Trap shooting range coming to park
A Wobble Trap Shooting Range is scheduled to be installed at Cacapon State Park this spring. The range will be located off Mountain Road, which leads to the top of Cacapon Mountain and the scenic overlook.
Park Superintendent Tom Ambrose said he hopes to open the range on Memorial Day weekend. Park engineers from Charleston will begin work on the project when weather permits.
What is wobble trap?
All types of trap shooting use clay "pigeons" thrown into the air by a trap machine, but wobble trap differs from standard shooting.
Wobble trap differs because the machine is set up to vary both the angle and the elevation of the released clay targets. This increases the shooter's difficulty.
Trap shooters use a 12-gauge shotgun to try and hit their targets. The clay pigeons are designed to break apart when hit. There are five shooting positions, normally located a few yards behind the machine.
Clay pigeons are released at a speed of about 47 miles-per-hour and at a set elevation. The targets fly approximately 50 yards.
The targets are called clay pigeons because they replace the live pigeons used in late 18th century England when the sport originated.
Several decades after the sport became popular in the United States, artificial targets made of clay were invented out of necessity, due to the scarcity of live pigeons.
The wobble trap range at Cacapon State Park is the first one of its kind in the park system.
"The range will be another amenity for guests at the park," said Superintendent Ambrose.
He said the park service is installing the range on a trial basis. If it proves to be a popular attraction, ranges would be installed at other parks.
One concern is how the sound from the range will affect the rest of the park. In a preliminary test, a shotgun was fired at the range site and the sound was barely audible at the main lodge, Ambrose said.
He felt that when the leaves are back on the trees, the sound will be further reduced. No tests have yet been conducted to determine the effect of sound on communities near the park.
Ambrose said safety would be the main concern at the range.
Asked if the range would require the hiring of additional park employees, Ambrose replied: "That is to be determined." He suspects the range
will need at least one trained instructor.