Surely you have heard of the term "bird shooting" or even practiced it yourself at some point. But do you also know the history of bird shooting? Today we take you on a journey to the origins of this popular and convivial shooting tradition.
What the bird shooting actually is
The bird shooting is a quite old competition of the shooters. The origin of this custom lies in the fact that shooting exercises were important to increase the marksmanship of the male population when it was still a matter of defending their own cities.
As you can guess, the idea is to shoot a bird in the process. This custom has existed since the Middle Ages and was performed every year by the Celtic and early Germanic guilds. In those days, birds were also seen as sacrificial offerings. Over the years, however, people shot less and less at live birds and decided to take inanimate targets instead. The fact that this development has taken place is welcomed by a great many people, especially in this day and age – and now at the latest, when animal welfare is playing an increasingly important role, there would have been a transformation.
Of course a replacement had to be found. So the time had come for the artisans, who now had a new task. They were hired to create the objects that were now going to be shot at. Not only when eating the eye eats with you, also when shooting it wants to see something aesthetic. The wooden birds were very elaborately decorated and were all small works of art.
Even if in the meantime rather shooting targets have prevailed, the ornamental dummies are still used in the traditional shooting clubs. The preservation of customs is important and therefore nothing else comes into question for many associations.
At the end of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century bird shooting became popular also among children. When the school festival trend emerged, the little ones wanted to emulate the big ones.
The so-called children’s bird shooting is still very popular today, as it is a great party for the youngsters.
The two biggest bird shooting festivals take place in Rudolstadt and Plauen.
The Rudolstadt bird shooting in Thuringia originated around 1722, which currently takes place every year in the last full week of August and attracts around 500.attracts 000 visitors.
The Plauen bird shooting is the largest of its kind in the beautiful Vogtland region. Even though it started in the middle of the 16th century, it is still popular today. The event was first held in the early twentieth century, so it has been held annually only since 1996. It takes place in the week of Whitsun.
The election of the shooter king
The bird shooting is the best way to start a sporting competition that shows marksmanship. Since the target is not particularly large and therefore requires a certain skill, the best of the best can compete with each other.
Depending on which region you are in, there are different regulations on how the determination of the shooting king by bird shooting proceeds. Either the fuselage or the last part of the bird has to be shot down.
But even the parts that are shot off in the meantime are not "pointless", because they are often used to determine the "lower" places. In this way, even those participants who did not make it to the shooting king get a little fame and honor in their shooting club and among the citizens. Quite often the shooting king receives his part of the bird.
Another way of determination is a point system. The individual parts of the bird are numbered and by shooting the shooter earns his points. The one who has scored the most points is finally crowned the king of shooters.
A small caliber rifle or a shotgun is usually used for this custom. According to today’s standards, it also needs a mount, i.e. a stand, to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Eagle shooting: The alternative to bird shooting
In some places the bird shooting is also called "eagle shooting. This festival has not been around too long, more precisely since 1823. The Rutenfest is the start of the summer vacations, of which the one in Ravensburg is the biggest of its kind and is especially loved by the high school students. On Rut Tuesday the eagle shooting takes place, in which one shoots at an imperial eagle made of wood.
In contrast to the bird shooting it concerns here not the parts of the imitated animal, but its feathers. Also, special markings are placed on the wooden dummy, which must also be shot down.
In addition to the shooting king, a shooting queen is also determined here. The shooting king qualifies by hitting the orb, while the shooting queen must hit the town seal.