Outdoor NebraskaOctober 1930 Ivan Fleming
Our Cover This Month
Outdoor Nebraska offers its readers this month a cover which shows a Nebraska scene in the Sand-Hills.
This cover is made from a drawing by a Nebraska hunter. It was engraved by a Nebraska firm, and printed by Nebraska printers.
Nebraska is a great state and it is rapidly taking its place among older sister states. Nebraska is becoming self-sustaining, not only in her industries, but in her art.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOfficial Bulletin Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission VOL. V OCTOBER 1930 NO. 4 CONTENTS Many Counties for Pheasant Hunting_________________________________ 5 Pheasants Raised Profitably on Game Farms------------------------------------- 6 Nebraska Izaak Walton League Holds State Meet---------------------------------- 7 Editorial ____________________________________________________________ 8 Methods of Modern Business Applied to Stocking Streams--------------------- 9 Pheasants Consume Many Insects------------------------------------------------------- 10 Game and Park Activities____________________________________________ 1 1 What Other States Are Doing in Game Affairs_________________________ 1 2
Hunting a Sport—Not an Industry
The sportsmen of this country are, in the final analysis, the ones who control hunting and fishing, and decide whether these two sports shall survive. With this knowledge in mind, hunters who complain against bag limits, especially on pheasants, should think twice before protesting the arrest of someone who has let his enthusiasm get the best of his judgment and has shot more than his limit of birds.
We would remind you of the duck situation of not so many years ago, when market hunters operated pretty much as they pleased, and with little complaint from men who hunted for sport. Market hunting is generally recognized as one of the contributing factors to the present scarcity of ducks. Until conditions became intolerable, the market shooters went without interference.
By giving full support to the game wardens, the sportsmen of this state can prevent a recurrence of such a condition with regard to pheasants. If the majority of hunters feel they should be allowed to take any amount of game, the market hunters are going to come back. When the bars are let down the game hogs run wild.
Remembering that they have an investment in every game bird and animal in the state, Nebraska sportsmen should give hearty support to the game commission in its efforts to keep hunting what it is, a sport, not an industry.
AN EARLY AUTUMN SCENE IN NEBRASKA. NEBRASKA IS FAMOUS FOR HER LOVELY AUTUMNS.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOfficial Bulletin Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission VOL. V OCTOBER, 1930 NO. 4
Many Counties Open for Pheasant Hunting
TWENTY-THREE counties in Nebraska are open for pheasant hunting this fall. It is the largest number of counties ever opened, and embraces nearly one-fourth of the entire state.
The counties open are as follows: Antelope, Boone, Burt, Cheyenne, Colfax, Cuming, Deuel, Dixon, Garden, Greeley, Holt, Howard, Keith, Knox, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Pierce, Scotts Bluff, Sherman, Stanton, Valley, Wayne.
2. The open season shall be for a period of ten (10) days, beginning at 7 a. m. October 23, 1930, and ending at 6 p. m. November 1, 193 0. No hunting is permissible between sunset and one-half hour before sunrise of each day.
3. The daily bag limit during the above season shall be five (5) male birds, or four (4) male and one (1) female bird, and the possession limit shall be five (5) male birds, or four (4) male and one (1) female bird.
4. All birds killed and carried from the county must be tagged with special tags which shall be available from county clerks and persons handling state permits in the several open counties. One tag shall be used for the bag. A fee of ten cents will be charged for tagging each bag.
5. Where hen pheasants exceeding the bag limit are killed by accident the person killing will retrieve same and turn such birds over to the nearest game warden. Such game warden will give a receipt for these birds and turn them over to charitable organizations or state institutions. Persons killing hen pheasants and leaving them in the field will be prosecuted.
6. The ownership and title of all birds rests in the state and the person taking or killing the same shall consent that the title thereto shall be and remain in the state for the purpose of regulating the possession, use and transportation thereof after killing or taking of same. The taking or killing of birds shall be deemed a consent on the part of such person that title to same rests in the state.
7. All persons taking or hunting birds on any land not public land must obtain the consent of the owner or person in charge of the same. It is unlawful for any person to trespass on duly posted land or hunt on private land without the consent of the owner in charge. It is, also, unlawful to shoot game birds on or from a public highway. All such violations will be prosecuted.
Saving game today means more game for tomorrow.
Are you one of the fellows who think you are a sportsman because you leave gates open, break fences, endanger stock and enter without permission? A sportsman does none of these things.
Treat the farmer as you would want to be treated if you were in his place. You will find that the farmer is just as much of a gentleman as any one else and will go more than half way to accommodate you if you treat him right.
Open Counties Are Shown in Black
Pheasants Raised Profitably on Nebraska Game Farm
COMPARATIVE costs of and profits from raising pheasants and chickens, compiled by a Nebraska game farmer, show that pheasants are less expensive to raise, under present conditions, and bring more per pound as meat birds when ready for market than do the chickens.
This game farmer, basing his pheasant figures on his own experience and chicken figures on data supplied by the College of Agriculture, has found that it costs $1.42 per year to feed a grown pheasant, while an old chicken takes $2.08 in feed annually. The pheasant's diet consists of eight pounds of meal, twenty pounds of scratch and five pounds of egg mash.
The fancier has figured that pens holding five hens and one male cock will cost from $8 to $24.50, according to the amount you wish to spend. They need no other shelter the year 'round. A chicken house to shelter five hens and one rooster should have at least twenty-four square feet of floor space. A 4x6 house would cost $26.50 and the yard fence would cost $3.10, a total of $29.60.
Pheasants begin laying between April 1 and April 15 and continue until August 15. The average record per hen is as follows: April 19.5 eggs; May, 21.5 eggs; June, 18 eggs, and July, 13 eggs. August eggs are not recorded in the pamphlet as their fertility is somewhat low.
The above figures are compared with the average record for chickens as supplied by the college. The poultry department says the average per hen is 150 eggs a season. Of this amount 100 eggs are good only for commercial purposes while approximately fifty are fertile and are either set, or sold to the hatcheries at a higher market price.
Egg markets show a wide variance as between pheasants and chickens. For instance, a setting of fifteen pheasant eggs, the average clutch, in April and May will bring $4.50, in June, $4, and in July, $2.75.
For 105 eggs the game farmer receives during April and May, $27; June, $24, and July, $16.50.
One hundred chicken eggs may be sold for commercial use at an average price of 30 cents per dozen, or $2.50. Fifty eggs sold to a hatchery will bring the average price of 40 cents per dozen, or $1.67, a total for the 150 of $4.17, which is the egg value of the average hen.
Compare this with the egg value per pheasant hen of $19.43. Using the average laying figures per month as previously stated, we find that the hen's value during April is $5.85; in May, $6.45; June, $4.79, and July, $2.34.
The farmer has prepared the following statement as to egg value of one pen of five hens and a cock pheasant: Cost of stock is $36, cost of pen and equipment is $25, making a total investment of $61. These five hens will bring in from eggs, at $19.43 each, a total per year of $97.15. Deducted from this amount is interest on investment of 10 per cent, or $6.10, depreciation on equipment of 2 0 per cent or $5, and feed for one year for six birds at $1.42 each of $8.52. Subtracting the total of $19.65 from gross profits of $97.15, the yearly net profit is found to be $77.53.
Using the same basis of comparison, the farmer finds that the chicken raiser will receive at the end of the year a net loss of $1.19, arrived at in the following manner: Total egg receipts from five hens at $4.17 per bird, $20.85; from this must be deducted interest of $3.64, depreciation $5.92, feed $12.48, a total of $22.04.
The pamphlet also gives figures tending to show that the fertility and chance of raising to maturity is much greater in the case of pheasants compared to chickens. The 1930 slaughtered pheasant market in the east is 85 cents per pound. The meat, sold commercially, is an unknown delicacy in the west, the farmer reports, but in. spite of that fact the Nebraska fancier is getting 65 cents a pound, with the possibility that the price will increase in proportion to the demand.
During the 1928 stock moving season when the highest prices were paid for chickens the average price per pound was 25% cents. The same season in 1929 saw chickens bringing 24 cents, while during the 1930 season, just closed, the price was slightly less than 18 cents a pound.
