then you learn the mental processes required to bring yourself up to a higher level of performance.  Both are required.  The trouble is both are not learned by many trapshooters simply pounding away at targets on Sunday shoots getting ready for the the next competitive event.  What are they really learning?   Sadly, for most, they are only re-learning what they already know, rehearsing that which does not work.  Repeating the same old mistakes over-and-over-again.   But you can escape from all this...

Trap Shooting Secrets book begins the process of learning the inside tricks of the trade and then opens your mind to see things differently, to break out of that slump holding your scores back.  Precision Shooting - The Trapshooter's Bible takes you to that higher level of shooting performance learning the finer aspects of trap shooting.  The Science of Mind takes you into the final phase where all you have learned is applied with conviction.  The end result is a powerful trapshooter with a powerful mind with a good life to enjoy it all!

Written by; James Russell, Copyright 1998, Author of "Trap Shooting Secrets" and "Precision Shooting - The Trapshooter's Bible."  If your scores do not rise in 30-days we'll refund the purchase price of the book!  No other publisher offers such a guarantee as that!

Our web site:  http://www.JamesRussellPublishing.com

See our Testimonial Page to see how these books has helped trap shooters!  Read what the Olympic professional shooter's have to say about them too!


Exploring the thought process to higher knowledge.

The ability to open one's mind to new ideas.

For more information
Seek and you shall find.


"Everybody knows everything except for those who know nothing."

  1. Shooters tend to believe the pros are geniuses with special privileged talents, and it's true, but so have you the inner genius within.  It only needs coaxing and development to bring it forth but you must mentally be open to it. 
  2. Genius is not just knowing more than everyone else nor is it a matter of privileged natural high intelligence.  It is purely the ability to break out of the rut of closed-cycle thinking and generating ideas.  This breaks the old bad habits and allow you to begin to learn through experimentation.  Example:   To find a better way to break the target for there is more than one way to do so.
  3. Genius thinking is not rigid, it is flexible and will readily leap from one idea to another.  In this way you begin to make connections other shooter's cannot see.  Experimentation of trying new techniques expands the thought process which allows you a deeper insight to the game.  Suddenly, you begin to see valid solutions where you saw no way out of the problem before.  Practice sessions now become technically oriented and experimental.  You begin to see what you are doing right and wrong.
  4. Geniuses do not think small, but go beyond the tried and true to develop a new way of doing things.  They even question "conventional wisdom" and find much of it myth and in error fundamentally.  Begin to question what you have been told for many years and look at the flip side of the coin, "Is it possible I have been mislead?"  This will open a new dimension of thinking for you and from this point you learn the inside truths. 
  5. Practice tip:  Go to post #3 and break the target a different way than you always have.  You will be convinced there is a better way!  Try shooting it faster, slower, put more or less distance between you and the target before pulling the trigger, see if you can put the sight bead on different locations and still break it.  Can you still break the target using the sight beads?  Try eye pre-focus techniques before calling for the target.  Try different eye and gun hold points.  Which of these experimental techniques make it the easiest to kill the target?  Try various combinations to discover the formula for that post!  Write it down on paper as "Plan Post #3" and reflect on it before shooting that post again.
  6. You can't add ideas to a mind that already knows it all!  A closed mind knows nothing but what it sees.  It has no ability to see within or beyond that which is hidden from view.  Genius is simply opening up oneself to "new ideas" and "new concepts" and be willing to explore them to see what develops.  Thinking without action is useless.
  7. Thinking like a pro is simply becoming an expert novice.  Read that again.  Be willing to learn the basics all over again.  Have the courage to question all that you see and all that you do.  Be willing to allow the myths you have learned over the years to pass away in order to discover what you don't know.   Learn a new way to do things.  Break out of the slump with new knowledge!
  8. Since you have read this article everyday you have had small ideas pass into your mind.  These are moments of insight and they must be captured before they vaporize.  Carry a pen and paper with you or tape recorder and record these jewels of wisdom.  Every genius who ever lived and modern day inventor carries a pencil and paper!  Inspirations are wispy thought-energies floating about in the Universe.   It's why two inventors will invent the same product in opposite parts of the world simultaneously.  The patent office is full of such coincidences.  The knowledge is there to those who listen to those small insightful thoughts.  Most people simply let these thoughts pass them by.  Harvest your flashes of brilliance!  When an idea surfaces, jot it down and put it to practice and see how you can apply it.
  9. Be prepared to work.  Your ideas will require hard work and may likely take years to master the final form.
  10.   Be stubborn and single-minded and unswaying in your belief of your idea.  If the idea makes sense you can make it work.  Example:   Canting a shotgun is frowned upon in trap shooting but you an make it work!   Be willing to challenge conventional wisdom and prove it wrong.  Example:   Using the shotgun's sight beads to shoot targets is also frowned upon, but ask yourself, "How can precision be developed if nothing is being aimed?"   "Certainly, something is being aimed for if there were no aim shot/target alignment could never intersect."  "What is secret to aim the shot so I can break the target with mechanical efficiency?"  "Is eye/hand coordination truly the secret or the demise of many?"  "What are the secrets the pros use?"
  11.   When something does not work do not simply discard it.   Explore further to find the reason why.  Perhaps the theory is correct but the application is wrong.  Try a new technique to see if it can be incorporated into another idea.  Keep working on the problem until the solution is found to make it work! 
  12.   Ask for advice from knowledgeable sources.  Geniuses always ask for advice.  They explore the ideas of many and formulate new ideas from this pool of knowledge.  Example:  If you are experiencing problems in your shooting ask professional shooter's questions.  Don't be shy and reserved.   Ask you you will receive.
  13.   Give your knowledge freely and more shall come to you.  Hoard it and it will consume you with frustration.  What goes around comes around so be helpful to other people, and people will come to your aid.  The pros share there knowledge between each other and among close friends and some give formal shooting lessons.  The law of give and take is a real law with real power that can produce real results... good or bad!  Giving gives more.  Taking takes all then leaves you with nothing in the end for there is no one left to give.
  14.   Stop being a pessimist in your thinking and guard your words.   Doubt creates more doubt and it will show up in your shooting performance and scores.  Be realistic, yet positive.  If you keep saying, "I am ill" or "I am going to miss targets as usual in this big event" it will happen as you have decreed!  The pro understands the power of his/her thoughts and takes great caution to correct negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
  15.   The solutions to your shooting problems are already within you.   The answers are there and only need be explored with an open mind.  The more ideas you shut out the less genius you will experience.  The saying, "It doesn't take a genius to shoot trap targets" will have to be revised.  It does require genius thinking.         

