This article is distinctive in the rational given for using wild pigeons as targets for gunners. There were 2000 birds to be acquired for the event.
The Pigeon Shooting Tournament
We have been advised by the President of the Niagara Falls Shooting Club that said club will hold a pigeon shooting tournament at Niagara Falls on the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th of September, with money prizes of value from $2,000 to $5,000, classed in each shoot as one, two, three, four and five moneys ties of ten shot off for first, and so on through; then a grand "free for all," say $2,000 in money, in the same way. Birds are ordered, coops are building, and committees are appointed on railroad reduction of rates, and all are vigorously preparing for the event. The International Hotel will reduce their rate one dollar, making it $3.50 per day. Carriages and all other charges in an about the place will be materially reduced to rates that cannot fail but be satisfactory to all. By resolution, all the members are appointed a reception committee.
Under the auspices of the strong and very energetic club, the tournament cannot fail of complete success. Emulous of rival organizations throughout the State, it is determined not to be outdone at Syracuse, Oswego, or Watertown, and we have no doubt that more pigeons will be shot, better scores be made, bigger prizes be won, more money be spent, a larger assembly be present, and a better time generally be had, than at any other similar meeting hitherto held, or to come for the next half century. Certainly the incidental surroundings of Niagara Falls are sufficient in themselves to make the tournament attractive. One thing, however, we do regret, and that is, that this meeting of the National Convention as the first day of the shoot. No side show of this kind is necessary to tempt the attendance of gentlemen who propose to meet for the sole object of devising the best method to protect and preserve our game. Not one serious, earnest delegate the more will be present in consequence of the tournament. The club might just as well, and with greater propriety, have postponed its festivities until the following day, without in the least degree jeopardizing its mechanical harmony or its prospects of success. We shall always oppose the mixing of business with pleasure and the association of holiday pastimes with the proceedings of a deliberative body. We regard the action of the Niagara Falls club in bringing these two widely diverse and divergent objects into juxtaposition as impolitic in the extreme. Its direct tendency, as we know from conversation with gentlemen that might be named, is to alienate those persons whose intelligent cooperation and knowledge of the subject are most valuable, and really indispensable. There is not the slightest kinship or harmony between the destruction of pigeons at a trap and the legislating for the protection and propagation of game. We make no objection to the pastime of pigeon shooting, though not enthusiastic in that line of sport. We hope for the Niagara Falls tournament every possible success; but we wish the localities of the Convention and the Tournament were was wide apart and remote as their objects are divergent.
That the objects of the Convention have received the consideration of sportsmen at large, and that the call has a widespread approval, we doubt not. This is manifested in the haste of at least one Western State to respond, namely, Ohio. This state has appointed a delegation for the September meeting composed of Colonel C.W. Wooley, of Cincinnati, Hon. A.T. Brinsninde, of Cleveland, C.P. Brigham, of Toledo, Harvey H. Brown, of Cleveland, and C.A. Logan, of Cincinnati, each delegate being empowered to elect a sub-delegation of five.
We trust that other states will be as fully and as ably represented. It is important that the Convention should be full, for this can scarcely be regarded as anything else than a preliminary meeting to devise some basis for future action, and some general ground plan upon which to construct that legislative contrivance, so much desired, which shall essentially remedy the evils and objections that now attach to existing game laws. It is equally important, too, that the Convention should adjourn to a day sufficiently distant to ensure a full consideration of the subject and the receipt of such schemes as wisdom or ingenuity may suggest and present.August 13, 1874. Forest and Stream 3(1): 8.
The Pigeon Shooting Tournament at Niagara
No doubt the roar of the great cataract at Niagara will drown the popping of the pigeon-shooters' guns next September 9th, so that the noise thereof will not disturb the deliberations of the Convention that meets to secure the protection of game. We hope it may. We trust also that the session of the delegates will in no way annoy the pigeon-shooters or distract their nerves. We look for good scores this day fortnight, when the air is cool, and all the conditions of season, climate and locality are favorable thereto. Bad marksmanship brings no satisfactory return. In pigeon practice, the death of each bird ought to bring some compensating benefit to the contestants, either in rewards of merit, the pleasure of honorable emulation, or in improved accuracy. We never could bring ourselves to believe that pigeons were created for the express purpose of being shot from the trap, although they seem in this way to serve men best. They are of very little account in pot pie; while, living, they break down forests and defile the face of nature in the vicinity of their roosts. So long as it is more important that our citizens should become expert in the use of arms than that the lives of thousands of pigeons should be saved, so long shall we defend the practice of trap-shooting. It secures quickness of trigger, accuracy of aim, confidence in the field, readiness for emergency, and renders our people the worthy descendants of ancestors whose training amid wilderness experiences and hand to hand encounters with wild beasts enabled them to conquer a country and win an independence. It was in such a school as this that our forefathers were tried; in this they learned the art of arms. Pigeon shooting we regard as essential to the defence of our country through the education of our citizens to be marksmen, and until some contrivance shall be invented or discovered which shall serve equally well in the manual of instruction, we must be content to permit and endure trap-shooting, repugnant as it may be to our finer natures.
Through numerous letters from members of the Niagara Shooting Club, we learn that the preparations for entertaining their guests on a grand scale are progressing most satisfactorily, and we doubt not that the tournament will be one of the most "recherche" (is the word proper?) of any similar festival yet held in this country. The Club is one of the oldest we have, and one of the most influential. Possibly all its members are thoroughbred sportsmen and earnest conservators of game, who rejoin at the prospect that some good may accrue from the deliberations of those who meet to improve the game laws, and will in every way aid and abet their action; nevertheless, as we have already said, we should prefer that the Tournament had been called on some other day than that selected by the Convention.Anonymous. Pigeon shooting tournament. August 27, 1874. Forest and Stream 3(3): 41.