The pheasant farmer has prepared a statement comparing the net value of five hens and one cock compared to the same number of chickens as follows:Pheasants. Cost of stock........................................$36.00 Cost of equipment................................ 25.00 Four brood coops................................ 6.00 Total investment..............................$67.00 Total receipts from 190 chicks produced by five hens.................___ $370.50 Interest on investment ___...................$ 6.70 Depreciation .....................................___ 6.20 Feed for breeding stock ...................... 8.52 Feed for 190 chicks ............................ 60.23 81.65 Yearly net profit .............................. $288.85 Chickens. Cost of stock ........................................$ 6,75 Cost of equipment ................................ 29.60 Three brood coops ................................ 4.50 Total investment..............................$40.85 Receipts from eggs not used in hatching, average 100 eggs each from five hens..........................................$12.50 Receipts from chicks produced by hens, average 24 chicks each.......... 81.00 $93.50 Interest on investment........................ 4.09 Depreciation .......................................... 6.82 Feed for breeding stock ...................... 12.48 Feed for chicks .................................... 31.80 55.19 Yearly net profit.............................. $38.31
Nebraska Izaak Walton League Holds State Meet
RECOMMENDATIONS that the federal biological surrey amend the season on wild fowl so as to open Oeiooer 1 instead of September 16, that the season on doves and bullfrogs be permanently closed, and that the present closed season on prairie chickens be extended two years—these recommendations and many others aftecting outdoor sportsmen are contained in resolutions passed at the convention of the Nehraska Division, izaaK Waiton league of America, held September li and 13 at O'Neill.
Concerning the shortening of the wild fowl season, the convention had this to say:
"Under tne present game laws of the state of Nebraska the open season for snooting ducks, geese and other migratory birds opens on September 16th, and at that eariy date in the fall many birds are too young to protect themselves properly from hunters, and great numbers of said migratory birds are slaughtered only to spoil on account of the warmth of the weather in Nebraska at that period."
Hence the recommendation to make October 1 the opening date.
Two reasons why there should be no open season on turtle doves are given. First, the League does not believe the dove should be classed as a game bird; second, the present open season is undoubtedly being used by unprincipled huntsmen as a subterfuge for killing truly game birds out of the appointed season. This problem will go before the legislature, and that body will be asked to return the turtle dove to the song bird classification.
Prairie chicken and grouse are just getting a good start, under the closed season of the last two years, in those sections where they propagate and it is feared that opening the season in 1931 would undo all the good that has been done through the protection that has been given. So the convention decided that the League should ask the next legislature to extend the closed season an additional two years. This would give protection to grouse and chickens through 1931 and 1932, allowing the shooting of them again in 1933.
Bullfrogs, which "constitute a very valuable addition to the fish food of our waters, need complete protection the year around, the convention decided, "because it seems a practical impossibility to enforce any kind of regulation on the hunting of them other than that of a continuous closed season."
The foregoing resolutions have to do with the more practical aspects of hunting and fishing. Wider in their scope, and probably of much more lasting importance, however, are another set of recommendations regarding conservation measures.
First, the resolution adopted July 23, 1930, by the National Executive Committee of the League, to sponsor legislation in Congress and the different states that would amend federal and state water impounding laws to safeguard scenic, historic and wild life values, is given hearty endorsement. It was resolved at the Nebraska convention that "We are in entire accord with the proposed amendments to our state and federal water impounding laws and hereby pledge our active support in behalf of such legislation."
A system of county parks also was advocated by the Nebraska Waltonians, the parks to be financed in the counties in which they are located. This would stimulate all outdoor activity, tree planting and other natural enhancement and conservation projects, which are part of the League's program.
Believing that a more continuous flow of water in the Platte river in that portion above the mouth of the Loup will result from storage reservoirs and other water impounding projects, the state's proposed plans for this program were likewise endorsed by the convention. Thousands of game fish now are lost annually because during the summer months the Platte goes dry above the Loup. The state irrigation bureau is fostering a plan to impound flood waters during the wet months, to be released into irrigation ditches when water is badly needed by farmers. This would tend, the convention believes, to keep a fairly steady flow of water in the Platte at all times, so the support and co-operation of the Nebraska division is pledged toward that end.
The next resolution is, because of its concern to all sportsmen, quoted in full: "Whereas, the gap between farmers, ranchers and sportsmen becomes increasingly more difficult to bridge due to the unsportsmanlike conduct of some hunters and fishermen who have not had the advantage of education along these proper lines,
"Be it resolved that education work to the end that destruction of private property by hunters and fishermen and disinclination to observe the property rights of others, cease; and that it be designated that one of the earnest purposes of the Nebraska division for the coming year be further education along these lines to end that the cause of outdoor recreation be not destroyed through the ignorance and ruthlessness of a few of the people enjoying same."
And in closing: "Whereas, the program of conservation advocated by the Nebraska Division of the Izaak Walton League has been so splendidly and faithfully carried on by our honored governor, Mr. Weaver, and our efficient chief game warden, Frank B. O'Connell, and the members of the Game, Forestation and Parks Commission.
Be it resolved that the Nebraska Division of the Izaak Walton League extend to said Governor Weaver, Frank B. O'Connell and the members of the Game, Forestation and Parks Commission our most hearty appreciation of their efforts and of the results they are achieving, and that we pledge anew to them our heartiest support in their endeavors."
A hen pheasant unnecessarily killed this fall means thirty or forty less birds for the hunters next fall and over two hundred birds less for the fall of 1932.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAPublished by Game, Forestation & Parks Commission Editorial Office, State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska FRANK B. O'CONNELL...........................____........Editor COMMISSIONERS: Arthur J. Weaver, Falls City, Chairman Webb Rice, Norfolk, Vice Chairman George Dayton, Lincoln F. A. Baldwin, Ainsworth E. R. Purcell, Broken Bow Guy Spencer, Omaha Frank B. O'Connell, Lincoln, Secretary Vol. V October, 1930 No. 4
EDITORIALMANY BIRDS IN NEBRASKA
One-third of all the various North American bird species are found at some time of the year in Nebraska, ornithologists report. With about 1,200 special and subspecies in North America (excluding Mexico) and Greenland, 420 of them have been sighted within our own borders.
Among them are 127 kinds of wild fowl, shore birds, gulls, terns and other water birds; 10 kinds of gallinaceous birds; 40 birds of prey; 14 kinds of cuckoos, kingfishers, goatsuckers, swifts and hummingbirds; 13 kinds of woodpeckers; 22 0 kinds of perching birds.
The latter classification largely outnumbers the other kinds in all parts of the world. Experts say that more than one-half of all known birds are included in this group. Among the Nebraska perching birds are 67 kinds of the sparrow family, and 46 of the warbler family.
Fossil remains of approximately 70 extinct kinds of birds have been found in the rocks of this country.BE CAREFUL!
Here are some reminders that you should bear in mind when you go hunting pheasants:
Hunters are reminded that firearms are deadly weapons and that too much care cannot be exercised in their use. The following series of "Dont's" given out by the conservation commission, if followed by hunters, will reduce accidents to a minimum:
Don't keep your gun loaded except when you are actually hunting but handle it at all times as if it were loaded.
Don't point your gun at anyone even if you are sure it is empty.
Don't handle a gun by the muzzle or pull it toward you.
Don't carry your gun when climbing fences or brush piles.
Don't carry your gun so that an accidental discharge might shoot your companion.
Don't shoot at any game unless you can see it clearly enough to positively identify it.
Don't be the fool who "didn't know it was loaded.""GOOD HUNTING"
"Outdoor Nebraska," the interesting magazine published by the Nebraska game, forestation and parks commission, contains in its July number a lot of valuable information.
One article tells of the scientific study of fish in the streams and lakes of the state. Examination of the stomachs of young bass disclosed the presence of preponderating quantities of water fleas and Cyclops. These insects appear to be the favorite food of the fish, among the millions of insects available. It is suggested that a way be found to propagate them, that the bass may have better feeding always.
Then we are told that during the season 309,000 adult bullheads were removed from the sandhill lakes to the streams in eastern and southern Nebraska. Making available for local fishermen a plentiful supply of excellent pan fish. Provided, of course, the bullhead does not follow the natural bent of fish, and swim away to some other part of the world.
Receipts of the department for 1929 amounted to $208,661.25, of which $197,857 came from hunting and fishing permits sold. One hundred seventy thousand, two hundred forty-four residents of the state paid $1 each for the state's permission to hunt and fish. A goodly number, it sems, still find interest in outdoor sport and recreation.
