Part 7 out of 11
repealed." Warden Hayward of Rutland County says: "The majority of the
farmers in this county are in favor of repealing the doe law.... A great
many does and young deer (almost fawns) were killed in this county
during the hunting season of 1909." R.W. Wheeler, of Rutland County
says: "Have the doe law repealed! We don't need it!" H.J. Parcher of
Washington County finds that the does did more damage to the crops than
the bucks, and he thinks the doe law is "a just one." R.L. Frost, of
Windham County, judicially concludes that "the law allowing does to be
killed should remain in force one or two seasons more." C.S Parker, of
Orleans County, says his county is not overstocked with deer, and he
favors a special act for his county, to protect females.
A summary of the testimony of the wardens is easily made. When deer are
too plentiful, and the over-tame does become a public nuisance too great
to be endured, the number should be reduced by regular shooting in the
open season; but,
As soon as the proper balance of deer life has been restored, protect
the does once more.
The pursuit of this policy is safe and sane, provided it can be wrought
out without the influence of selfishness, and reckless disregard for the
rights of the next generation. On the whole, its handling is like
playing with fire, and I think there are very, very few states on this
earth wherein it would be wise or safe to try it. As a wise friend once
remarked to me, "Give some men a hinch, and they'll always try to take a
hell." In Vermont, however, the situation is kept so well in hand we may
be sure that at the right moment the law providing for the decrease of
the number of does will be repealed.
HIPPOPOTAMI AND ANTELOPES.--Last year a bill was introduced in the lower
House of Congress proposing to provide funds for the introduction into
certain southern states of various animals from Africa, especially
hippopotami and African antelopes. The former were proposed partly for
the purpose of ridding navigation of the water hyacinths that now are
choking many of the streams of Louisiana and Mississippi. The antelopes
were to be acclimatized as a food supply for the people at large.
This measure well illustrates the prevailing disposition of the American
people to-day,--to ignore and destroy their own valuable natural stock
of wild birds and mammals, and when they have completed their war of
extermination, reach out to foreign countries for foreign species.
Instead of preserving the deer of the South, the South reaches out for
the utterly impossible antelopes of Africa, and the preposterous
hippopotamus. The North joyously exterminates her quail and ruffed
grouse, and goes to Europe for the Hungarian partridge. That partridge
is a failure here, and I am _heartily glad of it_, on the ground that
the exterminators of our native species do not deserve success in their
efforts to displace our finest native species with others from abroad.
The hippo-antelope proposition is a climax of absurdity, in proposing
the replacing of valuable native game with impossible foreign species.
* * * * *
LAW AND SENTIMENT AS FACTORS IN PRESERVATION
There is grave danger that through ignorance of the true character of
about 80 per cent of the men and boys who shoot wild creatures, a great
wrong will be done the latter. Let us not make a fatal mistake.
After more than thirty years of observation among all kinds of
sportsmen, hunters and gunners, I am convinced that it is utterly futile
and deadly dangerous to rely on humane, high-class sentiment to diminish
the slaughter of wild things by game-hogs and pot-hunters.
In some respects, the term "game-hog" is a rude, rough word; but it is
needed in the English language, and it has come to stay. It is a
disagreeable term, but it was brought into use to apply to a class of
very disagreeable persons.
A "game-hog" is a hunter of game who knows no such thing as sentiment or
conscience in the killing of game, so long as he keeps within the limit
of the law. Regardless of the scarcity of game, or of its hard struggle
for existence, he will kill right up to the bag limit every day that he
goes out, provided it is possible to do so. He uses the "law" as a salve
for the spot where his conscience should be. He will shoot with any
machine gun, or gun of big calibre, in every way that the law allows,
and he knows no such thing as giving the game a square deal. He brags of
his big bags of game, and he loves to be photographed with a wagon-load
of dead birds as a background. He believes in automatic and pump guns,
spring shooting, longer open seasons and "more game." He is quite
content to shoot half tame ducks in a club preserve as they fly between
coop and pond, whenever he secures an opportunity. He will gladly sell
his game whenever he can do so without being found out, and sometimes
when he is.
Often a true sportsman drifts without realizing it into some one way of
the confirmed game-hog; but the moment he is made to realize his
position, he changes his course and his standing. The game-hog is
impervious to argument. You can shame a horse away from his oats more
easily than you can shame him from doing "what the Law allows."
There are hundreds of thousands of gentlemen and gentlewomen who never
once have come in touch with real cloven-footed game-hogs, who do not
understand the species at all, and do not recognize its ear-marks.
Thousands of such persons will tell you: "In my opinion, the best way to
save the wild life is to _educate the people_!" I have heard that, many,
For right-hearted people, a little law is quite sufficient; and the best
people need none at all! But the game-hogs are different. For them, the
strict letter of the law, backed up by a strong-arm squad, is the only
controlling influence that they recognize. To them it is necessary to
say: "You shall!" and "You shall not!"
Only yesterday the latest game-hog case was related to me by a
game-protector from Kansas. Into a certain county of southern Kansas,
from which the prairie-chicken had been totally gone for a dozen years
or more, a pair of those birds entered, settled down and nested. Their
coming was to many habitants a joyous event. "Now," said the People, "we
will care for these birds, and they will multiply, and presently the
county will be restocked."
But Ahab came! Two men from another county, calling themselves sportsmen
but not entitled to that name, heard of those birds, and resolved to
"get them." They waited until the young were just leaving the nest: and
they went down and camped near by. On the first day they killed the two
parent birds and half the flock of young birds, and the next day they
got all the rest.
But there is a sequel to this story. One of those men was a dealer in
guns and ammunition; and when his customers heard what he had done,
"they simply put him out of business, by refusing to trade with him any
more." He is now washing dirty dishes in a restaurant; but at heart he
is a game-hog, just the same.
Near Bridgeport, Connecticut, a gentleman of my acquaintance owns a fine
estate which is adorned with a trout stream and a superfine trout pond.
Once he invited a business man of Bridgeport to be his guest, and fish
for trout in his pond. On that guest, during a visit of three days all
the finest forms of hospitality were bestowed.
Two weeks later, my friend's game-warden caught that guest, early on a
Sunday morning, _poaching_ on the trout-pond, and spoiled his carefully
In his book "Saddle and Camp in the Rockies," Mr. Dillon Wallace tells a
story of a man from New York who in the mountains of Colorado
deliberately corrupted his guides with money or other influences, shot
mountain sheep _in midsummer_, and "got away with it."
In northern Minnesota, George E. Wood has been having a hand-to-hand
fight with the worst community of game-hogs and alien-born poachers of
which I have heard. There appears to be no game law that they do not
systematically violate. The killers seem determined to annihilate the
last head of game, in spite of fines and imprisonments. The foreigners
are absolutely uncontrollable. The latest feature of the war is the
discovery of a tannery in the woods, where the hides of
illegally-slaughtered deer and moose are dressed. Apparently the only
kind of a law that will save the game of northern Minnesota is one that
will totally disarm the entire population.
In Pennsylvania, there exists an association which was formed for the
express purpose of fighting the State Game Commission, preventing the
enactment of a hunter's license law and repealing the law against the
killing of female deer and hornless fawns. The continued existence of
that organization on that basis would be a standing disgrace to the fair
name of Pennsylvania. I think, however, that that organization was
founded on secret selfish purposes, and that ere long the general body
of members will awaken to a realizing sense of their position, and range
themselves in support of the excellent policies of the commission.
A POT-HUNTER is a man or boy who kills game as a business, for the money
that can be derived from its sale, or other use. Such men have the same
feelings as butchers. From their point of view, they can see no reason
why all the game in the world should not be killed and marketed. Like
the feather-dealers, they wish to get out of the wild life all the money
there is in it; that is all. Left to themselves, with open markets they
would soon exterminate the land fauna of the habitable portions of the
No one can "educate" such people. For the gunners, game-hogs and
pot-hunters, there is no check, save specific laws that sternly and
amply safeguard the rights of the wild creatures that can not make laws
Nor can anyone educate the heartless woman of fashion who is determined
to wear aigrettes as long as her money can buy them. The best women of
the world have _already been educated_ on the bird-millinery subject,
and they are already against the use of the gaudy badges of slaughter
and extermination. But in the great cities of the world there are
thousands of women who are at heart as cruel as Salome herself, and
whose vicious tastes can be curbed only by the strong hand of the law.
"Sentiment" for wild birds is not in them.
Because of the vicious and heartless elements among men and women, we
say, Give us _far-reaching, iron-bound_ LAWS for the protection of wild
life, _and plenty of courageous men to enforce them_.
* * * * *
THE ARMY OF THE DEFENSE
It now seems that the friends of wild life who themselves are not on the
firing-line should be afforded some definite information regarding the
Army of the Defense, and its strength and weakness. It is an interesting
subject, but the limitations of space will not permit an extended
Over the world at large, I think the active Destroyers outnumber the
active Defenders of wild life at least in the ratio of 500 to 1; and the
money available to the Destroyers is to the funds of the Defenders as
500 is to 1. The _average_ big-game sportsman cheerfully expends from
$500 to $1,000 on a hunting trip, but resents the suggestion that he
should subscribe from $50 to $100 for wild life preservation. If he puts
down $10, he thinks he has done a Big Thing. Worse than this, I am
forced to believe that at least 75 per cent of the big-game sportsmen of
the world never have contributed one dollar in money, or one hour of
effort, to that cause. But there are exceptions; and I can name at least
fifty sportsmen who have subscribed $100 each to campaign funds, and
some who have given as high as $1,000.
Once I sat down beside a financially rich slaughterer of game, and asked
him to subscribe a sum of real money in behalf of a very important
campaign. I needed funds very much; and I explained, exhorted and
besought. I pointed out his duty--_to give back something_ in return for
all the game slaughter that he had _enjoyed_. For ten long minutes he
stood fire without flinching, and without once opening his lips to
speak. He made no answer no argument, no defense and finally he never
gave up one cent.