Finding Gun Clubs

Locate any gun club.

Tired of getting lost.

For more information

This is the shortest article on the site.  You find gun clubs by visiting the ATA Web site to locate the address. 

The Benefits of a Coach

What a shooting instructor can do for you.

The desire to shoot professional scores.

For more information
Click here.

Are you tired of feeling frustrated with your game and wonder why you don't get better?   Tired of seeing other people win the option money and trophies?  Of course you are.  Nobody wants to lose, and worse yet... lose most all of the time!  Well, the good news is you can learn to shoot with higher levels of precision and take home your share of the winnings!


Through knowledge!  Everybody believes they can simply pick up a shotgun and learn how to shoot targets through trial and error.  You can do this, but you're only going to be a mediocre shooter relying on a few lucky days to pull you to a win.  To shoot this way, everything has to be "right" - meaning;  your mood, feel of the gun and game somehow just feels perfect and you win a shooting event.   Problem is, those moods and feels just don't gel together all of the time.   The end result is terrible scores until you just happen to have another lucky day.


Professional ATA,  DTL or Olympic shooters do not shoot high scores on luck alone.   They have the inner knowledge of the game which gives them a complete understanding of how to hit each target.  There is no guesswork or chasing targets hoping they will hit one... they know how to kill it.  It's like having the engine in your car break and you keep trying to find the problem but it eludes you.   You take the car to an experienced mechanic and he finds the problem in seconds.   Knowledge is the answer.


Most shooters want to get better... NOW, but don't.  The truth is they finish the season no better than they started.  The same shooters who won last year, win this year and the losers just keep on losing year after year.  Think about this!  If all the technological advances in shotguns were so great why is it the average shooter's score going down?  If all it took was a great gun to raise your score, you'd be getting better.  But you aren't, so something's wrong.  I'll tell you what is wrong, it's missing knowledge.  You must have the knowledge to win in trap shooting.  Call them tricks of the trade if you wish.  I call them secrets because they are!  There are more secrets in trap shooting than you know!  Once you learn the technical tactics, your scores naturally rise.   Why?  Because targets become easier to annihilate!  If you want to learn these tricks you may discover them over a period of ten or fifteen years of trial and error, or you can take in a few lessons and start shooting the high scores now!  This year, not many years from now!

You have a passion for trap shooting;  it's fun, challenging, exciting and it gives you a sense of power and authority no other sport can give you.  You already know how to play the game, but you keep on missing targets.  It's not fair!  Way too many shooters are suffering needlessly missing targets and losing competitive events.   Why?  Missing knowledge.


You've tried reading books, magazine articles, videotapes and NOTHING seems to work.  Why?  Because the information given is too basic, teaching the same old simplistic stale techniques over and over again.  Many shooter's have taken lessons from pro shooters and have walked away disappointed.  Why?  Because the inner knowledge of the game cannot be instilled in just one or two lessons, and, some pros are simply not going to give away their secrets.  But what if there were a book that did give you the inside knowledge?  What if you read this book and then took a shooting lesson?  Amazing things would happen!

Well, the good news is there are now trap shooting "technical books" available to help you shoot ATA trap, DTL and Olympic trap!  Trapshooting Secrets and Precision Shooting - The Trapshooter's Bible.   Read these books and take a lesson from a pro and you'll be screaming on fast-forward! 

Now you are "communicating" on a higher level with your instructor/coach.   The key here is to read the books first! Get that inside knowledge, put it practice and start winning the shoots... then go see a pro to get your final tune-up!  That's the plan.  Click right here for dedicated pros who can help you.  Remember, the key is to have the inside knowledge BEFORE you take shooting lessons to get more bang for your buck!

Pros love to work with technically experienced shooters!

Example:  Consider your occupation.  Who do you think you could give better and faster instructions; the novice or the professional who already knows the inside rules?

