Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/106

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The Passenger Pigeon

Michigan nestings. Professional "pigeoners" did not for an instant pretend to observe the law, and a lax and indifferent public opinion permitted the illegal slaughter to go on without let or hindrance, while itinerant pigeon trappers from all parts of the United States, grew rich at the expense of the commonwealth, and in intentional violation of its laws. Each succeeding year the news has been spread far and wide until it became useless to conceal the fact that pigeon trapping was a profitable business, the year of 1876 witnessing a magnitude in the traffic which exceeded anything heretofore known in the country.

In the early part of March last, a pigeon nesting formed just north of Petoskey, Michigan. Not many days had passed before information was conveyed to the game protection clubs of East Saginaw and Bay City, that enormous quantities of pigeons were being killed in open and defiant violation of the law. On reaching Petoskey we found the condition of affairs had not been magnified; indeed, it exceeded our gravest fears. Here, a few miles north, was a pigeon nesting of irregular dimensions, estimated by those best qualified to judge, to be forty (40) miles in length, by three to ten in width, probably the largest nesting that has ever existed in the United States, covering something like 100,000 acres of land, and including not less than 150,000 acres within its limits.

At the hotel we met one we were glad to see, in the