Wherever the English language is spoken, from Tasmania to Scotland, and
from Porto Rico to the Philippines, the spirit of wild life protection
exists. Elsewhere there is much more to be said on this point. To all
cosmopolitan sportsmen, the British "Blue Book" on game protection, the
annual reports of the two great protective societies of London, and the
annual "Progress" report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture are
reassuring and comforting. It is good to know that Uganda maintains a
Department of Game Protection (A.L. Butler, Superintendent), that so
good a man as Maj. J. Stevenson-Hamilton is in control of protection in
the Transvaal, and that even the native State of Kashmir officially
recognizes the need to protect the Remnant.
There are of course many parts of the world in which game laws and
limits to slaughter are quite unknown: all of which is entirely wrong,
and in need of quick correction. No state or nation can be accounted
wholly civilized that fails to recognize the necessity to protect wild
life. I am tempted to make a list of the states and nations that were at
latest advices destitute of game laws and game protectors, but I fear to
do injustice through lack of the latest information. However, the time
has come to search out delinquents, and hold up to each one a mirror
that will reflect its shortcomings.
Naturally, we are most interested in our own contingent of the Army of
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.--To-day the feeling in Congress, toward
the conservation of wild life and forests is admirable. Both houses are
fully awake to the necessity of saving while there is yet something to
be saved. The people of the United States may be assured that the
national government is active and sympathetic in the prosecution of such
conservation measures as it might justly be expected to promote. For
example, during the past five years we have seen Congress take favorable
action on the following important causes, nearly every one of which cost
The saving of the American bison, in four National ranges.
The creation of fifty-eight bird refuges.
The creation of five great game preserves.
The saving of the elk in Jackson Hole.
The protection of the fur seal.
The protection of the wild life of Alaska.
There are many active friends of wild life who confidently expect to see
this fine list gloriously rounded out by the passage in 1913 of an ideal
bill for the federal protection of all migratory birds. To name the
friends of wild life in Congress would require the printing of a list of
at least two hundred names, and a history of the rise and progress of
wild life conservation by the national government would fill a volume.
Such a volume would be highly desirable.
When the story of the national government's part in wild-life protection
is finally written, it will be found that while he was president,
THEODORE ROOSEVELT made a record in that field that is indeed enough to
make a reign illustrious. He aided every wild-life cause that lay within
the bounds of possibility, and he gave the vanishing birds and mammals
the benefit of every doubt. He helped to establish three national bison
herds, four national game preserves, fifty-three federal bird refuges,
and to enact the Alaska game laws of 1902 and 1907.
It was in 1904 that the national government elected to accept its share
of the white man's burden and enter actively into the practical business
of wild life protection. This special work, originally undertaken and
down to the present vigorously carried on by Dr. Theodore S. Palmer, has
considerably changed the working policy of the Biological Survey of the
Department of Agriculture, and greatly influenced game protection
throughout the states. The game protection work of that bureau is alone
worth to the people of this country at least twenty times more per annum
than the entire annual cost of the Bureau. Next to the splendid services
of Dr. Palmer, all over the United States, one great value of the Bureau
is found in the fact-and-figure ammunition that it prepares and
distributes for general use in assaults on the citadels of Ignorance and
Greed. The publications of the Bureau are of great practical value to
the people of the United States.
[Illustration: NOTABLE PROTECTORS OF WILD LIFE (1)
Secretary and Chairman Executive Committee, New York Zoological Society
HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN
President, New York Zoological Society
JOHN F. LACEY
Ex-Member of Congress; Author of the "Lacey Bird Law"
Founder and President, National Association of Audubon Societies]
Dr. Palmer is a man of incalculable value to the cause of protection.
No call for advice is too small to receive his immediate attention, no
fight is too hot and no danger-point too remote to keep him from the
fray. Wherever the Army of Destruction is making a particularly
dangerous fight to repeal good laws and turn back the wheels of
progress, there will he be found. As the warfare grows more intense,
Congress may find it necessary to enlarge the fighting force of the
The work that has been done by the Bureau in determining the economic
value or lack of value of our most important species of insectivorous
birds, has been worth millions to the agricultural interests of the
United States. Through it we know where we stand. The reasons why we
need to strive for protection can be expressed in figures and
percentages; and it seems to me that they leave the American people no
option but to _protect_!
STATE GAME COMMISSIONS.--Each of our states, and each province of
Canada, maintains either a State Game Commission of several persons, one
Commissioner, or a State Game Warden. All such officers are officially
charged with the duty of looking after the general welfare of the game
and other wild life of their respective states. Theoretically one of the
chief duties of a State Game Commission is to initiate new legislative
bills that are necessary, and advocate their translation into law. The
official standing of most game commissioners is such that they can
successfully do this. In 1909 Governor Hughes of New York went so far as
to let it be known that he would sign no new game bill that did not meet
the approval of State Game Commissioner James S. Whipple. As a general
working principle, and quite aside from Mr. Whipple, that was wrong;
because even a State game commissioner is not necessarily infallible, or
always on the right side of every wild-life question.
As a rule, state commissioners and state wardens are keenly alive to the
needs of their states in new game protective legislation, and a large
percentage of the best existing laws are due to their initiative. Often,
however, their usefulness is limited by the trammels of public office,
and there are times when such officers can not be too aggressive without
the risk of arousing hostile influences, and handicapping their own
departmental work. For this reason, it is often advisable that bills
which propose great and drastic reforms, and which are likely to become
storm-centers, should originate outside the Commissioner's office, and
be pushed by men who are perfectly free to abide the fortunes of open
warfare. It should be distinctly understood, however, that lobbying in
behalf of wild-life measures is _an important part of the legitimate
duty of every state game commissioner_, and is a most honorable calling.
[Illustration: NOTABLE PROTECTORS OF WILD LIFE (II)
EDWARD HOWE FORBUSH
Massachusetts State Ornithologist
T. GILBERT PEARSON
Secretary, National Association of Audubon Societies
JOHN B. BURNHAM
President, American Game Protective and Propagation Association
President, Fish and Game Commission of New Jersey]
Of the many strong and aggressive state game commissions that I would
like to mention in detail, space permits the naming of only a very few,
by way of illustration.
NEW YORK.--Thanks to the great conservation Governor of this state, John
A. Dix, the year 1911 saw our forest, fish and game business established
on an ideal business basis. Realizing the folly of requiring a single
man to manage those three great interests, and render to each the
attention that it deserves and requires, by a well-studied legislative
act a State Conservation Commission was created, consisting of three
commissioners, one for each of the three great natural departments.
These are salaried officers, who devote their entire time to their work,
and are properly equipped with assistants. The state force of game
wardens now consists of 125 picked men, each on a salary of $900 per
year, and through a rigid system of daily reports (inaugurated by John
B. Burnham) the activities and results of each warden promptly become
known in detail at headquarters.
Fortunately, New York contains a very large number of true sportsmen,
who are ever ready to come forward in support of every great measure for
wild-life protection. The spirit of real protection runs throughout the
state, and in time I predict that it will result in a great recovery of
the native game of the commonwealth. That will be after we have stopped
all shooting of upland game birds and shore birds for about eight years.
Even the pinnated grouse could be successfully introduced over one-third
of the state, if the people would have it so. It was our great body of
conscientious sportsmen who made possible the Bayne-Blauvelt law, and
the new codification of the game laws of the state.
TENNESSEE.--Clearly, Honorable Mention belongs to the unsalaried State
Commissioner of Tennessee, Col. J.H. Acklen, "than whom," says Dr.
Palmer, "there is no more active and enthusiastic game protectionist in
this country. Whatever has been accomplished in that state is due to his
activity and public spirit. Col. Acklen, who is now president of the
National Association of Game Commissioners, is a prominent lawyer, and
enjoys the distinction of being the only commissioner in the country who
not only serves without pay, but also defrays a large part of the
expenses of game protection out of his own pocket."
Surely the Commonwealth of Tennessee will not long permit this
unsupported condition of such a game commissioner to endure. That state
has a wild fauna worth preserving for her sons and grandsons, and it is
inconceivable that the funds vitally necessary to this public service
can not be found.
ALABAMA.--I cite the case of Alabama because, in view of its position in
a group of states that until recently have cared little about game
protection, it may be regarded as an unusual case. Commissioner John H.
Wallace, Jr., has evolved order out of chaos,--and something approaching
a reign of law out of the absence of law. To-day the State of Alabama
stands as an example of what can be accomplished by and through one
clear-headed, determined man who is right, and knows that he is right.
NEW JERSEY.--Alabama reminds one of New Jersey, and of State Game
Commissioner Ernest Napier. I have seen him on the firing-line, and I
know that his strong devotion to the interests of the wild life of his
state, his determination to protect it at all costs, and his resistless
confidence in asking for what is right, have made him a power for good.
The state legislature believes in him, and enacts the laws that he says
are right and necessary. He serves without salary, and gives to the
state time, labor and money. It is a pleasure to work with such a man.
In 1912 Commissioner Napier won a pitched battle with the makers of
automatic and pump guns, both shotguns and rifles, and debarred all
those weapons from use _in hunting_ in New Jersey unless satisfactorily
reduced to two shots.
MASSACHUSETTS.--The state of Massachusetts is fortunate in the
possession of a very fine corps of ornithologists, nature lovers,
sportsmen and leading citizens who on all questions affecting wild life
occupy high ground and are not afraid to maintain it. It would be a
pleasure to write an entire chapter on this subject. The record of the
Massachusetts Army of the Defense is both an example and an inspiration
to the people of other states. Not only is the cause of protection
championed by the State Game Commission but it also receives constant
and powerful support from the State Board of Agriculture, which
maintains on its staff Mr. E.H. Forbush as State Ornithologist. The
bird-protection publications of the Board are of great economic value,
and they are also an everlasting credit to the state. The very latest is
a truly great wild-life-protection volume of 607 pages, by Mr. Forbush,
entitled "_Game Birds, Wild-Fowl and Shore Birds_." It is a publication
most damaging to the cause of the Army of Destruction, and I heartily
wish a million copies might be printed and placed in the hands of
lawmakers and protectors.
The fight last winter and spring for a no-sale-of-game law was the
Gettysburg for Massachusetts. The voice of the People was heard in no
uncertain tones, and the Destroyers were routed all along the line. The
leaders in that struggle on the protection side were E.H. Forbush,
William P. Wharton, Dr. George W. Field, Edward N. Goding, Lyman E.
Hurd, Ralph Holman, Rev. Wm. R. Lord and Salem D. Charles. With such
leaders and such supporters, any wild-life cause can be won, anywhere!
