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Why The Pigeons We Shoot In Modern Times Are Made of Clay

A man shooting clay pigeons.If you are planning a stag party, the idea of going clay pigeon shooting may not necessarily have occurred to you before. But we offer a wonderful opportunity for your group to have great fun trying out the sport. Even for beginners, it can be a great experience.

However, anyone unfamiliar with it might just ask an obvious question: Why ‘clay pigeons’? Where does the term come from – and why not shoot real pigeons instead?

While many people might flinch at the thought of shooting a live animal or bird, some may have rather less sympathy for pigeons.

After all, who hasn’t been pooped on by one of these feathered nuisances who seem to have laser-guided targeting systems? Whether it is the pedestrian walking under the bridge or the car you have just finished washing, they just can’t resist.

The answer is that back in the day, people did always shoot birds. Some were game birds for food, like pheasant, but other birds were released from traps to be shot for sport.

According to Shooting UK, the sport of Clay Pigeon shooting began in the 1860s in the US, with the creation of the first inanimate targets that could be released from traps and stay airborne long enough for shooting parties to take a shot. These first came over to the UK in the 1870s.

Initially, these were glass balls, but before long a clay saucer, invented by American George Ligowsky, came to the fore. This was the first true clay pigeon and the innovation made its way to the UK by the early 1880s. Trap shooting made its Olympic debut in Paris in 1900, although it only became a permanent fixture of the Games in 1952.

This did not immediately herald the end of trap shooting of live birds and the two versions of trap shooting existed side-by-side in the UK until 1921, when the live bird version was outlawed. So if you are as keen to stop that pigeon as Dick Dastardly, you can blame David Lloyd George for taking this option away.

Even so, you can have loads of fun firing away at the clays and enjoying the spectacular sight of one of them disintegrating into hundreds of pieces when you hit it.

Your group may be very competitive and try to out-shoot each other, or you can just relax and celebrate each other’s successes, especially if you are beginners. You might even find that you swiftly get the hang of it and, after a few misses, you start to hit the target frequently.

Either way, clay pigeon shooting can form part of a great day out, be it a birthday party, stag do, or a work event.

As for the tinge of disappointment some may feel at not being able to shoot real ones, you can always go and get a pigeon pie for tea. In addition, it is worth noting that scientific research on pigeons has shown that, contrary to what some may think, these bird-brained specimens lack the cognitive ability to deliberately target you.