Trap shooting is no different.  The more you know the faster you will learn!


There are many techniques you can learn to help you shoot with precision and deliver the shot straight to the target for dead-centered hits.  Dustball hits.  They are not cosmetic hits, but the sign of a the precision shooter who knows what he/she is doing.  Watch the pros and you'll see how they center the targets.  Their precision is so tight that if they do make a mistake and miss... they still hit the target with a choppy break and get the score! 

If you are not dustballing each target you are, in fact, missing the target and hitting them on luck.  The frustration in trap shooting is slicing targets... and suddenly, you miss clean and miss again, and again... driving your score down each time until you are out of the money and out of the game.  This does not need to happen!  You can reverse this insidious bad habit once and for all and shoot the scores you desire and deserve.  All the money you have spent on guns, ammo and entry fees over the years no longer need be wasted money.  Get the knowledge and you'll start winning!  And that's a fact!

Without the inner knowledge you will miss targets and not even know why.  And if you don't know why you missed you can't correct the problem.  This is precisely why you will have a "bad trap" shooting a terrible score.  Each missed target pulls your score down like gravity destroying your chances of ever recovering... even if you ran all the other traps straight!  That bad trap ruined you.  If you had the inner knowledge you would have discovered the trap or stations were misaligned or the target's were exiting unbalanced due to a trap set too high or too low upsetting your timing, swing angle and sight picture.  You bet there are secrets to the game!

Once you understand how to recognize a problem and how to correct it, your frustration is gone!  Knowledge takes over your shooting game and you have that great jump on all the other shooter's who simply do not have the knowledge.  Once you understand EXACTLY WHY you miss shots you'll get that instant mental feedback   But most of all, you'll learn EXACTLY HOW to hit the targets so you'll be missing way less than you do now... that's for certain!


I've heard so many professional shooters comment on other shooters and they all tend to gravitate to this one line of thought, "He's a basket case.  He'll never make it shooting like that."  For that poor shooter out there putting all his heart and soul into his game he's doomed from the start to continue to fail.  All hope is gone for this shooter, regardless of how much he loves the game and loves to shoot... he's shooting without the knowledge, and there is no hope for a shooter who has no knowledge of the game. 

It's over long before he even packed his bags to attend the shoot!

Example:  In your career you have met incompetent people.   But you knew, if the person would only listen to you and take some instructional advice you could cure this person's inefficiency. 

The same is true with trap shooting.   He who has the knowledge, wins!


The truth is, you are not a professional trapshooter.  If you were, you would be winning a grand majority of every shoot you attend month-after-month.  You may have classified yourself as a "recreational shooter" who just shoots for fun.   That's okay... but it's no fun losing!  Try winning... and you'll know what real fun is all about. 

All you need is knowledge to apply to the game you are now playing and you'll see instant improvement.

Click here if you still have any doubts. 

Learn the tricks of the trade and you'll be dustballing the targets.  Believe me, that is fun!  You won't be chasing down targets trying to hit them... you'll be SETUP properly so when the target exits, the target COMES TO YOU.    It's like having the target emerge from the traphouse and your gun's sight bead is already on the target for you!  That's how the pros shoot.  They don't chase targets and hope to hit them.  They have a plan of attack that works. 

Everything is lined up, and when they call for the target... it's right where they wanted it to be!

Most all trapshooters have no inkling of an idea of what is really going on out there in the target zone.  Many don't even have a zone or know what a zone is.   And those who shoot a zone are doing is all wrong!  Watch shooters' shoot and you'll see what I mean... there is no real precision in their shooting.   Most are shooting on pure luck.  Yes, they are doing the best they can and trying very hard to win, but they will lose out to those who have the deep inner knowledge.

They will simply make too many mistakes like a bad habit!    


There is absolutely no reason why any trap shooter cannot be breaking high scores, even on a bad day.

How many handicap shooters are dumping badly in the 70's?  With the inside knowledge a bad day could give you a 90!  On a good day?   Use your imagination! 

Don't settle for low scores when advice and shooting instruction can give you the wining scores you really want.  It's a decision thing here.  You decide if you are happy with your scores. If you don't like your scores you can do something about it, today

Do nothing and you'll get the score you deserve. 

Trap shooting is an unforgiving sport!

What's your decision?

Pick one:

Yes.  I want to shoot better and win.


No.  I like losing and shooting bad scores.

Those questions may sound silly, but in all reality it's a choice you have to make today... right NOW!  Procrastination is an instant, "No.   I like losing and shooting bad scores."  You have to make your decision today, not tomorrow or next week... right now!


That is the answer!  Knowledge is the vehicle and you are the driver.  It all begins with a psychological change.  You are now willing to permit yourself to be educated in trap shooting.  You want to learn how to shoot targets with extreme precision.  You are no longer satisfied with chipping targets and letting them slip by unburned ruining your fun and being the object of ridicule and embarrassment by other shooters who love to taunt your misfortune.

The time is right for change and opportunity knocks on your door.  Your ship has come in... and you are now ready to jump onboard and begin the adventure to higher scores.  It's high time you outshoot those guys who think they can't be beaten!

And you will be the one to do it!