PENNSYLVANIA.--The case of Pennsylvania is rather peculiar. As yet there
is no large and resistless organized body of real sportsmen to rally to
the support of the State Game Commission in great causes, as is the case
in New York. As a result, with a paltry fund of only $20,000 for annual
maintenance, and much opposition from hunters and farmers, the situation
is far from satisfactory. Fortunately Dr. Joseph Kalbfus, Secretary of
the Commission and chief executive officer, is a man of indomitable
courage and determination. But for this state of mind he would ere this
have given up the fight for the hunter's license law (of one dollar per
year), which has been bitterly opposed by a very aggressive and noisy
group of gunners who do not seem to know that they are grievously
Fortunately, Commissioner John M. Phillips, of Pittsburgh is the ardent
supporter of Dr. Kalbfus and a vigorous fighter for justice to wild
life. He devotes to the cause a great amount of time and effort, and in
addition to serving without salary he pays all his campaign expenses out
of his own pocket. His only recompense for all this is the sincere
admiration of his friends, and the consciousness of having done his full
duty toward the wild life and the people of his native state.
THE STATE AUDUBON SOCIETIES.--It is impossible to estimate the full
value of the influence and work of the State Audubon Societies of the
United States. Thus far these societies exist in thirty-nine states.
From the beginning, their efforts have tended especially toward the
preservation of the non-game birds, and it is well that the song and
other insectivorous birds have thus been specially championed.
Unfortunately, however, if that policy is pursued exclusively, it leaves
154 very important species of game birds practically at the mercy of the
Army of Destruction! It would seem that the time has come when all
Audubon Societies should take up, as a part of their work, active
co-operation in helping to save the game birds from extermination.
* * * * *
THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS OF NEW YORK CITY
On January 1, 1895, the United States of America contained, so far as I
am aware, not one organization of national scope which was devoting any
large amount of its resources and activities to the protection of wild
life. At that time the former activities of the A.O.U. Committee on Bird
Protection had lapsed. To-day the city of New York contains six national
organizations, and it is now a great center of nation-wide activities in
behalf of preservation. Furthermore, these activities are steadily
growing, and securing practical results.
THE NEW YORK ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY.--In 1895 there was born into the world
a scientific organization having for its second declared object "the
preservation of our native animals." It was the first scientific society
or corporation ever formed, so far as I am aware, having a specifically
declared object of that kind. It owes its existence and its presence in
the field of wild-life conservation to the initiative and persistence of
Mr. Madison Grant and Prof. Henry Fairfield Osborn. For sixteen years
these two officers have worked together virtually as one man. It is not
strange to find a sportsman like Mr. Grant promoting the wild-life
cause, but it is a fact well worthy of note that of all the zoologists
of the world, Professor Osborn is the only one of real renown who has
actively and vigorously engaged in this cause, and taken a place in the
front rank of the Defenders.
Mr. Grant's influence on the protection cause has been strong and
far-reaching,--far more so than the majority of his own friends are
aware. He has promoted important protectionist causes from Alaska to
Louisiana and Newfoundland, and helped to win many important victories.
THE BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB.--This organization of big game sportsmen
was founded in 1885, and is the oldest of its kind in the United
States. Its members always have supported the cause of protection, by
law and by the making of game preserves. In all this work Mr. George
Bird Grinnell, for twenty-five years editor of _Forest and Stream_,
has been an important factor. As stated elsewhere, the club's written
and unwritten code of ethics in big-game hunting is very strict. In
course of time a Committee on Game Protection was formed, and it
actively entered that field.
[Illustration: NOTABLE PROTECTORS OF WILD LIFE (III)
Chief Game Protector and Secretary, Pennsylvania Board of Game
JOHN M. PHILLIPS
Member, Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners
EDWARD A. McILHENNY
Founder of Wild-Fowl Preserves in Louisiana
CHARLES WILLIS WARD
Founder of Wild-Fowl preserves in Louisiana]
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AUDUBON SOCIETIES.--This organization was
founded by William Dutcher, in 1902, and in 1906 it was endowed to the
extent of $322,000 by the bequest of Albert Wilcox. Subsequent
endowments, together with the annual contributions of members and
friends, now give the Association an annual income of $60,000. It
maintains eight widely-separated field agents and lecturers and forty
special game wardens of bird refuges. It maintains Secretary T. Gilbert
Pearson and a number of other good men constantly on the firing-line;
and these forces have achieved many valuable results. After years of
stress and struggle, it now seems almost certain that this organization
will save the two white egrets,--producers of "the white badge of
cruelty,"--to the bird fauna of the United States, as in a similar
manner it has saved the gulls, terns and other sea birds of our lakes
and coast line.
This splendid organization is one of the monuments to William Dutcher.
More than two years ago he was stricken with paralysis, and now sits in
an invalid's chair at his home in Plainfield, New Jersey. His mind is
clear and his interest in wild-life protection is keen, but he is unable
to speak or to write. While he was active, he was one of the most
resourceful and fearless champions of the cause of the vanishing birds.
To him the farmers of America owe ten times more than they ever will
know, and a thousand times more than they ever will repay, either to him
or to his cause.
THE CAMP-FIRE CLUB OF AMERICA.--Although founded in 1897, this
organization did not, as an organization, actively enter the field of
protection until 1909. Since that time its work has covered a wide
field, and enlisted the activities of many of its members. In order to
provide a permanent fund for its work, each year the club members pay
special annual dues that are devoted solely to the wild-life cause. The
Committee on Game Protective Legislation and Preserves is a strong,
hard-working body, and it has rendered good service in the lines of
activity named in its title.
THE AMERICAN GAME PROTECTIVE AND PROPAGATION ASSOCIATION.--This is the
youngest protective organization of national scope, having been
organized in 1911. Its activities are directed by John B. Burnham, for
five years Chief Game Protector of the State of New York, and a man
thoroughly conversant with the business of protection. The organization
is financed chiefly by means of a large annual fund contributed by
several of the largest companies engaged in manufacturing firearms and
ammunition, whose directors feel that the time has come when it is both
wise and necessary to take practical measures to preserve the remnant of
American game. Already the activities of this organization cover a wide
range, and it has been particularly active in enlisting support for the
Weeks bill for the federal protection of migratory birds.
THE WILD LIFE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION came into existence in 1910, rather
suddenly, for the purpose of promoting the cause of the Bayne
no-sale-of-game bill, and other measures. It raised the fund that met
the chief expenses of that campaign. Since that time it has taken an
important part in three other hotly contested campaigns in other states,
two of which were successful.
At the present moment, and throughout the future, these New York
organizations need _large sums of money_ with which to meet the
legitimate expenses of active campaigns for great measures. They need
_some_ money from outside the state of New York! _Too much of the burden
of national campaigning has been and is being left to be borne by the
people of New York City_. This policy is growing monotonous. There is
every reason why Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland,
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston should each year turn $100,000 into
the hands of these well-equipped and well managed national organizations
whose officers know _how to get results_, all over our country.
Such organizations as these do not exist in other cities; and this is
very unfortunate. New Orleans should be a center of protectionist
activity for the South, San Francisco for the Pacific slope, and Chicago
for the Middle West. Will they not become so?
TWO INDEPENDENT WORKERS.--At the western edge of the delta of the
Mississippi there have arisen two men who loom up into prominence at an
outpost of the Army of Defense which they themselves have established.
For what they already have done in the creation of wild-fowl preserves
in Louisiana, Edward A. McIlhenny and Charles Willis Ward deserve the
thanks of the American People-at-large. An account of their splendid
activities, and the practical results already secured, will be found in
Chapter XXXVIII, on "Private Game Preserves," and in the story of Marsh
Island. Already the home of these gentlemen, Avery Island, Louisiana,
has become an important center of activity in wild-life protection.
* * * * *
HOW TO MAKE A NEW GAME LAW
THE LINE OF ACTION.--In the face of a calamity, the saving of life and
property and the check of fire and flood depends upon good judgment and
quick action at the critical moment. In emergencies, the slow and
academic method will not serve. It is the run, the jump, the short cut
and the violent method that saves life. If a woman is drowning, the
sensible man does not wait for an introduction to her; nor does he run
to an acquaintance to borrow his boat, or stop to put on a collar and
necktie. He seizes the first boat that he can find, and breaks its lock
and chain if necessary; or, failing that, he plunges in without one.
When he reaches the imperiled party, he doesn't say, "Will you kindly
let me save you?" He seizes her by the hair, and tries to keep her head
above water, without ceremony.
That is to-day the condition and the treatment necessary regarding our
remnant of wild life. We are compelled to act quickly, directly, and
even violently at times, if we save anything worth while.
There is _no time_ to depend upon the academic "education" of the public
by the seductive illustrated lecture on birds, or the article about the
habits of mammals. Those methods are all well enough in their places,
but we must not depend upon them in emergencies like the present, for
they do not pass laws or arrest lawbreakers. Give the public all of that
material that you can supply, and the more the better, but for heaven's
sake _do not_ depend upon the spread of bird-lore "education" to stop
the work of the game-hogs! If you do, all the wild life will be
destroyed while the educational work is going on.
Often you can educate a gunner, and make him a protectionist; but you
never can do it by showing him pictures of birds. He needs strong
reasoning and exhortation, not bird-lore. To-day it is necessary to
employ the most direct, forceful and at times even rude methods. Where
slaughtering cannot be stopped by moral suasion, it must be stopped with
a hickory club. The thing to do is to _get results, and get them
quickly, before it is too late_!
If the business section of a town is burning down, no one goes into the
suburbs to lecture on architecture, or exhibit pictures of fire
apparatus. The rush is for water, fire-engines, red-blooded men and
dynamite. When the birds all around you are being shot to death by
poachers who fear not God nor regard man, and you need help to stop it
on the instant, run to your neighbor's house, and ring his bell. If he
fails to hear the bell, pound on his door until you jar the whole house.
When he comes down half-dressed, blinking and rubbing his eyes, shout
"Come out! Your birds are all being shot to pieces!"
"Are they?" he will say. "But what can _I_ do about it? I can't help it!
I'm no game warden."
"Put on your clothes, get your shot-gun and come out and drive off the
"But what good will that do? They will come back again."
