Story by: Barry Turner
When you build a gun club in a valley, it’s inevitable that you end up shooting downhill or uphill depending on which side of the valley you chose. Kentville (Nova Scotia) as it turns out shoots downhill. When I joined the club 18 months ago following the CFO’s forced closure of my previous home club in Dartmouth, I was confronted by the challenge of shooting downhill. After wrestling with the situation for a couple of months, I came to the conclusion that when the targets go downhill so do your scores!
A buddy of mine and fellow trap shooter Dean Ogilvie and I started to dig into the problem. We measured all aspects of the field layout and compared it to ATA trap field specs. The core of the problem was that our trap machine was about 18 inches too low in the house. Consequently targets tended to be very steep and angle targets on Posts 1 and 5 emerged from well below the roofline and through the side walls of the house. The angle targets were a show stopper. You just couldn’t see them until they were well out of the house.
Now we knew why the field was so difficult to score on. It also explained why the trap game had no real participation amongst our membership. The degree of difficulty on our field was bordering on Bunker style trap. A “AA/AAA” class competitor would have their hands full trying to score on this field. A weekend recreational shooter would be lucky to score in the low teens.
We brought the matter to the attention of the leadership of the Shotgun Section and proposed a complete rebuild of the layout. The objective would be to level the shooting platform, install full walkways back to 27 yds. (the current field was 16 yards only) and reposition the trap machine per ATA guidelines. The leadership and membership were very supportive of the plan. A special thank you to Rich Johnson and Bryon Crossman, our Shotgun Section Directors for their leadership in building member support for the project.
We got to work this spring (2019). Dean Ogilvie lead the construction and did a first class job. It wasn’t easy. To create a level surface Dean had to dig into the hill side which turned out to be solid shale. He pounded out the shale with a hydraulic hammer, set the walkways, rebuilt the machine pedestal to the correct height and modified the trap house to the correct height. Dean was meticulous with his measurements. His computerized transit was a god sent. We checked and doubled checked our field geometry until we were 100% sure we had it right.
We commissioned the rebuilt field mid-summer. I am happy to report that our membership is starting to rediscover the fun of trapshooting and scores are on the rise. If you are in the Annapolis Valley area of Nova Scotia, please drop in and shoot a round or two with us. We are located at 377 White Rock Rd., Kentville NS B4N4K1. We shoot Wednesday afternoons and Sundays.