This is the Plan:

Step #1.  You purchase the trap shooting technical books to give you that inside knowledge;  Trapshooting Secrets and Precision Shooting - The Trapshooter's Bible.  These books will bridge the gap so you can perform Step #2 with a high levels of instruction you could never otherwise achieve.   These books will put you into a high caliber shooting range so you will be ready to take personalized lessons.

Step #2.  You schedule a trap shooting lesson from one of these professionals.  Even if you don't have the money to spend for lessons now, simply make your reservation, say, six-months from now, even a year.  The important thing is to make your commitment.   Once you do, you will then obtain the funds.  It will happen!


You will see instant improvement in your shooting!  You will be mentally elevated into the mind-set of the professional shooter.  You will be shooting with a powerful sense of authority... just like the pros!  You will know what you are doing and you will do it well... breaking targets like you've never broken them before!

You'll be excited that your game is more consistent, predictable and dependable.  You'll enjoy the satisfaction of hitting your shots exactly where you commanded the gun to go and this precision and power will be totally under your control.  

You will finally be the master of your mind and body, knowing you can do what others cannot.  You'll feel a sense of accomplishment you only dreamed of before... but it will be real.  And it's going to be fun.  After all, isn't that what trap shooting should be?  You'll look forward to shooting your first trap knowing you are going to score well and actually have fun the entire event! 

You will enjoy the game more than you ever had in the past !

That's what a shooting coach is going to do for you!     


Click here to order the books.

Click here to schedule your shooting lesson.


Tomorrow is always too late!


Your responsibilities and the benefits of being Squad Leader.

Bravery to start on post #1

For more information
Sign up to be Squad Leader on your next shoot and you'll get the information you need.


Those brave souls who dare to take on the added responsibilities to enhance the harmony of the squad.  They shoot Post #1 starting the competitive event. 


There are good reasons for not being a squad leader.  Let's look at a few;

bulletThere is no doubt that by starting on post #2, 3 or 4 you will likely gain a higher score.  Why?  Because the angle targets are not as severe as post #1 and #5.   When starting that first trap it's sort of nice to not be presented with those tough angles right off the deck to give you a chance to warm up a bit.
bulletBy not starting on post #1 you don't have to do any visual checking to see if all shooters are ready.  You only have to prepare yourself so there is less distraction involved.
bulletConcentration is less likely to be broken from a groove of shooting.  Many shooters find it very difficult to recover from interruptions of any sort and even more if having to speak to correct a problem then go back to shooting.
bulletIt is no secret that being a Squad Leader can damage your scores.  You have to be a better shooter, having a stronger mindset, to shoot lead off.

Are there benefits to being a Squad Leader?

bulletYes.  The prime benefit is you learn how to shoot with enhanced concentration ability... it's called "concentration management."  When you develop the ability to instantly recover from distractions you learn how to turn concentration on and off like a light bulb.  You remain in complete control of the game.
bulletYou also learn how to manage the squad timing factors.  As Squad Leader you can set the pace of the squad and set the target break zones.  It doesn't matter if the other squad members deviate from the plan... you won't!  This awareness is very powerful so you yourself can't be influenced by a machinegun squad or a squad that has become overly cautious and allowing the targets to escape the zone.
bulletYou learn how to manage the subconscious event of when someone misses a target and all the other shooters miss it too... you can recognize the problem instantly.  Why?   Because as Squad Leader you are in tune with the happenings with the squad's timing and zone like feeling a pulse.  You lead, you do not follow!
bulletYou learn to shoot the hard left angles right away.  This monster you are facing right off the bat, especially if you are a left-handed shooter, will increase your concentration to a high level immediately.  Shooter's who start posts #2, 3 and 4 have a tendency to feel more relaxed and often miss at this stage then run the other posts.  It's best to turn up the heat right away so you won't miss the first targets out.
bulletYou also have more opportunities to select a squad.  If you want to shoot in the morning or whatever there is usually a post #1 slot available.  Not many shooters cherish the position and will pick any post but #1 and that gives you, the Squad Leader, a good opportunity for flexibility in selecting squads and times of day.
bulletYou will learn how to handle interruptions and return to a fine focus on a dime.   You won't learn this until you become a squad leader yourself.
bulletYou gain the opportunity to shoot with other shooters instead of the same people all of the time.  Shooting with strange squads will help you develop a strong self-confident force as you won't need a familiar squad to shoot well.  You also meet many new friends too!
bulletYou don't need to walk from post #5 to #1.  This extra delay of time and bodily motion can create a mind-set shift to break the groove.  You will notice the pros walk this walk slowly just for this reason.  If you don't lead the squad then don't rush when changing to post #1.  The squad will wait for you!
bulletYou will recieve all of the fame, respect honor and glory as other squad members look up to you, genuflect with reverence as you pass by and ask for your autograph (fat chance).


It means being the Squad Leader is something that must be "learned" as it will not be the same as shooting any other post.  Responsibility, awareness and enhanced concentration management must be developed.  It means that if you are not shooting post #1 lead-off you are missing out on a learning experience that can ultimately raise your scores and shooting performance.

It also means to adapt and learn to shoot post #1 and take on the added responsibility your scores are going to suffer until you get the hang of it.  But it is well worth the temporary reduction of scores!  The squad leading skills you learn help a lot in shootoff situations and can often make the difference between winning and losing. 

