Part 2 out of 11
blotting out of that species has not yet been written, but it seems that
its final extinction occurred about 1901. Its extermination was only a
routine incident of the devilish general slaughter of American big game
that by 1900 had wiped out nearly everything killable over a large
portion of the Rocky Mountain region and the Great Plains.
The Arizona elk was exterminated before the separate standing of the
species had been discovered by naturalists, and before even _one_ skin
had been preserved in a museum! In 1902 Mr. E.W. Nelson described the
species from two male skulls, all the material of which he knew. Since
that time, a third male skull, bearing an excellent pair of antlers, has
been discovered by Mr. Ferdinand Kaegebehn, a member of the New York
Zoological Society, and presented to our National Collection of Heads
and Horns. It came from the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, in 1884.
The species was first exterminated in the central and northern mountains
of Arizona, probably twenty years ago, and made its last stand in
northwestern New Mexico. Precisely when it became extinct there, its
last abiding place, we do not know, but in time the facts may appear.
THE QUAGGA, (_Equus quagga_).--Before the days of Livingstone,
Gordon-Cumming and Anderson, the grassy plains and half-forested hills
of South Africa were inhabited by great herds of a wild equine species
that in its markings was a sort of connecting link between the striped
zebras and the stripeless wild asses. The quagga resembled a wild ass
with a few zebra stripes around its neck, and no stripes elsewhere.
There is no good reason why a mammal that is not in any one of the
families regularly eaten by man should be classed as a game animal.
White men, outside of the western border of the continent of Europe, do
not eat horses; and by this token there is no reason why a zebra should
be shot as a "game" animal, any more than a baboon. A big male baboon is
dangerous; a male zebra is not.
Nevertheless, white men have elected to shoot zebras as game; and under
this curse the unfortunate quagga fell to rise no more. The species was
shot to a speedy death by sportsmen, and by the British and Dutch
farmers of South Africa. It became extinct about 1875, and to-day there
are only 18 specimens in all the museums of the world.
THE BLAUBOK, (_Hippotragus leucophaeus_).--The first of the African
antelopes to become extinct in modern times was a species of large size,
closely related to the roan antelope of to-day, and named by the early
Dutch settlers of Cape Colony the blaubok, which means "blue-buck." It
was snuffed out of existence in the year 1800, so quickly and so
thoroughly that, like the Arizona elk, it very nearly escaped the annals
of natural history. According to the careful investigations of Mr.
Graham Renshaw, there are only eight specimens in existence in all the
museums of Europe. In general terms it may be stated that this species
has been extinct for about a century.
DAVID'S DEER, (_Elaphurus davidianus_).--We enter this species with
those that are totally extinct, because this is true of it so far as its
wild state is concerned. It is a deer nearly as large as the red deer of
Europe, with 3-tined antlers about equal in total length to those of the
red deer. Its most striking differential character is its _long tail_, a
feature that among the deer of the world is quite unique.
Originally this species inhabited "northern Mongolia" (China), but in a
wild state it became extinct before its zoological standing became known
to the scientific world. The species was called to the attention of
zoologists by a Roman Catholic missionary, called Father David, and when
finally described it was named in his honor.
At the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion, in 1900, there were about 200
specimens living in the imperial park of China, a short distance south
of Pekin; but during the rebellion, all of them were killed and eaten,
thus totally exterminating the species from Asia.
Fortunately, previous to that calamity (in 1894), the Duke of Bedford
had by considerable effort and expenditure procured and established in
his matchless park surrounding Woburn Abbey, England, a herd of eighteen
specimens of this rarest of all deer. That nucleus has thriven and
increased, until in 1910 it contained thirty-four head. Owing to the
fact that all the living female specimens of this remarkable species are
concentrated in one spot, and perfectly liable to be wiped out in one
year by riot, war or disease, there is some cause for anxiety. The
writer has gone so far as to suggest the desirability of starting a new
herd of David's deer, at some point far distant from England, as an
insurance measure against the possibility of calamity at Woburn.
Excepting two or three specimens in European zoological gardens that
have been favored by the Duke of Bedford, there are no living specimens
outside of Woburn Park.
[Illustration: SKELETON OF A RHYTINA, OR ARCTIC SEA-COW
In the United States National Museum]
THE RHYTINA, (_Rhytina gigas_).--The most northerly Sirenian that (so
far as we know) ever inhabited the earth, lived on the Commander Islands
in the northern end of Behring Sea, and was exterminated by man, for its
oil and its flesh, about 1768. It was first made known to the world by
Steller, in 1741, and must have become extinct near the beginning of the
The rhytina belonged to the same mammalian Order as the manatee of
Florida and South America, and the dugong of Australia. The largest
manatee that Florida has produced, so far as we know, was thirteen feet
long. The rhytina attained a length of between thirty and thirty-five
feet, and a weight of 6,000 pounds or over. The flesh of this animal,
like that of the manatee and dugong, must have been edible, and surely
was prized by the hungry sailors and natives of its time. It is not
strange that such a species was quickly exterminated by man, in the
arctic regions. The wonder is that it ever existed at a latitude so
outrageous for a Sirenian, an animal which by all precedents should
prefer life in temperate or warm waters.
[Illustration: BURCHELL'S ZEBRA, IN THE U.S. NATIONAL MUSEUM
Now Believed to be Totally Extinct]
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (_Equus burchelli typicus_).--The foundation type of
what now is the Burchell group of zebras, consisting of four or five
sub-species of the original species of _burchelli_, is an animal
abundantly striped as to its body, neck and head, but with legs that are
almost white and free from stripes. The sub-species have legs that are
striped about half as much as the mountain zebra and the Grevy species.
While there are Chapman zebras and Grant zebras in plenty, and of
Crawshay's not a few, all these are forms that have developed northward
of the range of the parent species, the original _Equus burchelli_. For
half a century in South Africa the latter had been harried and driven
and shot, and now it is gone, forever. Now, the museum people of the
world are hungrily enumerating their mounted specimens, and live ones
cannot be procured with money, because there are none! Already it is
common talk that "the true Burchell zebra is extinct;" and unfortunately
there is no good reason to doubt it. Even if there are a few now living
in some remote nook of the Transvaal, or Zululand, or Portuguese East
Africa, the chances are as 100 to 1 that they will not be suffered to
bring back the species; and so, to Burchell's zebra, the world is to-day
[Illustration: THYLACINE OR TASMANIAN WOLF
Now Being Exterminated by the Sheep Owners of Tasmania]
* * * * *
SPECIES OF LARGE MAMMALS ALMOST EXTINCT
THE THYLACINE or TASMANIAN WOLF, (_Thylacinus cynocephalus_).--Four
years ago, when Mr. W.H.D. Le Souef, Director of the Melbourne
Zoological Garden (Australia), stood before the cage of the living
thylacine in the New York Zoological Park, he first expressed surprise
at the sight of the animal, then said:
"I advise you to take excellent care of that specimen; for when it is
gone, you never will get another. The species soon will be extinct."
This opinion has been supported, quite independently, by a lady who is
the highest authority on the present status of that species, Mrs. Mary
G. Roberts, of Hobart, Tasmania. For nearly ten years Mrs. Roberts has
been procuring all the living specimens of the thylacine that money
could buy, and attempting to breed them at her private zoo. She states
that the mountain home of this animal is now occupied by flocks of
sheep, and because of the fact that the "Tasmanian wolves" raid the
flocks and kill lambs, the sheep-owners and herders are systematically
poisoning the thylacines as fast as possible. Inasmuch as the species is
limited to Tasmania, Mrs. Roberts and others fear that the sheepmen
will totally exterminate the remnant at an early date. This animal is
the largest and also the most interesting carnivorous marsupial of
Australia, and its untimely end will be a cause for sincere regret.
[Illustration: WEST INDIAN SEAL
In the New York Aquarium]
THE WEST INDIAN SEAL, (_Monachus tropicalis_).--For at least fifty
years, all the zoologists who ever had heard of this species believed
that the oil-hunters had completely exterminated it. In 1885, when the
National Museum came into possession of one poorly-mounted skin, from
Professor Poey, of Havana, it was regarded as a great _prize_.
Most unexpectedly, in 1886 American zoologists were startled by the
discovery of a small herd on the Triangle Islands, in the Caribbean Sea,
near Yucatan, by Mr. Henry L. Ward, now director of the Milwaukee Public
Museum, and Professor Ferrari, of the National Museum of Mexico. They
found about twenty specimens, and collected only a sufficient number to
establish the true character of the species.
Since that time, four living specimens have been captured, and sent to
the New York Aquarium, where they lived for satisfactory periods. The
indoor life and atmosphere did not seem to injure the natural vitality
of the animals. In fact, I think they were far more lively in the
Aquarium than were the sluggish creatures that Mr. Ward saw on the
Triangle reefs, and described in his report of the expedition.
It is quite possible that there are yet alive a few specimens of this
odd species; but the Damocletian sword of destruction hangs over them
suspended by a fine hair, and it is to be expected that in the future
some roving sea adventurer will pounce upon the Remnant, and wipe it
out of existence for whatever reason may to him seem good.
[Illustration: CALIFORNIA ELEPHANT SEAL
Photographed on Guadalupe Island by C.H. Townsend.]
THE CALIFORNIA ELEPHANT SEAL, (_Mirounga angustirostris_).--This
remarkable long-snouted species of seal was reluctantly stricken from
the fauna of the United States several years ago, and for at least
fifteen years it has been regarded as totally extinct. Last year,
however (1911), the _Albatross_ scientific expedition, under the control
of Director C.H. Townsend of the New York Aquarium, visited Guadalupe
Island, 175 miles off the Pacific coast of Lower California and there
found about 150 living elephant seals. They took six living specimens,
all of which died after a few months in captivity. Ever since that time,
first one person and then another comes to the front with a cheerful
proposition to go to those islands and "clean up" all the remainder of
those wonderful seals. One hunting party could land on Guadalupe, and in
one week totally destroy the last remnant of this almost extinct
species. To-day the only question is, Who will be mean enough to do it?