Brief accounts of the activities of other state commissions are given, and one article tells of the preparations being made by a committee of the United States senate to study wild life in America. Public is waking up to the importance of the conservation movement.
What will astonish a lot of people is contained in the statement that in Minnesota alone, during the 1929 open season, 1,983,124 waterfowl were killed by hunters. Mallards led the list, with 39 8,555 falling before the shotgun. Try to visualize what this means, taken in conjunction with the number of migratory waterfowl killed in other states, and you will not wonder at the feverish haste of the conservationists to preserve the game birds.
After the magazine has been perused from 'kiver to kiver," some old timer who was raised over in the Mississippi river bottoms, will close his eyes and dream of other days. If good hunting is to be kept in America for generations to come, it will be only achieved through earnest co-operation with the game commissions.-— Omaha Bee.
Conservation is finding the proper balance between preservation and utilization.—Dr. Henry Baldwin Ward.
Pheasant season this year begins October 23 and ends November 1, inclusive. Just remember it begins on the 23rd and there are 23 counties open.
Commissioner George Dayton, who has been ill, is now on the road to recovery. It is hoped that he will soon be able to be out in the great outdoors which he loved so much.
Methods of Modern Business Applied to Stocking of Streams(Reprinted from the United States Daily, Washington, D. C.) By FRANK B. O'CONNELL Secretary, Game and Park Comission, State of Nebraska.
WHERE is a good place to go fishing." The weary game official or fish culturist must answer—or attempt to answer—this question many times each fishing season. When September rolls around, he feels that every one of the 120,000,000 citizens of the United States are followers of Izaak Walton.
The fact of the matter is that about one out of every 10 women and boys—both young and old—who reside in the land of the brave and the free do fish. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of fishermen during the last four or five years. Mass production of automobiles and the building of good roads are probably the main reasons for the increase.
It is no easy task to take care of the many new fishermen and to provide them with good fishing places. In order to satisfy these anglers it is now necessary that the several States and the Federal Government keep on the job every hour of the day and keep up on new wrinkles in fish culture. And it has also been necessary for some of the States to give their game and fish departments a good overhauling.
In the good old days when only a few took to the lakes and woods, the game official could sit back in his comfortable office and spend most of his time reading the outdoor literature which found its day to his desk. Most any one could then hold down his job. In more than one State the head of the game and fish department was a politician who had done his bit for the powers that be.
But times do change. Today, the head of the Game and Fish Department must be a specialist in his line, and he must carry on in a businesslike and efficient manner or 10,000 irate anglers are immediately on his neck. The time has come when nature alone can no longer meet the inroads on her fish and fowl and satisfy the many who go forth with rod and gun. It is now necessary that man, with the aid of science, step in and assist nature.
In the old days fish eggs were hatched at the different fish hatcheries and the small fish taken directly to the natural waters of lakes and ponds. When fry were planted in this manner perhaps not more than 10 per cent ever reached maturity or became potential catches. The small fish were hauled about over the country in a special railroad car, providing the State authorities were fortunate enough to possess such a car. If they had no special car, then the fish went to the lakes and ponds by baggage or express. Both, the special car and the baggage route, were inefficient and expensive.
Today, every up-to-date game and fish department has changed both its hatching methods and its means of transportation. Fry are no longer taken from the hatcheries and dumped into the lakes and ponds. Instead, they are placed in special fish nurseries where food is abundant and where they can be released later on into nearby natural water. This is now being done both with the artificially hatched fish, such as trout and pike, and with the pond-hatching fish, such as bass, crappie, sunfish, etc.
And instead of hauling the fish by special car or baggage, a fleet of modern fish trucks, equipped with ice and oxygen, are in service. Where the special car used to make, let us say, 10 or 15 deliveries or plantings a day, a fleet of five or six trucks con now make 40 or 50 plantings a day at approximately the same cost. Nowadays, the railroad car is used primarily for through hauls over a long distance, or where deliveries are made in carload lots.Expensive to Raise Fish in Artificial Ponds.
Many State officials have come to realize that at its best it is expensive to raise fish in artificial ponds at hatcheries. The overhead at such institutions is usually very high, considering the output of fish. This is especially true where fish are fed artificially. It is far cheaper to locate well-favored nursery ponds throughout the State where aquatic vegetation thrives, and let the fry "earn their way." Small fish live on minute insect life found on aquatic vegetation until they are large enough to take minnows. Thus both trout and the pond fishes can be raised at very small cost under the feed-yourself nursery system.
Another feature of fish production that has been woefully neglected in the past is the salvaging of the fish which nature has raised for us. In nearly every State there are many river overflows, lagoons, ponds, shallow lakes, etc., where fish spawn abundantly. Many of these small fish have been lost when such ponds dried up during the hot summer months or when they froze out the following winter. Today, the modern game department has a centrally-located holding or transfer plant and several salvaging crews which take the small fish from such waters, sort and grade them, and then transfer them to deeper water. During 1929 a Nebraska crew consisting of five men salvaged over 1,000,000 fish —a number of fish that would have cost us $50,000 to raise in artificial ponds at our hatcheries.
But there is little sense in producing more fish unless there is some place to put them where Mr. Average Citizen can go to try his luck. Too many choice fishing places have been lost to the public through indiscriminate drainage or the leasing of such waters to individuals or private clubs. Therefore, it is not only necessary that we now produce many more fish, but that we also provide fishing waters where the public can go without danger of trespass.
The more progressive game and fish departments have already undertaken the solution of this problem and have secured large appropriations of public money with which to buy lakes, ponds, abandoned sand and gravel pits, river cut-offs, and the like for public use. Some States have even undertaken a program that includes the construction of artificial lakes.
Which all goes to prove that millions of Americans want good fishing places and that we can provide them if we try
Pheasants Consume Many Insects
Following is a synopsis of a report submitted by Oscar H. Johnson, game and fish commissioner of South Dakota, on the food habits of the ringneck pheasant. Mr. Johnson's investigation covered every month in the year, and his report is of great importance and significance, and should be studied carefully by every farmer and sportsman.
"The pheasant is a general feeder, not specializing on any particular plant or animal. The results of a laboratory examination made by H. C. Severin, head of the entomology-zoology department at South Dakota State College, who supervised the laboratory research to determine the feeding habits of the bird, which research was made at tne request of the state game and fish department, shows this:
"He found, after a year's investigation of the bird's feeding habits, that it does not distinguish between plants and insects beneficial to agriculture and those that are harmful.
"Two hundred eighty-five pheasants used in the investigation were shot by deputy wardens in forty counties during every month of the year. The wardens removed the food tubes from the birds and sent them in a preserved condition to the state college laboratory.
"With each food tube, the wardens submitted information including the sex and age of the bird, the exact locality where it was shot, date and hour of the day when it was shot and a description of surrounding fields.
"Through an analysis of the crop contents of 285 pheasants it was found that no two pheasants take the same kind of food in the same quantity at any one meal. A meal of a pheasant can be judged only from the crop contents, because the food is stored here only for a few hours at the most, while in the gizzard the soft parts if they enter the gizzard at all, are held but a short time, while the extremely hard parts may remain in the gizzard for weeks at a time.
"In the crop the food is stored and somewhat softened, while in the gizzard the food is ground up into small bits. The crop contents are identified with the least amount of difficulty, while the gizzard contents, if identified at all, are often classified only after long hours of labor.
"The pheasant does not specialize upon one particular species of plant or animal and feed upon this species to the exclusion of all others, but it takes a host of species as they are available. The pheasant confines its attentions not only to seed sand insects, but it consumes leaves, flowers, stems and even roots of many plants. It eats spiders of many species, millpedes, centipedes, snails, etc.
"In the first quarter of the year during which the pheasant project was being investigated, we found that the pheasants consumed 5 0 different seeds; during the second quarter 56; during the third quarter 72, and in the fourth 56. The seeds taken in the largest quantity were green and yellow foxtail, wild buckwheat, giant and little ragweed, bindweed, smartweed, wild sunflower, wild rose, wolfberry, Russian thistle, wild oats, corn, wheat, oats and barley. In an examination of 285 food tubes of pheasants we found corn in 126, wheat in 106, oats in 86, barley in 113, green foxtail seeds in 139, yellow foxtail seeds in 138, wild buckwheat in 107, wild sunflower in 3 8, giant ragweed in 15, little ragweed in 45, Russian thistle in 16, wild oats in 21, smartweed in 28, bindweed in 42 and wild rose in 116.