"Not if we do our duty. We must have them arrested, and appear against
them in court."
"But," says the sleepy citizen, "That won't do much good. The laws are
not strict enough; and besides, they are not well enforced, even as they
"Then let's make it our business to see that the present laws are
enforced, and go to our members of the legislature, and have them pass
some stronger laws."
And this brings me to a very important subject:
* * * * *
HOW TO PASS A NEW LAW
We venture to say that the average citizen little realizes how possible
it is to secure the passage of a law that is clearly necessary for the
better protection of wild life and forests. Because of this, and of the
necessity for exact knowledge, I shall here set down specific
instructions on this subject.
THE PERSONAL EQUATION.--One determined man can secure the passage of a
good law, provided he is reasonably intelligent and sufficiently
determined. The man who starts a movement must make up his mind to
follow it up, direct its fortunes, stay with it when the storms of
opposition beat upon it, and never give up until it is signed by the
governor. He must be willing to sacrifice his personal convenience, many
of his pleasures, and work when his friends are asleep or pleasuring.
In working for the protection of wild life there is one mighty and
unfailing source of consolation. It is this:
_Your cause always gains in strength, and the cause of the destroyers
always loses strength!_
THE CHOICE OF A CAUSE.--Be broad-minded. Do not rush to the legislature
with a demand for a law to permit the taking of bull-heads with
June-bugs in the creeks of your township, or to give your county a
specially early open season on quail in order that your boy may try his
new gun before he goes back to college. _Don't propose any "local"
legislation_; for in progressive states, local game legislation is
coming strongly into disfavor,--just as it should! Legislate for your
whole state, and nothing less.
Do not bother your legislature with a trivial bill. Choose a cause that
is worth while to grown men, and it shall be well with you. It takes no
more time to pass a large bill than a small one; and big men prefer to
be identified with big measures.
Before you have a bill drawn, advise with men whose opinions are worth
having. If the end you have in mind is a great and good one, _go ahead_,
whether you secure support in advance or not. If the needs of the hour
clearly demand the measure, _go ahead_, even though you start absolutely
alone. A good measure never goes far without attracting company.
DRAFTING A BILL.--As a rule, the members of a legislative body do not
have time to draft bills on subjects that are new or strange to them. A
short bill is easily prepared by your own representative; but a lengthy
bill, covering a serious reform, is a different matter. Hire a lawyer to
draft the bill for you. A really good lawyer will not charge much for
drafting a bill that is to benefit the public, and grind no private axe;
but if the bill is long, and requires long study, even the good citizen
must charge something.
Your bill must fully recognize existing laws. It must be either
prohibitory or permissive; which means that it can say what shall not be
done, or else that which may be done according to law, all other acts
being forbidden. Your lawyer must decide which form is best. For my
part, I greatly prefer the prohibitive form, as being the stronger and
more impressive of the two. I think it is the province of the law _to
forbid_ the destruction of wild life and forests, under penalties.
PENALTIES.--Every law should provide a penalty for its infringement; but
the penalty should not be out of all proportion to the offense. It is
just as unwise to impose a fine of one dollar for killing song-birds for
food as it is to provide for a fine of three hundred dollars. A fine
that is too small fails to impress the prisoner, and it begets contempt
for the law and the courts! A fine that is altogether too high is apt to
be set aside by the court as "excessive." In my opinion, the best fines
for wild life slaughter would be as follows:
Shooting, netting or trapping song-birds, and other non-game
birds, each bird $5 to $25
Killing game birds out of season, each bird 10 to 50
Selling game contrary to law, each offense 100 to 200
Dynamiting fish 100 to 200
Seining or netting game fishes 50 to 200
Shooting birds with unfair weapons 10 to 100
Killing an egret, Carolina parakeet or whooping crane 100 to 200
Killing a mountain sheep or antelope anywhere in the U.S. 500
Killing an elk contrary to law 50
Killing a female deer, or fawn without horns, each offense 50
Trapping a grizzly bear for its skin 100
For killing a man "by mistake," the fine should be $500, payable in five
annual instalments, to the court, for the family of the victim.
Whenever fines are not paid, the convicted party should be sentenced to
imprisonment at hard labor at the rate of one-half day for each dollar
of the fine imposed; and a sentence at hard labor should be the _first
option of the court_! Many a rich and reckless poacher snaps his fingers
at fines; but a sentence to hard labor would strike terror to the heart
of the most brazen of them. To all such men, "labor" is the twin terror
THE INTRODUCTION OF A BILL.--Much wisdom is called for in the selection
of legislative champions for wild-life bills. It is possible to state
here only the leading principles involved.
Of course it is best to look for an introducer within the political
party that is in the majority. A man who has many important bills on his
hands is bound to give his best attention to his own pet measures; and
it is best to choose a man who is not already overloaded. If a man has a
host of enemies, pass him by. By all means choose a man whose high
character and good name will be a tower of strength to your cause; and
if necessary, _wait for him to make up his mind_. Mr. Lawrence W.
Trowbridge waited three long and anxious weeks in the hope that Hon.
George A. Blauvelt would finally consent to champion the Bayne bill in
the New York Assembly. At last Mr. Blauvelt consented to take it up; and
the time spent in waiting for his decision was a grand investment! He
was the Man of all men to pilot that bill through the Assembly.
Very often the "quiet man" of a legislative body is a good man to
champion a new and drastic measure. The quiet man who makes up his mind
to take hold of "a hard bill to pass" often astonishes the natives by
his ability to get results. Representative John F. Lacey, of Iowa, made
his name a household word all over the United States by the quiet,
steady, tireless and finally resistless energy with which for three long
years in Congress he worked for "the Lacey bird bill." For years his
colleagues laughed at him, and cheerfully voted down his bill. But he
persisted. His cause steadily gained in strength; and his final triumph
laid the axe at the root of a thousand crimes against wild life,
throughout the length and breadth of this land. He rendered the people
of America a service that entitles him to our everlasting gratitude and
AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF A BILL.--As soon as a bill is introduced it is
referred to a committee, to be examined and reported upon. If there is
opposition,--and to every bill that really does something worth while
there always is opposition,--then there is a "hearing." The committee
appoints a day, when the friends and foes of the bill assemble, and
express their views.
The week preceding a hearing is your busy week. You must plan your
campaign, down to the smallest details. Pick the men whom you wish to
have speak (for ten minutes each) on the various parts of your bill, and
divide the topics and the time between them. Call upon the friends of
the bill in various portions of the state to attend and "say something."
Go up with a strong body of fine men. _Have as many organizations
represented as you possibly can_! The "organizations" represent the
great mass of people, and the voters also.
When you reach the hearing, hand to your bill's champion, who will be
floor manager for your side, a clear and concise list of your speakers,
carefully arranged and stating who's who. That being done, you have only
to fill your own ten minutes and afterward enjoy the occasion.
THE VALUE OF ACCURACY.--It is unnecessary to say, in working for a
bill,--_always be sure of your facts_. Never let your opponents catch
you tripping in accuracy of statement. If you make one serious error,
your enemies will turn it against you to the utmost. Better understate
facts than overstate them. This shrewd old world quickly recognizes the
careful, conservative man whose testimony is so true and so rock-founded
that no assaults can shake it. Legislators are quick to rely on the
words and opinions of the man who can safely be trusted. If your enemies
try to overwhelm you with extravagant statements, that are unfair to
your cause, the chances are that the men who judge between you will
recognize them by their ear-marks, and discount them accordingly.
WORK WITH MEMBERS.--Sometimes a subject that is put before a legislative
body is so new, and the thing proposed is so drastic, it becomes
necessary to take measures to place a great many facts before each
member of the body. Under such circumstances the member naturally
desires to be "shown." The cleanest and finest campaigning for a reform
measure is that in which both sides deal with facts, rather than with
personal importunities. With a good cause in hand, it is a pleasure to
prepare concise statements of facts and conditions from which a
legislator may draw logical conclusions. Whenever a bill can be won
through in that way, game protection work becomes a delight.
In all important new measures affecting the rights and the property of
the whole people of a state, the conscientious legislator wishes to know
how the people feel about it. When you tell him that "The wild life
belongs to the whole people of the state; and this bill is in their
interest," he needs to know for certain that your proposition is true.
Sometimes there is only one way in which he can be fully convinced; and
that is by the people of his district.
Then it becomes necessary to send out a general alarm, and call upon the
People to write to their representatives and express _their_ views. Give
them, in printed matter, the _latest facts_ in the case, forecast the
future as you think it should be forecast, then demand that the men and
women who are interested do write to their senators and assemblyman, and
express _their_ views, in _their own way!_ Let there be no "machine
letters" sent out, all ready for signature; for such letters are a waste
of effort, and belong in the waste baskets to which they are quickly
consigned. The members of legislative bodies hate them, and rightly,
too. They want to hear from men who can think for themselves, give
reasons of their own, and express their desires in their own way.
THE PRESS AND THE NEWSPAPERS.--It is impossible to overestimate the
influence of the newspapers and the periodical press in general, in the
protection of wild life. But for their sympathy, their support and their
independent assaults upon the Army of Destruction, our game species
would nearly all of them have been annihilated, long ago. Editors are
sympathetic and responsive good-citizens, as keenly sensitive regarding
their duties as any of the rest of us are, and from the earliest times
of protection they have been on the firing line, helping to beat back
the destroyers. It is indeed a rare sight to see an editor giving aid,
comfort or advice to the enemy. I can not recall more than a score of
articles that I have seen or heard of during thirty years in this field
that opposed the cause of wild life protection.[K] At this moment, for
instance, I bear in particularly grateful remembrance the active
campaign work of the following newspapers:
[Footnote K: Just one hour after the above paragraph was written, a long
telegram from San Francisco advised me that the _Examiner_ of that city
had begun an active and aggressive campaign for the sale of all kinds of
The New York Times
The New York Tribune
The New York Herald
The New York Globe
The New York Mail and Express
The New York World
The New York Sun
The Springfield (Mass.) Republican
The Chicago Inter-Ocean
The San Francisco Call
The Rochester Union and Advertiser
The Victoria Colonist
The Brooklyn Standard-Union
The New York Evening Post
The New York Press
The Buffalo News
The Minneapolis Journal
The Pittsburgh Index-Appeal
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat
The Philadelphia North American
The Utica Observer
The Washington Star.
