16 May 2014

Pigeon Shooting - Cheap, but Rather Sharp Practice

For several days past, large flocks of pigeons have been flying over our city, so low as to invite the attention of Sportsmen and bring into service every variety of shooting iron from an old Queen's Arms, to the finest doubled barreled percussion lock fowling piece. At early dawn, the army of pigeon destroyers have mustered in large force, and taking position at different points upon the outskirts of the town, formed in line of battle awaiting the approach of the succeeding flocks, and, when within a convenient distance, the whole squad would fire at will, usually bringing down a majority of the flock. This was rare sport, and invited to the full almost every variety of Sportsmen.

Yesterday morning, a party of about forty were arranged along the turnpike enjoying the sport with rare gusto, until a slight occurrence marred the festivities of the occasion, and the scene changed from one of great hilarity to the deepest and most ungovernable indignation. — They had been shooting nearly an hour, and at every volley the pigeons fell in profusion, and a general scramble for the spoils ensued, with all sorts of collisions, bumping of heads, tearing of birds, &c. One of the party who came, provided with a large market basket in which to bag his game, was most exorbitant in his claims for birds after each discharge, and loudest in his execrations of those who he said had bagged his game. His basket was fast filling up — indeed he had so far secured the lion's share that he became an object of attention and envy. This led to a scrutiny of the man and the accoutrements by which he had been so successful, and judge the surprise of the party, when it was discovered that his old fowling piece had neither percussion, flint, nor firelock. Our hero of the pigeon war had only game through the motions, and when the smoke of the battle lifted he was among the most active in gathering the fruits of expended ammunition. At this discovery a single intimation was sufficient to make him leave the field crowned with more pigeons than glory.

Every community can produce similar characters, who are constantly lifting the fruits of other people's efforts, with the same assurance as if they were honestly their own. So that our pigeon shooter without lock or ammunition, is not an isolated case. — Buff. Exp.

June 13, 1851. Syracuse Daily Journal 7(141): 4.