They are still held, in places you would never imagine. They are gambling events and sizeable amounts of cash are won and lost at them.
Some of the greatest shotgunners made their living at live pigeon shoots. Several well known shotgunners today are regulars at shoots.
The sport is considered the most difficult shooting game bar none. The birds are suprisingly hard to hit, even for master shooters.
There are two distinct versions, one uses box pigeons released from a launcher, the other, often referred to as columbare, uses pigeons tossed into the air by a "Columbare" or thrower who is especially skilled in making good shooters miss.
Obtain a copy of Bob Brister's "Shotgunning, the Art and the Science" which devotes a chapter to pigeon shooting.
At the turn of the 20th century pigeons were raised especially for shooting, "Blue Rock" pigeons were one brand. Today trapped pigeons are used, they are vermin from Cities trapped and sold.
Shooting pigeons is not regulated, they are classed as vermin and have no season or limits, although a hunting license is required. (Except on Private Licensed Preserves).
Fascinating subject, live Pigeon Shooting.
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