These magazines have done good service in the cause; and some of them
have spent many years on the firing line:
Forest and Stream
The American Field
Field and Stream
Recreation (old and new)
Rod and Gun in Canada
In the Open
In campaigning, always appeal for the help of the newspapers. If there
are no private axes to grind, they help generously. The weekly journals
are of value, but the monthlies are printed so long in advance of their
dates of issue that they seldom move fast enough to keep abreast of the
procession. Their mechanical limitations are many and serious.
Every newspaper likes "exclusive" news, letters and articles. On that
basis they will print about all the live matter that you can furnish.
But at the same time, the important news of the campaign _must_ be sent
to the press broadcast, in the form of printed slips all ready for the
foreman. Many of these are never used, but the others are; and it pays.
The news in every slip must be vouched for by the sender, or it will not
be used. Often it will appear as a letter signed by the sender; which is
all right, only the news is most effective when printed without a
signature. Do not count on the Associated Press; because its peculiar
demands render it almost impossible for it to be utilized in game
HOW TO MEET OPPOSITION.--There is no rule for the handling of opposition
that is fair and open. For opposition that is unfair and under-handed,
there is one powerful weapon,--Publicity. The American people love fair
play, and there is nothing so fatal to an unfair fighter as a
searchlight, turned full on him without fear and without mercy. If it is
reliably and persistently reported that some citizen who ought to be on
the right side has for some dark reason become active on the wrong side,
print the reports in a large newspaper, and ask him publicly if they are
true. If the reports are false, he can quickly come out in a letter and
say so, and end the matter. If they are true, the public will soon know
it, and act accordingly.
ETERNAL VIGILANCE.--The progress of a bill must be watched by some
competent person from day to day, and finally from hour to hour. I know
one bill that was saved from defeat only because its promoter dragged
it, almost by force, out of the hands of a tardy clerk, and accompanied
it in person to the senate, where it was passed in the last hour of a
A bill should not be left to a long slumber in the drawer of a
committee. Such delays nearly always are dangerous.
SIGNING THE BILL.--The promoter of a great measure always seeks the
sympathy of the Chief Executive early in the day; but he should not make
the diplomatic error of trying to exact promises or pledges in advance.
Good judges do not give away their decisions in advance.
Because a Chief Executive remarks after a bill has been sent to him for
signing that he "cannot approve it," it is no reason to give up in
despair. Many an executive approval has been snatched at the last
moment, as a brand from the burning. _Ask for a hearing before the bill
is acted upon_. At the hearing, and before it and after, the People who
wish the bill to become a law must express themselves,--by letter, by
telegram, and by appeal in person. If the governor becomes convinced
that an _overwhelming majority_ of his people desire him to sign the
bill, _he will sign it_, even though personally he is opposed to it! The
hall mark of a good governor is a spirit of obedience to the will of the
Not until your bill has been signed by the governor are you ready to go
home with a quiet mind, take off your armor, and put your ear to the
telephone while you hear some one say as your only reward,--"Well done,
good and faithful servant."
AS TO "CREDIT."--Do not count upon receiving any credit for what you do
in the cause of game protection, outside the narrow circle of your own
family and your nearest friends. This is a busy world; and the human
mind flits like a restless bird from one subject to another. The men who
win campaigns are forgotten by the general public, in a few hours! There
is nothing more fickle or more fleeting than the bubble called "popular
applause." Judging by the experiences of great men, I should say that it
has no substance, whatever. The most valuable reward of the man who
fights in a great cause, and helps to win victories, is the profound
satisfaction that comes to every good citizen who bravely does his whole
duty, and leaves the world better than he found it, without the
slightest thought of gallery applause.
* * * * *
NEW LAWS NEEDED: A ROLL-CALL OF THE STATES
The principles of wild-life protection and encouragement are now so
firmly established as to leave little room for argument regarding their
value. When they are set forth before the people of any given state, the
only question is of willingness to do the right thing; of duty or a
defiance of duty; of good citizenship or the reign of selfishness. Men
who do not wish to do their duty purposely befog great issues by noisy
talk and tiresome academic discussions of trivial details; and such men
are the curse and scourge of reform movements.
There are a very few persons who foolishly assert that "there are too
many game laws!" It is entirely wrong for any person to make such a
statement, for it tends to promote harmful error. The fact that our laws
are _too lenient_, or are not fully enforced, is no excuse for
denouncing their purposes. We have all along been too timid, too self
indulgent, and too much afraid of hurting the feelings of the game-hogs.
Give me the power to make the game laws of any state or province and I
will guarantee to save the _non-migratory_ wild life of that region. I
will not only make adequate laws, but I will also provide means, men and
penalties by which _they will be enforced_! It is easy and simple, for
men who are not afraid.
I have been at considerable pains to analyze the game laws of each
state, ascertain their shortcomings, and give a list of the faults that
need correction by new legislation. It has required no profound wisdom
to do this, because the principles involved are so plain that any
intelligent schoolboy fifteen years old can master them in one hour. I
have performed this task hopefully, in the belief that in many states
the real issues have not been plainly put before the people. Hereafter
no state shall destroy its wild life through ignorance of the laws that
would preserve it.
Let no man say that "it is too late to save the wild life"; for
excepting the dead-and-gone species, that is not true. Let no man say
that "we can not save the wild life by law"; for that is not true,
either. As long as laws are lax, even law-abiding people will take
advantage of them.
There are millions of men who think it is _right to kill all the game
that the law allows_! There are thousands of women who think it is right
to wear aigrettes as long as the law permits their sale! And yet, if we
are resolute and diligent there is plenty of hope for the future. During
the past three years, to go no farther back, we have seen the whole
state of New York swept clean of the traffic in native wild game by the
Bayne law, and of the traffic in wild birds' plumage on women's hats
through the Dutcher law. To-day, in this state, we find ninety-nine
women out of every one hundred wearing flowers, and laces, and plush and
satin on their hats, instead of the heads, bodies and feathers of wild
birds that were the regular thing until three years ago. The change has
been a powerful commentary on the value of good laws for the protection
of wild life. The Dutcher law has caused the plumage of wild birds
_almost wholly to disappear from the State of New York_!
We shall here point out the plain duty of each state; and then it will
be up to them, individually, to decide whether they can stand the
blood-test or not.
A state or a nation can be ungentlemanly, unfair or mean, just the same
as an individual. No state has a right to maintain shambles for the
slaughter of migratory game or song birds that belong in part to sister
states. _Every state holds its migratory bird life in trust, for the
benefit of the people of the nation at large_. A state is just as
responsible for its treatment of wild life as any individual; and it is
time to open books of account.
It is robbery, as well as murder, for any southern state to slaughter
the robins of the northern states, where no robins may be killed. _No
southern gentleman can permit such doings, after the crime has been
pointed out to him_! In the North, the men who are caught shooting
robins are instantly haled to court, and fined or imprisoned. If we of
the North should kill for food the mockingbirds that visit us, the
people of the South instantly would brand us as monsters of greed and
meanness; and they would be perfectly justified in so doing.
Let us at least be honest in "agreeing upon a state of fact," as the
lawyers say, whether we act sensibly and mercifully or not. Just so long
as there remains in this land of ours a fauna of game birds, and the
gunners of one-half the states are allowed to dictate the laws for the
slaughter of it, just so long will our present protection remain utterly
absurd and criminally inadequate. Look at these absurdities:
New York, New Jersey and many other northern states rigidly prohibit the
late winter and spring shooting of waterfowl and shore birds, and limit
the bag; North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and other southern
states not only slaughter wild fowl and shore birds all winter and
spring, without limit, but several of them kill certain non-game birds
All the northern states protect the robin, for the good that it does;
but in North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and some other
southern states, thousands of robins are shot for food. Minnesota has
stopped spring shooting; but her sister state on the south, Iowa,
obstinately refuses to do so.
THE UNITED STATES AT LARGE.--There are two great measures that should be
carried into effect by the governing body of the United States. One is
the enactment of a law providing federal protection for all migratory
birds; and Canada and Mexico should be induced to join with the United
States _in an international treaty to that effect_.
The other necessary measure is the passage of a joint resolution of
Congress _declaring every national forest and forest reserve also a game
preserve and general sanctuary for wild life_, in which there shall be
no hunting or killing of wild creatures of any kind save predatory
The tendency of the times,--and the universal slaughter of wild life on
this continent,--point straight as an arrow flies in that direction.
Soon or late, we have GOT to come to it! If Congress does not take the
initiatory steps, _the People will_! Such a consummation is necessary;
it is justified by common sense and the inexorable logic of the
situation, and when done it will be right.
The time was when the friends of wild life did not dare speak of this
subject in Washington save in whispers. That was in the days when the
Appalachian Park bill could not be passed, and when there were angry
mutterings and even curses leveled against Gifford Pinchot and the
Forestry Bureau because so many national forests were being set aside.
That was in the days when a few western sheep-men thought that they
owned the whole Rocky Mountains without having bought them. To-day, the
American people have grown accustomed to the idea of having the
resources of the public domain saved and conserved for the benefit of
the millions rather than lavished upon a favored few. To-day it is
perfectly safe to talk about making every national forest a first class
wild-life sanctuary, and it is up to the People to request Congress to
take that action, at once.
The Weeks bill, the Anthony bill, and the McLean bill now before
Congress to provide federal protection for migratory birds are
practically identical. All three are good bills; and it matters not
which one finally becomes a law. Whichever is put forward finally for
passage should provide federal protection for _all_ migratory birds that
ever enter the United States, Alaska, or Porto Rico. Why favor the duck
and leave the robin to its fate, or vice versa? It will be just as easy
to do this task by wholes as by halves. The time to hesitate, to feel
timid, or to be afraid of the other fellow has gone by. To-day the
millions of honest and serious-minded Americans are ready to back the
most thorough and most drastic policy, because that has become the most
necessary and the best policy. Furthermore, it is the only policy worthy
of serious consideration.
