The shutdown of non-essential businesses due the COVID-19 restrictions unfortunately closed public access to all outdoor shooting ranges in Maryland and many neighboring states for the past two months. As a result, most local, state and national shooting events were cancelled or postponed well into the future.

On June 15, the Amateur Trapshooting Association announced that the 2020 Grand American World Trapshooting Championships would not be allowed to take place at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex at Sparta, Illinois, due to COVID-19 governmental restrictions. The event has been held annually at Sparta since 2008. The ATA executive committee would be held instead at the home grounds of the Missouri Trapshooters Association, Linn Creek Missouri. The dates of the AIM Grand Championship will be Aug. 2 to 4 and the Grand American Aug. 5 to 15.

Fortunately, in accordance with Gov. Hogan’s most recent Executive Order and the Frederick County Executive’s Office, several outdoor shooting ranges are now opening for public use in Frederick County.

Trap and skeet shooting are recognized as safe outdoor activities that involve an individual and their own firearm with minimal sharing or touching of equipment. On the trap field, a squad of five participants is spaced no less than 9-feet apart while shooting, making social distancing guidelines easy to follow.

Each gun club has the expectation that all members and guests will follow the current guidance from CDC and Maryland Department of Health regarding social distancing and sanitary policies. Access to clubhouses may be limited as the total number of persons permitted inside an indoor facility at any one time should not exceed 50 percent of the fire marshall’s occupancy.

Trap and skeet shooters have several venues that are now open to member and non-member use. At each of the ranges listed below, all participants must provide their own gun and shells as well as their own hearing and eye protection.

Thurmont Conservation & Sportsman Club, 11617 Hunt Club Road, Thurmont — Open to the public for trapshooting on Tuesday and Friday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost for one round (25 targets) is $5 for adult non-members and $4 for members and youth.

Tuscarora Gun Club, 5008 Tuscarora Road, Tuscarora — Open for trap and skeet practice each Wednesday 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $5 per round. Tuscarora also has a five-stand course that is open on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Catoctin Fish & Game Protective Association, Clark Road, Myersville — Open for trap practice on Thursdays 5 to 10 p.m., weather permitting. They also offer five-stand on Tuesdays at 5 to 10 p.m. Targets are $5 per round for the public.

Izaak Walton league of America, Mount Airy Chapter, 6642 Woodville Road, Mount Airy — Offers trap and skeet on Thursday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. The cost is $5 per round and $4 for youth.

MSSA postpones Maryland ATA State ShootFollowing the governor’s ever-changing Roadmap to Recovery Plan, the executive committee of the Maryland State Sportsman Association made the disappointing decision to cancel the Maryland State Preliminary trap shoot on June 20 and 21. They also rescheduled the Maryland State Shoot from a five-day event (June 24 to 28) to a three-day event to be held Sept. 4-6, 2020, replacing the MSSA Fall Handicap Shoot. Both events were to be held at the MSSA home grounds in Thurmont.

PSSA holds Colonial Classic/Pennsylvania State ShootIn contrast to Maryland, the Pennsylvania State Shotgunning Association worked with state officials who allowed their state shoot to be held as planned at the PSSA home grounds in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, on June 13 to 21. Although attendance varied each day of the shoot, the overall attendance was only slightly down from previous years despite the pandemic concerns.

Be mindfulWhen at a shooting range, please respect other shooters and be sure to observe all CDC guidelines for social distancing. It is best to stay home if you or an immediate family member has been sick with COVID-19 until 14 days after testing negative to the virus and remaining symptom-free without the use of medication. If you have not been tested, you must wait 21 days and be symptom-free.

Contact Dan Neuland at danneuland@verizon.net.

(1) comment

Greg F

Of all things that could have remained open, this was one of them.

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