Where are the younger shooters?

Discussion in 'Skeeters Corner' started by fredoniarob, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    I have been looking around the winter skeet league that i am in and find that the average age is well north of 60... and the number of shooters under 20 are dismal to say the least.
    My question is this, is it just my area or is skeet shooting in trouble as shooters age and are no longer physically able to shoot any more?:( I am a trap shooter and i see more youth at shoot and know that there is a good youth program within the ATA but have never seen a program in skeet... am i missing it?
  2. Clipperite

    Clipperite Active Member


    I think the answer lies in the fact that the wrong people reached power in the skeet world. They dummied down the targets making skeet an even easier game and even more of a game of perfection. The trap world has suffered the same way but not as much.

    There is a chance the trapworld is waking up. Many posters on the trap side of the forum are dedicated to that end. We have to band together to keep our shootin sports challenging.

    It is difficult enough to keep young shooters interested in the game.
  3. BPskeeter

    BPskeeter Active Member Founding Member

    In many cases, it is only the older folks who have the time or the money to participate.
    Also, younger shooter may find it frustrating to try and join a group that is dominated by folks 20+ ears older than themselves. We are starting out spring trap league in April, and if his work schedule permits, we will be adding a 17-year-old to our team. All the rest of us are over 50. He "lives" in a different world than we do. Our challenge is not to try and bring him into our world, but to show him our sport and to help him to fit it into his.
    rrisum likes this.
  4. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    I have been around shooting since i could walk, and have been in leagues since age 8. But like to say im a trap shooter with a skeet addiction...
    Growing up i was exposed to trap and static target shooting and found skeet as my "release" from expectations... every time i take a kid to shoot they love it, just surprises me now im getting older (37) that my generation is not around. I'm afraid that a great sport might be suffering a slow death if something is not done.
  5. BPskeeter

    BPskeeter Active Member Founding Member

    My background is in Black Powder shooting, and currently on he NMLRA's Facebook page, a member is posting photos from the 1970's and '80's. So many of the participants in the photos were in their 20'sand early 30's, with just a few of the older folks around. Now, it's 50's and 60's (or older) with just a few 20's. You are correct - we completely lost your generation.
    The neat thing is going to shoots like the Grand and seeing the SCTP shooters. Best program that has come down the pike in a LONG time! Wish it had been around when I was growing up.
  6. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    I grow up with bp to... one shot one kill... was taught by guys that where not kid friendly... but loved me because i understand historical firearms.... i bought a 1861 ORIGINAL o/u .40-16ga when i was YOUNG with winnings from trap shooting. fun shooting clays with bp....
  7. BPskeeter

    BPskeeter Active Member Founding Member

    I got started shooting BP rifles in the early 70's. Really loved it, but I never was competitive with the top shooters. Then in the mid-'90's I picked up a flintlock trade gun (20 ga smoothbore) Found out that I was a better shotgun shooter than rifle shooter.
  8. Big Jack

    Big Jack Well-Known Member Founding Member

    The young ones today are trying to stay afloat with current wages & expenses. Young families cannot afford the shooting games today. I remember working a second job, part time just to keep shooting trap. That was a long time ago and today it would be even more difficult. I was told if I wanted to end up with a million dollars at trap, start with two.
    creaker likes this.
  9. Laserwizard

    Laserwizard Active Member Founding Member

    I too grew up around a lot of Black Powder. I have a SXS black powder 12ga that I always enjoyed rabbit hunting with. I used to shoot trap with it here and there. What a blast!!

    Very good youth programs in Trap here in Ohio, but you seldom hear anything about skeet.

    We've got a local club that has skeet and trap, but unfortunately the new owners are more interested in pistol shooting and Trap/5 Stand games than they are throwing good clay targets. You never see youth shooters at this club. Unless things change, this club will fade away to just another memory.
  10. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    Today i was shooting trap with bunch of teenage kids and could not talk a single one into a round of skeet, feel stupid shooting by myself.
  11. NordCelt

    NordCelt Member

    Maybe it's the area I live in, along a major river that's a water fowl migration root. There is a strong hunting tradition here. There are two local clubs that I belong to and both are well represeted with all age groups. There are certainly a large number of us old guys around but quite a few young guys too. I shoot both trap and skeet and believe the trap fields have a better age mix than the skeet fields do. My observation has been the experienced trap shooters tend to be more welcoming of new shooters. There are plenty of friendly people on the skeet fields too but there is definitely a large number of registered skeet shooters who do not want to shoot with anyone other than those in their high dollar click. For some reason the highly skilled high dollar gun trap shooters are friendlier. Don't know why this is but since I shoot both games this is my observation at how it is at my clubs.
    rrisum and MODERATOR 1 like this.
  12. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    I am also a trap shooter, but around western New York the school trap league funnels kids into trap... but im sad to say that once they reach age that they have to pay full price they to disappear from sport, and there is not any scholastic skeet programs in area. But its disheartening to see the average age go up every year in skeet.
    History Seeker and MODERATOR 1 like this.
  13. Jim Porter

