This is Something New

Recently I was invited to do something that I haven’t done yet. This event was a fundraiser for a local charity group that does some good work in the community. All the money raised goes back into the community in a number of different ways, so I am all in for a group like that.
What is this event and why is it on a bird hunting blog, you ask. The event that they put on is what is affectionately known as a Tower Shoot.
So what is a Tower Shoot? It is exactly what is sounds like: a tower is in the middle of a field with a circle of shooters around the tower at different stations. This particular event had four shooters per station. The tower is approximately thirty feet tall. At the top of the tower there is a box that has a person in it to release the birds, and of course the birds. That is right, I said release the birds. The birds are released from the tower and then try to escape the circle of shooters. After so many birds the shooters rotate stations until they go all the way around the circle.

These events are sometimes called European Tower Shoots or Continental Tower Shoots. From the little research I did on these events they do not take place in Europe and are given that name to add a little flair to the name. I have also come to learn that these are supposed to resemble a driven hunt where that birds are driven to shooter at different stations by people known as beaters. Kind of like a British driven shoot. This may be where the name comes from.
So the morning of our shoot comes and I head to the farm that is hosting it. It is before daybreak when I get there. People are already arriving. The morning was cold and overcast but the wind was calm.
The hosts are preparing breakfast for the shooters and guests. Registration is underway and there is a sense of excitement in the air.
After all shooters register the time comes for the shoot to begin. The hosts gather everyone around for some announcements, a brief of how things are going to be conducted, and a safety brief. After this brief, we go and get our guns and gear and head out to take our positions.

After all shooters and dog handlers are in place a horn sounds and the first bird is released. Let’s talk about the birds for a second. These birds are pheasants. They get released at intervals and they fly in random directions. I think they feel the wind and attempt to fly with it. As is the case with all pen raised birds, some fly really strong and fast, some are slower and some flew straight to the ground.

As the morning progressed and the group that I am with make our way around the field we get a few shots and a few misses and a couple of hits. I didn’t get any good shots until we got to station number twelve. Here is my finest moment of the day. The first two birds that are released come straight to me. I take one shot at each bird and they each fall for me. The third bird that is released comes to our peg and is a little high, so one of the other shooters at my station take it.
This was the best for the whole team that I was with. I get one more bird a little later in the rotation and that is it. In all, I believe that I took four birds but I can honestly say that I no kidding took two.

After the full rotation the shooters leave the field and gather for lunch. There was a Fifty – Fifty drawing and then lunch, which for me was beef stew.
As we were all eating and socializing the hosts divided up the birds. The birds were put in a bundle with a tag for the peg that you were initially assigned to. This way everyone took some home.
I have to say that I had more fun at this event than I expected. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be a good time. As a guy that likes to follow his dog through the woods and enjoys the sight of a dog on point, I don’t think I would go to a place that hosts these as a regular event. However, for a charity event, I would definitely take part again.

6 Replies to “This is Something New”

  1. Brian, I enjoyed this description. I have never seen a tower shoot but have heard people talk about them. I now have a much better understanding thanks to you. Hope to see you soon.

    1. Laura, I am glad you enjoyed it and were able to get something out of it. Hope to see you guys soon. Thanks for the support.

  2. Great article Brian. I too, have done the tower hunts and feel pretty much the same about it. Shoot em straight!

    1. It was a fun time and for a good cause. You should try it some time. Thanks for participating in the conversation.

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