Now how do you start?  You have to take the full plunge and go all out.  You start at practice at your local gun club and then you do it at your next registered shoot.   You don't do it at practice then chicken out and not follow through at the registered competition.  If you have to cut playing the options for awhile, then that's just the roll of the dice.   So, you either do or you don't.  All or nothing.  Once you shoot squad leader position you stay in that position thereafter.   Shifting to other posts to start an event some other day can cause enough of an upset to hurt your performance.


The official rule books basically say you are responsible for picking up score sheets and call for first target but there is more to maintain proper etiquette and courtesy when being the Squad Leader... even though it is not in the rule books!

bulletYou should identify the shooters on deck waiting to shoot to insure all are present.   If someone is late you'll know of it before it's your turn to step on field.   Conduct a basic search for the shooter to announce over the Public Address system.   A small delay won't kill anybody and it's just plain kindness. 
bulletTell the scorekeeper the yardage so they can adjust seating behind the squad (some can't read).
bulletLook at the shooters on the posts.  Do you see any fumbling with thier guns?   If so, don't call for the test target until all are ready.  Ask, "Ready?"  And don't forget to ask the scorekeeper and puller if they too are ready.  Call for the test target then look at the shooters and ask, "Okay?"  Then start the event if the test is legal.  Don't start the event if the target is illegal.  Ask to have the trap set.
bulletDo not abuse the test target sequence.  The term, "Let's see one" means, "Let's see one target."  Not two three, four or five.
bulletWhen there are two broken targets exiting the house in succession stop the shooter and ask the puller to throw "One bird" to clear the house.  This usually happens when the squad is shooting too fast for the trap setter to snugly install the targets onto the trap arm.  Don't say nothing.  Don't tell the squad to slow down.  They know better.  But if the squad is acting real reckless, which is rare, then ask the referee to tell the squad to slow down a bit.  Why?  So the target setter will not be injured and you will recieve better targets.
bulletIf you see a target chip and the target is called lost speak up.  Correct the error.
bulletWhen trap fails you are the one to call out, "Unload, guns down" and make sure the guns are unloaded and pointined downward before trap help walks into the field.   Be the Safety Officer!
bulletWhen changing posts make sure the score is read out aloud and there are no objections.   If someone objects to the score remain silent.  If the situation starts to escalate then step in to resolve the problem.  Don't argue or fuss.  If it can't be resolved and no referee is available?  Ask the scorekeeper to put a question mark next to  the score box affecting that target and resolve it later.
bulletIf a shooter shoots at a broken target it's your job to call it down and request the shooter shoot again.
bulletIf a gun misfires you can be the inspector if you wish, but usually the puller can handle that chore as you don't want to be walking post to post with your shotgun, even if it is unloaded.
bulletIf a shooter fails to shoot and the referee calls it lost, speak up and explain the "fail to fire" rule and let the shooter shoot again.  Usually this must be indicated on the score sheet.
bulletAs Squad Leader you must be emotionally mature.  You, of all people, must never raise your voice in anger or frustration.  Be professional at all times and others will act accordingly.  The other shooters will match your tone of behavior.
bulletWhen you are on post ready to shoot, always check the other shooters to make sure they too are ready after changing stations.  Don't forget the shooter on post #5 must walk the extra distance to post #1 and may not be ready.  This is especially important when you are on post #5 as post #1 shoots after you.  So always check this carefully.  
bulletYou will notice most all of the shooters will be "into themselves" and not being aware of what is going on in the squad.  As Squad Leader it's your job to be sure everyone is ready when they are ready and to start the shooting when all are ready.   A hasty shooter, or one who is oblivious to the squad, should not be a squad leader.  It takes that ability to switch concentration on and off and to be aware of other shooter's needs to be a good squad leader.
bulletIf the puller is sitting down that's okay, but the moment slow pulls arrive politely request the puller to stand up and pay attention and to walk behind each shooter to hear the calls.  If slow or fast pulls keep on?  Replace the puller.  You ask the Field Captain for this change.  A good method that does not offend is to simply tell the puller, "You must be tired.  Why don't you take a break and get us someone else who can pull for us, okay?"  Often, the puller is dog tired and needs a rest. 
bulletWhen leaving the trap you check the scores and if there are no objections you initial the sheet and take the scoresheet to the next trap.  Don't rush.  The other shooters will tend to leave you behind and will be ready to shoot before you will be.   Take your time and stay in mental control.  The moment you start to play catch-up you blow your nervous system out of whack and you won't shoot well.  You have extra duties to perform and that always places you last to be on deck.
bulletIf the squad is talking too loudly while the another squad is shooting, remind your squad to speak softly so as not to disturb the other shooters.  Do so politely.  
bulletA good squad leader leads with a silent sense of authority but never flaunts authority, scolds or yells at other shooters or trap help.  Maintain a smooth emotion.   Remember, you are not a "boss."  You don't have actual authority over other shooters.  But you can take charge simply by acting and being professional and others will listen and conform. 
bulletIf a shooter is falling apart real bad and is having a "bad hair day" a word of encouragement will help.  Nobody else is going to do it, so you do it.  After all, you are the squad leader.  You may want to tell the shooter, "Relax and shoot with confidence... not with doubt."  Don't say, "You're lifting your head, stupid!"
bulletIf a gun keeps jamming or other malfunction and it's disturbing the harmony of the shoot call for timeout to have the gun fixed.  Don't put the shooter and the squad through misery.  Take the time out allowed.
bulletBe supportive and friendly.  Don't be afraid to smile and introduce yourself by name.  It's all supposed to be fun still even if it is serious business.  
bulletThe rest is all common courtesy.  Never get into any arguments with any shooter and never raise your voice.  Speak gently and firmly.  Never go beyond your authority.  Read the rule book! Follow the above rules here and you will receive many compliments on being a good squad leader and others will want to shoot with you.   Why?  A good squad leader can have a powerful influence on the shooter's subconsciousness and scores usually rise when a squad leader is behaving appropriately and running a smooth operation.