Fortunately, those seals have no commercial value whatsoever. The little
oil they would yield would not pay the wages of cook's mate. The proven
impossibility of keeping specimens alive in captivity, even for one
year, and the absence of cash value in the skins, even for museum
purposes, has left nothing of value in the animals to justify an
expedition to kill or to capture them. No zoological garden or park
desires any of them, at any price. Adult males attain a length of
sixteen feet, and females eleven feet. Formerly this species was
abundant in San Christobal Bay, Lower California.
At present, Mexico is in no frame of mind to provide real protection to
a small colony of seals of no commercial value, 175 miles from her
mainland, on an uninhabited island. It is wildly improbable that those
seals will be permitted to live. It is a safe prediction that our next
news of the elephant seals of Guadalupe will tell of the total
extinction of those last 140 survivors of the species.
THE CALIFORNIA GRIZZLY BEAR, (_Ursus horribilis californicus_).--No one
protects grizzly bears, except in the Yellowstone Park and other game
preserves. For obvious reasons, it is impossible to say whether any
individuals of this huge species now remain alive, or how long it will
be until the last one falls before a .405 Winchester engine of
extermination. We know that a living specimen can not be procured with
money, and we believe that "Old Monarch" now in Golden Gate Park, San
Francisco, is the last specimen of his species that ever will be
I can think of no reason, save general Californian apathy, why the
extinction of this huge and remarkable animal was not prevented by law.
The sunset grizzly (on a railroad track) is the advertising emblem of
the Golden State, and surely the state should take sufficient interest
in the species to prevent its total extermination.
But it will not. California is hell-bent on exterminating a long list of
her wild-life species, and it is very doubtful whether the masses can be
reached and aroused in time to stop it. Name some of the species?
Certainly; with all the pleasure in life: The band-tailed pigeon, the
white-tailed kite, the sharp-tailed grouse, the sage grouse, the
mountain sheep, prong-horned antelope, California mule deer, and ducks
and geese too numerous to mention.
* * * * *
THE EXTERMINATION OF SPECIES, STATE BY STATE
Early in 1912 I addressed to about 250 persons throughout the United
States, three questions, as follows:
1. What species of birds have become totally extinct in your state?
2. What species of birds and mammals are threatened with early
3. What species of mammals have been exterminated throughout your state?
These queries were addressed to persons whose tastes and observations
rendered them especially qualified to furnish the information desired.
The interest shown in the inquiry was highly gratifying. The best of the
information given is summarized below; but this tabulation also includes
much information acquired from other sources. The general summary of the
subject will, I am sure, convince all thoughtful persons that the
present condition of the best wild life of the nation is indeed very
grave. This list is not submitted as representing prolonged research or
absolute perfection, but it is sufficient to point forty-eight morals.
* * * * *
BIRDS AND MAMMALS THAT HAVE BEEN TOTALLY EXTERMINATED IN VARIOUS STATES
Passenger pigeon, Carolina parrakeet; puma, elk, gray wolf, beaver.
Ridgway's quail (_Colinus ridgwayi_); Arizona elk (_Cervus merriami_),
Passenger pigeon, Carolina parrakeet, whooping crane; bison, elk,
No birds totally extinct, but several nearly so; grizzly bear (?),
Carolina parrakeet, whooping crane; bison.
Passenger pigeon, Eskimo curlew, great auk, Labrador duck, upland
plover, heath hen, wild turkey; puma, gray wolf, Canada lynx, black
Wild turkey, ruffed grouse, passenger pigeon, heath hen, dickcissel,
whooping crane, Carolina parrakeet; white-tailed deer, black bear, gray
wolf, beaver, Canada lynx, puma.
Flamingo, roseate spoonbill, scarlet ibis, Carolina parrakeet, passenger
Passenger pigeon, Carolina parrakeet, whooping crane, trumpeter swan;
bison, elk, beaver, gray wolf, puma.--(Last 3, Craig D. Arnold.)
Wood duck, long-billed curlew, whooping crane; bison.--(Dr. C.S. Moody.)
Passenger pigeon, whooping crane, Carolina parrakeet, trumpeter swan,
snowy egret, Eskimo curlew; bison, elk, white-tailed deer, black bear,
puma, Canada lynx.
Passenger pigeon, whooping crane, northern raven, wild turkey,
ivory-billed woodpecker, Carolina parrakeet, trumpeter swan, snowy
egret, Eskimo curlew; bison, elk, white-tailed deer, black bear, Canada
lynx, beaver, porcupine.--(Amos W. Butler.)
Wild turkey, Eskimo curlew, whooping crane, trumpeter swan, white
pelican, passenger pigeon; bison, elk, antelope, white-tailed deer,
black bear, puma, Canada lynx, gray wolf, beaver, porcupine.
American scaup duck, woodcock, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, pileated
woodpecker, parrakeet, white-necked raven, American raven (all Prof.
L.L. Dyche); golden plover, Eskimo curlew, Hudsonian curlew, wood-duck
(C.H. Smyth and James Howard, Wichita). Bison, elk, mule deer,
white-tailed deer, gray wolf, beaver (?), otter, lynx (?) (L.L.D.)
(Reports as complete and thorough as these for other localities no doubt
would show lists equally long for several other states.--(W.T.H.))
Passenger pigeon, parrakeet; bison, elk, puma, beaver, gray wolf.
Passenger pigeon, Carolina parrakeet, Eskimo curlew, flamingo, scarlet
ibis, roseate spoonbill; bison, ocelot.
Great auk, Labrador duck, Eskimo curlew, oystercatcher, wild turkey,
heath hen, passenger pigeon; puma, gray wolf, wolverine, caribou.--(All
Arthur H. Norton, Portland.)
Sandhill crane, parrakeet, passenger pigeon; bison, elk, beaver, gray
wolf, puma, porcupine.
Wild turkey, passenger pigeon, Labrador duck, whooping crane, sandhill
crane, black-throated bunting, great auk, Eskimo curlew.--(William
Brewster, W.P. Wharton); Canada lynx, gray wolf, black bear, moose, elk.
Passenger pigeon, wild turkey, sandhill crane, whooping crane, bison,
Whooping crane, white pelican, trumpeter swan, passenger pigeon, bison,
elk, mule deer, antelope.
A strange condition exists in Minnesota, as will be seen by reference to
the next list of states. A great many species are on the road to speedy
extermination; but as yet the number of those that have become totally
extinct up to date is small.
Parrakeet, passenger pigeon; bison. (Data incomplete.)
Parrakeet, ivory-billed woodpecker, passenger pigeon, whooping crane,
pinnated grouse; bison, elk, beaver.
Although many Montana birds are on the verge of extinction, the only
species that we are sure have totally vanished are the passenger pigeon
and whooping crane. Mammals extinct, bison.
Curlew, wild turkey, parrakeet, passenger pigeon, whooping crane, and no
doubt _all_ the other species that have disappeared from Kansas.
Mammals: bison, antelope, elk, and mule deer.
By a rather odd combination of causes and effects, Nevada retains
representatives of nearly all her original outfit of bird and mammal
species except the bison and elk; but several of them will shortly
Wild turkey, heath hen, pigeon, whooping crane, Eskimo curlew, upland
plover, Labrador duck; woodland caribou, moose.
Heath hen, wild turkey, pigeon, parrakeet, Eskimo curlew, Labrador duck,
snowy egret, whooping crane, sandhill crane, trumpeter swan, pileated
woodpecker; gray wolf, black bear, beaver, elk, porcupine, puma.
Notwithstanding an enormous decrease in the general volume of wild life
in New Mexico, comparatively few species have been totally exterminated.
The most important are the bison and Arizona elk.
Heath hen, passenger pigeon, wild turkey, great auk, trumpeter swan,
Labrador duck, harlequin duck, Eskimo curlew, upland plover, golden
plover, whooping crane, sandhill crane, purple martin, pileated
woodpecker, moose, caribou, bison, elk, puma, gray wolf, wolverine,
marten, fisher, beaver, fox, squirrel, harbor seal.
Ivory-billed woodpecker, parrakeet, pigeon, roseate spoonbill,
long-billed curlew (_Numenius americanus_), Eskimo curlew; bison, elk,
gray wolf, puma, beaver.--(E.L. Ewbank, T. Gilbert Pearson, H.H. and
Whooping crane, long-billed curlew, Hudsonian godwit, passenger pigeon;
bison, elk, mule deer, mountain sheep.--(W.B. Bell and Alfred Eastgate.)
Pigeon, wild turkey, pinnated grouse, northern pileated woodpecker,
parrakeet; white-tailed deer, bison, elk, black bear, puma, gray wolf,
beaver, otter, puma, lynx.
Records for birds insufficient. Mammals: bison, elk, antelope, mule
deer, puma, black bear.
The only species known to have been wholly exterminated during recent
times is the California condor and the bison, both of which were rare
stragglers into Oregon; but a number of species are now close to
Heath hen, pigeon, parrakeet, Labrador duck; bison, elk, moose, puma,
gray wolf, Canada lynx, wolverine, beaver.--(Witmer Stone, Dr. C.B.
Penrose and Arthur Chapman.)
Heath hen, passenger pigeon, wild turkey, least tern, eastern willet,
Eskimo curlew, marbled godwit, long-billed curlew.--(Harry S. Hathaway);
puma, black bear, gray wolf, beaver, otter, wolverine.
Ivory-billed woodpecker, Carolina parrakeet; bison, elk, puma, gray
wolf.--(James H. Rice, Jr.)
Whooping crane, trumpeter swan, pigeon, long-billed curlew; bison, elk,
mule deer, mountain sheep.
