Due in part to the continued rapid growth of high school trap shooting, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering another round of shooting club grants.

The 2015 Minnesota Legislature provided $800,000 in matching grant money for a variety of shooting range development, according to a release from the Minnesota DNR. "We still have trap range grant funding left that, along with added funding, will allow for the growth or improvement of skeet shooting venues, as well as rifle and pistol ranges," Chuch Niska, the DNR's shooting range program coordinator, said in the release.

The 2014 legislature authorized more than $2 million for matching grants that focused mostly on trap shooting facilities. The application opportunity is open through April 29. Ranges must be open to the public at reasonable hours for reasonable fees to be eligible for grant money.

The Minnesota Clay Target Shooting League reports that high school trap shooting in Minnesota will surpass 10,000 participants this spring. More than 30 new teams will form this spring, bringing the total number of schools offering the sport to more than 300. Red Wing, Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall from the Big Nine Conference are among the new teams. They join Austin, Faribault, Northfield and Winona from the conference. In an email from Owatonna High School Activities Director Ryan Swanson, he told KRFO radio that some students have asked for an application to get the activity started at OHS.

Medford's trap shooting team competed at the Minnesota State High School League sanctioned event last June. The MSHSL is the first high school league in the nation to hold such an event. Blooming Prairie, NRHEG and Triton all have trap shooting teams as well.

High school trap shooting is conducted as a virtual competition. Teams shoot once a week with scores entered online and compared to other teams in their conference, which are formed based on team size, not school enrollment. The competitive season covers five weeks in the spring. The top individual shooters earn a spot in the MSHSL event. All interested teams may attend a statewide event in Alexandria in June, with the top teams qualifying for the high school league shoot.

The sport is open to boys and girls equally and all shooters must have their firearm safety certificate.

Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media

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