Are you willing to take a drop in scores to "learn how" to be a squad leader?   That's a big decision as scores will certainly drop as you learn and it may take an entire season of shooting to get it down where you feel comfortable and confident.   Not everyone will want to be a squad leader, but if you wish to have a little bit more control over your shooting it can pay off good dividends.  For others it will simply not be their cup of tea.

Tax Deductible Trap Shooting

You can save money writing off your expenses.

The intent to turn a profit.

For more information
See IRS rules.  Ask for bulletins on starting a new business.

Most clay target shooters do not write off expenses.  If they did, they would save more money and receive higher tax rebate checks.  For some, the amount of the rebate could pay for the next year's shooting expenses or close to it!  First, you do not have to be "professional" to deduct trap shooting expenses.  There is only one rule and test to qualify, "Do you intend to make a profit?"  Whether you make a profit or not is irrelevant, it's only the "intent" to make a profit.   In other words, you are trap shooting with the intent to make a profit not just for fun.  This does not mean you can't have fun.  You just have to prove that your activity is leading to the potential to make a profit.  Many shooters meet this requirement!  How?

If you are attending registered shoots you certainly do intend to make a profit!   The handicap prizes is money and if you play the options too (you don't have to, but should) you certainly "intend" to make a profit. So right there is two "intents."

Your gun, shooting clothing, shells, practice and entrance fees, reloading components, fuel, motels, meals are all qualified as tax write off's!

The IRS will not allow a full tax deduction for a "hobby."  Is trap shooting a hobby for you?  That is a state of mind, and for shooters who do not attend registered shooting events and only practice at the local gun club as a social event then you are a hobby shooter.  The key test is attending registered competition where prize money is awarded and if you do attend registered shoots it is time to begin thinking of tax deductions!

Is it complicated?  No.  It's easy and it's completely legal.  You simply begin saving your receipts and enter the totals on tax form "C- Profit & Loss for Business" and you'll have your deductions.  Your family will appreciate trap shooting way better if income is being returned from your shooting even if you lose events!


bulletYou will need a computer to enter your tax information, so go out and buy one and you can write that off this year.  You do not need to depreciate it... just write off the $3,000 you spend now.  But you should be aware that the computer must be used for business.  If the kids have games installed on it the deduction will not survive an audit.  You may only be able to then write off 1/3 or 1/2 of it.
bulletYou need Quicken or Quickbooks accounting programs so you write that off too.
bulletNeed a new competition-grade shotgun?  Go buy it and write it off! 
bulletDo you need a new shooting vest, ear phone protectors, shooting shoes, shirt, hat, pants?  Write it off.
bulletWhat else do you feel you need that is customary and required of most trapshooters?   Deduct it.
bulletClub dues, shells, components, practice fees, fuel and meals are all deductible. 
bulletNeed to attend a competition shoot out of town?  Write-off the trip's expenses.

Now you know why I have included the expense form in my Trap Shooting Secrets book and on this web site so when you are traveling you can easily tally your motel, fuel, meals, practice and shooting fees.

Can you bring your wife and kids to a shoot and write off the expenses?  No.   Only the expenses directly related to your shooting activity.  However, fuel or milage to get to the shoot, even though the family is with you is deductible.   Motel room for you (and if you wife still agrees to sleep with you after all these years) the motel stay is deductible.  Meals can only be deducted for the shooter in most cases.  Same with air fare.

If you win an event you have to declare any money winnings as income and rightfully so.   For most shooters, more money will be spent on expenses than will be earned in income, at least for a few years.  A good year here and there will require you pay tax on your profits after your expenses are deducted, but you are still way ahead, financially.  And, the more money you do make the more expenses you will likely acquire and be able to write off.  Believe it or not, you can make more money doing it legally than trying to hide money from the IRS.  And by not writing off your expenses and pocketing money and not declaring it to the IRS can get you a serious fraud rap!  It's better to start operating your shooting as a business and do it legally.


Generally you can deduct expenses on a hobby but these deductions are limited to the amount of income the hobby produces.  Not a good way to go.  If you operate your shooting as a business your expenses can exceed your income!  The IRS, if you are audited some day, will challenge your trap shooting as being a hobby and not a business and disallow your prior years deductions.  But do not fear this.   If your expenses show that you are writing-off to attend registered shoot competitions the IRS can't make its case and will have to allow you the business deductions.

