Fredericton — Ever the divisive issue, recreational hunting is back in the spotlight this week with new regulations concerning the shooting of pigeons in public parks being lobbied for in New Brunswick.
George Elward and Ian Tyler have been hunting pigeons in Odell park since they were young children. “Some of my greatest childhood memories included shooting at, and stomping on pigeons in the park with my dad,” said Tyler. “Afterwards, he’d let me go up and down the slide as many times as I wanted, while he would gut the day’s catch.”
The pair started “Pigeon’s Progress” in 2010, an advocate group whose goal is to preserve the right to shoot pigeons in public playgrounds.
“We’ve hosted several events in the past few years,” said Elward, “such as our annual ‘pigeon-netting,’ the ‘blindfolded pigeon hunt,’ the ‘punch-a-pigeon party’ and our popular ‘see-how-many-pigeons-you-can-shoot-while-swinging-on-a-swingset contest.”’
The issue of pigeon hunting in public parks has been getting much more media attention in the past week, after 7-year-old Caleb Morris was hit by a stray bullet during a hunt just last Thursday. “Nobody is denying that it was an awful thing to happen, or that pigeon hunters need to take better safety precautions because of it,” said Elward. “But if we’re being totally honest, it barely even nicked him.”
According to Tyler, hunters have been shooting pigeons in Odell park for “over 7 million years,” and they are “not about to stop now.”
But why hunt pigeons exclusively?
“I just hate those pompous little freaks,” Tyler said. “With their chests always puffed out, their beady little eyes and all those stupid noises they make …”
“– And for food and sport, as well,” added Elward.
“Right. For food and sport, too,” Tyler conceded.
The men have also been selling pigeon-based knickknacks and creative taxidermy through the Pigeon’s Progress official website in order to to help support their cause, and to make use of the birds that they kill.
“This is a pigeon mariachi band,” said Tyler, showing off a crude display he made by manipulating stuffed pigeon carcasses. “This the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald — with pigeons, and this here is a pigeon Scarface.”
The men say they hope to sell enough of these artworks to raise the necessary funds to “pay off even the cleanest judges in Fredericton.”
To support Pigeon’s Progress, visit their website, www.pop-a-pigeon.org, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.