Some of our states have done rather well in wild-life
protection,--considering the absurdity of our national policy as a
whole; others have done indifferently, and some have been and still are
very remiss. Here is where we intend to hew to the line, and without
fear or favor set forth the standing of each state according to its
merits or its lack of merits. In a life-or-death matter such as now
confronts us regarding the wild life of our country, it is time to speak
In the following call of the States, the glaring deficiencies in state
game laws will be set forth in detail, in order that the sore spots may
be exposed to the view of the doctors. Conditions will be represented
_as they exist at the end of the summer of 1912_, and it is to be hoped
that these faults soon may be corrected.
* * * * *
A ROLL-CALL OF THE STATES
It is a satisfaction to be able to open this list with the name of a
state that is entitled to a medal of honor for game protection. In this
particular field of progress and enlightenment, the state of Alabama is
the pioneer state of the South. New York now occupies a similar position
in the North; but New York is an older state, and stronger in her
general love of nature. The attainment of advanced protection in any
southern state is a very different matter from what it is in the North.
Five years ago Alabama set her house in order. The slaughter of song and
insectivorous birds has been so far stopped as any Southern state can
stop it unaided by the federal government, and those birds are
recognized and treated as the farmers' best friends. The absurd system
of attempted protection through county laws has been abandoned. The sale
of game has been stopped, and since that stoppage, quail have increased.
The trapping and export of game have ceased, and wild turkeys and
woodcock are now increasing. It is unlawful to kill or capture non-game
birds. Bag limits have been imposed, but _the bag limit laws are all too
liberal, and should be reduced_. A hunter's license law is in force, and
the department of game and fish is self-supporting. Night hunting is
prohibited, and female deer may not be killed. A comprehensive warden
system has been provided. As yet, however, Alabama
Permits the shooting of waterfowl to March 15, which is too late, by
one and one-half months.
The use of automatic and pump guns in hunting should be suppressed.
There should be a limit of two deer per year, and killing should be
restricted to deer with horns not less than three inches long.
The story of game protection in Alabama began in 1907. Prior to that
time, the slaughter of wild life was very great. It is known that
enormous numbers of quail were annually killed by negro farm hands, who
hunted at least three days each week, regardless of work to be done. The
slaughter of quail, wild ducks, woodcock, doves, robins and snipe was
described as "nauseating."
The change that has been wrought since 1907 is chiefly due to the
efforts of one man. Alabama owes her standing to-day to the admirable
qualities of John H. Wallace, Jr., her Game and Fish Commissioner,
author of the State's policy in wild-life conservation. His
broad-mindedness, his judgment and his success make him a living object
lesson of the power of one determined man in the conservation of wild
Commissioner Wallace is an ardent supporter of the Weeks and Anthony
bills for federal protection, and as a lawyer of the South, he believes
there is "no constitutional inhibition against federal legislation for
the protection of birds of passage."
The sale of game must be absolutely prohibited, forever.
The slaughter of big game by Indians, miners and prospectors should
now be limited, and strictly regulated by law, on rational lines.
The slaughter of walrus for ivory and hides, both in the Alaskan and
Russian waters of Bering Sea, should be totally prohibited for ten
The game-warden service should be quadrupled in number of wardens,
and in general effectiveness.
The game-warden service should be supplied with two sea-going
vessels, independent for patrol work.
The bag limit on hoofed game is 50 per cent too large.
To accomplish these ends, Congress should annually appropriate
$50,000 for the protection of wild life in Alaska. The present
amount, $15,000, is very inadequate, and the great wild-life
interests at stake amply justify the larger amount.
It is now time for Alaska to make substantial advances in the protection
of her wild life. It is no longer right nor just for Indians, miners and
prospectors to be permitted by law to kill all the big game they please,
whenever they please. The indolent and often extortionate Indians of
Alaska,--who now demand "big money" for every service they perform,--are
not so valuable as citizens that they should be permitted to feed
riotously upon _moose, and cow moose at that_, until that species is
exterminated. Miners and prospectors are valuable citizens, but that is
no reason why they should forever be allowed to live upon wild game, any
more than that hungry prospectors in our Rocky Mountains should be
allowed to kill cattle.
Alaska and its resources do not belong to the very few people from "the
States" who have gone there to make their fortunes and get out again as
quickly as possible. The quicker the public mind north of Wrangel is
disabused of that idea, the better. Its game belongs to the people of
this nation of ninety-odd millions, and it is a safe prediction that the
ninety millions will not continue to be willing that the miners,
prospectors and Indians shall continue to live on moose meat and caribou
tongues in order to save bacon and beef.
Mr. Frank E. Kleinschmidt said to me that at Sand Point, Alaska, he saw
eighty-two caribou tongues brought in by an Indian, and sold at fifty
cents each, while (according to all accounts) most of the bodies of the
slaughtered animals became a loss.
Governor Clark has recommended in his annual report for 1911 that the
protection now enjoyed by the giant brown bear _(Ursus middendorffi_) on
Kadiak Island be removed, for the benefit of settlers _and their stock_!
It goes without saying that no one proposes that predatory wild animals
shall be permitted to retard the development of any wild country that is
required by civilized man. All we ask in this matter is that, as in the
case of the once-proposed slaughter of sea-lions on the Pacific Coast,
_the necessity of the proposed slaughter shall be fully and adequately
proven before the killing begins_! It is fair to insist that the
sea-lion episode shall not be repeated on Kadiak Island.
The big game of Alaska can not long endure against a "limit" of two
moose, three mountain sheep, three caribou and six deer per year, per
man. At that rate the moose and sheep soon will disappear. The limit
should be one moose, two sheep, two caribou and four deer,--unless we
are willing to dedicate the Alaskan big game to Commercialism. No
sportsman needs a larger bag than the revised schedule; and
commercialists should not be allowed to kill big game anywhere, at any
Let us bear in mind the fact that Alaska is being throughly "opened up"
to the Man with a Gun. Here is the latest evidence, from the new
circular of an outfitter:
"I will have plenty of good horses, and good, competent and courteous
guides; also other camp attendants if desired. My intention is to
establish permanently at that point, as I believe it is the gateway to
the finest _and about the last_ of the great game countries of North
The road is open; the pack-train is ready; the guides are waiting. Go on
and slay the Remnant!
The band-tailed pigeons and all non-game birds should immediately be
given protection; and a salaried warden system should be established
under a Commissioner whose term is not less than four years.
The use of automatic and pump guns, in hunting, should be
Spring shooting should be prohibited.
Arizona has good reason to be proud of her up-to-date position in the
ranks of the best game-protecting states. No other state or territory of
her age ever has made so good a showing of protective laws. The
enactment of laws to cover the points mentioned above would leave little
to be desired in Arizona. That state has a bird fauna well worth
protecting, and game wardens are extremely necessary.
The enforcement of game laws should be placed in charge of a
Spring shooting of wildfowl should be stopped at once.
A reasonable close season should be provided for water fowl, and
swans should be protected throughout the year.
A bag-limit law should be enacted.
A force of game wardens, salaried and unsalaried, should at once be
The killing of female deer and the hounding of deer, should be
No buck deer should be shot, unless horns three inches long are seen
A hunter's license law is necessary; and the fees should go to the
support of the game protection department.
The local exemptions in favor of market hunters in Mississippi
county should be repealed.
It appears that in Arkansas the laws for the protection and increase of
wild life are by no means up to the mark. At this moment, Arkansas is
next to Florida, the rearmost of all our states in wild-life protection.
Awake, Arkansas! Consider the peril that threatens your fauna. The Sunk
Lands, in your northeastern corner along the St. Francis River, are the
greatest wild-fowl refuge anywhere in the Mississippi Valley between the
Gulf Coast of Louisiana and the breeding-grounds of Minnesota. A duty to
the nation devolves upon you, to protect the migratory waterfowl that
visit your great bird refuge from the automatic and pump guns of the
pothunters who shoot for northern markets, and kill all that they can
kill. _Protect those Sunken Lands_! Confer a boon on all the people of
the Mississippi Valley by making that region a bird refuge in fact as
well as in name.
Heretofore, you have permitted hired market gunners from outside your
borders to slaughter the wild-fowl of your Sunk Lands literally by
millions, and ship them to northern markets, with very little benefit to
your people. It is time for that slaughter to cease. Don't maintain a
duck and goose shambles in Mississippi County, year after year, as North
Carolina does! Do unto other states as you would have other states do
unto you. _Do not_ be afraid to pass nine good laws in one act. Clear
your record in the Family of States, and save your fauna before it is
too late. It is not fair for you to permit the slaughter of the
insectivorous birds that are like the blood of life to the farmer and
The sale of all wild game should be forever prohibited.
The use of automatic and pump shotguns, in hunting, should be
The killing of pigeons and doves as "game" and "food" should be
The sage grouse and every other species of bird threatened with
extinction should be given ten year close seasons.
The mule deer (if any remain) and the Columbian black-tailed deer in
the southern counties should be accorded a ten-year close season.
A large state game preserve should be created immediately, on or
near Mount Shasta and abundantly stocked with nucleus herds of
antelope, black-tailed deer, bison and elk.
A suitable preserve in the southern part of the state should be set
aside for the dwarf elk.
As game laws are generally regarded, California has on her books a
series that look rather good to the eye, but which are capable of
considerable improvement. All along the line, the birds and quadrupeds
of the Golden State are vanishing! Under that heading, a vigorous
chapter could be written; but space forbids its development here. Just
fancy laws that permit gunning and hunting with dogs, from August until
January--one-half the entire year! Think of the nesting birds that are
disturbed or killed by dogs and gunners after other birds!
California's wild ducks and geese have been slaughtered to an extent
almost beyond belief. The splendid sage grouse and the sharp-tailed
grouse are greatly reduced in numbers. Of her hundreds of thousands of
antelope, once the cheapest game in the market, scarcely "a trace"
remains. Her mountain sheep and mule deer are almost extinct. Her
grizzly bears are gone!
The most terrible slaughter ever recorded for automatic guns occurred
in Glenn County, Cal., on Feb. 5, 1906, when two men (whose story was
published in _Outdoor Life_, xvii, p. 371, April, 1906), killed 450
geese in one day, and actually bagged 218 of them in _one hour_!
Every person who has paid attention to game protection on the Pacific
coast well knows that during the past eight years or more, the work of
game protection in California has been in a state of frequent turmoil.
