About 200 Enter Annual Pigeon ShootDAVID S. MARTIN , Associated Press
Sep. 7, 1987 4:14 PM ET
HEGINS, PA. HEGINS, Pa. (AP) _ About 200 people got together Monday and shot birds in the 54th annual Schuylkill County pigeon shoot while animal rights activists marched on the governor's mansion, calling for an end to such activity in Pennsylvania.
''In Pittsburgh and Washington and Philadelphia they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to gas and poison pigeons,'' said Herm Clemens, who participated in the shoot. ''This is a nice family affair. You don't see people who shoot pigeons shooting drugs.''
In Harrisburg about 250 protesters braved a driving rain as they marched from the steps of the Capitol to Gov. Robert P. Casey's mansion.
Casey was in Pittsburgh.
''These people are willing to give up their holiday and walk through the rain to show they want to stop the killing,'' said George Cave, a spokesman for Trans-Species Unlimited, which organized the march.
The protest coincided with the 54th annual Fred Coleman Memorial Shoot in Hegins.
Organizers of the yearly Labor Day event said about 6,000 live pigeons would be used as targets. The shoot was expected to raise $10,000 for Hegins Park, said Bob Tobash, one of the organizers.
Unlike last year, no protesters were present at the pigeon shoot.
Echoes of shotgun blasts sounded in the foggy valley 40 miles northeast of Harrisburg as marksmen at half a dozen sites shot at pigeons released from small boxes 50 feet away.
Entrants in the single- and double-barrel competitions came from as far as Canada and from surrounding states to compete in what organizers call the largest single-day pigeon shoot in the world.
''It seems like they've got their priorities messed up,'' said Clemens, of the protesters. ''The outsiders that are against this have enough problems in their owwn back yard.''
Controversy over the shoot has led to at least one lawsuit, while legislation has been introduced in the state House that would impose fines and possible jail terms for using live-bird targets.
Gov. Casey has expressed sympathy with the cause of the protesters but has yet to support any specific legislation.