I wish to express my sincere thanks to the Post-Gazette for the editorial about live pigeon shoots ("Bird Brains: Why Shoot a Live Pigeon When Clay Would Do?" June 24). Pennsylvania is the last state to openly practice pigeon shoots. Forty-five of the states have statutes that specifically prohibit them; with the exception of Pennsylvania, the remaining have statutes that should cover pigeon shoots should there ever be one in that state.
Real hunters know shooting a bird from a launch -- in some cases they are weighted down -- or one that is tethered is not real hunting.
The pigeons are captured and collected for weeks ahead of time, often illegally trapped and trafficked from neighboring states, then released from trap boxes only yards away from the so-called "sportsmen." The birds are generally dazed and suffering from dehydration or starvation as they are sprung out of the boxes.
Rather than mercifully being given a quick death, 70 percent of the birds are injured when shot and either left to suffer slow deaths or collected and killed by pigeon shoot "trapper boys" or "wringers," traditionally children, who break their necks, step on them, tear off wings, suffocate them or cut off their heads with garden shears, among other abuses.
Some suffering birds end up on resident porches and yards in hopes of finding compassion. Wildlife rehabilitators across the states of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey care for many of these injured birds brought to their doors.
Legislators should end this cruel practice and embarrassment to the commonwealth.
Wildbird Recovery Inc.