Wild turkey, passenger pigeon, ivory-billed woodpecker, flamingo,
roseate spoonbill, American egret, whooping crane, wood-duck; bison,
elk, mountain sheep, antelope, "a small, dark deer that lived 40 years
ago." (Capt. M.B. Davis.)
Very few species have become totally extinct, but a number are on the
verge, and will be named in the next state schedule.
Pigeon, parrakeet; bison, elk, beaver, puma, gray wolf.
Whooping crane, passenger pigeon, American egret, wild turkey, Carolina
parrakeet; bison, moose, elk, woodland caribou, puma, wolverine.
Whooping crane, trumpeter swan, wood-duck; mountain goat.
Passenger pigeon, whooping crane; bison.
A. Bryan Williams reports: "Do not know of any birds having become
Pigeon; bison, antelope, gray wolf.
Labrador duck, Eskimo curlew, passenger pigeon.
Wild turkey, pigeon, Eskimo curlew.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND:
(Reported by E.T. Carbonell): Eskimo curlew, horned grebe, ring-billed
gull, Caspian tern, passenger pigeon, Wilson's petrel, wood-duck,
Barrow's golden-eye, whistling swan, American eider, white-fronted
goose, purple sandpiper, Canada grouse, long-eared owl, screech owl,
black-throated bunting, pine warbler, red-necked grebe, purple martin
and catbird; beaver, black fox, silver gray fox, marten and black bear.
* * * * *
BIRDS AND MAMMALS THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION
The second question submitted in my inquiry produced results even more
startling than the first. None of the persons reporting can be regarded
as alarmists, but some of the lists of species approaching extinction
are appallingly long. To their observations I add other notes and
observations of interest at this time.
Wood-duck, snowy egret, woodcock. "The worst enemy of wild life is the
pot-hunter and game hog. These wholesale slaughterers of game resort to
any device and practice, it matters not how murderous, to accomplish the
pernicious ends of their nefarious campaign of relentless extermination
of fur and feather. They cannot be controlled by local laws, for these
after having been tried for several generations have proven consummate
failures, for the reason that local authorities will not enforce the
provisions of game and bird protective statutes. Experience has
demonstrated the fact that no one desires to inform voluntarily on his
neighbors, and since breaking the game law is not construed to involve
moral turpitude, even to an infinitesimal degree, by many of our
citizens, the plunderers of nature's storehouse thus go free, it matters
not how great the damage done to the people as a whole."--(John H.
Wallace, Jr., Game Commissioner of Alabama.)
Thanks to geographic and climatic conditions, the Alaskan game laws and
$15,000 with which to enforce them, the status of the wild life of
Alaska is fairly satisfactory. I think that at present no species is in
danger of extinction in the near future. When it was pointed out to
Congress in 1902, by Madison Grant, T.S. Palmer and others that the wild
life of Alaska was seriously threatened, Congress immediately enacted
the law that was recommended, and now appropriates yearly a fair sum for
its enforcement. I regard the Alaskan situation as being, for so vast
and difficult a region, reasonably well in hand, even though open to
There is one fatal defect in our Alaskan game law, in the perpetual and
sweeping license to kill, that is bestowed upon "natives" and
"prospectors." Under cover of this law, the Indians can slaughter game
to any extent they choose; and they are great killers. For example: In
1911 at Sand Point, Kenai Peninsula, Frank E. Kleinchmidt saw 82 caribou
tongues in the boat of a native, that had been brought in for sale at 50
cents, while the carcasses were left where they fell, to poison the air
of Alaska. Thanks to the game law, and five wardens, the number of big
game animals killed last year in Alaska by sportsmen was reasonably
small,--just as it should have been.--(W.T.H.)
During an overland trip made by Dr. MacDougal and others in 1907 from
Tucson to Sonoyta, on the international boundary, 150 miles and back
again, we saw not one antelope or deer.--(W.T.H.)
Swan, white heron, bronze ibis. California valley quail are getting very
scarce, and unless adequate protection is afforded them shortly, they
will be found hereafter only in remote districts. Ducks also are
decreasing rapidly.--(H.W. Keller, Los Angeles.)
Sage grouse and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse are so nearly extinct that
it may practically be said that they _are_ extinct. Among species likely
to be exterminated in the near future are the wood-duck and band-tailed
pigeon.--(W.P. Taylor, Berkeley.)
Sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse; nearly all the shore birds.
All the shore birds; quail, purple martin.
Wood duck, upland plover, least tern, Wilson tern, roseate tern, black
skimmer, oystercatcher, and numerous other littoral species. Pileated
woodpeckers, bald eagles and all the ducks are much more rare than
formerly. Swan are about gone, geese scarce. The list of ducks, geese
and shore-birds, as well as of terns and gulls that are nearing
extinction is appalling.--(C.J. Pennock, Wilmington.)
Wood-duck, woodcock, turtle dove and bob-white.--(A.R. Spaid,
Limpkin, ivory-billed woodpecker, wild turkey (?).
Ruffed grouse, wild turkey.
Harlequin duck, mountain plover, dusky grouse, Columbian sharp-tailed
grouse, sage grouse. Elk, goats and grizzly bears are becoming very
scarce. Of the smaller animals I have not seen a fisher for years, and
marten are hardly to be found. The same is true of other species.--(Dr.
Charles S. Moody, Sand Point.)
Pinnated grouse, except where rigidly protected. In Vermillion County,
by long and persistent protection Harvey J. Sconce has bred back upon
his farm about 400 of these birds.
Pileated woodpecker, woodcock, ruffed grouse, pigeon hawk, duck
hawk.--(Amos W. Butler, Indianapolis.)
In northern and northwestern Indiana, a perpetual close season and rigid
protection have enabled the almost-extinct pinnated grouse to breed up
to a total number now estimated by Game Commissioner Miles and his
wardens at 10,000 birds. This is a gratifying illustration of what can
be done in bringing back an almost-vanished species. The good example of
Indiana should be followed by every state that still possesses a remnant
of prairie-chickens, or other grouse.
Pinnated grouse, wood-duck. Notwithstanding an invasion of Jasper
County, Iowa, in the winter of 1911-12 by hundreds of pinnated grouse,
such as had not been known in 20 years, this gives no ground to hope
that the future of the species is worth a moment's purchase. The winter
migration came from the Dakotas, and was believed to be due to the extra
severe winter, and the scarcity of food. Commenting on this
unprecedented occurrence, J.L. Sloanaker in the "Wilson Bulletin" No.
"In the opinion of many, the formerly abundant prairie chicken is doomed
to early extinction. Many will testify to their abundance in those years
[in South Dakota, 1902] when the great land movement was taking place.
The influx of hungry settlers, together with an occasional bad season,
decimated their ranks. They were eaten by the farmers, both in and out
of season. Driven from pillar to post, with no friends and insufficient
food,--what else then can be expected?"
Mr. F.C. Pellett, of Atlantic, Iowa, says: "Unless ways can be devised
of rearing these birds in the domestic state, the prairie hen in my
opinion is doomed to early extinction."
The older inhabitants here say that there is not one song-bird in summer
where there used to be ten.--(G.H. Nicol, in _Outdoor Life_ March,
To all of those named in my previous list that are not actually extinct,
I might add the prairie hen, the lesser prairie hen, as well as the
prairie sharp-tailed grouse and the wood-duck. Such water birds as the
avocets, godwits, greater yellow-legs, long-billed curlew and Eskimo
curlew are becoming very rare. All the water birds that are killed as
game birds have been greatly reduced in numbers during the past 25
years. I have not seen a wood-duck in 5 years. _The prairie chicken_ has
entirely disappeared from this locality. A few are still seen in the
sand hills of western Kansas, and they are still comparatively abundant
along the extreme southwestern line, and in northern Oklahoma and the
Texas panhandle.--(C.H. Smyth, Wichita.)
Yellow-legged plover, golden plover; Hudsonian and Eskimo curlew,
prairie chicken.--(James Howard, Wichita.)
Ivory-billed woodpecker, butterball, bufflehead. The wood-duck is
greatly diminishing every year, and if not completely protected, ten
years hence no wood-duck will be found in Louisiana.--(Frank M. Miller,
and G.E. Beyer, New Orleans.)
Ivory-billed woodpecker, sandhill crane, whooping crane, pinnated
grouse, American and snowy egret where unprotected.--(E.A. McIlhenny,
Wood-duck, upland plover, purple martin, house wren, pileated
woodpecker, bald eagle, yellow-legs, great blue heron, Canada goose,
redhead and canvasback duck.--(John F. Sprague, Dover.)
Puffin, Leach's petrel, eider duck, laughing gull, great blue heron,
fish-hawk and bald eagle.--(Arthur H. Norton, Portland.)
Curlew, pileated woodpecker, summer duck, snowy heron. No record of
sandhill crane for the last 35 years. Greater yellow-leg is much scarcer
than formerly, also Bartramian sandpiper. The only two birds which show
an _increase_ in the past few years are the robin and lesser scaup.
General protection of the robin has caused its increase; stopping of
spring shooting in the North has probably caused the increase of the
latter. As a general proposition I think I can say that all birds are
becoming scarcer in this state, as we have laws that do not protect,
little enforcement of same, no revenue for bird protection and too
little public interest. We are working to change all this, but it comes
slowly. _The public fails to respond until the birds are 'most gone_,
and we have a pretty good lot of game still left. The members of the
Order Gallinae are only holding their own where privately protected. The
members of the Plover Family and what are known locally as shore birds
are still plentiful on the shores of Chincoteague and Assateague, and
although they do not breed there as formerly, so far as I know there are
no species exterminated.--(Talbott Denmead, Baltimore.)
Wood-duck, hooded merganser, blue-winged teal, upland plover; curlew
(perhaps already gone); red-tailed hawk (I have not seen one in
Middlesex County for several years); great horned owl (almost gone in my
county, Middlesex); house wren. The eave swallows and purple martins are
fast deserting eastern Massachusetts and the barn swallows steadily
diminishing in numbers. The bald eagle should perhaps be included here.
