By Nick Simonson
With the increase in both the size and popularity of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League (ND CTL) in the last two years, a new grant program through the North Dakota Game & Fish Department (NDG&F) is helping communities connect with and accommodate the increased number of high school students participating in the rapidly-growing league.
In the 2017 legislative session, House Bill 1419 was approved and enacted into law, creating a pool of $250,000 for grants through the NDG&F to promote and facilitate shooting sports in schools, clubs, and organized youth groups in the state. Managed by Marty Egeland, NDG&F Education Supervisor, the goal of the North Dakota High School Clay Target League grant program will be to provide increased opportunity to young shooters, particularly those in rural areas of the state, and help limit the need for travel to participate in the ND CTL. $125,000 will be available this year and next to applicants through the NDG&F website for the placement or improvement of trap shooting facilities, including infrastructure like trap houses, throwers and voice callers. Grant submission deadlines are Apr. 1 of both years, and grants will require at least a 25 percent match by the organization or facility proposing the improvements.
While $125,000 is not a lot when it comes to infrastructure, Egeland is optimistic that the money will get where it needs to be, and grants will be looked at closely to determine the most bang for the buck.
“We’ll look at grant applications as to who needs it the most: is it adding a trap to an eight-house setup, or putting in a single house to provide local opportunity,” Egeland stated, “not that we wouldn’t update a bigger facility, but we’re going to have to hit the places that have a greater need,” he concluded.
The grant is funded through the NDG&F, via Pittman-Robertson money which is derived from federal taxes on firearms and ammunition sold across the country, and represents the full-circle nature of the hunting and shooting populace.
“If we give people avenues to participate in shooting, it comes back around – they’re going to be buying guns, ammunition and licenses in the future,” said Egeland, explaining that the taxes generated from these young people as adults who purchase shells and guns in the lifelong pursuit of trap shooting could come back to the state to fund some future round of grants for shooting sports facilities.
This new grant program directed at advancing participation in youth trapshooting leagues is in addition to the NDG&F’s existing Firearm and Archery Shooting Range grant program for improving shooting ranges throughout the state. Where the latter can be used for everything from archery, rifle ranges and trap houses, the new grant program focuses solely on clay target shooting. Additionally, the NDG&F offers smaller grants through its Educating Tomorrow’s Hunters and other programs to help defray the costs of trap shooting teams and get new participants involved and hooked on the sport.
Applications and supporting documents for all range-related grants offered through the NDG&F can be found online at: https://gf.nd.gov/education/range-grant. Smaller grant options for teams can be found at https://gf.nd.gov/education/tomorrows-hunters-grant. For more information on the North Dakota High School Clay Target League range grant program, individuals are encouraged to contact Egeland at 701- 328-6612, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Featured Photo: The new North Dakota High School Clay Target League range grant program through the NDG&F Dept. will help facilities defray the costs of infrastructure like concrete pads, trap houses, throwers and voice calls. Simonson Photo)