    Jim Porter Member

    EASY I AM a youth coach and have coached in several states. I am also a skeet member and shoot a little skeet each year. Here are the REAL reasons. 1- four guns. Even if tube sets are used it still takes four guns if you REALLY want to play. AND while skeeters will say "come shoot the 12 or 20 only, they REALLY don't like for you to do that. It screws up the squadding. 2-Three Days. If you REALLY want to shoot skeet, it's doubles on Friday, Two guns on Sat. and Two guns on Sunday and stay for shoot-off's. Trappers shoot 300 targets, eat lunch and are home early in the afternoon of the same day.3- Because of scores no one actually wins a skeet shoot! You shoot skeet to make the doubles shoot off. It's like playing baseball all afternoon to get to play football on Sunday afternoon. 4- Starting cost. Every kids uncle has a 870 with a mod choke somewhere in the closet and you have a basic entry level trap gun. 5-Ease of coaching and safety while coaching new shooters---BELIEVE ME I have done this many times. In skeet you have four kids behind you while you are working with the kid on the pad. Not good! Then you coach four shots and won't be back on that pad for an hour. In trap ALL FIVE are in FRONT of you and you can easily pass from one shooter to the next with coaching tips. In short---in summary---trap is no better game and there are excellent people doing both but trap is far more friendly to the starting shooter. WE NEED BOTH!!!! We need all the SHOOTERS we can get!!! That is why I shoot both and try my best to coach both. I am OFF THE porch--I suggest you do the same!
  14. trap.skeet.sporting

    trap.skeet.sporting Active Member

    There is not really much to add to Jim Porter's post, but I will. Mostly the problem is high barriers to entry.

    MODERATOR 1 likes this.
  15. History Seeker

    History Seeker A NoBody Official Historian Founding Member

    While living in South Carolina I found that their 4H progams teach each youth to shoot all three venues. Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays.

    Once the kids get on their own, they seem to gravitate to the Sporting Clays saying it's more fun and enjoyable to walk from station to station talking with friends. The other comments were: "Well if I miss one, I know I still stand a chance". They know in skeet or trap, a miss can cost you because of all the 99s and 100s posted...

    Rob, My wife was from Westfield. Do they still have a trap facility there ?

    Good luck, Dave
    Roger Beardsley likes this.
  16. fredoniarob

    fredoniarob Active Member

    I'm a member of Westfield and Ripley to name 2 clubs as a fact....
    Westfield still has 2 traps and 2 skeet houses.
    I happen to be sitting the Westfield booth as i type at the Chautauqua county fair.
    History Seeker and Smithy like this.
  17. trap.skeet.sporting

    trap.skeet.sporting Active Member

    If you have Sporting Clays or Five-stand in the neighborhood look there. Newbies given the choice of Sporting or Skeet will usually choose Sporting. Sporting just does a better job of what Skeet was invented to do. And registered skeet gets into 4-guns, expensive ammo or multiple reloaders, and all weekend+ to compete.
    History Seeker likes this.
  18. Sergey Parfenov

    Sergey Parfenov New Member

    I shoot International Skeet because Amecian Skeet is too easy. Plus young shooters could mad
    e an Olympic team. Unfortunately there are very few clubs throwing Int.Skeet targets.
  19. joseph Boy

    joseph Boy Member

  20. joseph Boy

    joseph Boy Member

    I think the anti-gun climate may have something to do with it as well, especially in Mass.
    Most people I know have turned to skeet and trap after starting out hunting, but in Mass.
    it is difficult to find a place to hunt and get landowners permission. Parents don't want
    there kids to join contact sports never mind use a gun.
  21. oldskt94

    oldskt94 Active Member Founding Member

    Clipper: been shooting skeet and trap for over 40 years. Registered skeet looks looks the same to me as 40 years ago. I started on trap as many do from the Mi, PA, Oh area did in the 70's. Stopped shooting trap for several years and found when I came back they had dumbed down trap by changing the angle. All the registered shooting sports are struggling to keep going. I have a close friend who is on one of the advisory committees for NSCA, and tells me that even registered sporting is having problems retaining members. Fortunately for them they r adding new members as fast as losing old.
    Although I wish it were true that everyone could compete with grandpa's 870, that isn't likely.
  22. JimDV

