Forming a Clay Target Club

Forming a Committee/Management Group
In order for any venture to be successful, one must have an efficient organisation for the setting up and maintenance of the club. Ideally a minimum of a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer is required, plus extra members for additional work. There are numerous areas to consider when setting up a club and the more this work can be shared out, the more motivated everyone will be.

Choosing a Suitable Site
Private land may be used for Clay Target Shooting, provided that there is a 300m “fall-out” zone (for the lead shot) in every direction where the shooting is to take place.

Ensure that shot and clay fall out does not trespass on other private property or public footpaths.

When setting up standard ranges (Trap, Skeet & Trench), ensure that the shooting direction falls within the ideal specification for such ranges. Ranges should not be placed so that either the rising or setting sun interferes with the shooters line of vision.

Obtaining Permission to Shoot
The matter of excessive noise for nearby residents/property should be considered and it is strongly advised that you obtain a noise study to determine if local residents will be disturbed by the noise of shotgun shooting. It is also strongly advised that you obtain written permission from your nearest neighbours and confirmation that your shooting is not disturbing them.

If you are changing the use of your land from one purpose to another, you may need to obtain permission from your local government authority. In this case, an environmental impact study may be necessary.

We cannot advise strongly enough that you treat the subject of potential noise disturbance very seriously. If there is one person who objects to the noise you will have a very difficult, if not impossible, task of setting up your shooting club. Be prepared for unreasonable objections where the person objecting is not actually disturbed by the noise of the shooting, but who simply doesn’t like firearms.

Constructing Ranges
Standard range plans (Trap, Skeet and Trench) can be downloaded from the CTSASA web site. It is crucial that you conform to these plans. If any ranges are built and are found to be not up to specification, it will adversely affect your ability to host CTSASA Provincial or National Championships. If in doubt, please call the CTSASA and ask for a local representative to visit your club. There may be a small charge to cover travelling expenses.

A more informal type of Clay Target Shooting, and much more economical to set up, is that of Sporting clays. Ranges can be set up without the need for fixed buildings, although of course strict adherence to safety rules is a must. Because Sporting has no fixed rules about the positioning of traps (except for safety rules) there are no specific range plans available. When setting traps for Sporting, one must ensure that the trapper (if a manual trap) is completely protected and has eye and ear protection. The trapper must not be visible at any point from the shooting stand, except if the trapper is behind the shooting stand. It is also compulsory that when setting any trap, but particularly Sporting, that the “fall out” zone, i.e. the area where the lead shot will fall, is 300 yards from the shooting stand.

The SABS has a “Range Standard” which will help you to consider all the safety aspects. It is compulsory that you obtain SABS Compliance and the rules contained in their standards must be strictly followed.  Click HERE to download the SABS Range Standards.

Clay Target Shooting is an incredibly safe sport, yet one has to recognise that good safety practices are the foundation of this reputation.

All members of our sport are responsible for keeping up a high standard of safety. The CTSASA provides safety posters, free of charge, to all registered CTSASA clubs. These posters should be put up in your clubhouse for all members to see.

Additional safety reminders should be posted on all ranges.

All international rules for the various disciplines have strict codes of safety. All new members who join your club should be given a basic safety code and given basic safety training. Please see the CTSASA web site for our guides to safety in addition to the reminders below:-

  1. Treat every gun as a loaded gun until you are certain that it is not. Unless actually on the firing marks, keep your gun open.
  2. When you enter your car, club or home, carry only an empty gun, taken down or with the action open.
  3. Make sure there are no obstructions in the barrel or action of your gun before use.
  4. When carrying a gun, do so in such a way that you can control the direction of the muzzle even if you stumble.
  5. Never pull the trigger unless you are sure of your target.
  6. Never point a gun at anything or anyone except when about to fire at a target.
  7. Never leave your gun unattended unless you have first made sure it is unloaded.
  8. Never climb an obstacle or a fence with a loaded gun.
  9. Never shoot at a flat hard surface or the surface of water.

First Aid
Always keep a basic first aid kit readily available. Common products are plasters, antiseptic lotions, bandages, eye washes, headache tablets, indigestion tablets, safety pins, etc. etc.

Club Constitution
In order for the club to be properly constituted, the club must have its own constitution. A sample constitution can be obtained from the CTSASA Executive Officer via email – This constitution will allow the club to open bank accounts and operate as a non-profit organisation. A copy of your up to date club constitution must be lodged with the CTSASA.