You can write off all your practice sessions and the mileage to attend each weekend too at your local club, but if you only shoot one registered shooter per year your shooting will be deemed a hobby.  So, you have to attend a reasonable amount of registered shoots to prove you are shooting in a businesslike manner.  How many shoots?  Nobody knows, but I would say at least 6-per year, especially the major state and grand events should be included if you can attend.  Small shoots are okay as long as they are "registered" shoots.  Turkey and fun shoots don't qualify.

The IRS is concerned with only one fact... "a business is an activity engaged in for profit."  However, there is no law that say's, "You must actually make a profit."  The only "rule" is that you "intend" to make a profit.  Now, if you can show a profit just once in three years or so, you should be okay in any audit situation.  Again, even if you don't make a profit for 5-years you will prevail if your intention is to make a profit and not just shooting for pure fun or enjoyment.  Making money must be your motive, and you practice and attend shoots with the intent to earn money.  That is why registered shooting can be a huge benefit to you for tax reasons.

If you feel uncomfortable about writing off all your expenses such as all of your practice fees and shell costs at the local club, you can just deduct all of the expensis to attend registered shoots.  The IRS wouldn't stand a chance to deny them.


You will likely not be challenged by the IRS, but it can happen so here's a few things you should know.  You have to prove that you are not shooting as a hobby, so you...


Maintain books and records of expenses and winnings in a businesslike manner.  Computer helps you do this very easily.  Make sure you get a reciept for all practice fees, meals, etc., and enter it in the computer.


You have lost money last or years before but have changed something to correct the loss to help you from stop losing money.  Like taking trap shooting lessons, buying books, magazines, videotapes, a new gun.  Getting your gun professionally fitted, installing a recoil pad, etc.  Doing just one of these things each year or all in one year.  The point is... do something to help yourself shoot better so you can improve your odds to win and earn money.  You may not win, but you did try to stop the losses.


Play the option money at registered shoots.  The 25/50 option is a good place to begin as you will likely start earning money very quickly.  It may not pay nowhere near your expenses, but it is proof that you did in fact "earn money and the registered shoot was a business activity."  You don't want to be filing tax returns that show $15,000 in losses and $0 in income.  $15,000 in losses and $400 income is better.  You won't owe money in taxes but you'll get your deductions and a nice rebate check in the mail next year!


You act professionally.  You consult with other top-gun shooters asking for tips and instruction on how to improve your shooting ability.  This is where lessons come in handy to satisfy any audit in your favor.  You consult with the Small Business Administration for advice on operating a business and maintaining records.


You make a serious effort to make a profit.  This does not mean you have to spend 40-hours per week trying to make a profit.  Not at all.   Trap shooting may only be a sideline business for you, but when you do trapshoot you are serious about it.  Again, playing the options reveals the serious intent to make money.  You may think of this as gambling but all businesses are gambles. 


You have profit potential.  Even if your trap shooting business continues to lose money, you are an artist.  Like a writer who has to write for years before s/he finishes that first book - and even then may never be able to sell it and make a profit.  The fact of writing the book, putting in the effort with the "intent" to sell it to a publisher.  Now, "My Life Story" won't qualify just as, "I Love Trap Shooting" won't get you any points with the IRS.   However, if you have earned money from the options here and there and your scores are actually climbing too you'll be okay.


A bad year or two.  It is common to all artist to have a bad spell.   Writer's get, "Writer's block" and trapshooter's get "Slumps."   Same as with golf pros and boxers and... you get the idea.  When you are in a slump increase your practice or start buying books, videotapes, take lessons.  Do something to improve yourself and improve your chances of making a profit.  It's the attempt you make that counts here.  If you simply do nothing then it shows you are not serious and you have no profit motive and just using shooting as a hobby.


Past success.  If you have won shoots in the past, won money and prizes of any value and you are competing in a professional environment (registered shoots) with the intent and ability to earn money, you will be okay with your business deductions.


Keep a log of business contacts you have made each year.  Names of shooters' you have consulted with asking for advice is a good method.  It's also a good way to meet new friends.


All the "technical" books you buy and lessons you take can be deducted from taxes.  A book that just talks about trap shooting isn't going to pass the test.  But technical books will be tax deductible!  A shooter who is audited and simply hands into evidence, Trap Shooting Secrets and Precision Shooting books is going to demonstrate to the IRS you are a serious shooter and not just a casual hobby shooter... the books are very technical and only a serious shooter would buy them to improve the chances of earning a profit. 


A trap shooting magazine, such as Shotgun Sports Magazine, will qualify as a deduction as the content is rich in technical instructions.  So is the Trap & Field Magazine, Clay Shooting Magazine and Pull Magazine.  A Guns & Ammo type mag may not qualify for a trap shooting business as it is not dedcated to clay target shooting. 


You can, if you wish, setup a separate bank or checking account just for your business.  It helps to establish with the IRS (if you are ever audited) that you are indeed running a legitimate business.  But it is not necessary with the computer programs today that can filter out all the business expenses from personal expenses.   What you don't need is a bank's business checking account.  They will hit you will outrageous fees.  Just open up a normal checking under your name or just use your current account as is.

