15 August 2013

Ortolan Shooting - Potomac Marshes in 1855

The season for this delightful sport is just now opening, and the sportsmen in this vicinity are already in the marshes of the Eastern branch at each propitious tide. Yesterday, many gunners were in skiffs and at the work. The best day's shooting, we hear, was done by the well-known amateur, a veteran ortolan-shooter, though still on the sunny side of thirty. He bagged thirty-four; his rivals in the sport, few of them getting a dozen birds. For the information of the uninitiated who may be ambitious of trying their guns, we have to give them information in the premises as follows, viz: Be at the house of the keeper of the upper bridge over the Eastern branch, Mr. Brown, at half-flood tide (which is just now at about 2 p.m.) with a double barreled fowling piece, ammunition, and accoutrements. At the house, the sportsmen can procure the necessary skiff and a man to paddle and push him on the water, and through the wild oats on which the luscious game feed. They fly, singly, at the approach of sportsmen, and rise slowly, directly above the perch. Each bird is shot singly as it thus rises. A fortunate and skillful sportsman often bags ninety of a hundred on a tide. Ortolan shooting is the sport of this particular region, and should be enjoyed by all who pretend to fire a gun for amusement. Mr. Brown, at the bridge, is himself a famous devotee of the sport, and always takes great pleasure in endeavoring to make such an excursion agreeable in all respects to amateurs who desire the use of use of his boats and the services of his men, who know the best localities during each particular tide.

Ortolan shooting. August 22, 1855. Washington D.C. Evening Star 6(822): 2.