    JimDV Member

    Younger shooters have multiple speedbumps facing them like: Working wife, modern men are expected to play a big part in child rearing, competitive skeet takes a long time to learn and a big time commitment, skeet is a game of perfect scores,the expense.....
    They seem to gravitate to 5 Stand or Sporting clays where you can shoot a couple of rounds, miss a bunch and have a good time with some buddies and then go home
  23. Jack Olson

    Jack Olson Well-Known Member

    Its getting just to expensive for younger shooters. I like the 4H program of all 3 clay games, wish they had it in my state.
  24. mpolans

    mpolans Mega Poster

    They're shooting sporting clays.
  25. mpolans

    mpolans Mega Poster

    I guess I'd also add spending time with their young kids instead of burning an entire weekend at skeet tournament.
  26. LimaShooter50

    LimaShooter50 Well-Known Member Founding Member

    You will see more youth shooters at the CC shooting skeet than anywhere at the SCTP Championship in July.
  27. Joe East

    Joe East Active Member

    At 40, I am one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, at my clubs. I live in an area where we are strong proponents of 2A, but still the shooting sports have yet to gain significant traction with a broad support base. While many may not share my opinion, this is a fight. It may not be a fight in the truest sense of the word in that we are not squaring off against an opponent, but it is a fight nonetheless. It is not a fight for our survival, but it is a fight for legacy in that we are fighting for the survival the happiness we all share; breaking those damn clays.

    As I see it, the shooting sports are combating (3) separate adversaries whether or not clubs want to admit it or not: Time, Exclusivity, and a Shifting Political Climate. As a retired career Marine, I have been hardwired to believe that the adversary that can most ably adapt to changing circumstances will be the victor. Unfortunately, many clubs across the nation have failed to understand the nature of the problem and have been unable or unwilling to adapt to the changing realities and have closed as a result. If we, as a shooting community, want to see these sports exist when the grandchildren of my generation are around we need to take a hard and genuine look at defeating our three primary adversaries.

    1. Time: We can’t stop the clock, and we all have a limited time before the sand runs out on our lives. However, unless we want to watch the shotgun sports expire with each club member death, we need to get folks shooting that have much more sand left in their respective hourglasses. Youth shoots such as 4H are a good start, but these still only reach a future clientele base which our clubs could realistically expect to gather in due time. 4H shoots only reach the the kids in 4H, and most kids across the nation ARE NOT in 4H.
    Every club has one or members who is a prominent member of his/her respective community. ALL of these members will need to use their influence within their communities to increase support for the shooting sports to younger generations. Whether it is working with a local high school or college to start a competitive team, or inviting the neighbor’s kid out for a day at the range, we will all need to do our part to get youth engaged in shooting. EVEN IF MEMBERS OR CLUBS HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUTH SHOOTING, THE LONG-TERM DIVIDENDS ARE PRICELESS. Get youth involved and they will provide better advertising for your club than most PR firms you could hire. One kid sharing his/her amazing experience on social media will reach more folks in a day than a club newsletter will in a year.

    2. Exclusivity: Most of us who shoot regularly have reached a certain station in life in which the expense of shooting is easily borne. Our clubs have initiation fees, annual fees, range fees, and often a numerical cap on membership. We pay these memberships and others like them as is expected of someone holding our station in life. While these fees and caps do well to maintain exclusivity of club clientele, they do NOTHING to promote the long-term survival of the sports. As with opening the sports to a younger population, we also need to consider the possibility of opening our memberships to those who have not reached our stage in life. I am not advocating for fully open memberships, but for a general opening of our ranges for more public-friendly events. These may take the form of a weekly or monthly public fun shoot, or in the form of public shooting clinics within the respective disciplines. The possibility to open these sports to a broader audience are only limited by the imagination and initiative of our clubs. Nonetheless, they need to be done.

    3. Shifting Political Climate: I am not going to delve into the WHY we have a shifting political climate against guns/shooting etc. in our society because that conversation is a distraction for our purposes. Instead, I am offering a course of action that is guaranteed to make everyone uncomfortable—but it works. Most of us know at least one person, family, coworker, etc. who is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to firearms. In my experience, many of these individuals have had the formulation of their opinions shaped by external sources while most have little/no first-hand experience with firearms. If external forces can shape their opinion, then why can’t we? My challenge to everyone is to invite them out for a day on the range. In this you will be mounting an individualized insurgency against their beliefs. Teach them safety and demonstrate the rules of each game. Coach them, teach them how to hit their target. Celebrate with them when they finally hit one. Focus on the sport at hand—leave the larger 2A discussion for a later time. Make it fun, and we will gain allies.
    As an anecdotal example, a few years ago I was watching an elementary school basketball game at my kid’s school. I made small talk with one of the other dads watching the game. At some point in the conversation we talked about my career as a Marine, and I joked about how much I enjoyed the free ammo over the years. He went on to explain how he was not ‘big’ on guns and how he generally wasn’t comfortable with them. Instead of criticizing his beliefs, I offered to bring him out for a few rounds of skeet. He may have only hit three birds that day, but he had a new perspective. A few weeks later, I was surprised to get a call asking me if I shot pistols too. So we went to a pistol range, and a few weeks later he asked if I would show his wife how to shoot too. She was a much better shot with a pistol than he was and had just as much (zero) experience as he did. Weeks later they called for advice on selecting their own pistol, as well as another firearm for home defense. I gave them my time and did not criticize their lack of knowledge. Now, that family of six has an enviable gun collection and the entire family shoots.

