Live pigeon shooting used to be a big-time sport. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, shoots were held throughout the US and in Europe. In 1900, live pigeon shooting was even an event at the Paris Olympics.
Newspapers reported on these shoots and the top competitors attracted hundred of spectators,were sponsored by gunmakers and took home thousands of dollars if when they won an event.
San Remo, Italy, was one of the stops on the European live pigeon circuit. This video was shot there in 1937, and it’s a rare look at how popular and prestigious this sport used to be.
Shooting live pigeons used to be a big sport in the United States. After the Civil War and up until around 1900, top competitors like Captain A.H. Bogardus and J.A.R. Elliott traveled around the country, shot in front of huge crowds, and won thousands of dollars.
E.C. Griffith was another one of these top shots, and in 1901 he won the the country’s most prestigious live pigeon shoot:
“The ninth Grand American at live birds was again held at Interstate Park on April 3, 1901…Shooting from 28 yards, E.C. Griffith killed 25 straight from 28 yards, then had to endure an 18 bird miss-and-out shoot off over 21 others to claim the crown.”
Amazingly, the Parker shotgun he used to win this event just popped up on the market. Here’s more info about this historic side-by-side from the seller:
PARKER DH 12GA 30″ Double Barrel Shotgun IMOD & IMOD: DT, EXTRACTORS, STRAIGHT GRIP, THIS IS THE GUN THAT E.C. GRIFFITH WON THE 1901 GRAND AMERICAN HANDICAP LIVE BIRD SHOOT.WE HAVE AN EMAIL FROM THE TRAP SHOOTERS HALL OF FAME STATNG THE INFROMATION ON THE PLAQUE ON THe STOCK IS CORRECT AND THAT HE ALSO WON THE CLAY BIRD SHOOT AS WELL AS HIS RHODE ISLAND STATE SHOOT THAT YEAR. THE PARKER LETTER DOES STATE THE GUN WAS ORDERED FOR MR GRIFFITH IN 1898. THE BARRELS ARE 90% BLUE, RECEIVER IS SILVER BROWN, WOOD IS VG WITH DETERIORATING VINTAGE PAD, ANTIQUE. Price:$9,850.00