Controversy over Pigeon Shoots


With the signature of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland just became the most recent state to outlaw pigeon shoots.

A pigeon shoot involves the birds being thrown up in the air out of a trap where a participant will then try and shoot them in the air.

“We’ve been trying for 32 years to get it passed in Pennsylvania," Retired PA Humane Society Officer Johnna Seeton said.

But in Pennsylvania, efforts to do the same have come up short.

The Humane Society of the United States says Pennsylvania is one of the only states where they openly and regularly occur.

Senate bill 612 would change that.

"It would be a summary offense for anyone that owns, operates or even puts on a pigeon shoot, to even do that, a live pigeon shoot," Seeton said.

But when it comes to whether or not it can be considered a sport, opinions differ.

“I want people to know that they are cruel, they’re not like hunting at all," Seeton said.

“It’s no different than any other type of hunting. If you hunt deer, if you hunt ring necks, they’re not always killed with the first shot either. This is a sport," Mike Romberger with Erdman's Sportsmen's Association said.

Erdman's Sportsmen's Association in Lykens hosts an annual pigeon shoot which will take place this weekend.

They tell us they money raised from it goes right back into the community.

“The money that we get from the pigeon shoot goes to little leagues, fire companies, churches. We do a trout run, we buy ring necks and stock them," Romberger said.

And while numbers have dwindled in past years, the club says they have no plans to discontinue the annual fundraiser.

“As long as it’s legal in Pennsylvania, we’re not doing anything or breaking any laws. It’s a private club so we’re going to continue to do it as long as were able to," Romberger said.

Were told Senate Bill 612 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it has been since 2017.

Advocates say they do not know when it would go up for a vote.

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