I seldom see or hear of it now.--(William Brewster, Cambridge.)
Upland plover, woodcock, wood-duck (recent complete protection is
helping these somewhat), heath hen, piping plover, golden plover, a good
many song and insectivorous birds are apparently decreasing rather
rapidly; for instance, the eave swallow.--(William P. Wharton, Groton.)
Wood-duck, limicolae, woodcock, sandhill crane. The great whooping crane
is not a wild bird, but I think it is now practically extinct. Many of
our warblers and song birds are now exceedingly rare. Ruffed grouse
greatly decreased during the past 10 years.--(W.B. Mershon, Saginaw.)
The sandhill crane has been killed by sportsmen. I have not seen one in
three years. Where there were, a few years ago, thousands of blue
herons, egrets, wood ducks, redbirds, and Baltimore orioles, all those
birds are now almost extinct in this state. They are being killed by
Austrians and Italians, who slaughter everything that flies or moves.
Robins, too, will be a rarity if more severe penalties are not imposed.
I have seized 22 robins, 1 pigeon hawk, 1 crested log-cock, 4
woodpeckers and 1 grosbeak in one camp, at the Lertonia mine, all being
prepared for eating. I have also caught them preparing and eating sea
gulls, terns, blue heron, egret and even the bittern. I have secured 128
convictions since the first of last September.--(George E. Wood, Game
Warden, Hibbing, Minnesota.)
From Robert Page Lincoln, Minneapolis.--Partridge are waning fast, quail
gradually becoming extinct, prairie chickens almost extinct.
Duck-shooting is rare. The gray squirrel is fast becoming extinct in
Minnesota. Mink are going fast, and fur-bearing animals generally are
becoming extinct. The game is passing so very rapidly that it will soon
be a thing of the forgotten past. The quail are suffering most. The
falling off is amazing, and inconceivable to one who has not looked it
up. Duck-shooting is rare, the clubs are idle for want of birds. What
ducks come down fly high, being harassed coming down from the north. I
consider the southern Minnesota country practically cleaned out.
The birds threatened with extermination are the American woodcock,
wood-duck, snowy egret, pinnated grouse, wild turkey, ruffed grouse,
golden eagle, bald eagle, pileated woodpecker.
Blue grouse.--(Henry Avare, Helena.)
Sage grouse, prairie and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, trumpeter swan,
Canada goose, in fact, most of the water-fowl. The sickle-billed curlew,
of which there were many a few years ago, is becoming scarce. There are
no more golden or black-bellied plover in these parts.--(Harry P.
Curlew, Franklin grouse (fool hen) and sage grouse.--W.R. Felton, Miles
Sage grouse.--(L.A. Huffman, Miles City.)
Ptarmigan, wood-duck, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, fool hen and
plover. All game birds are becoming scarce as the country becomes
settled and they are confined to uninhabited regions.--(Prof. M.J.
Grouse, prairie chicken and quail.--(H.N. Miller, Lincoln.)
Whistling swan.--(Dr. S.G. Towne, Omaha.)
Wood-duck and upland plover.
Quail, woodcock, upland plover, golden plover, black-bellied plover,
willet, dowitcher, red-breasted sandpiper, long-billed curlew,
wood-duck, purple martin, redheaded woodpecker, mourning dove; gray
Ruffed grouse, teal, canvasback, red-head duck, widgeon, and all species
of shore birds, the most noticeable being black-bellied plover,
dowitcher, golden plover, killdeer, sickle-bill curlew, upland plover
and English snipe; also the mourning dove.--(James M. Stratton and
Ernest Napier, Trenton.)
Upland plover, apparently killdeer, egret, wood-duck, woodcock, and
probably others.--(B.S. Bowdish, Demarest.)
Forster's tern, oystercatcher, egret and snowy egret.--(T. Gilbert
Pearson, Sec. Nat. Asso. Audubon Societies.)
Ruffed grouse rapidly disappearing; bobwhite becoming scarce.--(E.L.
Perhaps American and snowy egret. If long-billed curlew is not extinct,
it seems due to become so. No definite, reliable record of it later than
1885.--(H.H. Brimley, Raleigh.)
Wood-duck, prairie hen, upland plover, sharp-tailed grouse, canvas-back,
pinnated and ruffed grouse, double-crested cormorant, blue heron,
long-billed curlew, whooping crane and white pelican.--(W.B. Bell,
Upland plover, marbled godwit, Baird's sparrow, chestnut-collared
longspur.--(Alfred Eastgate, Tolna.)
White heron, pileated woodpecker (if not already extinct). White heron
reported a number of times last year; occurrences in Sandusky, Huron,
Ashtabula and several other counties during 1911. These birds would
doubtless rapidly recruit under a proper federal law.--(Paul North,
Turtle dove, quail, red-bird, wren, hummingbird, wild canary [goldfinch]
and blue bird.--(Walter C. Staley, Dayton.)
Pinnated grouse.--(J.C. Clark); otter, kit fox, black-footed
American egret, snowy egret.--(W.L. Finley, Portland.)
Virginia partridge and woodcock.--(Arthur Chapman.)
Wood-duck, least bittern, phalarope, woodcock, duck hawk and barn
swallow.--(Dr. Chas. B. Penrose.)
Wild turkey; also various transient and straggling water birds.--(Witmer
Wood-duck, knot, greater yellow-legs, upland plover, golden plover,
piping plover, great horned owl.--(Harry S. Hathaway, South Auburn.)
Wood duck, abundant 6 years ago, now almost gone. Wild turkey (abundant
up to 1898); woodcock, upland plover, Hudsonian curlew, Carolina rail,
Virginia rail, clapper rail and coot. Black bear verging on extinction,
opossum dwindling rapidly.--(James H. Rice Jr., Summerville.)
Prairie chicken and quail are most likely to become extinct in the near
future.--(W.F. Bancroft, Watertown.)
Wild turkey and prairie chickens.--(J.D. Cox, Austin.)
Plover, all species; curlew, cardinal, road-runner, woodcock, wood-duck,
canvas-back, cranes, all the herons; wild turkey; quail, all varieties;
prairie chicken and Texas guan.--(Capt. M.B. Davis, Waco.)
Curlew, very rare; plover, very rare; antelope. (Answer applies to the
Panhandle of Texas.--Chas. Goodnight.)
Everything [is threatened with extinction] save the dove, which is a
migrating bird. Antelope nearly all gone.--(Col. O.C. Guessaz, San
Our wild birds are well protected, and there are none that are
threatened with extinction. They are increasing.--(Fred. W. Chambers,
State Game Warden, Salt Lake City.)
If all states afforded as good protection as does Vermont, none; but
migrating birds like woodcock are now threatened.--(John W. Tilcomb,
State Game Warden, Lyndonville.)
Pheasants (ruffed grouse), wild turkey and other game birds are nearly
extinct. A few bears remain, and deer in small numbers in remote
sections. In fact, all animals show great reduction in numbers, owing to
cutting down forests, and constant gunning.--(L.T. Christian, Richmond.)
Wood-duck, wild turkey, northern raven, dickcissel.--(Rev. Earle A.
Wild turkeys are very scarce, also ducks. Doves, once numerous, now
almost _nil_. Eagles, except a few in remote fastnesses. Many native
song-birds are retreating before the English sparrow.--(William Perry
Wood-duck and wild turkey.--(J.A. Viquesney, Belington.)
Double-crested cormorant, upland plover, white pelican, long-billed
curlew, lesser snow goose, Hudsonian curlew, sandhill crane, golden
plover, woodcock, dowitcher and long-billed duck; spruce grouse, knot,
prairie sharp-tailed grouse, marbled godwit and bald eagle. All these,
formerly abundant, must now be called rare in Wisconsin.--(Prof. George
E. Wagner, Madison.)
Common tern, knot, American white pelican, Hudsonian godwit, trumpeter
swan, long-billed curlew, snowy heron, Hudsonian curlew, American
avocet, prairie sharp-tailed grouse, dowitcher, passenger pigeon.
Long-billed dowitcher and northern hairy woodpecker.--(Henry L. Ward,
Milwaukee Public Museum.)
Wood-duck, ruddy duck, black mallard, grebe or hell-diver, tern and
woodcock.--(Fred. Gerhardt, Madison.)
Sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse are becoming extinct, both in
Wyoming and North Dakota. Sheridan and Johnson Counties (Wyoming) have
sage grouse protected until 1915. The miners (mostly foreigners) are out
after rabbits at all seasons. To them everything that flies, walks or
swims, large enough to be seen, is a "rabbit." They are even worse than
the average sheep-herder, as he will seldom kill a bird brooding her
young, but to one of those men, a wren or creeper looks like a turkey.
Antelope, mountain sheep and grizzly bears are _going_, fast! The moose
season opens in 1915, for a 30 days open season, then close season until
1920.--(Howard Eaton, Wolf.)
Sage grouse, blue grouse, curlew, sandhill crane, porcupine practically
extinct; wolverine and pine marten nearly all gone.--(S.N. Leek,
Swainson's buzzard and sandhill crane are now practically extinct. Elk
and antelope will soon be as extinct as the buffalo.--(Arthur G.
Wild fowl are in the greatest danger in the southern part of the
Province, especially the wood-duck. Otherwise birds are increasing
rather than otherwise, especially the small non-game birds. The sea
otter is almost extinct.--(A. Bryan Williams, Provincial Game Warden,
Whooping crane, wood-duck and golden plover. Other species begin to show
a marked increase, due to our stringent protective measures. For
example, the pinnated grouse and sharp-tailed grouse are more plentiful
than in 15 years. Prong-horned antelope and wolf are threatened with
extinction.--(J.P. Turner, Winnipeg.)
