Trapshooting is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shotgun shooting at clay targets). In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single "house" or machine, generally away from the shooter.
American Trap has two independent governing bodies. The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) sanctions events throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA) which sanctions events on the West Coast of North America.
Trapshooting was originally developed, in part, to augment bird hunting and to provide a method of practice for bird hunters. Use of targets was introduced as a replacement for live pigeons. Indeed, one of the names for the targets used in shooting games is clay pigeons. The layout of a modern trapshooting field differs from that of a skeet field and/or a sporting clays course.
Trapshooting has been a sport since the late 18th century when real birds were used; usually the passenger pigeon, which was extremely abundant at the time. Birds were placed under hats or in traps which were then released. Artificial birds were introduced around the time of the American Civil War. Glass balls (Bogardus) and subsequently "clay" targets were introduced in the later 1800s, gaining wide acceptance.
History: Trapshooting dates back to 1750 in England. In the USA it began in 1831. Originally, live birds were used as targets, released from under hats. Glass balls came into use as targets in the 1860s and began to partially replace live birds. In 1880 "Clay" birds (disks) were invented. Shooting of live birds is still practiced in some parts of the United States. The first automatic trap machine (to launch clay targets) was used in 1909.