"In the investigation it was found that the 285 pheasants devoured more than 100 different species of insects, the most common harmful species being cutworms, armyworms, many other species of caterpillars, false chich bugs, tarnished plant bugs, buffalo tree hoppers, aphids, seed corn beetles, the adults of wire worms, false wire worms and white grubs, many snout flies and their larvae, ants of many species and many species of grasshoppers.
"The pheasant does not distinguish between species of insects that are beneficial to agriculture and those that are harmful, but takes both types as they are available in proportion to their abundance. The same is true of seeds."
Mr. Johnson's reasons for making this investigation were to determine the absolute value of the pheasant to the agricultural interests of his state, and also to determine whether the pheasant was responsible for such depredations as it was credited with.FAVOR PUBLIC HUNTING
The game commissioners of the north-central states held a convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 22 and 23. Only problems affecting the group of states, of which Minnesota and Wisconsin constitute the center, were considered, according to the American Game Protective Association news service. The result of the deliberations of the commissioners was a declaration favoring public hunting and fishing grounds and urging that means be provided for each state to maintain opportunity for recreation for all its citizens.
The commissioners approved recent action of the U. S. Bureau of Biological Survey in reducing the daily bag limit of wild ducks and geese. Another regulation prohibiting shooting of migratory waterfowl after 2 o'clock in the afternoon was favored. The commissioners also went on record in favor of the one-buck deer law as having been almost universally accepted and having worked successfully wherever put into effect.
The North Central States Game Commissioners Association is made up of representatives from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. Present at the meeting this time were. George Hogarth, director of the Michigan conservation commission; George B. McCullough, game and fish commissioner of Minnesota; Oscar Johnson, fish and game commissioner of South Dakota; Frank B. O'Connell, secretary of the game, forestation and parks commission of Nebraska. Representing Wisconsin at the meeting, which was held in Milwaukee, were William Mauthe, chairman Wisconsin conservation commission; Commissioner Haskell Noyes; Paul D. Kelleter, director; H. W. McKenzie, chief game warden; Wm. F. Grimmer, superintendent of game; and B. O. Webster, superintendent of fisheries.
Game and Park ActivitiesBUDGET FOR 1931-32 RECOMMENDED
The Game, Forestation & Parks Commission, meeting at Lincoln, October 3, recommended to Governor Weaver a budget for the next two years.
This budget asks that all the permit money for ths next two years, together with unexpended balances, be given to the department to carry on its work. No tax money is used by the Commission.
It is estimated that the receipts for the next two years will be around one-half million dollars. However, this sum will not be adequate for the Commission to carry on the extensive program it has laid out for the next two years. Undouotediy, it will be necessary to slow up on buying lanes and recreation grounds during the next two years unless more money is forthcoming, as tne Commission finds its present activities growing very fast and thus requiring a considerable sum for operation. There has been some talk of splitting the permits and having a permit for hunting and a permit for fishing. Tnis would give the Commission a larger sum to work with as well as making it possible to give more attention to the hunting and stocking of game birds. If the Legislature looks with favor on splitting the permits the Commission will undoubtedly be able to make a great record of achievement during the next two years, as it will have ample funds to carry on its activities as well as to continue buying lakes and recreation grounds.LAKE QUINNEBAUGH
A large, ten-inch pump is at work day and night at Lake Quinnebaugh. This pump has been pouring water into this lake for thirty days and will probably continue another thirty days. It is estimated that the lake has already been raised fifteen inches. The pump and engine belong to the Game Department, but the operating expenses are being paid by resorts and citizens of Burt County who are anxious to have this lake restored.NEW RECREATION GROUNDS
Among new recreation grounds which the Game, Forestation and Parks Commission has recently purchased is the following:
Approximately 50 acres near Loup City, Sherman County. One side of this acreage is adjacent to the Loup River, while a ditch, leading from the river, makes it possible to build a 25-acre lake at small development costs. The State Highway Department will remove about 2,00 0 cubic yards of dirt from the site of the proposed lake, thus making the cost to the Game Department considerably less.TURKEYS TO NIOBRARA
Forty turkeys are being sent to the Niobrara Island Game Reserve this fall. A fence has been constructed across the end of the island near the road in order to keep the birds away from the highway.SUB-STATION AT VALENTINE HATCHERY
Holdings have been purchased on Schlegel Creek, south of Valentine and a number of fish ponds are now under construction. About fifteen ponds will be built this fall, ready for stocking next spring.
These ponds will be an important addition to the Valentine Hatchery and will be under the management of that hatchery. It is believed that this sub-station will greatly increase the bass and sunfish production, as well as making it much easier and cheaper to stock Cherry County lakes.WILD CAT HILLS GAME RESERVE FENCED
If you are driving on Highway No. 19, between Scotts Bluff and Kimhall and see a great white sign across the hills reading, NEBRASKA STATE GAME RESERVE, you can begin to look for some buffalo, elk, antelope and deer. Over three hundred acres of this reserve have been fenced with an eight-foot fence and will soon be stocked. Young animals from Wild Cave Federal Reserve will be used for the initial stocking.FISH DISTRIBUTION
The fall distribution of fish is now in full swing Bass, crappies, sunfish and perch are handled during the fall. It is believed that the total production on bass this year will set a new record for Nebraska.OPEN SEASON ON PHEASANTS IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Number of Days—30.
Dates—Daylight hours of period beginning at noon October 16 and closing at sunset November 14.
Counties—Aurora, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Deuel, Douglas, Faulk, Grant, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Potter, Sanborn, Spink, Sully, Turner, Union and Yankton.
Number of Days—15.
Dates—Daylight hours of period beginning at noon October 16 and closing at sunset October 3 0.
Counties—Buffalo, Day, Edmunds, Marshall, Roberts and portion of Walworth lying south of Federal Hiway No. 12.
Bag Limit—5 birds per day, 1 of which may be a hen.
Limit in Possession—15 birds, 3 of which may be hens.
Special Open Season in Beadle County Only.
45 days; daylight hours of period beginning at noon on December 1, 1930, and closing at sunset on January 15, 1931.
Bay Limit—7 birds per day, 2 of which may be hens.
Limit in Possession—21 birds, 6 of which may be hens.
Limit of 10 shipping tags (in lots of 5 to 10 only) available to resident licensees, sold at the office of the game department and by the game wardens.
25 Pheasants may be shipped on non-resident license coupons.
No open season on prairie chickens or any other variety of grouse.