At times the lack of harmony between the State Fish and Game Commission
and the sportsmen of the state has been damaging to the interests of
wild life, and deplorable. In the case of Warden Welch, in Santa Cruz
County, pernicious politics came near robbing the state of a splendid
warden, but the courts finally overthrew the overthrowers of Mr. Welch,
and reinstated him.
The fish and game commissioners of any state should be broad-minded,
non-partisan, strictly honest and sincere. So long as they possess these
qualities, they deserve and should have the earnest and aggressive
support of all sportsmen and all lovers of wild life. The remnant of
wild life is entitled to a square deal, and harmony in the camp of its
friends. Fortunately California has an excellent force of salaried game
wardens (82 in all) and 577 volunteer wardens serving without salary.
The State of Colorado should instantly stop the sale of native wild
game to be used as food.
It should stop all late winter and spring shooting of native wild
It should give the sage grouse, pinnated grouse and all shore birds
a ten year close season, remove the dove from the list of game
birds, and give it a permanent close season.
It should remove the crane and the swan from the list of game birds.
In twenty-five short years we have seen in Colorado a waste of wild life
and the destruction of a living inheritance that has few parallels in
history. Possibly the people of Colorado are satisfied with the
residuum; but some outsiders regard all Rocky Mountain shambles with a
feeling of horror.
A brief quarter-century ago, Colorado was a zoological park of grand
scenery and big game. The scenery remains, but of the great wild herds,
only samples are left, and of some species not even that.
The last bison of Colorado were exterminated in Lost Park by scoundrels
calling themselves "taxidermists," in 1897. Of the 200,000 mule deer
that inhabited Routt County and other portions of Colorado, not enough
now remain to make deer hunting interesting. A perpetual close season
was put on mountain sheep just in time to save a dozen small flocks as
seed stock. Those flocks have been permitted to live, and they have bred
until now there are perhaps 3,500 sheep in the state. Of elk, only a
remnant is left, now protected for fifteen years.
The grizzly bear is so thoroughly gone that one is seen only by a rare
accident; but black bears and pumas are sufficiently numerous to afford
fair sport, provided the hunter has a fine outfit of dogs, horses and
guides. Of prong-horned antelope, several bands remain, but it is
reported that they are steadily diminishing. The herds and herders of
domestic sheep are blamed for the decrease, and I have no doubt they
deserve it. The sheep and their champions are the implacable enemies of
all wild game, and before them the game vanishes, everywhere.
The lawmakers of Colorado have tried hard to provide adequate statutes
for the protection of the wild life of the state. In fact, I think that
no state has put forth greater or more elaborate efforts in that
direction. For example, in 1899, under the leadership of Judge D.C.
Beaman of Denver, Colorado initiated the "more game movement," by
enacting a very elaborate law providing for the establishment of private
game preserves and farms for the breeding of game under state license,
and the tagging and sale of preserve-bred game under state supervision.
[Illustration: BAND-TAILED PIGEON
Often Mistaken for the Passenger Pigeon. The rapid Slaughter
of this Species has Alarmed the Ornithologists of California,
who now fear its Extinction]
The history of game destruction in Colorado is a repetition of the old,
old story,--plenty of laws, but a hundred times too many hunters,
killing the game both according to law and contrary to it, and doing it
five times as fast as the game could breed. That combination can safely
be warranted to wipe out the wild life of any country in the world, and
accomplish it right swiftly.
As a big-game country, Colorado is distinctly out of the running. Her
people are too lawless, and her frontiersmen are, in the main, far too
selfish to look upon plenteous game without going after it. Some of
these days, a new call of the wild will arise in Colorado, demanding an
open season on mountain sheep. Those who demand it will say, "What harm
will it do to kill a few surplus bucks? It will improve the breed, and
make the herds increase faster!"
By all means, have an "open season" on the Colorado big-horn and the
British Columbia elk. It will "do them good." The excitement of ram
slaughter will be good for the females, will it not? Of course, they
will breed faster after that,--with all the big rams dead. Any "surplus"
wild life is a public nuisance, and should promptly be shot to pieces.
In Colorado there is some desire that Estes Park should be acquired as a
national park, and maintained by the government; but the strong reasons
for this have not yet appeared. As yet we have not heard any reason why
the State of Colorado should not herself take it and make of it a state
park and game preserve. If done, it could be offered as a partial
atonement for her wastefulness in throwing away her inheritance of grand
Colorado has work to do in the preservation of her remnant of bird life.
In several respects she is behind the times. The present is no time to
hesitate, or to ask the gunners what _they_ wish to have done about new
laws for the saving of the remnant of game. The dictates of common sense
are plain, and inexorable. Let the lawmakers do their whole duty by the
remnant of wild life, whether the game killers like it or not.
_The Curse of Domestic Sheep Upon Game and Cattle_.--Much has been said
in print and out of print regarding the extent to which domestic sheep
have destroyed the cattle ranges and incidentally many game ranges of
the West; but the half hath not been told. The American people as a
whole do not realize that the domestic sheep has driven the domestic
steer from the free grass of the wild West, with the same speed and
thoroughness with which the buffalo-hunters of the 70's and 80's swept
away the bison. I have seen hundreds of thousands of acres of what once
were beautiful and fertile cattle-grazing lands in Montana, that has
been left by grazing sheep herds looking precisely as if the ground had
been shaven with razors and then sandpapered. The sheep have driven out
the cattle, and the price of beef has gone up accordingly. Neither
cattle, horses nor wild game can find food on ground that has been
grazed over by sheep.
The following is the testimony of a reliable eye witness, Mr. Dillon
Wallace, and the full text appears in his book, "_Saddle and Camp in the
Rockies_," (page 169):--
Domestic sheep and sheep herders are the greatest enemies of the
antelope, as well as of other game animals and birds in the regions
where herders take their flocks. The ranges over which domestic
sheep pasture are denuded of forage and stripped of all growth, and
antelope will not remain upon a range where sheep have been.
Thus the sheep, sweeping clean all before them and leaving the
ranges over which they pass unproductive, for several succeeding
seasons, of pasturage for either wild or domestic animals, together
with the destructive shepherds, are the worst enemies at present of
Utah's wild game, particularly of antelope, sage hens, and grouse.
In Iron county, which has already become an extensive sheep region,
settlers tell us that before the advent of sheep, grass grew so
luxuriously that a yearling calf lying in it could not be seen. Not
only has the grass here been eaten, but the roots tramped out and
killed by the hoofs of thousands upon thousands of sheep, and now
wide areas, where not long since grass was so plentiful, are as bare
and desolate as sand-piles.
* * * * *
NEW LAWS NEEDED IN THE STATES
The sale of all native wild game, regardless of its source, should
be prohibited at all times. Enact at once a five-year close season
law on the remnant of ruffed grouse, quail, woodcock, snipe, and all
Even in the home of the newest and deadliest "autoloading" shotgun,
those guns and pump guns should be prohibited in hunting.
The enormous bag limits of 35 rail and 50 each per day of plover,
snipe and shore birds is a crime! They should be replaced by a
ten-year close season law for all of those species.
The terms of the game commissioners should be not less than four
Like so many other states, Connecticut has recklessly wasted her
wild-life inheritance. During the fifteen years preceding the year 1898,
the bird life of that state had decreased 75 per cent. On March 6, 1912,
Senator Geo. P. McLean, of Connecticut stated at the hearing held by his
Committee on Forest Reservations and the Protection of Game this fact:
"We have more cover than there was thirty or forty years ago, more brush
probably, but there is not one partridge [ruffed grouse] today where
there were twenty ten years ago!"
First of all, Connecticut needs a ten-year close season law to save her
remnant of shore birds before it is completely annihilated. Then she
needs a Bayne law, and needs it badly. Under such a law, and the tagging
system that it provides, the state game wardens would have so strong a
grip on the situation that the present unlawful sale of game would be
completely stopped. Half-way measures in preventing the sale of game
will not answer. Already Connecticut has wasted thousands of dollars in
fruitless efforts to restock her desolated woodlands and farms with
quail, and to introduce the Hungarian partridge; but even yet she _will
not_ protect her own native species!
Men of Connecticut, save the last remnants of your native game birds
before they are all utterly exterminated within your borders! Don't ask
the killers of game what _they_ will agree to, but make the laws what
_you know_ they should be! If you want a gameless state, let the
destruction go on as it now is going, with _16,000 licensed gunners_ in
the field each year, and you will surely have it, right soon.
Stop all spring shooting, at once; stop killing shore birds for ten
years, and protect swans indefinitely.
Enact bag-limit laws, in very small figures.
Stop the sale of all native wild game, regardless of its use, by
enacting a Bayne law.
Enact a resident license law, and provide for a force of paid game
Stop the use of machine shot-guns in killing your birds.
The state of Delaware is nearly twenty years behind the times. Can it be
possible that her Governor and her people are really satisfied with that
position? We think not. I dare say they are afflicted with apathy, and
game-hogs. The latter can easily back up General Apathy to an extent
that spells "no game laws." In one act, and at one bold stroke, Delaware
can step out of her position at the rear of the procession of states,
and take a place in the front rank. Will she do it? We hope so, for her
present status is unworthy of any right-minded, red-blooded state this
side of the Philippines.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:
The sale of all native wild game, regardless of its source, should
be stopped immediately, by the enactment of a complete Bayne law.
If game-shooting within the District is continued, on the marshes of
the Eastern Branch and on the Potomac River, common decency demands
the enactment of bag-limit laws and long close-season laws of the
most modern pattern.
Just why it is that gross abuses against wild life have so long been
tolerated in the territorial center of the American nation, remains to
be ascertained. But, whatever the reason the situation is absurd and
intolerable, and Congress should terminate it immediately. As late as
1897, and I think for two or three years thereafter, thousands of
_robins_ were sold every year in the public markets of Washington as
food! As a spectacle for gods and men, behold to-day the sale of quail,
ruffed grouse, wild turkeys and other American game, half way between
the Capitol and the White House! Look at Center Market as a national
"fence" for the sale of game stolen by market gunners from Maryland,
Virginia, the Carolinas and Pennsylvania.
It is time for Congress to bring the District of Columbia sharply into
line; for Washington must be made to toe the mark beside New York. The
reputation of the national capital demands it, whether the gods of the
cafes will consent or not.
Shooting shore birds and waterfowl in late winter and spring should
The sale of all native wild game should be prohibited.
