Fun facts on shotgun shooting

DID YOU KNOW?

Shotgun shooting was first introduced in the Paris Olympics in 1900. There were two disciplines, trap and, yes, live pigeon shooting. This was the first and only time live pigeon served as targets in any Olympics. The winner of the live pigeon shooting, the Australian Don Mackintoch was not aware that he participated in the Olympics. The Olympics was not a big deal back then, being only the second time in modern history. It was also arranged during the World Exhibition in Paris, and many of the Olympic events where advertised as World Exhibition events. Mr. Mackintosh, who was a keen pigeon shooting sportsman arrived in Paris with his wife from Monte Carlo where he just had won a tournament. The aim was to take part in the Paris Exhibition pigeon shooting, which he also won. In a second competition he was third. During his lifetime Mackintosh was never listed as an Olympic medallist but in 1987, the IOC declared that Mackintosh had won gold and bronze medals at the 1900 Olympics.

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In the Paris Olympics 1924 Finland's Konrad "Konni Huber" was tied for the gold medal in Trap with Hungary's Gyula Halasy, both on 98 hits. In the shootoff which was conducted against the setting sun, Halasy shot first and hit his target. When it was Konni's turn he raised his gun and called for the target. After a short moment he put down his gun without firing. As the target flew straight into the setting sun, he could not see it and thought that it was a no target situation. He thus lost gold without firing a single shot.

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When skeet was introduced in 1920, thanks to Charles Davies, a kennel owner from Massachusetts, it was first named "Shooting around the clock" due to the fact that the range was a circle with one trap house and stations along the circle. When Davies' neighbour complained that he gets shot pellets raining on his chicken farm, the range was eventually cut in half and an extra trap house was added. And, presto, the modern skeet range was invented.

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After the rearranging of the skeet range the name "Shooting around the clock" became obsolete. A naming competition was instigated by National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazines, and a prize of 100 dollars was offered to anyone who could come up with a better name for the new sport. The winner was a Mrs. Gertrud Hurlbutt who suggested the name "skeet", which allegedly is derived from the Norwegian word for "shoot" (skyte).