From a local 1918 newspaper:
Pigeons Needed For War Work: Don’t Shoot Them
Don’t shoot pigeons, warns Uncle Sam, It isn’t patriotic.
The birds are used on the war fronts to carry messages and the signal corps is training thousands of the Antwerp or Homing variety.
Many persons have impaired this branch of the service by shooting the birds, being innocent of that fact that they are being trained for the army.
A law was passed April 19 making it unlawful to “entrap, capture, shoot, kill, possess or detain the carrier pigeon, which is owned by the United States. Each bird bears on its leg a metal bank marked “U.S.A” A maximum penalty of $100 fine, or imprisonment for six months, or both, is provided under the law.
It is considered unpatriotic to shoot pigeons of any kind as the person indulging in this pastime cannot differentiate between the ordinary and the homing pigeons.
When I was a kid, I unknowingly shot a banded pigeon.