A State Game Commissioner whose term of office should be not less
than four years, and a force of salaried game wardens, should be
A general resident license should be required for hunting.
The killing of does and fawns should be stopped, and no deer should
be killed save bucks with horns at least three inches long.
The bag limit of five deer per year should be two deer; of twenty
quail, and two turkeys per day should be ten quail and one turkey.
The open season on all game birds should end on February 1, for
Protection should be accorded doves, and robins should be removed
from the game list.
In the destruction of wild life, I think the backwoods population of
Florida is the most lawless and defiant that can be found anywhere in
the United States. The "plume-hunters" have practically exterminated the
plume-bearing egrets, wholly annihilated the roseate spoonbill, the
flamingo, and also the Carolina parrakeet. On July 8, 1905, one of them
killed an Audubon Association Warden, Guy M. Bradley, whose business it
was to enforce the state laws protecting the egret rookeries. The people
really to blame for the shooting of Guy Bradley, and the extermination
of the egrets by lawless and dangerous men, are the vain and merciless
women who wear the "white badges of cruelty" as long as they can be
purchased! They have much to answer for!
Originally, Florida was alive with bird life. For number of species,
abundance of individuals, and general dispersal throughout the whole
state, I think no other state in America except possibly California ever
possessed a bird fauna quite comparable with it. Once its bird life was
one of the wonders of America. But the gunners began early to shoot, and
shoot, and shoot. During the fifteen years preceding 1898, the general
bird life of Florida decreased in volume 77 per cent. In 1900 it was at
a very low point, and it has steadily continued to decrease. The
rapidly-growing settlement and cultivation of the state has of course
had much to do with the disappearance of wild life generally, and the
draining and exploitation of the Everglades will about finish the birds
of southern Florida.
The brown pelicans' breeding-place on Pelican Island, in Indian River,
has been taken in hand by the national government as a bird refuge, and
its marvelous spectacle of pelican life is now protected. Nine other
islands on the coast of Florida have been taken as national bird
refuges, and will render posterity good service.
The great private game and bird preserve of Dr. Ray V. Pierce, at
Apalachicola, known as St. Vincent Island, containing twenty square
miles of wonderful woods and waters, is performing an important function
for the state and the nation.
The Florida bag limit on quail is entirely too liberal. I know one man
who never once exceeded the limit of twenty birds per day, but in the
season of 1908-9 he killed _865 quail_! Can the quail of any state long
endure such drains as that?
From a zoological point of view, Florida is in bad shape. A great many
of her people who shoot are desperately lawless and uncontrollable, and
the state is not financially able to support a force of wardens
sufficiently strong to enforce the laws, even as they are. It looks as
if the slaughter would go on until nothing of bird life remains. At
present I can see no hope whatever for saving even a good remnant of the
wild life of the state.
The present status of wild-life protective laws in Florida was made the
subject of an article in _Forest and Stream_ of August 10, 1912, by John
H. Wallace, Jr., Game Commissioner of the State of Alabama, in an
article entitled "The Florida Situation." In view of his record, no one
will question either the value or the honest sincerity of Mr. Wallace's
opinions. The following paragraphs are from that article:
The enactment of a model and modern game law for the State of
Florida is absolutely imperative in order to save many of the most
valuable species of birds and game of that State from certain
depletion and threatened extinction. The question of the protection
of the birds and game in Florida is not a local one, but is national
in its scope. Birds know no state lines, and while practically all
the States lying to the north of Florida protect migratory birds and
waterfowl, yet these are recklessly slaughtered in that state to
such an extent as to be appalling to all sportsmen and bird lovers.
So alarming has become the decrease of the birds and game of Florida
that unless a halt is called on the campaign of reckless
annihilation that has been ceaselessly waged in that state, the
sport and recreation enjoyed by primeval nimrods will linger only in
history and tradition.
It is the sincerest hope of all lovers of wild life of the American
continent that a strong and invincible sentiment, relative to the
imperative necessity of real conservation legislation, be
crystallized in the minds of the members elect of the Florida
Legislature, to the end that the next Legislature will spread upon
the statute books of the State of Florida a model and modern law for
the preservation and protection of the birds and game of that State,
which when put into practical operation will elicit the thanks of
all good citizens, and likewise the gratitude of future generations.
Prohibit late winter and spring shooting, and provide rational
seasons for wild fowl.
Reduce the limit on deer to two bucks a season, with horns not less
than three inches long.
Protect the meadow lark and stop forever the killing of doves and
Prohibit the use of automatic and pump shot-guns in hunting.
Extend the term of the game commissioner to four years.
We are glad to report that Georgia has already begun to take up the
white man's burden. The protection of wild life is now a gentleman's
proposition, and in it every real man with red blood in his veins has a
duty to perform. The state of Georgia has recently awakened, and under
the comprehensive law of 1911 has resolutely undertaken to do her whole
duty in this matter.
The imperative duties of Idaho are as follows:
Stop all hunting of mountain sheep, mountain goat and elk.
Give the sage grouse and sharp-tail ten-year close seasons, at once,
to forestall their extermination.
Stop the killing of doves as "game."
Stop the killing of female deer, and of bucks with horns less than
three inches long.
Enact the model law to protect non-game birds.
Prohibit the use of machine shot-guns in hunting.
Extend the State Warden's term to four years.
Like Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, the state of Idaho has wasted her
stock of game, and it is to be feared that several species are now about
to disappear from that state. I am told that the sage grouse is almost
"gone"; and I think that the antelope, caribou, and mountain sheep are
in the same condition of scarcity.
If the people of Idaho wish to save their wild fauna, they must be up
and doing. The time to temporize, theorize, be conservative and
easy-going has gone by. It is that fatal policy that causes men to
slumber until it is too late to act; and we will watch with keen
interest to see whether the real men of Idaho are big enough to do their
whole duty in time to benefit their state.
In 1910, Dr. T.S. Palmer credited Idaho with the possession of about
five hundred moose and two hundred antelope.
There is one feature of the Idaho game law that may well stand
unchanged. The open season on "ibex," of which one per year may be
killed, may as well be continued. One myth per year is not an
extravagant bag for any intelligent hunter; and it seems that the "ibex"
will not down. Being officially recognized by Idaho, its place in our
fauna now seems assured.
Enact a Bayne law, and stop the sale of all native wild game,
regardless of source, and regardless of the gay revelers of Chicago.
In Illinois the bag limits on birds are nearly all at least 50 per
cent too high. They should be as follows: No squirrels, doves or
shore birds; six quail, five woodcock, ten coots, ten rail, ten
ducks, three geese and three brant, with a total limit of ten
waterfowl per day.
Doves should be removed from the game list.
All tree squirrels and chipmunks should be perpetually protected, as
companions to man, unfit for food.
The sale of aigrettes should be stopped, and Chicago placed in the
same class as Boston, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.
The use of all machine shotguns in hunting should be prohibited.
The chief plague-spots for the grinding up of American game are Chicago,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco. St. Louis
cleared her record in 1909. New York thoroughly cleaned her Augean
stable in 1911, and Massachusetts won her Bayne law by a desperate
battle in 1912. In 1913, Pennsylvania probably will enact a Bayne law.
Fancy a city in the center of the United States sending to Norway for
1,500 ptarmigan, to eat, as Chicago did in 1911; and that was only one
For forty years the marshes, prairies, farms and streams of the whole
upper Mississippi Valley have been combed year after year by the guns of
the market shooters. Often the migratory game was located by telegraphic
reports. Game birds were slain by the wagon-load, boat-load, barrel, and
car-load, "for the Chicago market." And the fool farmers of the Middle
West stolidly plowed their fields and fed their hogs, and permitted the
slaughter to go on. To-day the sons of those farmers go to the museums
and zoological parks of the cities to see specimens of pinnated grouse,
crane, woodcock, ducks and other species that the market shooters have
"wiped out"; and their fathers wax eloquent in telling of the flocks of
pigeons that "darkened the sky," and the big droves of prairie chickens
that used to rise out of the corn-fields "with a roar like a coming
To-day, Chicago stands half-way reformed. Her markets are open to only
one-half the game killable in Illinois, but they are wide open to all
"_legally_ killed game imported from other states, from Oct. 1 to Feb.
1." Through that hole in her game laws any game-dealer can drive a
moving-van! Of course, any game offered in Chicago has been "legally
killed in some other state!" Who can prove otherwise?
In addition to the imported game illegally killed in other states, the
starving population of Chicago may also buy for cash, and consume with
their champagne in November and December, all the Illinois doves that
can be combed out by the market-gunners.
After the awful Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago, in 1903, the game
dealers reported a heavy falling off in the consumption of game! The
tragedy caused the temporary closing of the theaters, and the falling
off in after-theater suppers may be said to have taken away the
appetites of thousands of erstwhile consumers of game. Incidentally it
showed who consumes purchased game.
The people of Illinois should now enact a full-fledged Bayne law,
without changing a single word, and bring Chicago up to the level of New
York, St. Louis and Boston.
The present bag limits on Illinois game birds are fatally high. As they
stand, with 190,000 licensed gunners in the field each year, what else
do they mean than extermination? The men of Illinois have just two
alternatives between which to choose: drastic and immediate
preservation, or a gameless state. Which shall it be?
Indiana should hasten to stop spring shooting.
She should enact a law, prohibiting the sale for millinery purposes
of the plumage of all wild birds save ducks killed in their open
A Bayne law, absolutely prohibiting the sale of all native wild
game, should be enacted at once.
The killing of squirrels should be prohibited; because they are not
white men's game.
Ruffed grouse and quail should have five year close seasons.
The use of pump and autoloading guns in hunting should be
In Indiana the white-tailed deer is extinct. This means very close
hunting, and a bad outlook for all other game larger than the sparrow.
On October 2, 1912, eleven heads of greater bird of paradise, with
plumes attached, were offered for sale within one hundred feet of the
headquarters of the Fourth National Conservation Congress. The prices
ranged from $35 to $47.50; and while we looked, two ladies came up, one
of whom pointed to a bird-of-paradise corpse and said: "There! I want
one o' them, an' I'm a-goin' to _have_ it, too!"
Spring shooting should be stopped, at once and forever.
The killing of all tree squirrels and chipmunks should cease.