Who Shot Those Pigeons?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1992:

HARRISBURG, Pa.––The Sept-
ember 9 edition of the Valley View Citizen
Standard took a few weeks to reach partici-
pants in the Labor Day protest against the
59th annual Fred Coleman Memorial Pigeon
Shoot, but when it did, it ignited a furor.
The hometown paper of Hegins,
Pa., where the pigeon shoot is held, pub-
lished the names and scores of all pigeon
shoot registrants. Among those listed as
scoring, a euphemism for killing pigeons,
were seven protesters who paid the $75 reg-
istration fee in order to let pigeons escape
by intentionally shooting high, low, or
wide when the traps were opened. Twenty
pigeons were released for each registrant to
shoot at, one at a time, on command.

Most of the protesters’ scores were
within the range of possibility if someone
unfamiliar with a shotgun miscalculated the
effects of recoil or shot spread. Donald
Barnes, Washington director of the
National Anti-Vivisection Society, was list-
ed as having shot two pigeons; James
Corrigan, Karen Hufnagl, and Barry Weiss
were also supposed to have killed two
pigeons each, while Arleen Weiss was
identified as having killed one.
However, Sue Johnson of Kittery,
Maine, was also said to have killed a
pigeon, even though, she told ANIMAL
PEOPLE, she never fired her weapon.
And Norbert Hufnagl was listed as shooting
17 pigeons, an 85% score.
Commented Barnes, “I am not
aware of any birds hit by protesters; I am
aware of some birds who could not or did
not fly past the ‘scoring’ field, possibly due
to dehydration, starvation, and clumsy and
abusive handling. None of my birds demon-
strated this behavior this year, although one
bird did not fly and was called a bad bird.
At that point I was told, ‘You can shoot the
bird.’ As I did last year, I answered, ‘No,
I’m ready––pull!’ He (the man pulling the
release cords) opened an adjacent box, I
missed the bird; both flew away. I am
somewhat proud of saving 21 birds rather
than 20.”
Protest organizers Steve Hindi and
Joe Taksel denounced the scoring as corrupt
at an October 23 press conference in
Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capital.
According to Hindi, the scores given to pro-
testers prove the event is not taken seriously
as a contest of skill, but instead, “has now
clearly defined itself as merely an excuse to
maim and kill helpless caged animals.”
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