What Other States Are Doing in Game AffairsAMERICAN LEGION FOR CONSERVATION
Another ally on the side of conservation is the Alabama department of the American Legion which, at its annual convention, adopted a resolution recommending a program of conservation and restoration, and urging each individual post to participate in some phase of the work for the benefit of its own community and the state at large. With this latest entry, 3,000 of the 7,0 00 Legion posts in this country are enlisted in the fight for outdoor life. California, Mississippi, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Montana and other states have seen their Legionnaires create conservation programs and have had remarkable success in their undertakings. The Mississippi Legion faces the important task of securing a state game and fish department. This is the only state in the Union without such a department.ALABAMA HARD HIT
Alabama—a long way from Nebraska—was one of the states whose crops were hard hit by this summer's drouth. One of its largest crop losses, not mentioned in news dispatches, is the killing off of many fish. Streams have dried up, lakes have been reduced in area, and temperatures have been greatly raised, all causing great distress to fish. Fresh water fishes also have suffered through the encroachment of sea water up tidal estuaries, the Alabama Game and Fish News reports. Though far from Nebraska, Alabama's problem comes "close to home" when we remember the large amount of rescue work carried on here the past summer in streams that went dry.MARYLAND FEEDING BIRDS
The conservation department of Maryland owns 5,30 6 acres and has under lease 33,473 acres of abandoned farm and timber land that is purchased from time to time as funds become available. On thefe properties certain areas are seeded with buckwheat, cow peas, soybeans, kaffir corn, and millet. "Through the planting of seeding grain during the summer," says E. Lee LeCompte, state game warden, "upland game of all species which inhabit our state have greatly increased, and on each of these refuges bob white, ruffed grouse, cotton tail rabbits, squirrels, doves, wild turkeys, and Virginia white tail deer are plentiful." The grain is permitted to stand to furnish feed and cover during the fall and winter. Effort also is made to control vermin, Warden LeCompte says.WEST VIRGINIA FIGHTS COMMERCIALISM
Hawk's Nest, a rock in New River canyon in West Virginia, may be visited by tourists, we learn from the West Virginia Wild Life, provided the tourist pays his admission price. And the commercialization of what is called the state's outstanding natural scenic attraction has created a storm of criticism. Private parties purchased the Hawk's Nest and surrounding country and fenced it in. The state's own people are the main objectors and they have taken time to write their opinion to the publication. However, says Wild Life, "It is West Virginia's own fault that this attractive bit of scenery should have passed to private ownership and commercialization of the most pronounced sort. State officials were well aware of what was going on when the sale was made. There are other beauty spots of nature within our borders that may yet be acquired and kept open to the state's people."MINNESOTA PUTS WARDENS IN UNIFORM
Minnesota is the latest state to adopt the policy of putting its game wardens in uniform. It has been found that a uniform brings greater respect to the men engaged in game protection. The lake state is host each year to thousands of tourists, and it is believed that outsiders, when in need of assistance, show less reluctance in approaching a uniformed man than one in civilian attire.MANY PHEASANTS KILLED
Fins, Feathers and Fur, Minnesota's game magazine, reports the killing of hundreds of pheasants in the alfalfa fields of southern Minnesota by the mowers. Many others are left crippled by having one or both legs cut off, merciful farmers killing the birds whenever they find them in such a condition. The death toll was extremely heavy this summer because the birds have been seeking shelter from the blazing sun in the alfalfa and grain fields. There is no way of avoiding them as they are completely hidden in the grass and cannot be seen before the mower is upon them.DUTY ON GAME BIRDS REMOVED
Even the tariff cloud had its silver lining when it took the duty off imported game birds. At least this one item is proving universally popular, says the American Game Protective association. It meets with the approval of the game commissioners of the country who have been buying and importing Hungarian partridges or Mexican bobwhite quail. It will save them substantial sums that they can use to purchase more birds or apply to some other constructive purpose.
Under the previous law, the tariff on imported game birds was 5 0 cents each or 20 per cent ad valorem, if vaiued at more than $5 each. The new law places game birds imported for stocking purposes on the free list.
Importations of game for stocking is of benefit to the public and not for any private gain, and the tax or license funds of the departments are used to pay for them. Several states will save from $1,000 to $7,500 each annually as a result of the new tariff provision'.FISH TRAVEL FAR
Certain species of fish travel great distances in comparatively short periods of time, the tagging of fish reveals. A Pacific salmon traveled from a point in Alaskan waters a distance of 1,300 miles in forty-four days to a stream in Siberia. He swam literally over the top of the world. This salmon was marked by the United States bureau of fisheries in its efforts to learn the life history of this species. The bureau has been carrying on its tagging experiments for more than a decade. Metal tags, bearing serial numbers, are used. Marking experiments have shown that, regardless of how much a salmon may wander, it always returns to home waters for the spawning season.OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 13 NOW ABLE TO FEED AVOOD DUCKS
Science or plain common sense has at last solved the formerly baffling problem of how to make baby wood ducks eat. This does not seems relatively important until one takes into consideration that the wood duck was a vanishing species until recently.
Upon its rapid depletion, man turned to aid this beautiful species regain its place in nature. Federal protection was declared for it, and then hundreds of persons tried to raise this duck by barnyard methods. Eggs were procured, and either by foster mother or incubator methods, broods were hatched. But the little wild fellows would not eat. Forced feeding was resorted to in many cases, but proved futile. The little babies died in the midst of plenty of food, usually within a week.
Finally, someone got to thinking along environmental lines. Why not approximate natural conditions for the baby wood duck? Knowing that ducks take up much of their food largely through dabbling in mud and water, this person cut a square of sod about a foot square and two inches thick. He hollowed out a little basin in it and placed it in the coop with the baby wood ducks. Then the little basin was filled with water, and the same food the baby wood duck had refused in plates, planks and what nots was sprinkled within the basin.
The baby ducks were immediately interested and puddled in the basin, gobbling up the food from the muddy bottom. The demands of instinct had been met. This most helpful bit of knowledge is being spread throughout the country. Many people, formerly discouraged, are again trying to raise this wild species of the duck family.BOY SCOUTS ENLIST AS NATURE GUARDS
Boy Scouts throughout the United States are enlisting in wild life conservation and restoration movements; a merit badge is awarded by the national organization for Scouts passing certain examinations and accomplishing satisfactorily specified field work. Six hundred Boy Scouts in Ohio enrolled recently as nature guardians. Each Scout pledged himself to the following obligations:
"Upon my honor as a nature guardian, I promise to take care of natural friends, the birds, fish and all useful dumb animals, the flowers, the trees and the forest. I will do my best to protect them from abuse and hard usage.
"I promise not to rob a bird's nest, nor to wilfully kill a bird, an animal or a fish in violation of the law, nor to abuse or bully a dumb animal; and I will strive to keep others from doing these things to the best of my ability. I will endeavor to prove myself a friend to all living things that are harmless.
''I will put out camp fires started by myself or others, and I will do my utmost to protect forests from destruction, because forest fires not only destroy the trees and underbrush, but also burn birds and animals or their nests and dens.
"I will familiarize myself with the game and fish laws of my state so as to be able to govern my conduct and to advise others, and in every way possible I will do my level best to protect the inhabitants of the great outdoors."—American Game Protective Association.WILD TURKEY CAN COME BACK
Will the Wild Turkey join the ranks of vanishing wild life species? Will he join the Passenger Pidgeon, the Dodo, and the Heath Hen of which only one lone male survives?
This question is being asked by literally millions of the 7,500,000 hunters who take out licenses every year in the United States.
He will not, it is believed, if the proper conservation and restoration measures are taken. Strange as it may seem, the conservation of the wild turkey does not start with him, but with forests. For the wild turkey is naturally a forest bird. That is his natural habitat. His decrease is in ratio to the decrease of forests in this country, according to the observations of those most familiar with the situation, Carlos Avery, president of the American Game Protective Association, said.
This bird, chosen by the Pilgrim fathers as a Thanksgiving offering for their safe arrival on North American shores, may be said to be as symbolic of America as the Eagle. Perhaps greater numbers have seen the turkey than the eagle.
"The wild turkey should not be allowed to perish from the earth," Mr. Avery said. "Many sportsmen are advocating absolute protection for the hen bird. Where this has been tried out, it is declared that a perceptible increase in turkeys has been noted.
"The greater factors, however," Mr. Avery continued, "lie in reforesting waste areas and others that will lend themselves to forestry. Environment, in most cases, must be recreated for the wild turkey.
"Perceptible increases in the turkey tribe are noted in a few localities, but the greater areas of this country know the call of the turkey no more. He formerly ranged in large areas. He can be brought back by the practice of sensible conservation and restoration methods. Many state game departments are studying these problems to determine the proper methods to bring the turkey back and afford him the opportunity to increase to his former abundance," Mr. Avery concluded.ONLY ONE DUCK IN 10,000
Only one duck in 10,000 is alive today in districts where waterfowl foods have been contaminated by oil, salt water and sewage pollution, according to W. L. McAtee of the U. S. Biological Survey. This estimate is based upon an investigation of a wildfowl breeding-area 3 00 miles square in Back Bay, Virginia, and Upper Currituck Sound, North Carolina, that is being despoiled by salt water reaching the fresh water through the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal.
"There are not now any wild geese or swans where there were 1,000, not one duck where there was 10,000 during the time when the food supply for the birds in this region was at its best," Mr. McAtee said.
This condition has national application, according to reports received by the American Game Protective Association. Many of the finest fresh water areas are being polluted by the dumping of oil, sewage, and trash from factories into fresh water streams, rivers, ponds and lakes throughout the country.
Not only are waterfowl and fish foods contaminated but fish life is destroyed, surveys show.—American Game Protective Association News Service.14 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA THIRTY-FOUR MUSK-OXEN BROUGHT FROM GREENLAND
A herd of 3 4 young musk-oxen arrived at New York on the Norwegian-American Line ship, the Bergensfjord, September 15, and were taken immediately to the Government animal quarantine station to be held there two weeks before being shipped to Alaska. They came from Greenland, by way of Norway, and their destination is Fairbanks, in the interior of Alaksa, when the Biological Survey is the U. S. Department of Agriculture will keep them in a large inclosure for study and breeding. The purpose is eventually to re-establish muskoxen in the ranges of northern Alaska, where they roamed in considerable numbers until exterminated a century ago.