The game birds indigenous to this Province are fairly plentiful. Though
the prairie chicken was very scarce some few years ago, these birds have
become very plentiful again, owing to the strict enforcement of our
present "Game Act." The elk are in danger of becoming extinct if they
are not stringently guarded. Beaver and otter were almost extinct some
few years ago, but are now on the increase, owing to a strict
enforcement of the "Game Act."--(Charles Barber, Winnipeg.)
Partridge, plover and woodcock. Moose and deer are getting more
plentiful every year.--(W.W. Gerard, St. John.)
The Canada grouse may possibly become extinct in Nova Scotia, unless the
protection it now enjoys can save it. The American golden plover, which
formerly came in immense flocks, is now very rare. Snowflakes are very
much less common than formerly, but I think this is because our winters
are now usually much less severe. The caribou is almost extinct on the
mainland of Nova Scotia, but is still found in North Cape Breton Island.
The wolf has become excessively rare, but as it is found in New
Brunswick, it may occur here at any time again. The beaver had been
threatened with extinction; but since being protected, it has
multiplied, and is now on a fairly safe footing again.--(Curator of
Quail are getting scarce.--(E. Tinsley, Toronto.)
Wood-duck, bob white, woodcock, golden plover, Hudsonian curlew, knot
and dowitcher [are threatened with extinction.]--(C.W. Nash, Toronto.)
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND:
The species threatened with extinction are the golden plover, American
woodcock, pied-billed grebe, red-throated loon, sooty shearwater,
gadwall, ruddy duck, black-crowned night heron, Hudsonian godwit,
kildeer, northern pileated woodpecker, chimney swift, yellow-bellied
flycatcher, red-winged blackbird, pine finch, magnolia warbler,
ruby-crowned kinglet.--(E.T. Carbonell, Charlottetown.)
In closing the notes of this survey, I repeat my assurance that they are
not offered on a basis of infallibility. It would require years of work
to obtain answers from forty-eight states to the three questions that I
have asked that could be offered as absolutely exact. All these reports
are submitted on the well-recognized court-testimony basis,--"to the
best of our knowledge and belief." Gathered as they have been from
persons whose knowledge is good, these opinions are therefore valuable;
and they furnish excellent indices of wild-life conditions as they exist
in 1912 in the various states and provinces of North America north of
* * * * *
THE REGULAR ARMY OF DESTRUCTION
In order to cure any disease, the surgeon must make of it a correct
diagnosis. It is useless to try to prescribe remedies without a thorough
understanding of the trouble.
That the best and most interesting wild life of America is disappearing
at a rapid rate, we all know only too well. That proposition is entirely
beyond the domain of argument. The fact that a species or a group of
species has made a little gain here and there, or is stationary, does
not sensibly diminish the force of the descending blow. The wild-life
situation is full of surprises. For example, in 1902 I was astounded by
the extent to which bird life had decreased over the 130 miles between
Miles City, Montana, and the Missouri River since 1886; for there was no
reason to expect anything of the kind. Even the jack rabbits and coyotes
had almost totally disappeared.
The duties of the present hour, that fairly thrust themselves into our
faces and will not be put aside, are these:
_First_,--To save valuable species from extermination!
_Second_,--To preserve a satisfactory representation of our once rich
fauna, to hand down to Posterity.
_Third_,--To protect the farmer and fruit grower from the enormous
losses that the destruction of our insectivorous and rodent-eating birds
is now inflicting upon both the producer and consumer.
_Fourth_,--To protect our forests, by protecting the birds that keep
down the myriads of insects that are destructive to trees and shrubs.
_Fifth_,--To preserve to the future sportsmen of America enough game and
fish that they may have at least a taste of the legitimate pursuit of
game in the open that has made life so interesting to the sportsmen of
For any civilized nation to exterminate valuable and interesting species
of wild mammals, birds or fishes is more than a disgrace. It is a crime!
We have no right, legal, moral or commercial, to exterminate any
valuable or interesting species; because none of them belong to us, to
exterminate or not, as we please.
For the people of any civilized nation to permit the slaughter of the
wild birds that protect its crops, its fruits and its forests from the
insect hordes, is worse than folly. It is sheer orneryness and idiocy.
People who are either so lazy or asinine as to permit the slaughter of
their best friends deserve to have their crops destroyed and their
forests ravaged. They deserve to pay twenty cents a pound for their
cotton when the boll weevil has cut down the normal supply.
It is very desirable that we should now take an inventory of the forces
that have been, and to-day are, active in the destruction of our wild
birds, mammals, and game fishes. During the past ten years a sufficient
quantity of facts and figures has become available to enable us to
secure a reasonably full and accurate view of the whole situation. As we
pause on our hill-top, and survey the field of carnage, we find that we
are reviewing the _Army of Destruction_!
It is indeed a motley array. We see true sportsmen beside ordinary
gunners, game-hogs and meat hunters; handsome setter dogs are mixed up
with coyotes, cats, foxes and skunks; and well-gowned women and ladies'
maids are jostled by half-naked "poor-white" and black-negro "plume
Verily, the destruction of wild life makes strange companions.
Let us briefly review the several army corps that together make up the
army of the destroyers. Space in this volume forbids an extended notice
of each. Unfortunately it is impossible to segregate some of these
classes, and number each one, for they merge together too closely for
that; but we can at least describe the several classes that form the
great mass of destroyers.
THE GENTLEMEN SPORTSMEN.--These men are the very bone and sinew of wild
life preservation. These are the men who have red blood in their veins,
who annually hear the red gods calling, who love the earth, the
mountains, the woods, the waters and the sky. These are the men to whom
"the bag" is a matter of small importance, and to whom "the bag-limit"
has only academic interest; because in nine cases out of ten they do not
care to kill all that the law allows. The tenth and exceptional time is
when the bag limit is "one." A gentleman sportsman is a man who protects
game, stops shooting when he has "enough"--without reference to the
legal bag-limit, and whenever a species is threatened with extinction,
he conscientiously refrains from shooting it.
The true sportsmen of the world are the men who once were keen in the
stubble or on the trail, but who have been halted by the general
slaughter and the awful decrease of game. Many of them, long before a
hair has turned gray, have hung up their guns forever, and turned to the
camera. These are the men who are willing to hand out checks, or to
leave their mirth and their employment and go to the firing line at
their state capitols, to lock horns with the bull-headed killers of wild
life who recognize no check or limit save the law.
These are the men who have done the most to put upon our statute books
the laws that thus far have saved some of our American game from total
annihilation, and who (so we firmly believe) will be chiefly
instrumental in tightening the lines of protection around the remnant.
These are the men who are making and stocking game preserves, public and
private, great and small.
THE REGULAR ARMY OF DESTRUCTION, WAITING FOR THE FIRST OF OCTOBER
Each Year 2,642,274 Well-Armed Men Take the Field Against the Remnant
of Wild Birds and Mammals In the United States.
Drawn by Dan Beard]
If you wish to know some of these men, I will tell you where to find a
goodly number of them; and when you find them, you will also find that
they are men you would enjoy camping with! Look in the membership lists
of the Boone and Crockett Club, Camp-Fire Club of America, the Lewis and
Clark Club of Pittsburgh, the New York State League, the Shikar Club of
London, the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the
British Empire, the Massachusetts Fish and Game Protective Association,
the Springfield (Mass.) Sportsmen's Association, the Camp-Fire Clubs of
Detroit and Chicago, and the North American Fish and Game Protective
There are other bodies of sportsmen that I would like to name, were
space available, but to set down here a complete list is quite
The best and the most of the game-protective laws now in force in the
United States and Canada were brought into existence through the
initiative and efforts of the real sportsmen of those two nations. But
for their activity, exerted on the right side, the settled portion of
North America would to-day be an utterly gameless land! Even though the
sportsmen have taken their toll of the wilds, they have made the laws
that have saved a remnant of the game until 1912.
For all that, however, every man who still shoots game is a soldier in
the Army of Destruction! There is no blinking that fact. Such men do not
stand on the summit with the men who now protect the game _and do not
shoot at all!_ The millions of men who do not shoot, and who also _do
nothing to protect or preserve wild life_, do not count! In this warfare
they are merely ciphers in front of the real figures.
THE GUNNERS, WHO KILL TO THE LIMIT.--Out of the enormous mass of men who
annually take up arms against the remnant of wild life, _and are called
"sportsmen_," I believe that only one out of every 500 _conscientiously_
stops shooting when game becomes scarce, and extinction is impending.
All of the others feel that it is right and proper to kill all the game
that they can kill _up to the legal bag limit_. It is the reasoning of
"Justice demands it, and _the law_ doth give it!"
Especially is this true of the men who pay their _one dollar_ per year
for a resident hunting license, and feel that in doing so they have done
a great Big Thing!
This is a very deadly frame of mind. Ethically it is _entirely wrong_;
and at least two million men and boys who shoot American game must be
shown that it is wrong! This is the spirit of Extermination, clothed in
the robes of Law and Justice.
Whenever and wherever game birds are so scarce that a good shot who
hunts hard during a day in the fields finds only three or four birds, he
should _stop shooting at once, and devote his mind and energies to the
problem of bringing back the game!_ It is strange that conditions do not
make this duty clear to every conscientious citizen.
The Shylock spirit which prompts a man to kill all that "the law allows"
is a terrible scourge to the wild life of America, and to the world at
large. It is the spirit of extermination according to law. Even the
killing of game for the market is not so great a scourge as this; for
this spirit searches out the game in every nook and cranny of the world,
and spares not. In effect it says: "If the law is defective, it is right
for me to take every advantage of it! I do not need to have any
conscience in the matter outside _the letter of the law_."
The extent to which this amazing spirit prevails is positively awful.
You will find it among pseudo game-protectors to a paralyzing extent! It
is the great gunner's paradox, and it pervades this country from corner
to corner. No: there is no use in trying to "educate" the mass of the
hunters of America out of it, as a means of saving the game; for
positively it can not be done! Do not waste time in trying it. If you
rely upon it, you will be doing a great wrong to wild life, and
promoting extermination. The only remedy is _sweeping laws, for long
close seasons, for a great many species_. Forget the paltry
dollar-a-year license money. The license fees never represent more than
a tenth part of the value of the game that is killed under licenses.
