Commission increases budget in support of Scholastic Clay Target Program

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June 30th, 2008

Commission increases budget in support of
Scholastic Clay Target Program

June 28, 2008

PHOENIX —  The Arizona Game and Fish Commission today continued its tradition of strong support for the state’s Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) by approving expanded funding, beyond its three year startup commitment, into fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Money for the youth development program, which introduces young people to the shooting sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays in a competitive, club-based format, will be allocated at a flat rate of $225 per participant to cover costs such as ammunition, targets and other program expenses.

“The new budget provides nearly $20,000 more than last year and gives the clubs more flexibility, because the money can be used to cover the costs of shooters regardless of the number of years they’ve been in the program,” said Game and Fish Commission Chair Bill McLean.

Last year, funding only covered the costs for first-year shooters and half the costs for second-year shooters.

“When we started Arizona’s SCTP in 2004, we committed to three years to get the program off the ground, based on the understanding that after that time funding would be taken over by a private organization. That has not yet fully happened,” said McLean. “On the other hand, the program has proven to be an incredible success story and is an invaluable tool towards the commission’s directive to increase hunter recruitment and retention – which is why we voted to continue supporting the program into 2011.”

The Game and Fish Commission has allocated more than $1 million to Arizona’s SCTP since its start in 2004.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department estimates the annual cost to cover a shooter’s expenses to be about $350 per person. The $225 allocation will cover a large percentage of their participation. The difference could be made up in a variety of ways, including modification of practice schedules, parents paying for the difference, or fundraising efforts on the part of SCTP clubs or organizations such as the Arizona Shooting Sports Education Foundation.

“SCTP is a great program that gives many youngsters their first exposure to the shooting sports, and we’re proud to support it,” said McLean. “Participants and their parents praise the program for teaching firearm safety and general life skills such as commitment, responsibility, ethics and leadership.”

The program provides other benefits as well. It serves as an entrée for non-hunters to learn about hunting and its benefits to wildlife conservation. Many SCTP participants have gone on to participate in hunting. In addition, excise tax on equipment purchases (firearms, ammunition) by the participants helps fund wildlife conservation efforts.

Under the new budget, the estimated cost for the Game and Fish Department to run the program for an anticipated 650 participants during the 2008-09 season would be $253,050 of which about $146,350 would be allocated to the clubs to cover shooter expenses. Last year’s budget was about $233,000, of which $126,000 covered shooter expenses.

Arizona’s SCTP program started in 2004 with seven clubs. It now has 17 clubs and about 550 participants.

The Scholastic Clay Target Program was developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to offer young men and women in grades 12 and under the opportunity to learn and compete in trap, skeet and sporting clays. Nearly 8,000 youths in 45 states participate nationally.

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