Aiming for a frozen bird

Pylesville turkey shoot could also bag people a ham or quilt

November 23, 2008|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,

They will be shooting for turkeys at a Pylesville church today.

Marksmen, armed with pellet rifles, will fire at targets filled with signatures of those who have paid a dollar or two for a chance to win a hefty turkey, a ham with a well-known label, five pounds of shrimp or a handmade quilt.

The name closest to the pellet wins, usually by less than an inch.

"They measure to the nth degree to decide whose name is closest," said the Rev. Henry Kunkel, pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church.

He has bought $10 worth of spots on several targets and is really hoping for the quilt, since he has no inclination to roast a turkey or ham.

Most of his signatures are in the upper right-hand corner of the targets, Kunkel said, a place experience tells him is usually a hit.

"It is challenging to find a winning spot because those pellets can really scatter," he said.

The Knights of Columbus Mason-Dixon Council, based at the church, organized the annual turkey shoot so that it is a prudent distance from the house of worship and the kitchen where volunteers are preparing pit beef and ham sandwiches to sell to the crowd.

The turkey shoot is a fundraiser for Knights of Columbus activities, which include several at St. Mary of the Assumption.

Organizers said the activity is carefully monitored. A retired police officer checks all the rifles and ensures that the shooters know how to use them. Safety rules include a prohibition on loading them outside the target area.

A nearby field will be lined with numerous targets. Spectators, who might number in the hundreds, stand back. Chances will be sold until shortly before firing commences at 1 p.m.

After the winners are announced, there will be a few more shooting displays for interested onlookers.

"Take a ride up Route 165, and you will likely run into fields with turkey-shoot areas," said Stan Markowski, a Knight of Columbus and church volunteer. "But in this neck of the woods, they are usually shooting for frozen turkeys, not those wild ones."

The church is at 1021 St. Marys Road, Pylesville. Information: 410-879-4015, ext. 18.

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