E. A. Preble, of the Biological Survey, and L. J. Palmer of the same bureau, in charge of the reindeer experiment station near Fairbanks, met the shipment of young musk-oxen and saw that they were safely transferred from the ship. They will go by express to Seattle, thence by boat to Seward, Alaska, completing the journeey in the territory by rail, under the care of Mr. Palmer.
At Fairbanks the bureau has prepared a large inclosure which will provide conditions that simulate the natural wild range of musk-oxen, and will afford opportunity for studying the possibilities of domestication and breeding of the animals with a view to making greatsr economic use of the areas north of timberline. In feed requirements the musk-oxen differ considerably from the reindeer, and will not compete with the herds of these animals, which the United States Government, through the Bureau of Education, introduced into Alaska nearly forty years ago.
"Musk-oxen," Paul G. Redington, Chief of the Biological Survey, explains, "are the most truly Arctic of all the large mammals of North America. At the time of the earliest exploration of the Arctic, these animals inhabited the vast territory north of the great transcontinental forest. Natives of Alaska say that their grandfathers killed musk-oxen in the region south of Point Barrow, but there is no record that Europeans have seen the animals in Alaska.
"Long ago the musk-oxen disappeared from the north of Europe and Asia. They still live in northern Canada and in Greenland. Canada, for several years, has been making vigorous efforts to preserve these interesting animals and has established several reservations where hunting is prohibited.
"Musk-oxen resemble somewhat a small-sized buffalo, or bison. They have distinct hump, though it is not so conspicuous as the buffalo's. Their color is dark brownish to black with lighter brown or cream color on the back. They grow an undercoat of thick wool, and through this wool grow long black guard hairs that may sweep almost to the ground, giving the animal a stocky appearance. Mature animals weigh approximately 500 pounds, sometimes more.
"A distinctive feature of the musk-oxen is the heavily horned head. Mature bulls have horns whose massive bases are close together at the forehead, and after descending turn sharply upward and end in sharp points. The horns of the female are similar but somewhat more slender. These make excellent weapons against wolves, which are the only formidable natural enemies of the musk-oxen. When attacked, the adult animals form a circle with horns outward and with the calves protected within the circle. Effective as this is against wolves, it is suicidal against men armed with rifles. Hunters were probably able to kill most of a herd, which often represented all the musk-oxen within many miles. Musk-oxen rarely travel far from their local range.
"In summer the animals feed on grass and succulent herbage. In winter they feed on dried grasses and browse on dwarf willows. They like to feed on open wind-swept ridges and other high places where the wind blows away the snow, but they are able to paw away snow and reach deeply buried food. Surprisingly, they seem to keep fatter and in better condition in winter than in summer. Their heavy coats protect them against the cold of winter and against insect attacks in summer.
"Relatively few musk-oxen have been imported into the United States. The first was delivered to the New York Zoological Park in 1902. New York, Washington, and Philadelphia zoos have musk-oxen, and the usual experience has been that the animals are gentle and tractable. This indicates that the animals will be relativeely easy to domesticate. Few have bred under the unnatural conditions imposed on them. Two calves were born in New York in 1925 but did not live long.
"At Fairbanks," said Mr. Redington, "the small herd will have adequate range and will be in care of men experienced in feeding animals under Arctic conditions. If we can establish herds in Alaska they will subsist largeley on range forage that reindeer do not use. Their flesh is excellent food. They can live under rigorous conditions of weather, and the fact that they do not wander far from their established range will make it easy to herd them."
The new herd of musk-oxen has been acquired at the direction of Congress, which last session added $40,000 to the appropriation of the Biological Survey for the specific purpose, in response to a memorial from the Alaskan legislature.SHORTAGE OP PHEASANTS
The Missouri game commission reports a shortage of pheasants among commercial breeders the past spring, due to increased demand by state game farms and sportsmen's associations.
This fact should be an encouragement to those who are beginning in the business of breeding pheasants as a business undertaking. The demand for pheasants for breeding and stocking purposes is constantly growing.
Missouri has operated its game farm since 1928, but for the first two years it was merely a refgue. Birds have been encouraged to nest under natural instead of artificial conditions.OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 15 DROUGHT HITS WATERFOWL
That conditions for waterfowl in the extensive drought-ridden regions of the United States are unsatisfactory will not be a matter of surprise to persons who have experienced a water shortage this summer. That the danger to wild ducks and geese is more far-flung, however, will come as a distinct shock to those who have thought the birds were in abundance on their breeding areas in the far North, says Paul G. Redington, Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey, U. S. Department of Agriculture, which administers Federal laws protecting migratory birds. Mr. Redington explained that reports received by him directly during a recent visit to Canada, which is co-operating closely with the United States in the protection of migratory birds, showed an alarming condition for the waterfowl on the breeding grounds in Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as in the United States.
"In these Canadian Provinces," said Mr. Redington, "the shortage of water this year and the utilization of additional lands for agriculture on the breeding grounds of the birds have combined to reduce the hatch of the game species 5 0 per cent below that of last year, and the hatch a year ago was too far below normal to be at all satisfactory. The consensus of testimony of conservationists from many Canadian Provinces and from all parts of the United States is that a decidedly serious condition now confronts the waterfowl of the two countries.
"A partial remedy is found in the fact that throughout the United States the amended regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act limit the individual hunter to 15 ducks and 4 geese a day and prescribe a possession limit of two days' bag. This reduction from last year's daily bag of 25 ducks and 8 geese and the establishment of a possession limit for the first time under the Federal regulations should have a salutary effect on the game birds at the principal shooting grounds. We are still greatly concerned, however, as to what may happen in the next few months. The unprecedented drought may upset calculations as to the effect the reduced bag limits will have on the protection of the birds.
"Local observers of bird abundance are likely to be misled in some remaining water areas, and to consider that local conditions are general throughout the country. As a matter of fact, however, the constriction of water areas in many States will induce the birds to concentrate in unusually large numbers on some of the noted resting grounds and in wintering areas. For example, the gunners in some areas may find thousands of ducks in places where last year there were but hundreds, and in such instances it may create the erroneous impression that ducks are still in great abundance or even increasing in numbers. Such fallacious reasoning may lead to excessive killing on many concentration areas.
"All who are engaged in game conservation in the Federal and State Governments must consider thoroughly and carefully what measures we can take to prevent unwise or possibly disastrous slaughter of these species of birds that are already suffering serious losses by reason of the drought. It may now be too late to take effective restrictive action, in view of the fact that the hunting season is about to open, but officials of the Biological Survey and members of the Advisory Board created under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act will have available all the facts that can be gathered on the wildfowl situation during the open season. If further restrictive action is found to be necessary, I shall not hesitate to recommend such additional safeguards for the waterfowl as the conditions may dictate.
"I therefore make an urgeent appeal to the sportsmen of the country to recognize the situation now menacing the waterfowl and to be governed thereby in taking ducks and geese during the present season."CANADA SHORT ON DUCKS
"The number of wild ducks bred in Alberta, Canada, during the season of 19 30 will not be more than half the number produced in that region in 1929." This sensational statement was made at the convention of game commissioners at Toronto, Ontario, August 25 by Benjamin Lawton, game commissioner of the Province of Alberta in discussing the waterfowl situation for his province.
The significance of Mr. Lawton's statement, says Carlos Avery, president of the American Game Protective Association, will be appreciated when it is realized that the central breeding area for nearly all the important species of wild ducks of North America is in Alberta, and Saskatchewan, Canada. Even the ducks wintering on the Atlantic coast, such as redheads, scaup and bluebill and others breed largely in Alberta. This warning as to an impending scarcity of ducks does not come from a clear sky, as Mr. Hoyes Lloyd, supervisor of wild life protection for the Dominion of Canada, has on frequent occasions, in speaking before United States audiences of sportsmen, called attention to the drastic and continuing depletion of breeding waterfowl in western Canada.
