Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/125

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97
The Pigeon Butcher's Defense

in way of profit would have been reached as Prof. Roney says. Under very favorable circumstances, a good netter in such a season as we had in 1878, would make from $100 to $200, but by far the larger portion would not reach $100 over expenses.

At the Crooked and Maple nestings day in and day out the average catch was about twenty dozen per day to each net and two men. These sold, except immediately after the "poisoned berry story," at from twenty to thirty cents per dozen head, at the net, or if the catcher was saving alive, in which case his catch would be one-third smaller, owing to the trouble of handling the live birds, he would get from thirty-five to forty-five cents.

The principal object in saving them alive was that no birds spoiled from warm weather, and at my pens close by the nesting they would be received at any hour, while to sell dead birds it was necessary to depend on some chance buyer or to haul to Petoskey, fourteen miles distant. At Boyne Falls prices were a little higher, say twenty-five for dead and fifty cents for live, but the average catch was not five dozen per day to each net. There were exceptions both ways, which went of course to make up the average, the most notable being that of the 2,000 dozen caught by one party, not in ten days, but in twenty, employing two nets and six men. This I know, for I was at the net and saw part of the catching, while Prof. Roney never got that far. This 2,000 dozen was shipped East and netted the catchers just