The Fearless Pigeon Hunters

My one older cousin, myself, and a just younger cousin entertained ourselves many, many nights by pigeon hunting. No the object was not to kill or hurt the pigeons but to capture as many as we could and keep them for pets. We kept them in enclosures and cages. I can’t for the life of me remember when this all started but I knew I was interested in keeping pigeons for a very long time since I had been introduced to my Dad’s Uncle John over in North Dakota.


CC Image “Pigeon“, courtesy of detsang on flickr

My Great Uncle John was a legend in our household. He had rode his saddle horse from north of Gildford, Montana to Arnegard, North Dakota in the winter. He was a hunter and a taxidermist and most importantly to a 5 or 6 year old he kept pigeons called Tumblers at his farm.

My cousins and myself decided we would do the same. A typical night would begin just about sundown and my one cousin who was 2 years older got to drive the pick-up to our various destinations. We were about 11 down to 8 and 7 when this all started.

At dusk we would arrive at our destination which was always an abandoned house or barn. There were many on the plains of Northern Montana at the time. These abandoned structures were the homes of our prey. We had brought our equipment which consisted of gunny sacks, or grain sacks and maybe an old blanket, sheet, or some discarded cardboard.

pigeon haven or heaven.

Pigeon Haven or Heaven…

First of all we would carefully sneak up on the old shack or barn and carefully cover all the windows and doors with our cardboard or sheets so there was no escape. Then we would enter the pitch dark inside of the building with our gunny sacks and flashlights.

Easy, peasy you shined the light in the pigeon’s eyes so they wouldn’t fly and then you could easily pick them up where they were roosting and put them in your sack.

We had gray and black ones. Strawberry colored ones and even some that had some white in them. The wild ones were almost all these colors. If there happened to be a tame one that got away from someone it had quite a bit of white in the coloring. I had some pure white ones I bought one time with tails like a fan, thus they were called fantails..

We encountered a few rattlesnakes along the way, we were always stepping in holes in the dark, maybe a flat tire or two along the way. However I still think it was a better way to spend an evening than video games or lying in front of the boob tube.. But I don’t know if your 7 thru 11 year old child will have this kind of fun anymore. Maybe disappeared with the old houses and barns in the mists of days or nights gone by.

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