OK, what’s with these pigeon shoots anyway?

There is a very interesting story on Philly.com and it pertains to the hot-button topic of pigeon shoots.

Click here to read the story: http://bit.ly/MRYoVd

In places as close as Bucks and Berks counties, these shoots are still held. Inky staff writer Bill Reed wrote the latest article and described the basics of a pigeon shoot:

“A pigeon is released or catapulted into the air and starts to takes flight. A few yards away, a gun club member quickly aims and fires a shotgun, usually striking the bird.

“Some of the hundreds of pigeons released in a typical daylong shoot die instantly. But as many as 70 percent are only wounded, animal-rights activists allege, and dying birds can languish for days.”

Now we are all eager to beat up Michael Vick for his dogfighting exploits and others for holding cockfights. But are we saying – really – that pigeon shoots, because they have been held seemingly for hundreds of years are OK? And that it’s sport?

Believe me, I am not anti-hunting. It’s not something that interests me. I do go fishing but I also am one of those who is a catch-and-release fisherman. And I understand some of the rationale of the hunters and other outdoorsmen.

And then there is the pigeon shoot.

According to Reed’s story, the issue has become “an animal-rights vs. sportsmen’s-rights issue,” said State Rep. Mike Tobash (R., Schuylkill), a defender of the shoots, which are legal in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Gun Club — one of three clubs that stage live shoots — has conducted them since 1877.

Apparently, animal rights groups are madder than ever about this issue, especially because local police and district attorneys claim the shoots are legal under current law.

Reed quoted a humane officer who said: “I don’t think animal shoots can go on without cruelty going on,” says Johnna Seeton, who has been appointed a humane officer by judges in Bucks, Montgomery, and six other counties to enforce anticruelty laws.

According to Reed’s article, State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Bucks-Montgomery) is cosponsoring Bill 626, which would prohibit the shoots, “because there is legitimate hunting, and this doesn’t seem to be a sporting event.” The story added that there’s been no action on the bill in a year and that there seems to be even less support for the ban in the House.

My question is why?

Sure, pigeons are annoying. So are seagulls – and parking meter police. You don’t see us going around blasting seagulls or parking meter people.

I would ask that Sen. Andy Dinniman look into this issue. He has been active in protecting our four-legged friends from the gas chambers.

And while I’m not looking to adopt a pigeon anytime soon, I sure don’t think it’s right to release them into the sky and then blast them just as quickly. Have some compassion, huh?

— Andy Hachadorian

About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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5 Responses to OK, what’s with these pigeon shoots anyway?

  1. And since lots of qualified people think they are currently illegal but know that charges are being blocked by DA’s (some of whom have received substantial campaign contributions from the pigeon shooting groups), the flip side for Tobash would be to introduce legislation explicitly making the shoots as legal as deer hunting or pheasant releases. It would be interesting to see how many vote for that. Until then, here’s the case for why shoots are not protected under the law and should be prosecuted: http://wp.me/p1dWs5-dZ

  2. Frank Mullen says:

    Fishing is barbaric. How can you put a steel hook through a fish, take is out of the water where it can’t breath,pull it out without tending to the wound, and say pigeon shooting is bad? you are a hypocrite. Your next!

  3. Andy can say and do both with a limited amount of hypocrisy. Pigeon shoots are about as close to catch and release fishing as dynamite fishing is to it. There may be no hard and fast line where something like that changes from right to wrong but it certainly exists in most people’s minds when it come to pigeon shoots at it falls on the “wrong” side. The most important fact, which I repeat from above, is that they are not a protected activity under then game code (just asl the game commission). If shooters want to remove the legal ambiguity, if not the moral, simply get one of their House pigeon shoot champions like Tobash to introduc a bill legalizing it. Then it would be one of the many distastful but legal actitivities in the world. I doubt anglers are “next”. These sghoots are attended by a few dozen people and there are millions of anglers in PA.

    • Frank Mullen says:

      Just because more do it it’s right? Whose a hypocrite now?

      • Yes, that’s usually how social mores work. Look, pigeon shoots may be on the same continuum but they are not the same thing. Beer and heroin are both drugs but a nearly no one objects to beer being legal and nearly everyone objects to the idea of legalizing heroin. I’m still not sure if you are opposed to shoots and angling or opposed to neither and insist on Andy accepting both if he accepts one. He doesn’t have to and neither does anyone else. There are plenty of folks who will eat beef but not veal because their personal line is drawn between the two. The same is perfectly allowable in the case of pigeon shoots and the fact that someone doesn’t object to angling doesn’t mean pigeon shoots are fine by default. Plus, as I said twice before, angling is legal, pigeon shoots do not enjoy the same game code protection.

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