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Iowa History Daily: December 18 - Dood Gilbert, Wizard of Spirit Lake

Iowa History Daily: On December 18, 1865, one of the greatest sport shooters in world history was born. Fred “Dood” Gilbert, also known as “The Wizard of Spirit Lake” proved a prolific foe of waterfowl and even captured the shooting championship for the United States in 1895.

Born on a farm on the east shore of East Okoboji Lake in Dickinson County, and grew up shooting a ‘scatter-gun.’ A market hunter of prairie chickens and ducks, in one season Gilbert downed a reported 3,000 birds on the pass between Spirit Lake and East Okoboji Lake when northern Iowa still stood as the greatest waterfowl production site on planet Earth.

At the first-ever World’s Pigeon Shoot Championships in Baltimore, Maryland, during 1895, Gilbert set a world’s record and dominated the field by hitting 35 straight clay pigeons. In 1901 alone he captured the British championship, the American championship, the National Wing-Shot title, and the professional trapshooting championship of America. 

Over a prolific run, Gilbert captured 591 consecutive contests while besting shooters all over the globe. At 54 years old he hit 591 consecutive clay pigeons without a miss, and averaged over a 90% hit rate for six straight competition seasons. Today, Gilbert Park in Spirit Lake recognizes the incredible abilities of “The Wizard of Spirit Lake.” #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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