CHICAGO BIRDSHOOT (FUGLESKYDNING)
Returning in June 2022
Date to be announced
Image: wood birdshoot target displayed on a vintage WWII military vehicle for the 2019 Birdshoot in Chicago
When shooting birds, it is not a matter of hunting flying game, but rather an old traditional sport where shooting is done to a carved bird made of willow, which is covered with various iron fittings. The brackets must be shot in a certain order, and each shot triggers a win for the shooter. The one who shoots the last plate down (the breast plate) becomes the bird king.
The shooting does not take place free-standing, but from a shooting buck, where the shooters, in the order they have signed up, bring their rifles into a fixed position and shoot at the fitting they have reached on the bird.
Over half of the brackets are attached so they can fall for a single well-aimed shot. On the other hand, some of them are very small or narrow and horizontal, so one has to be pretty careful with sieving and venting.
The rest of the brackets are stronger plates that are not difficult to hit, but which can be attached very well, so many shots are needed before they fall down. Here it is important to be lucky to get to the buck when the plate has been loosened by the previous shooters, but also here skill comes into play; the experienced shooter will know where on the plate he should place his shot so that it most likely falls down.
It usually takes 4-5 hours before the last plate is shot down, so most of the time at a bird shooting goes with cozy company and other activities, e.g. series shootings where there are also prizes.
Bird shooting was probably invented in France in the 13th century and spread from here to Germany and the Netherlands. Back then, this sport was called parrot shooting (hence the term: having shot the parrot) and the weapons were bow or crossbow. The arrows or bolts were blunt with no point. As early as the 14th century, parrot shooting reached Denmark. In the 16th century, firearms became more common in these shootings.
From the outset, the bird-shooting societies were organized as low, which were to serve to promote the defensive will and ability of the citizens of the free towns of the time, but gradually they lost their military importance and became more social associations for the better citizenship of the cities.
In Denmark, bird shooting is on the decline in the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, but with the rise of the shooting cause in the middle of the 19th century, shooting associations flourished everywhere also in the small rural parishes, and many of these began to hold annual bird shoots.
Herlufsholm Boarding School at Næstved (South Zealand) holds this more than 200-year-old tradition every year. The bird shooting takes place one of the first Saturdays after school starts, ie in August. The event begins with a procession. The actual bird shooting takes place by the students taking turns shooting an arrow at a wooden bird. There are two birds; "Little bird" and "Big bird" for respectively. 6-10. class and 1-3.g. The bird is shot down in several parts, it consists of, among other things, crown, right and left wing, head, body, etc., the individual parts each trigger their prize. The whole bird is usually shot down in the late afternoon. The one who shoots the last part down is named the King of the Year. Immediately after the part falls down, the person must try to escape, while a whole crowd of students chase the person and then throw the new Bird King in Susåen. - Wikipedia
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