The savage desire to kill "all that the law allows" often is manifested
in men in whom we naturally expect to find a very different spirit. By
way of illumination, I offer three cases out of the many that I could
Case No. 1. _The Duck Breeder_.--A gentleman of my acquaintance has
spent several years and much money in breeding wild ducks. From my
relations with him, I had acquired the belief that he was a great lover
of ducks, and at least wished all species well. One whizzing cold day in
winter he called upon me, and stated that he had been duck-hunting;
which surprised me. He added, "I have just spent two days on Great South
Bay, and I made a great killing. _In the two days I got ninety-four
I said, "How _could_ you do it,--caring for wild ducks as you do?"
"Well, I had hunted ducks twice before on Great South Bay and didn't
have very good luck; but this time the cold weather drove the ducks in,
and I got square with them!"
Case No. 2. _The Ornithologist_.--A short time ago the news was
published in _Forest and Stream_, that a well-known ornithologist had
distinguished himself in one of the mid-western states by the skill he
had displayed in bagging thirty-four ducks in one day, greatly to the
envy of the natives; and if this shoe fits any American naturalist, he
is welcome to put it on and wear it.
Case No. 3. _The Sportsman_.--A friend of mine in the South is the owner
of a game preserve in which wild ducks are at times very numerous. Once
upon a time he was visited by a northern sportsmen who takes a deep and
abiding interest in the preservation of game. The sportsman was invited
to go out duck-shooting; ducks being then in season there. He said:
"Yes, I will go; and I want you to put me in a place where I can kill a
_hundred ducks in a day_! I never have done that yet, and I would like
to do it, once!"
"All right," said my friend, "I can put you in such a place; and if you
can shoot well enough, you can kill a hundred ducks in a day."
The effort was made in all earnestness. There was much shooting, but few
were the ducks that fell before it. In concluding this story my friend
remarked in a tone of disgust:
"All the game-preserving sportsmen that come to me are just like that!
_They want to kill all they can kill_!"
There is a blood-test by which to separate the conscientious sportsmen
from the mere gunners. Here it is:
A _sportsman_ stops shooting when game becomes scarce; and he does not
object to long-close-season laws; but
A _gunner_ believes in killing "all that the law allows;" and _he
objects to long close seasons_!
I warrant that whenever and wherever this test is applied it will
separate the sheep from the goats. It applies in all America, all Asia
and Africa, and in Greenland, with equal force.
[Illustration: G.O. SHIELDS
A Notable Defender of Wild Life]
THE GAME-HOG.--This term was coined by G.O. Shields, in 1897, when he
was editor and owner of _Recreation Magazine_, and it has come into
general use. It has been recognized by a judge on the bench as being an
appropriate term to apply to all men who selfishly slaughter wild game
beyond the limits of decency. Although it is a harsh term, and was
mercilessly used by Mr. Shields in his fierce war on the men who
slaughtered game for "sport," it has jarred at least a hundred thousand
men into their first realization of the fact that to-day there is a
difference between decency and indecency in the pursuit of game. The use
of the term has done _very great good_; but, strange to say, it has made
for Mr. Shields a great many enemies _outside_ the ranks of the
game-hogs themselves! From this one might fairly suppose that there is
such a thing as a sympathetic game-hog!
One thing at least is certain. During a period of about six years, while
his war with the game-hogs was on, from Maine to California, Mr.
Shields's name became a genuine terror to excessive killers of game; and
it is reasonably certain that his war saved a great number of game birds
from the slaughter that otherwise would have overtaken them!
The number of armed men and boys who annually take the field in the
United States in the pursuit of birds and quadrupeds, is enormous.
People who do not shoot have no conception of it; and neither do they
comprehend the mechanical perfection and fearful deadliness of the
weapons used. This feature of the situation can hardly be realized until
some aspect of it is actually seen.
I have been at some pains to collect the latest figures showing the
number of hunting licenses issued in 1911, but the total is incomplete.
In some states the figures are not obtainable, and in some states there
are no hunters' license laws. The figures of hunting licenses issued in
1911 that I have obtained from official sources are set forth below.
THE UNITED STATES ARMY OF DESTRUCTION
_Hunting Licenses issued in_ 1911
Alabama 5,090 Montana 59,291
California 138,689 Nebraska 39,402
Colorado 41,058 New Hampshire 33,542
Connecticut 19,635 New Jersey 61,920
Idaho 50,342 New Mexico 7,000
Illinois 192,244 New York 150,222
Indiana 54,813 Rhode Island 6,541
Iowa 91,000 South Dakota 31,054
Kansas 44,069 Utah 27,800
Louisiana 76,000 Vermont 31,762
Maine 2,552 Washington, about 40,000
Massachusetts 45,039 Wisconsin 138,457
Michigan 22,323 Wyoming 9,721
Total number of regularly licensed gunners 1,486,228
The average for the twenty-seven states that issued licenses as shown
above is 55,046 for each state.
Now, the twenty-one states issuing no licenses, or not reporting,
produced in 1911 fully as many gunners per capita as did the other
twenty-seven states. Computed fairly on existing averages they must have
turned out a total of 1,155,966 gunners, making for all the United
States =2,642,194= armed men and boys warring upon the remnant of game
in 1911. We are not counting the large number of lawless hunters who
never take out licenses. Now, is Mr. Beard's picture a truthful
presentation, or not?
_New York_ with only deer, ruffed grouse, shore-birds, ducks and a very
few woodcock to shoot annually puts into the field 150,222 armed men. In
1909 they killed about _9,000 deer!_
_New Jersey_, spending $30,000 in 1912 in efforts to restock her covers
with game, and with a population of 2,537,167, sent out in 1911 a total
army of 61,920 well-armed gunners. How can any of her game survive?
_New Hampshire_, with only 430,572 population, has 33,542 licensed
hunters,--equal to _thirty-three regiments of full strength!_
_Vermont_, with 355,956 people, sends out annually an army of 31,762 men
who hunt according to law; and in 1910 they killed 3,649 deer.
_Utah_, with only 373,351 population, had 27,800 men in the field after
her very small remnant of game! How can any wild thing of Utah escape?
_Montana_, population 376,053, had in 1911 an army of 59,291 well-armed
men, warring chiefly upon the big game, and swiftly exterminating it.
How long can any of the big game stand before the army of _two and
one-half million well-armed men_, eager and keen to kill, and out to get
an equivalent for their annual expenditure in guns, ammunition and other
In addition to the hunters themselves, they are assisted by thousands of
expert guides, thousands of horses, thousands of dogs, hundreds of
automobiles and hundreds of thousands of tents. Each big-game hunter has
an experienced guide who knows the haunts and habits of the game, the
best feeding grounds, the best trails, and everything else that will aid
the hunter in taking the game at a disadvantage and destroying it. The
big-game rifles are of the highest power, the longest range, the
greatest accuracy and the best repeating mechanism that modern inventive
genius can produce. It is said that in Wyoming the Maxim silencer is now
being used. England has produced a weapon of a new type, called "the
scatter rifle," which is intended for use on ducks. The best binoculars
are used in searching out the game, and horses carry the hunters and
guides as near as possible to the game. For bears, baits are freely
used, and in the pursuit of pumas, dogs are employed to the limit of the
The deadliness of the automobile in hunting already is so apparent that
North Dakota has wisely and justly forbidden their use by law, (1911).
The swift machine enables city gunmen to penetrate game regions they
could not reach with horses, and hunt through from four to six
localities per day, instead of one only, as formerly. The use of
automobiles in hunting should be everywhere prohibited.
Every appliance and assistance that money can buy, the modern sportsman
secures to help him against the game. The game is beset during its
breeding season by various wild enemies,--foxes, cats, wolves, pumas,
lynxes, eagles, and many other predatory species. The only help that it
receives is in the form of an annual close season--_which thus far has
saved in America only a few local moose, white-tailed deer and a few
game birds, from steady and sure extermination_.
_The bag limits on which vast reliance is placed to preserve the wild
game, are a fraud, a delusion and a snare_! The few local exceptions
only prove the generality of the rule. In every state, without one
single exception, the bag limits are far too high, and the laws are of
deadly liberality. In many states, the bag limit laws on birds are an
absolute dead letter. Fancy the 125 wardens of New York enforcing the
bag-limit laws on 150,000 gunners! It is this horrible condition that is
enabling the licensed army of destruction to get in its deadly work on
the game, all over the world. In America, the over-liberality of the
laws are to blame for two-thirds of the carnival of slaughter, and the
successful evasions of the law are responsible for the other third.
[Illustration: TWO GUNNERS OF KANSAS CITY
Who Believe in Killing all That the Law Allows. They are not so Much to
Blame as the System That Permits Such Slaughter. (Note the Pump Guns)]
[Illustration: WHY THE SANDHILL CRANE IS BECOMING EXTINCT
Nineteen of Them Killed as "Game" by Three Gunners. Note the Machine Gun.]
The only remedy for the present extermination of game according to law
that so rapidly and so furiously is proceeding all over the United
States, Canada, Alaska, and Africa, is ten-year close seasons on all the
species threatened with extinction, and immensely reduced open seasons
and bag limits on all the others.
Will the people who still have wild game take heed now, and clamp down
the brakes, hard and fast before it is too late, or will they have their
Shall we have five-year close seasons, or close seasons of 500 years? We
must take our choice.
Shall we hand down to our children a gameless continent, with all the
shame that such a calamity will entail?
We have _got_ to answer these questions like men, or they will soon be
answered for us by the extermination of the wild life. For twenty-five
years we have been smarting under the disgrace of the extermination of
our bison millions. Let us not repeat the dose through the destruction
of other species.