The causes of this depletion are numerous and most of them beyond control of man. Agricultural development is constantly advancing farther and farther into the remote duck breeding areas, accompanied by drainage of shallow lakes and marshes and by permanent lowering of the water level, reducing the water area needed for breeding birds. Recent years have experienced unusual drouth which has aggravated the situation to a marked degree.
The game commissioners in their resolutions adopted at Toronto recognized this critical situation and recommended such temporary measures as might be effective in further reducing the kill, of waterfowl, such as uniform low bag limits and shorter shooting seasons. It is recognized that these expedients are not sufficient in themselves to arrest the depletion of waterfowl and to build up a supply but such constructive work as the establishment of additional extensive breeding and feeding areas cannot be accomplished quickly.
The program of refuge building entered upon by the U. S. government through act of congress has been begun but many years will be required for its completion. Meanwhile, sportsmen realizing the fact that the depletion of waterfowl under present conditions is inevitable will employ every means in their power to arrest the shrinkage and encourage an increase.
Mr. Lawton, the Alberta commissioner, is not an alarmist or sensationalist. He has been in charge of the administration of game for his province for 25 years and undoubtedly knows the game conditions of his province accurately.16 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA "SKUNK"
At the mention of Skunk you see the hunters scatter.
Did you ever stop to think maybe you have the wrong opinion of this little follow?
Let me give you a close-up of him in his natural haunts and see how much you have been mistaken. He is friendly and perfectly harmless. Why do you gasp? He will harm you in no way if left alone You have to crowd him to endanger yourself. He is very amusing if taken seriously. He will look you in the eye (more than we can say of some humans) and stamp his feet to warn you of danger. He will walk on his four feet for your amusement, then leave you to your surprise without harm. He is very helpful to the farmer, for his food consists mostly of grasshoppers, beetles, June bugs, mice and an occasional squirrel. Mr. Farmer will throw up his hands and start to tell of the numerous chickens he has stolen, but can he prove it? Every assertion I make can be thoroughly proven by careful study.
Skunks are divided into four classes. Black being the most valuable, then short stripe, narrow stripe and broad stripe, the poorest of them all. Prices range from $5.00 to $1.25 for prime furs. Did you ever stop to think of the excitement a kid will get when lie finds one in his trap? Think of the kick he gets.
The next time you meet a skunk don't go closer than twenty feet, but watch it very closely; if he starts away, follow him. He is full of stunts if you don't crowd. His tail is his danger signal; whenever it is thrown over his back you are inviting disaster to come any closer.
On one trip through the sand hills from Burwell to Long Pine, via the Calamus Valley, I found eight of these animals that had been killed by careless hunters, every one of them with a hole the size of a gas pipe where they had been shot. Did they stop to think that Willie Jones living in those hills may have been planning on a new coat for winter from those hides, or maybe a suit of clothes? Those eight pelts at average prices would bring $2 0.00. What harm had they done to be ruthlessly murdered and left to decay? Not a thing in the world against them, just the plain word, "Skunk!"
One instance I encountered last winter was almost in the city limits of Omaha. I met three boys ranging in age from ten to fourteen years, one carrying a very sick fox terrier, the oldest carrying a fine narrow stripe skunk. Tears were streaming down the cheeks of the boy carrying the dog. My love for children prompted me to ask why all the grief. His question concerning the very limp form of his dog came between sobs. "Do you think he will die, mister?" he asked. Examining the dog closely, I advised plenty of fresh air and a complete rest for he certainly had been skunked.—C. E. HASHBERGER. BIGGEST QUAIL IMPORT MADE
Due to the depletion of game birds in this country, it was necessary to make the biggest importation of live birds and eggs this year for restocking purposes, according to the American Game Protective Association. The United States imported 9 0,124 Bob-white quail from Mexico during the season ending April 30. The birds were used for restocking barren areas and building up stock where birds are scarce.
The U. S. Bureau of Biological Survey declared this is the greatest number of quail ever imported to this country during one season. The birds were brought in as follows: 61,922 were entered at Laredo, Texas; 18,427 at Eagle Pass; and 9,775 at Brownsville. Not a single bird was reported as diseased.
Permits were issued for the importation of more than 2,800 game birds eggs from England. Most of the permits were for pheasant eggs.PISH NEED SHADE
By planting willow twigs and shrubs along river banks that will soon grow and furnish shade during hot weather, sportsmen can create a better environment for trout, bass and other game fish, according to Carlos Avery, president of the American Game Protective Association.
"Nature lovers can do just as much to improve the environment of the fish family as they are doing for Bob-White quail, grouse, pheasant, turkey, rabbit and deer. Trout and bass shun water temperatures that are either too hot or too cold. A good cover growth along the banks of ponds, lakes and streams attract many insects, thus increasing the food supply for fish," Mr. Avery said.
Mr. James W. Stuber, nature story writer of Ohio, writes as follows about the problems of the finny tribe:
"Barren banks along lakes or streams are not natural. Fish want shelter and shade. Trees and brush provide food as well as shade. Water cress should be grown wherever it will grow. Water lilies, sago and wapato are good plants to plant in a stream or lake, to provide cover and to control the temperature. It is just as foolish to put fish in an open barren lake or stream and expect them to thrive, as it would be to restock a bare and open field with squirrels and expect them to remain and prosper."TOO MANY BEARS
Bears in Yellowstone National Park have reached the peak which their numbers should be permitted to maintain, says Superintendent Roger W. Toll. This means that about 3 0 black bear and 10 grizzlies will have to be "controlled" or disposed of by park rangers each year. It is claimed that a larger number than there are at present would be a menace to visitors and that the natural food supply is insufficient for more than the present number which is 160 grizzly bear and 450 black bear.
There are of other large animals in the park, 650 antelope, 1,133 buffalo, 150 mountain sheep, 700 moose, 10,6 00 elk, 8 00 deer. The problem of disposing or caring for the excess over the maximum number of game animals that the park can support is a major one.
The elk find abundant summer range in the park but their food problem is in lack of winter range, which S.b in lower country outside the park where the elk are in competition with live stock ranges and where great losses from starvation have frequently occurred.—American Game Protective Association,OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 17 BIOLOGICAL SURVEY MAKES PROGRESS IN ACQUIRING REFUGES
Statistics assembled by the Biological Survey of the U. S. Department of Agriculture covering the land status on the Bear River Migratory-Bird Refuge in Utah, as of June 30, 193 0, show that the lands purchased total 15,860.65 acres; public lands withdrawn, 30.632.12 acres; State cession lands, 2,132.85 acres; lands leased, 7,860.98 acres; and right-of-way easement, 0.14 acre; or a total of 56,486.74 acres. When withdrawn lands exchanged, amounted to 4,009.8 acres are deducted, the net refuge area is 52,386.94 acres. During the fiscal year 1930 there was expended for lands $24,547.28; other expenditures for acquisition purposes amounted to $307.41, making a total of $24,854.69. The average cost an acre for lands purchased was $1.5 5.
Of the 163,468 acres within the boundary of the Upper Mississippi River Wild Life and Fish Refuge, 19,162 acres are reported as agricultural and semiagricultural lands, 20,000 acres as unsuited for purchase, 9,743 acres as State and city owned, 25,018 acre.; as public domain (made part of refuge by Executive orders), 1,65 0 acres as acquired by gifts and cessions, 8,777 acres under contract, and 56,548 acres actually paid for, leaving 22,570 acres to be taken under contract.
The cost of examining and appraising 2 2 5,000 acres was $22,500, or 10 cents an acre. This calculation is based on land area examined and takes no account of approximately 70,000 acres of interlocking waters that were covered by examination. For making boundary surveys $10,939 has been expended; and $40,393.46 for negotiating for 65,325 acres under contract or acquired, or an average of 62 cents an acre. This figure is based on the tracts covered by contracts, although all the tracts within the refuge have been negotiated for. The average cost of lands taken under contract is $6.29 an acre, and the average cost of lands paid for is $6.06 an acre.
Lands to be acquired for the Cheyenne Bottoms Migratory-Bird Refuge, near Great Bend, Kansas, the creation of which was authorized by act of Congress approved on June 12, 1930, are being surveyed by field crews of the Biological Survey. When the Government gains control of the lands needed for the purpose, the refuge established will be of outstanding importance to the birds migrating in the Mississippi Valley region.