Club Affiliations
The Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa provides a comprehensive service to its clubs for a very reasonable yearly affiliation fee. Clubs are also required to affiliate to their Provincial CTSA in order to conform to the CTSASA Constitution. A copy of the CTSASA Constitution can be downloaded here.

Most clubs require new members to pay a once-off entry fee, plus a yearly affiliation fee. The amount will vary according to the facilities supplied by the club. It is adviseable that you research a suitable fee for your club. All CTSASA members must be members of a CTSASA registered club.

The Opening Day
Publicity is always welcome! If you can, organise your local radio or newspaper to come and visit your club and publicise your opening day.

Marketing & Promotion
The CTSASA provides all CTSASA registered clubs with a free page on the CTSASA web site. Clubs are encouraged to make use of the web site and to recruit local advertisers on their club page. This will not only encourage shooters to visit your club, but can earn you considerable yearly revenue. Please ask the CTSASA Executive Officer for the Club Web Site Business Plan.

The CTSASA Executive Officer is often inundated with requests for lists of clubs and can obviously only send out those who are on the CTSASA list.

All new clubs are encouraged to make use of free publicity in the Clay News magazine which is issued 3 or 4 times a year by the CTSASA and is sent free to all clubs and members. An article introducing the club to the members, together with photos is ideal to let everyone know where your club is.

Communicating with your members on a regular basis is imperative for the long-term success of your club. Most clubs issue either a monthly newsletter or a bi-monthly newsletter giving club competition results, welcoming new members and giving details of forthcoming events. Club news and helpful shooting hints are also worthwhile additions to your newsletter. Today, with the ease of email, it has tremendous advantages. It is quick and cheap and you can promote all your clubs forthcoming activities.

Rules for Clay Target Disciplines
All up to date rules are free of charge and available from the CTSASA web site. It is vital that clubs make sure that all shooters begin with the right set of rules, both for safety reasons and for future participation in local or international competitions.

Additional Facilities
Many clubs have additional facilities such as a licenced bar, pool table, magazines & books, children‟s toys, TV etc. Clay Target Shooting is a family sport and we encourage families to come along to our ranges to enjoy themselves. We appreciate that not everyone will shoot, and therefore we advise our clubs to have other recreational facilities available. Catering facilities are also crucial. Free tea and coffee is always welcomed, plus snacks on practice days and a main meal on competition days.

Clay Target Clubs and the Firearms Control Act
Shooting ranges do not need to become “accredited” as a shooting range under the Firearms Control Act unless they wish to conduct Basic Competency Training (BCT). BCT may only be conducted by a SAQA qualified instructor and assessor. For further information on becoming a SAQA qualified instructor, please contact POSLEC SETA on 011 805 0084.

Please note though that a club MUST become SABS certified (see “Constructing Ranges” above).  SABS certification is different from getting accreditation under the Firearms Control Act.

Why Shooting Clubs Sometimes Fail
Clubs close down for three main reasons:-

  1. Noise
  2. Poor organisation
  3. Poor management

Avoid :-

  • Too much shooting, i.e. too many shoots and too many targets shot at by those who cannot afford to do so
  • Too many competitions
  • Monopolising of the offices, year after year, by the same few members
  • Lack of interest by club officials
  • Poor handicapping in trophy contests, whereby the same shooters win practically all the prizes
  • Poor selection of trophies (value for money) and/or prizes/prize money
  • Lack of real effort to attract new members
  • Failure to recruit new shooters and encourage them by coaching and the provision of easier targets
  • Non-adherence to rules as laid down in the official rule books
  • Disturbing influence of factions
  • Bad targets
  • Noise problems. Better shooting once a fortnight than not at all

The Firearms Control Act and the Individual
The law relating to firearms is currently undergoing major changes. The Firearms Control Act 2000 came into effect 1st July 2004. The CTSASA is committed to keeping its members and clubs up to date with all the latest news.

Individuals will find that if they wish to own a firearm for sports purposes that they will need to belong to a properly constituted club. Should an individual wish to own more than four firearms then he/she will need to also belong to an Accredited Sports Shooting Organisation who has been accredited under the Firearms Control Act.

The Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa is an Accredited Sports Shooting Organisation – certificate number 1300022 (this is also known as the FAR number).

Application to affiliate your club to the CTSASA
A current Club Affiliation Application Form can be obtained here.

*Issued by the Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa
*All information correct at time of going to publication and issued in good faith. The CTSASA cannot be held responsible for loss or damages arising from the mis-use or otherwise of this information.