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About the Sport

In the second half of the nineteenth century shooting live pigeons, starlings and sparrows became popular. The birds were released by remote control from collapsible boxes called traps. By1870 there had been many attempts to produce artificial targets and machines to throw them. Glass balls, plain or stuffed with feathers, brass balls, small metal propellers and many other weird and wonderfully shaped targets had all been tried and found lacking. In 1880 and person called Ligowski watched some youths skimming clam shells across the water in America. This gave him the idea of the saucer-shaped clay target. These original targets were made from clay and fired in brick kilns. Modern clay targets are made from a mixture of lime and other materials. There is an assortment of targets that vary in diameter and thickness, although all are circular. The targets are given names such as mini clays, midi clays, battue and clay rabbits. All targets are thrown from a machine called a trap. The trap is a spring-loaded throwing arm, usually made of metal. There are today many variations of the sport in the way that targets are presented to the shooters with variations consisting of changes in the speed of the target and the direction of flight which may vary from travelling straight away from the shooter to travelling almost straight towards. Height above ground level is another factor that can be varied.