Topographic surveys of other proposed refuge areas are being conducted and engineering facts gathered with dispatch. Part of the information being obtained is to enable the Biological Survey to determine what may be done toward establishing migratory-bird refuges in regions where it may be possible to restore areas now desolate to their natural condition.
These refuges are being established in furtherance of the terms of the migratory bird conservation act, to preserve the birds of the United States and Canada protected by treaty with Great Britain.GAME CHIEFS ASK FOR MORE WARDENS
With the urgent need of more adequate protection of wild life growing daily, recommendations were made to double the number of Game Protectors of the United States Bureau of Biological Survey, by the International Association of Game, Fish and Conservation Commissioners in convention at Toronto, Canada, last week. There were only 2 5 U. S. Game Protectors for the entire United States and Alaska. The recommendations were sent to President Hoover and to the United States Senate and House.
Game and fish commissioners of practically every state in the union in attendance also pledged their cooperation to the federal government in helping to protect migratory bird and wildfowl life. This wild life is under the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty between the United States and Canada.
"This is a step forward toward conserving and restoring wild life," Carlos Avery, president of the American Game Protective Association, said. "However, this will give the Biological Survey but fifty game protectors; a thousand or more are needed to cover the vast areas of the United States and Alaska."
Bootlegging of ducks, trapping and night shooting of wildfowl by market hunters is increasing, according to Paul G. Redington, chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey, so additional forces are needed to send into such areas where these illegal practices are going on to stop them.TRAPPING COYOTES DESCRIBED IN NEW LEAFLET
Wolves and coyotes, still a source of worry and serious loss to stockmen and sportsmen of the West because of destructiveness to livestock and game animals, are uncanny in their ability to avoid man's efforts to keep them under control. To capture these animals man must match with strategy their cleverness in avoiding capture. Trapping has been found by experts of the Bureau of Biological Survey, U. S. Department of Agriculture, to be one of the most effective methods. Leaflet 4 9-L, entitled "Hints on Coyote and Wolf Trapping," just issued by the department, describes the successstul methods of Federal trappers.
The areas most heavily infested with wolves are in Alaska, eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. Coyotes also exist in all the Western States. "The coyote," according to the leaflet, "is by far the most persistent of the predators of the western range country, and is a carrier of rabies, or hydrophobia, and tularemia, a disease of wild rabbits and other rodents that is transmissible and sometimes fatal to human beings.
"Much of the country inhabited by coyotes and wolves is purely agricultural and contains vast grazing areas, and a large part of the food of the animals in those areas consists of mutton, beef, pork, and poultry produced by the stockman and the farmer, and of the wild game that should be conserved. It is a matter of great importance, therefore, to the Nation's livestock producing sections, as well as to the conservationist's plan of game protection or game propagation, that coyotes and wolves be controlled in areas where they are destructive."
The new leaflet tells how best to take advantage of some of the habits of the animals in order to overcome their natural caution and their highly developed defense against danger, and so to lure them to the traps. It gives detailed informataion on how and where to set the traps and how to prepare scents to be placed as lures on weeds, clusters of grass, or stubble near the traps and along the animals' travelways.
Copies of Leaflet 49-L may be obtained free on request to the Office of Information, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.18 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA SPARROWS CONTROLLED BY TRAPPING, POISONING, SHOOTING
Where English sparrows become too numerous in a locality it is ofen necessary to control them. Economical and effective methods of controlling these birds where they become overabundant are described in a leaflet, 61-L, "English Sparrow Control," just issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Recent studies of the food habits and economic status of the English sparrow under present-day conditions show that the adult birds are essentially vegeterian, says the Bureau of Biological Survey. More than 9 6 per cent of their food is mixed feed, various grains, weed seeds, and garden products. The nestlings subsist largely on insects, but the beneficial work the sparrows do in catching bugs lasts for only 10 or 12 days, after which the young become quite as vegetarian as the adults.
Methods of control outlined in the new leaflet include the following: Destroying nests and eggs; shooting; trapping, by means of nest-box or other types of traps described and illustrated; and poisoning with a strychnine-grain bait, directions for the preparation and distribution of which are given.
"Though poison," says the leaflet, "is an economical and effective weapon in controlling English sparrows, its use is fraught with certain dangers. For this reason sparrows should be poisoned only by persons fully aware of the danger to poultry, livestock, and other farm animals from the careless handling of poisoned baits. Poisoning English sparrows in sections abounding in native seed-eating birds should be avoided, since carelessly exposed poisoned baits might endanger beneficial birds, many of which are protected by State and some by Federal laws."
Copies of the new leaflet, 61-L, may be obtained free on request to the Office of Information, IT. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.CHARGES OFTEN UNFOUNDED
Great blue herons and other fish-eating birds, like most other birds, feed on what is common and easy to get, says the Biological Survey of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Their choice of food is so largely governed by availability that in most waters they will get only a small proportion of game or commercial fishes, as it is in small proportions that these fishes occur. The more valuable fishes not only are few in numbers in relation to the non-commercial species, but usually inhabit deeper water, are swifter, and hence are harder to catch than many of the so-called coarse fishes. In some trout streams there may be a preponderance of trout over other fishes, but in such streams the birds often find and capture water insects, crustaceans, frogs, snakes, and other creatures more easily than they do the elusive trout.
Wondering what becomes of the immense numbers of trout fry that are planted in streams, anglers naturally attribute their disappearance to the enemies that are most obvious, and they are particularly likely to blame the larger fish-eating birds, such as the herons. Studies of trout streams by the Biological Board of Canada, however, show that the greater losses in trout fry are caused by enemy and competitor fishes. Few realize what serious destroyers of spawn there are among the fishes themselves, such as sticklebacks, sculpins, suckers, minnows, and the like.
After hatching, the little fishes are decimated by cannibalistic attacks, of which none are worse than those of the trout and other game fishes themselves. Besides the fish enemies of fishes the streams teem with insects and other enemies, such as the larvae of the predacious diving beetles, or "water tigers," nymps of dragon flies, giant water bugs, and crawfishes. All such fish enemies in turn are preyed upon by birds, and it is probable, except at fish hatcheries, that in most cases fish-eating birds more than make up for the harm they do in eating valuable fishes by their destruction of natural enemies of the whole fish tribe.
Illustrating the food habits of the group of fish-eating birds by those of the great blue heron, which is one of the largest and most conspicuous of the number, the Biological Survey states that in 150 stomachs examined, commercial or game fishes occurred only a few times, as follows: eel, 1; grunt, 1; pickerel, 2; trout, 9; sunfishes, 10; yellow perch, 13, and catfish, 17 times. A mere consideration of these numbers would give an impression adverse to the bird, were it not for the fact that sunfishes are not of great value either for food or sport, and catfish are notorious spawn eaters. That the great blue heron undoubtedly eats scores of the enemy and competitor fishes for every trout that it consumes is shown in the fact that among such fishes the following occurred in the number of stomachs mentioned: suckers in 29, minnows in 23, sticklebacks in 14, darters and carp in 7 each, killifish in 5 ,and sculpins, gars, and madtons in smaller numbers.
The diet of great blue herons was stated to be by no means restricted to fishes, for in it are several other enemies of fishes, as dragon-fly larvae in 37 stomachs, crawfishes in 33, giant waterbugs in 9, and predacious diving beetles in 7. Some of the other miscellaneous items found in the food were snakes, frogs, salamanders including the mud puppy, and leeches. The salamanders, leeches, and water snakes also are classed as enemies of fishes.
The Biological Survey finds that the great blue heron takes a considerable number of small mammals also, especially meadow mice. Meadow mice were found in 8, other mice in 4, and shrews in 5 of the 150 stomachs reported upon. Many observers in Western States have commented on the destruction of harmful rodents by great blue herons, and in 1889 a law was passed in California protecting the bird on account of its feeding on pocket gophers and ground squirrels.
The great blue heron is known, however, to be destructive about fish hatcheries, and the Department of Agriculture has issued an order permitting the control of this and other fish-eating birds at such places. On the other hand, in localities away from hatcheries,-it-Is • certain that the bird ordinarily consumes a much larger number of fishes not utilized by man than it does of those that are. Among these, as has been noted, are numerous spawn-eating fishes, which if allowed to live, probably wouW do more harm to game and commercial fishes than does the heron. Taken in connection with other fish enemies destroyed by the heron, the Biological Survey states that there is little doubt that the bird does more good than harm under natural conditions.