19 May 2014

Pigeon Shooting Extraordinary at Devils Hole West Virginia

From the Ritchie County (West Virginia) Press.

We were one of a party of fifteen to visit the famous pigeon roost at "Devil's Hole," on Thursday night, where we witnessed one of the most beautiful sights it has ever been our good fortune to behold. We arrived on the ground about sundown, and had not to wait more than half an hour until the advance guard commenced coming in, which continued until we grew weary and began to inquire it they were not almost all in, our pilot assuring us they had scarcely commenced. By and by the squabs began to increase in numbers and become more frequent, until finally they swelled into a vast cloud, which almost obscured the heavens above us from our view, and flowed down the ravine in a perfect stream, without any cessation, for upward of an hour, accompanied by a noise like the flowing of a mighty river. We were amazed, bewildered; and requested our brother hunter to hold our hat while we would, with open mouth and eyes, and wide extended arms, take in the scenes above us. Finally the rear guard came up, and by the time they had all found a resting place every tree, and bush, and twig was bending beneath their weight, resembling, more than anything else we can call to mind, a swarm of bees settling pon the limb of a tree. The ground was covered with limbs broken off by their weight. We noticed trees as thick as a man's waist broken and beat to the earth, and others entirely uprooted. It was undoubtedly the grandest sight we ever saw. Any one who has never visited a pigeon roost can form no idea of what it is, and he is not expected to credit the stories of those who have been more fortunate than himself. The large flocks that pass over town, which are so much admired by our citizens, are as a single bee in a hive compared to what is seen at a roost. We could advise all lovers of the beautiful who can, to pay a visit before they take their departure South. Another pleasing feature to those who relish rare meat without salt, was the roast in the woods.

Our spoils were three hundred pigeons, and it was not a good night for pigeons either.

November 13, 1866. Waukesha Plaindealer 2(17): 1. Also: March 6, 1867 in Charleston Courier 10(10): 4.