WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A EUROPEAN STYLE TOWER SHOOT?
First of all– it is not a hunt—it is a shoot. Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that it puts the shooters at an advantage. To the contrary, it gives the birds the advantage. Europeans think that to shoot a pheasant over a dog when it is just getting up, while moving at a fairly slow speed is too easy. They say that to shoot a high flying bird after it has reached full speed is much more of a challenge. The object of our shoot is to give shooters the opportunity to shoot at a lot of birds in a short period of time.
The 30 foot tall tower is hidden in a patch of timber with 10 shooting stations positioned around it. Each station is approximately 60 yards from the tower and stations are about 60 yards apart. Some of the stations are in the timber, and some are along the edge where the timber and grass fields meet. 10 times during the shoot, shooters rotate to the next station so that everyone gets the same opportunity in the event that some stations are hotter than others. The operator in the tower will release one bird at a time. The pheasants start their flight 30 feet above the ground and accelerate up and over the shooting stations; usually two or more of the stations will have a shot at each bird as it soars out. Shooters must keep their shots between the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions to insure safety. This is fairly easy to do, since birds normally come out above tree height.
Here is a look at the day schedule:
Arrival Time: Anytime after 10:30 A.M.
Check In: 10:30 - 11:15 A.M.
Orientation & Safety Meeting: 11:15 - 11:45 A.M.
Dinner: 11:45 A.M. - 12:45 P.M.
Meet at Station #1: 1:00 P.M.
Half time break & Group Photo: 2:30 P.M. (Approximate)
Finnish: 4:00 P.M. (Approximate)
After the break & group photo, staff will start dressing the birds to avoid a delay for you after the shoot. All birds will be breasted and the birds will be divided evenly between the shooters.
The goal, according to our host, was to make this an experience that you will truly enjoy and remember for a long time to come.
There were approximately 150 birds released and a total of 110+ birds were bagged by 14 shooters. I ended up bringing home 8 cleaned birds ready for the freezer!
What a hoot! Here are a few pictures: