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ful animals disappeared from the plains so rapidly that many Western States hastened to pass laws protecting them absolutely or for a period of years. In Texas a new law prohibits the shooting of antelope at any time; in Arizona it is unlawful to shoot an antelope for five years. In South Dakota. In South Dakota and North Dakota they are protected until the year 1911, and in California the shooting is absolutely prohibited.

There is a significance always in such legislation. It follows, usually, the passing of the game. It has been well said (by Mr. Whitehead, in THE CENTURY) that it requires the extinction of a valuable bird to teach the average American the importance of its preservation. The laws prohibiting the killing of prairie-chickens in Massachusetts and the discharging of firearms in Ohio at any wild pigeon on its nesting-ground served no purpose except possibly to give expression to the hope that the birds would some day come again.

The moose, the elk, the caribou, and the several varieties of deer are no longer seen in many places where they were abundant. With the passing of these noble animals came laws protecting them at all times, or protecting the does and fawns and allow ing the killing of a small number of males ("with horns," as the statutes read) each year. In Maine it is lawful for one person to kill one "bull"-moose and two deer in a season. In Michigan and Minnesota the limit is three deer, and in the latter State one moose and one caribou. In Connecticut deer are protected until the year 1911. In Wisconsin, Nevada, and Wyoming the limit is two deer, and in Nevada two elk may also be killed in a season.

There are records of a hundred woodcock and snipe being killed by one gun in a day within a few miles of New York, but there are few places now in the West where any such bags could be made in the absence of the legislation which in many States limits the number to from five to twenty-five birds per diem. In much of the woodcock cover the sportsman of today does well to get one.

Many varieties of shore-birds or waders came to the bays and lagoons along the sea-coast and visited the country in the interior, stopping by the rivers, lakes, and ponds in countless numbers. Upon one occasion I shot these birds without chang

ing my position until the gun became hot, and the dog, which had been bringing several birds at once, refused to retrieve more, and stretching himself upon the grass, looked on in amazement, if not disgust. I had neither decoys nor blind, but the birds continued to fly about the pond, passing me at close range. It soon occurred to me that I had all that could be used at the military garrison where I was stopping, and I ended the shooting, which had ceased to be interesting. The shore-birds still visit the salt-water bays, lakes, and ponds in the West, but in greatly diminished numbers.

The evidence is cumulative that, notwithstanding its great abundance, all game in America, big and small, was threatened with the extermination which came to the pigeon and the bison.


As the game diminished, the devices for its destruction were improved and multiplied. We proceeded rapidly from flint to percussion; from the long single muzzleloading guns such as Audubon first used, to the breech-loading, hammerless, doublebarreled guns and repeaters of to-day. These weapons occasionally came gether in the woods. The market gunners used guns which they could not lift, mounting them in boats like cannon, and fired them (in the night-time) at the sleeping water-fowl, killing hundreds at a single shot. The larger animals, as well as the partridges, were taken in traps and snares, and shot, in the winter, when the snow made it difficult for them to move about. There are many devices for concealment, from the ordinary "blind," or "hide," on shore, to the elaborate sink-box, or battery, in which the shooter lies below the surface of the water. The rude forms of homemade decoys have been replaced by the handsomely painted counterfeits from the stores, and tame ducks are now taught to fly out over the water and, returning, lure their kind to destruction. Live wild geese are used on the bays as well as on the lakes in the West, and are a part of the equipment at the shooting clubs. One club in Massachusetts keeps a stand of two hundred live wild-geese decoys. I once saw a flock of seven geese go to the live decoys of a market gunner on Shinnecock Bay, who, firing two double-barreled guns, killed them all. The deception where wild birds are used as decoys is

complete. A Sioux Indian in Dakota once stalked my decoys, and I stopped him just as he was about to shoot, since there was great danger of his bagging me with the geese.

The clothing is made to match the color of the marshes, and grass suits, with hoods to cover the head, are woven from the wild grass. The pace set for the destruction of all game made it evident to thinking sportsmen that in another decade, or two at most, there would not be a wild quadruped or bird left in the land. Remarkable as this statement may seem, there were ample facts to support it. It was admitted that some birds and animals were already extinct, including one of the wild ducks, and that many birds and animals were no longer found in States where they were formerly abundant, and that those remaining were seen each year in greatly diminished numbers. There was then no room left for a doubt: extermination seemed certain, and not only a question of time, but of a very short time.

A few years ago there was not a game law (certainly not one that was executed) in America. Game was killed everywhere, in season and out, and sold openly in the markets. As the supply diminished the price went up. The temptation to wholesale slaughter increased. There was, too, a tremendous waste committed by those who shot for sport. I have seen a number of buffalo fall before a single pistol in a short run. I was guilty of killing a few one day for the entertainment of some ladies who made the run in an army ambulance. A large number of buffalo were killed by contract, that their heads might be used as signs to advertise a railroad throughout the country. It was in this service, I believe, that Cody became Buffalo Bill. Ranchmen, cow-boys, travelers, every one who had a gun (and every one had), took a shot a an antelope to see if he could hit it. The number of birds which were shot when they could not possibly be used was tremendous. After the waste came, as usual, the laws to prevent it, as in Colorado: "No game or fish shall be used for baiting any trap or deadfall, nor shall any edible portion of game or fish be abandoned or permitted to go to waste." A magnificent elk was often sacrificed to bait a trap for a bear. Deer and antelope shot in passing, to try a gun, were left

where they fell. Wagon-loads of ducks were thrown away. Express companies did a large business carrying wild pigeons to shooting-matches. As late as 1874, there were one day eight thousand of these birds in crates at the old Dexter Park shootinggrounds, to be used in a "shoot." In the West they used prairie-chickens in the same way.

Sportsmen, once aroused, were not slow to act. It was evident that the laws in existence were inoperative and not executed for the reason that there were no game commissioners or game-wardens, and there was no public sentiment to sustain them. Sportsmen had been too often the violators. I knew of a prosecuting attorney in a Western State who was among the first to take the field in July for prairiechickens, though the season did not open legally until September 1.

The best blow for game preservation was struck when laws were enacted prohibiting the sale of game at all times. A difficulty was encountered at first, owing to the conflict of laws in the different States. Birds were offered for sale in a State where the sale was illegal, and the evidence was always at hand that they were killed in another State where the shooting season was open. The words "wherever killed" were soon added to the laws prohibiting sales, and these were supplemented by laws prohibiting the transportation and exportation of game, and making it a misdemeanor to have it in possession in close seasons. The national Congress recently enacted a law (known as the Lacey Law) enlarging the duties and powers of the Department of Agriculture so as to include the preservation, distribution, introduction, and restoration of gamebirds and other wild birds. This law was passed "to aid in the restoration of such birds in those parts of the United States adapted thereto where the same have become scarce or extinct, and also to regulate the introduction of American or foreign birds or animals in localities where they have not heretofore existed." It prohibits the transportation by interstate commerce of game killed in violation of local laws. That a sentiment has developed in favor of the execution of the game laws is well known, to their sorrow, to many innkeepers, common carriers, and dealers. Constitutional questions have been raised, and

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cases growing out of the killing of a few partridges have gone to the Supreme Court of the United States. It is gratifying to the sportsmen that the laws have usually been upheld. This has always been the case excepting where too little care was exercised in their framing. There was much bungling in the earlier legislation. There is some to-day.

Some years ago a country doctor, my colleague at the time in the General Assembly of Ohio, brought me a bill which he had prepared to regulate the fishing in a small stream which flowed through his district. I noticed that the last clause read, "provided, however, all garfish shall be killed"; and I suggested to the venerable doctor that, in the absence of some provision for a gar-police or other executive of ficers, the law would be inoperative. This attempt at fish legislation is no worse than some of the earlier game laws. Ohio has recently enacted a law which provides that no person shall shoot quail except when they are flying. The word "partridge" should of course be used instead of "quail" in all game laws. Since there are no quail in North America, a conviction under the Ohio law would be hardly possible.

As the larger game-birds become scarce, more attention is paid to the smaller varieties, such as the diminutive peeps, oxeyes, and sanderlings, which should be unmolested and permitted to run about and feed before the waves on the sandy shores of the ocean. Many of these small birds have been exterminated in the vicinity of summer hotels. In the Southern States the meadow-lark and the robin are

shot by sportsmen. Strange game the robin-redbreast seems to Northern sportsmen; but the robins are considered gamebirds in many Southern States, and are recognized as such in their legislation.

The importance of laws prohibiting sales is well illustrated in the case of plumagebirds. Laws there were in abundance which declared that these were not game, and protected them at all times. But the feather-hunters shot them openly until the various Audubon societies organized throughout America, and urged the passage of laws prohibiting the sale or purchase of the feathers. Then there was at once a decided improvement in the situa

tion, and it is now probable that plumagebirds will not be exterminated. A hasty glance at the recent game legislation reveals much that is good besides the sale and transport laws. There is a uniform tendency toward a short open season. In some States it is for only a few weeks; 1 in others not for more than one or two months. I have already referred to the laws limiting the size of the bag to be made in a season or in a day. It is usual to allow the killing of only one or two of the larger quadrupeds by one person in a season, and from one to six deer. The bag limit for birds may be said to range from five to fifty birds per diem. The latter number is unusual, and applies only to ducks. The average bag limit for upland game would seem to be about twenty birds per diem. In Oregon and Washington it is only ten; in Vermont only five, excepting ducks, the limit for which is twenty; in Maine the number is fifteen, "excepting sandpipers, the number of which shall not exceed seventy."2 I cannot imagine what the little sandpipers have done that they should thus be singled out from their kind-the snipes, the tattlers, the plovers, and the curlews-for slaughter. It may be that the term "sandpipers" is intended to cover all shore-birds, but laws of a criminal nature being always construed strictly in favor of the accused, there could be no conviction except for the killing of the bird named. The laws limiting the bag to small numbers of birds are in striking contrast to the former scores of sportsmen, who often killed over a hundred in a day, and of market gunners, who did as well with a single shot from a swivel-gun.

There are laws which provide for a license the average cost of which for nonresidents of the various States is twenty-five dollars, and the permission is usually only to shoot in the county where the license is issued. A careful study of the American game-birds would cost an ornithologist a large sum to-day. Other laws provide restdays for the birds, such as Sunday and Monday in Ohio, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in North Carolina, when the pursuit of the birds is prohibited.

There are many laws which prescribe the method of capture, such as those limiting the size of the gun-in some States to the 2 Non-residents are

1 For example, Ohio law now is November 10 to December 1 for partridges. now required to pay a license in many counties, and the bag limit for them is fifteen.

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