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Letter to the Editor: Here's how Decorah once took care of its "pigeon problem"

Posted: Thu, Dec 17, 2020 4:06 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been sent in by Alan Sand of Decorah):

"I think your readers might be interested in how the City of Decorah solved the pigeon problem more than 50 years ago.

At that time, in the very early '60s, there was a much more significant pigeon problem than exists today. There were hundreds and hundreds of these oft-maligned birds and their offerings were becoming a health hazard.

The city fathers decided to take action and hunt them down, shoot them out of the sky! So the word went out and a pigeon shoot was organized to occur on a Sunday morning after church services. Back then, there were no businesses open on Sundays, so the coast was relatively clear to position the hunters on the rooftops over the businesses on Water Street and the citizenry was forewarned.

My father allowed me to go with him, and to me, this was big medicine. At the designated hour, the hunters began blasting away with their shotguns! The birds seemed thoroughly confused, flying back and forth in waves, as buckshot reigned upon them. (Oh! The humanity!) .

The lovely birds were quickly found littering the street below and a very short time later, the guns fell silent. In came the VFW to gather the birds, again by the hundreds, and the following night, they hosted a fundraiser dinner with Squab as the entree, Problem solved! No windows broken. No buckshot removed due to an errant shot. Just clean Sunday morning carnage! And that's the way it was, back in the day..."