    We can all do this, and we all need to if we hope these sports are going to survive.
  28. BAMA

    BAMA Mega Poster

    VR (virtual reality) computer games have taken over the young people. It's incredibly fun (have you tried it?), as difficult as you want, varied shooting games of every kind, as well as racing, flying, war, and everything in-between, and play all day and night for almost nothing, while competing worldwide on the net in realtime. This is the reality of the newest generations and will continue to be so (there called "Gamer's.") Maybe, those kids will pick up a real gun and get involved with the shooting sports someday, but I wouldn't count on it. The world has changed and is by-passing hunting and shooting sports for lots of reasons. VR being only one.
  29. mpolans

    mpolans Mega Poster

    When you've got a wife and young kids who don't shoot, it's hard to justify to them spending a whole weekend shooting a skeet tournament. For example, there's a shoot coming up next month:

    Doubles is on Friday (ad hoc flights from 1200-1800).
    20ga and 12ga are on Saturday, but you can't shoot them back to back. It's either 0900 and 1300, 1030 and 1500, or 1200 and 1630.
    28ga and .410 are on Sunday, but again, can't shoot back to back, so it's either 0900 and 1300, 1030 and 1500, or 1200 and 1630 (though there is an option to shoot .410 on Friday at 1700).

    If I could at least shoot each gauge back to back in the mornings or the afternoons, I'd at least be only burning half-days. But since that isn't offered, I'd have to burn two full days away from the family to shoot it all. I might be able to get away with that every once in a while, but it guarantees I can't regularly shoot all four gauges at tournaments.
    If I could wave a magic wand, I'd prefer to shoot all four gauges in one long day (two in the morning, then two after lunch). I know there would be difficulties with shoot-offs and some people saying it would be a long day...but I think there'd be a way to still make it doable.
  30. History Seeker

    History Seeker A NoBody Official Historian Founding Member


    Been a year now since the last posting. Anything different than last year?

    I'm guessing that with the price of shells and components, Skeet (4 gauges) will be in the tubes, BUT perhaps the league shooting for Skeet, and using only 1 gauge could be about the same as Trap.

    My old Little Brown Jug Trap League up around the Canandaigua area has a lot less shooters than in the past, (Down to just a little above 100 participants) and I suspect the price of shells and or loading has a lot to do with it too.

    Good luck down in the southern tier ! Miss those old days around Westfield, Fredonia, and Mayville.
  31. bobski

    bobski USN Retired Range Owner

    i cant agree with the statement that skeet has been made easier, i mean its not like you can slow the targets down or change the angles.
    yet i can say, trap isnt 3 or 5 hole shoot offs anymore in defense of skeet.
    maybe trap is more attractive because IT IS easier?
    oldskt94 likes this.
  32. oldskt94

    oldskt94 Active Member Founding Member

    Skeet has been the same since I started shooting (1972). Trap is easier because Many clubs reduced the angles. I, with many of my friends, can no longer afford sporting clays. I know many younger people can't afford to shoot sporting (except for Pennsylvania), at least according to one of our regular posters. $65/100 practice here in Texas. Skeet & trap less then half of that. Many places you have to shoot new ammo.
    History Seeker likes this.
  33. bobski

    bobski USN Retired Range Owner

    are those public ranges making you shoot factory ammo? let me guess....sold at their counter only?
  34. History Seeker

    History Seeker A NoBody Official Historian Founding Member


    One club which is public here in Florida has (had) ammo, and it sells for $15.00 / box + tax. The parking lot is almost full all week long with big buck cars and trucks, so money isn't an issue for these folks. Trap, Skeet and 5 stand, $10.00 + tax/round, and I don't know about Sporting Clays $$$$ but it's up there. You can bring your own ammo if you have it, but that isn't the case for most.
  35. bobski

    bobski USN Retired Range Owner

    florida use to be inexpensive. but with all the retirees (with money) moved there, the locals must compete with pricing instead of clay targets breaking. its not cheap to shoot in fla. and as you noted, all that do are usually on the upper side of affording it.
    which helps confirm my observations....clay shooting is returning to its roots as a rich mans sport again.
    History Seeker likes this.