* * * * *
THE GUERRILLAS OF DESTRUCTION
We have now to deal with THE GUERRILLAS OF DESTRUCTION.
In warfare, a _guerrilla, or bushwhacker_, is an armed man who
recognizes none of the rules of civilized warfare, and very often has no
commander. In France he is called a "franc-tireur," or free-shooter. The
guerrilla goes out to live on the country, to skulk, to war on the weak,
and never attack save from ambush, or when the odds clearly are on his
side. His military status is barely one remove from that of the spy.
The meat-shooters who harry the game and other wild life in order to use
it as a staple food supply; the Italians, negroes and others who shoot
song-birds as food; the plume-hunters and the hide-and-tusk hunters all
over the world are the guerrillas of the Army of Destruction. Let us
consider some of these grand divisions in detail.
Here is an inexorable law of Nature, to which there are no exceptions:
_No wild species of bird, mammal, reptile or fish can withstand
exploitation for commercial purposes_.
The men who pursue wild creatures for the money or other value there is
in them, never give up. They work at slaughter when other men are
enjoying life, or are asleep. If they are persistent, no species on
which they fix the Evil Eye escapes extermination at their hands.
Does anyone question this statement? If so let him turn backward and
look at the lists of dead and dying species.
THE DIVISION OF MEAT-SHOOTERS contains all men who sordidly shoot for
the frying-pan,--to save bacon and beef at the expense of the public, or
for the markets. There are a few wilderness regions so remote and so
difficult of access that the transportation of meat into them is a
matter of much difficulty and expense. There are a very few men in North
America who are justified in "living off the country," _for short
periods_. The genuine prospectors always have been counted in this
class; but all miners who are fully located, all lumbermen and
railway-builders certainly are not in the prospector's class. They are
abundantly able to maintain continuous lines of communication for the
transit of beef and mutton.
Of all the meat-shooters, the market-gunners who prey on wild fowl and
ground game birds for the big-city markets are the most deadly to wild
life. Enough geese, ducks, brant, quail, ruffed grouse, prairie
chickens, heath hens and wild pigeons have been butchered by gunners and
netters for "the market" to have stocked the whole world. No section
containing a good supply of game has escaped. In the United States the
great slaughtering-grounds have been Cape Cod; Great South Bay, New
York; Currituck Sound, North Carolina; Marsh Island, Louisiana; the
southwest corner of Louisiana; the Sunk Lands of Arkansas; the lake
regions of Minnesota; the prairies of the whole middle West; Great Salt
Lake; the Klamath Lake region (Oregon) and southern California.
[Illustration: A MARKET GUNNER AT WORK ON MARSH ISLAND
Killing Mallards for the New Orleans Market. The Purchase of This Island by
Mrs. Russell Sage has now Converted it Into a Bird Sanctuary]
The output of this systematic bird slaughter has supplied the greedy
game markets of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore,
Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Francisco,
Portland, and Seattle. The history of this industry, its methods, its
carnage, its profits and its losses would make a volume, but we can not
enter upon it here. Beyond reasonable doubt, this awful traffic in dead
game is responsible for at least three-fourths of the slaughter that has
reduced our game birds to a mere remnant of their former abundance.
There is no influence so deadly to wild life as that of the market
gunner who works six days a week, from sunrise until sunset, hunting
down and killing every game bird that he can reach with a choke-bore
During the past five years, several of the once-great killing grounds
have been so thoroughly "shot out" that they have ceased to hold their
former rank. This is the case with the Minnesota Lakes, the Sunk Lands
of Arkansas, the Klamath Lakes of Oregon, and I think it is also true of
southern California. The Klamath Lakes have been taken over by the
Government as a bird refuge. Currituck Sound, at the northeastern corner
of North Carolina, has been so bottled up by the Bayne law of New York
State that Currituck's greatest market has been cut off. Last year only
one-half the usual number of ducks and geese were killed; and already
many "professional" duck and brant shooters have abandoned the business
because the commission merchants no longer will buy dead birds.
[Illustration: RUFFED GROUSE
A Common Victim of Illegal Slaughter]
Very many enormous bags of game have been made in a day by market
gunners: but rarely have they published any of their records. The
greatest kill of which I ever have heard occurred under the auspices of
the Glenn County Club, in southern California, on February 5, 1906. Two
men, armed with automatic shot-guns, fired five shots apiece, and got
ten geese out of one flock. In one hour they killed _two hundred and
eighteen geese_, and their bag for the day was _four hundred and fifty
geese!_ The shooter who wrote the story for publication (on February 12,
at Willows, Glenn County, California) said: "It being warm weather, the
birds had to be shipped at once in order to keep them from spoiling." A
photograph was made of the "one hour's slaughter" of two hundred and
eighteen geese, and it was published in a western magazine with
"C.H.B.'s" story, nearly all of which will be found in Chapter XV.
The reasons why market shooting is so deadly destructive to wild life
are not obscure.
The true sportsman hunts during a very few days only each year. The
market gunners shoot early and late, six days a week, month after month.
When game is abundant, the price is low, and a great quantity must be
killed in order to make it pay well. When game is scarce, the market
prices are high, and the shooter makes the utmost exertions to find the
last of the game in order to secure the "big money."
When game is protected by law, thousands of people with money desire it
for their tables, just the same, and are willing to pay fabulous prices
for what they want, when they want it. Many a dealer is quite willing to
run the risk of fines, because fines don't really hurt; they are only
annoying. The dealer wishes to make the big profit, and _retain his
customers_; "and besides," he reasons, "if I don't supply him some one
else will; so what is the difference?"
When game is scarce, prices high and the consumer's money ready, there
are a hundred tricks to which shooters and dealers willingly resort to
ship and receive unlawful game without detection. It takes the very
best kind of game wardens,--genuine detectives, in fact,--to ferret out
these cunning illegal practices, and catch lawbreakers "with the goods
on them," so that they can be punished. Mind you, convictions can not be
secured at _both_ ends of the line save by the most extraordinary good
fortune, and usually the shooter and shipper escape, even when the
dealer is apprehended and fined.
[Illustration: A PERFECTLY LAWFUL BAG OF 58 RUFFED GROUSE FOR TWO MEN
From "Rod and Gun in Canada"]
Here are some of the methods that have been practiced in the past in
getting illegal game into the New York market:
Ruffed grouse and quail have both been shipped in butter firkins, marked
"butter"; and latterly, butter has actually been packed solidly on top
of the birds.
Ruffed grouse and quail very often have been shipped in egg crates,
marked "eggs." They have been shipped in trunks and suit cases,--a very
common method for illegal game birds, all over the United States. In
Oklahoma when a man refuses to open his trunk for a game warden, the
warden joyously gets out his brace and bitt, and bores an inch hole into
the lower story of the trunk. If dead birds are there, the tell-tale
auger quickly reveals them.
Three years ago, I was told that certain milk-wagons on Long Island made
daily collections of dead ducks intended for the New York market, and
the drivers kindly shipped them by express from the end of the route.
Once upon a time, a New York man gave notice that on a certain date he
would be in a certain town in St. Lawrence County, New York, with a
palace horse-car, "to buy horses." Car and man appeared there as
advertised. Very ostentatiously, he bought one horse, and had it taken
aboard the car before the gaze of the admiring populace. At night, when
the A.P. had gone to bed, many men appeared, and into the horseless end
of that car, they loaded thousands of ruffed grouse. The game warden who
described the incident to me said: "That man pulled out for New York
with one horse and _half a car load of ruffed grouse_!"
Whenever a good market exists for the sale of game, as sure as the world
that market will be supplied. Twenty-six states forbid by law the sale
of _their own_ "protected" game, but twenty of them do _not_ expressly
prohibit the sale of game stolen from neighboring states! That is _a
very, very weak point in the laws of all those states_. A child can see
how it works. Take Pittsburgh as a case in point.
In the winter and spring of 1912 the State Game Commission of
Pennsylvania found that quail and ruffed grouse were being sold in
Pittsburgh, in large quantities. The state laws were well enforced, and
it was believed that the birds were not being killed in Pennsylvania.
Some other state was being _robbed_!
The Game Commission went to work, and in a very short time certain
game-dealers of Pittsburgh were arrested. At first they tried to bluff
their way out of their difficulty, and even went as far as to bring
charges against the game-warden whom the Commission had instructed to
buy some of their illegal game, and pay for it. But the net of the law
tightened upon them so quickly and so tightly that they threw up their
hands and begged for mercy.
It was found that those Pittsburgh game-dealers were selling quail and
grouse that had been stolen in thousands, from the state of Kentucky!
Between the state game laws, working in lovely harmony with the Lacey
federal law that prohibits the shipment of game illegally killed or
sold, the whole bad business was laid bare, and signed confessions were
promptly obtained from the shippers in Kentucky.
At that very time, a good bill for the better protection of her game was
before the Kentucky legislature; and a certain member was vigorously
opposing it, as he had successfully done in previous years. He was told
that the state was being robbed, but refused to believe it. Then a
signed confession was laid before him, bearing the name of the man who
was instigating his opposition,--his friend,--who confessed that he had
illegally bought and shipped to Pittsburgh over 5,000 birds. The
objector literally threw up his hands, and said, "I have been _wrong!_
Let the bill go through!" And it went.
[Illustration: SNOW BUNTING
A Great "Game Bird"! Of These, 8,058 Were Found in 1902
in one New York Cold-Storage Warehouse]
Before the passage of the Bayne law, New York City was a "fence" for the
sale of grouse illegally killed in Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and I know not how many other states. The Bayne
law stopped all that business, abruptly and forever; and if the ruffed
grouse, quail and ducks of the Eastern States are offered for sale in
Chicago, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Washington, the people of New York
and Massachusetts can at least be assured that they are not to blame.
Those two states now maintain no "fences" for the sale of game that has
been stolen from other states. They have both set their houses in order,
and set two examples for forty other states to follow.