You are not operating a typical business with a physical location so you don't have to buy a copying machine, get a business card, business phone, business bank account or register for a typical business license.  There are no customers to serve.   You don't even need a resale license as you are not selling anything.  You don't register your business period.  There are no zoning rules.  You simply file tax form "C" each year with your taxes.  It's that simple! 


Yes, you can deduct your trap shooting vacation expenses!  The test is this;  Was the purpose of your trip a vacation or business?  How much time did you spend on business?

The best way to deduct a vacation is to see its true purpose.  It has to be business related.  This does not mean you can't have fun and go sightseeing once you are there on location, but be aware that only the time you spend in the business portion is deductible.  The transportation air or cruise ship fare is usually deductible in full, but there are percentage rules that often apply so only 50% may be deductible if you mix too much pleasure with business.  Luca Scribani Rossi has a shooting school in Australia.  If you attend this school you can write off the entire trip, even if the evenings after school were pure pleasure sightseeing the harbor, shopping, etc.  You just don't write off the sightseeing and shopping vacation portions.  You can write off your evening meals (for the shooter).

Make sure you keep accurate records because the IRS treats vacation/business ventures as "all or nothing."  This means if you have a business trip and you have good records and a good purpose to be at the location related to business you deduct the entire trip's expenses.  If not, you can't deduct any of it.  What are good records?  Just "receipts" for meals, taxi, bus fare, etc., and the "business purpose" for these expenses.   Taking a taxi to a shopping mall or museum won't fly. 

Keep in mind this rule when you bring a spouse with you on a business trip/vacation.  If the spouse does not increase the expense that expense can be deducted.  So, air fare is not deductible, but a taxi or hotel room is.  Meals can only be deducted for the shooter not the wife. 


If you are not turning a profit or are showing a high gross and a low net profit don't take the standard deduction.  Use the itemized deduction.   Otherwise the IRS will suspect you have padded the accounts with personal expenses.   Use a computer program or a tax preparer to do your taxes.  Actually, the computer programs today are better!  They have audit checking and will give you advice on how to save even more money on taxes. 


The IRS is not friendly.  They are not nice people to deal with.   But they are not going to put you in prison for negligence either.  Everybody makes mistakes and that is a big difference between fraud.  It is not fraud to be a trapshooter struggling to make shooting into a profitable business... not at all!    So, for quite a few years you may show a loss and no profit on your tax forms.  This could trigger an audit, but not always.  The audit process is not as horrible as you may think it is.  For trap shooting, they will simply ask for proof of expenses.  So you just print out your expense sheet from the computer program and mail it in.  They may want receipts for certain expenses, so you send them a copy.   No big deal. 

What if you get attacked by some belligerent IRS agent who hates trapshooters and wants to disallow everything?  This is how it will go down, "You had other sources of income and you could afford to lose money so you did not have the intent and profit motive to make money... your shooting is a hobby."   What do you say?  "I would have been better off by not trap shooting at all in the first place.  I lost money, my money.  My deductions are legal and I have operated my business in a serious and professional manner.  I can't help it if I lost money.  It's a tough world out there.  I compete with professional trapshooters and  I have earned money in shooting (option money) and as time progresses I will earn more and turn a profit."  That ends the matter.


When I first considered writing-off trap shooting as a business I was a bit intimidated by the thought of it.  Is it legal?  Is it hard to do?  What if I get audited by the IRS?  How come nobody else at the club is doing it?  After some investigation work I found there were a few doing it and then I decided to do the same.  Yes, I did get an audit showing multi-year losses and it went very smoothly... no problems with trap shooting as a business!  I know many shooters who have never been audited.  Mine was due to a stock that was cashed and that triggered the audit, not the trap shooting.  But in audits, everything gets looked at and trap shooting was no problem at all.

The basic tips are here in this article to get you started.  This is an opportunity for you to save some money, get a bigger tax rebate check and most certainly elevate your mindset to professional status which will enhance your shooting so you can one day turn a profit!

Why are you attending registered shoots spending all that money and not writing off your expenses?  Do you think it is illegal?  It's perfectly legal and it is foolish to not do so considering the costs of trap shooting today.  For many shooters I see at the big state and grand shoots they are competing to win money and that is a business venture not a hobby!  Shooting with the gang at the club on weekends may be a hobby, but registered competition shooting is not by any means... it's all business.  It may be fun, but it's still all conducted in a strict business atmosphere with official rules, standards and regulations by the governing trap shooting bodies.  You are competing against professionals for prize money, especially if you play the options.  It's tax deductible and it's time you get with it!  Yes, even your option fees are tax deductible!

The key is honesty.  If you are looking for a way to cheat the government don't bother using this article to do it because it won't work.  Why?   You won't put in the extra effort to maintain the records in the computer, save receipts, etc.  But if you really want to give it a try to see if you can become a professional trapshooter then begin today and start writing-off all your expenses and shoot the best you can to win!  Yes, you can win for losing!

One more thing.  You may never become a professional trap shooter but you don't have to be to take your deductions.  And, the IRS will help you do it too!   Simply ask for their bulletins on starting up a new business.  Publication #583 - Starting a Business and Keeping Records.  Call 800-829-3676.


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