The remedy for all this miserable game-stealing, law-breaking business
is simple and easily obtained. Let each state of the United States and
each province and Canada _enact a Bayne law, absolutely prohibiting the
sale of all wild native game_, and the thing is done! But nothing short
of that will be really effective. It will not do at all to let state
laws rest with merely forbidding the sale of game "protected by the
State;" for that law is full of loop-holes. It does much good service,
yes; but what earthly _objection_ can there be in any state to the
enactment of a law that is sweepingly effective, and which can not be
evaded, save through the criminal connivance of officers of the law?
By way of illustration, to show what the sale of wild game means to the
remnant of our game, and the wicked slaughter of non-game birds to which
it leads, consider these figures:
DEAD BIRDS FOUND IN ONE COLD STORAGE HOUSE IN NEW YORK IN 1902.
Snow Buntings 8,058
The fines for this lot, if imposed, would have amounted to $1,168,315.
Shortly after that seizure American quail became so scarce that in
effect they totally disappeared from the banquet tables of New York. I
can not recall having been served with one since 1903, but the little
Egyptian quail can be legally imported and sold when officially tagged.
Few persons away from the firing line realize the far-reaching effects
of the sale of wild game. Here are a few flashes from the searchlight:
At Hangkow, China, Mr. C. William Beebe found that during his visit in
=1911=, over =46,000= pheasants of various species were shipped from
that port on one cold-storage steamer to the London market. And this
when English pheasants were selling in the Covent Garden market at from
two to three shillings each, for _fresh_ birds!
In =1910=, =1,200= ptarmigan from Norway, bound for the Chicago market,
passed through the port of New York,--not by any means the first or the
last shipment of the kind. The epicures of Chicago are being permitted
to comb the game out of Norway.
In =1910=, =70,000= _dozen_ Egyptian quail were shipped to Europe from
Alexandria, Egypt. Just why that species has not already been
exterminated, is a zoological mystery; but extermination surely will
come some day, and I think it will be in the near future.
The coast of China has been raked and scraped for wild ducks to ship to
New York,--prior to the passage of the Bayne law! I have forgotten the
figures that once were given me, but they were an astonishing number of
thousands for the year.
The Division of Negroes and Poor Whites who kill song and other birds
indiscriminately will be found in a separate chapter.
THE DIVISION OF "RESIDENT" GAME-BUTCHERS.--This refers to the men who
live in the haunts of big game, where wardens are the most of the time
totally absent, and where bucks, does and fawns of hoofed big game may
be killed in season and out of season, with impunity. It includes
guides, ranchmen, sheep-herders, cowboys, miners, lumbermen and floaters
generally. In times past, certain taxidermists of Montana promoted the
slaughter of wild bison in the Yellowstone Park, and it was a pair of
rascally taxidermists who killed, or caused to be killed in Lost Park,
in 1897, the very last bison of Colorado.
It seems to be natural for the minds of men who live in America in the
haunts of big game to drift into the idea that the wild game around them
is all theirs. Very few of them recognize the fact that every other man,
woman and child in a given state or province has vested rights in its
wild game. It is natural for a frontiersman to feel that because he is
in the wilds he has a God-given right to live off the country; but
to-day _that idea is totally wrong_! If some way can not be found to
curb that all-pervading propensity among our frontiersmen, then we may
as well bid all our open-field big game a long farewell; for the deadly
"residents" surely will exterminate it, outside the game preserves. The
"residents" are, in my opinion, about ten times more destructive than
the sportsmen. A sportsman in quest of large game is in the field only
from ten to thirty days; all his movements are known, and all his
trophies are seen and counted. His killing is limited by law, and upon
him the law is actually enforced. Often a resident hunts the whole
twelve months of the year,--for food, for amusement, and for trophies to
sell. Rarely does a game warden reach his cabin; because the wardens are
few, the distances great and the frontier cabins are widely scattered.
Mr. Carl Pickhardt told me of a guide in Newfoundland who had a shed in
the woods hanging full of bodies of caribou, and who admitted to him
that while the law allowed him five caribou each year, he killed each
year about twenty-five.
Mr. J.M. Phillips knows of a mountain in British Columbia, once well
stocked with goats, on which the goats have been completely exterminated
by one man who lives within easy striking distance of them, and who
finds goat meat to his liking.
I have been reliably informed that in 1911, at Haha Lake, near Grande
Bay, Saguenay District, P.Q., one family of six persons killed
thirty-four woodland caribou and six moose. This meant the waste of
about 14,000 pounds of good meat, and the death of several female
In 1886 I knew a man named Owens who lived on the head of Sunday Creek,
Montana, who told me that in 1884-5 he killed thirty-five mule deer for
himself and family. The family ate as much as possible, the dogs ate all
they could, and in the spring the remainder spoiled. Now there is not a
deer, an antelope, or a sage grouse within fifty miles of that lifeless
Here is a Montana object lesson on the frame of mind of the "resident"
hunter, copied from _Outdoor Life_ Magazine (Denver) for February, 1912.
It is from a letter to the Editor, written by C.B. Davis.
November 27, 28, 29, and 30, 1911, will remain a red letter day with
a half thousand men for years to come. These half thousand men
gathered along the border of the Yellowstone National Park, near
Gardiner, Montana, at a point known as Buffalo Flats, to exterminate
elk. The snow had driven the elk down to the foothills, and Buffalo
Flats is on the border of the park and outside the park. The elk
entered this little valley for food. Like hungry wolves, shooters,
not hunters, gathered along the border waiting to catch an elk off
the "reservation" and kill it.
On November 27th about 1500 elk crossed the line, and the slaughter
began. I have not the data of the number killed this day, but it was
On the 28th, twenty-two stepped over and were promptly executed.
Like Custer's band, not one escaped. On the evening of the 28th, 600
were sighted just over the line, and the army of 125 brave men
entrenched themselves for the battle which was expected to open next
morning. Before daylight of the 29th the battle began. The elk were
over the line, feeding on Buffalo Flats. One hundred and twenty-five
men poured bullets into this band of 600 elk till the ground was red
with blood and strewn with carcasses, and in their madness they shot
each other. One man was shot through the ear,--a close call; another
received a bullet through his coat sleeve, and another was shot
through the bowels and can't live.
My informer told me he participated in the slaughter, and while he
would not take fifty dollars for what he saw, and the experience he
went through, yet he would not go through it again for $1,000. When
my informer got back to Gardiner that day there were four sleigh
loads of elk, each load containing from twenty to thirty-five elk,
besides thirty-two mules and horses carrying one to two each. This
was only a part of the slaughter. Hundreds more were carried to
other points; and this was only one day's work.
Hundreds of wounded elk wandered back into the park to die, and
others died outside the park. The station at Livingston, Montana,
for a week looked like a packing house. Carcasses were piled up on
the trucks and depot platform. The baggage cars were loaded with elk
going to points east and west of Livingston.
Maybe this is all right. Maybe the government can't stop the elk
from crossing the line. Maybe the elk were helped over; but it
strikes me there is something wrong somewhere.
THE DIVISION OF HIRED LABORERS.--The scourge of lumber-camps in big-game
territory, the mining camps and the railroad-builders is a long story,
and if told in detail it would make several chapters. Their awful
destructiveness is well known. It is a common thing for "the boss" to
hire a hunter to kill big game to supply the hungry outfit, and save
beef and pork.
The abuses arising from this source easily could be checked, and finally
suppressed. A ten-line law would do the business,--forbidding any person
employed in any camp of sheep men, cattle men, lumbermen, miners,
railway laborers or excavators to own or use a rifle in hunting wild
game; and forbidding any employer of labor to feed those laborers, or
permit them to be fed, on the flesh of wild game mammals or birds.
"Camp" laborers are not "pioneers;" not by a long shot! They are
soldiers of Commerce, and makers of money.
A MOUNTAIN SHEEP CASE IN COLORADO.--The state of Colorado sincerely
desires to protect and perpetuate its slender remnant of mountain sheep,
but as usual the Lawless Miscreant is abroad to thwart the efforts of
the guardians of the game. Every state that strives to protect its big
game has such doings as this to contend with:
In the winter of 1911-12, a resident poacher brought into Grant,
Colorado, a lot of mountain sheep meat _for sale_; and he actually sold
it to residents of that town! The price was _six cents per pound_. A lot
of it was purchased by the railway station-agent. I have no doubt that
the same man who did that job, which was made possible only by the
co-operation of the citizens of Grant, will try the same
poaching-and-selling game next winter, unless the State Game
Commissioner is able to bring him to book.
A WYOMING CASE IN POINT.--As a fair sample of what game wardens, and the
general public, are sometimes compelled to endure through the improper
decisions of judges, I will cite this case:
In the Shoshone Mountains of northern Wyoming, about fifty miles or so
from the town of Cody, in the winter of 1911-12 a man was engaged in
trapping coyotes. It was currently reported that he had been "driven out
of Montana and Idaho." He had scores of traps. He baited his traps with
the flesh of deer, elk calves and grouse, all illegally killed and
illegally used for that purpose. A man of my acquaintance saw some of
this game meat actually used as described.
The man was a notorious character, and cruel in the extreme. Finally a
game warden caught him red-handed, arrested him, and took him to Cody
for trial. It happened that the judge on the bench had once trapped with
him, and therefore "he set the game-killer free, while the game-warden
That wolf-trapper once took into the mountains a horse, to kill and use
as bear-bait. The animal was blind in one eye, and because it would not
graze precisely where the wolfer desired it to remain, he deliberately
destroyed the sight of its good eye, and left it for days, without the
ability to find water.
Think of the fate of any wild animal that unkind Fate places at the
mercy of such a man!
* * * * *
UNSEEN FOES OF WILD LIFE
Quite unintentionally on his part, Man, the arch destroyer and the most
predatory and merciless of all animal species except the wolves, has