Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/111

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87
Efforts to Check the Slaughter

crimson blood. When all were dead, the net was raised, many still clinging to its meshes with beak and claws in their death grip and were shaken off. They were then gathered, counted, deposited behind a log with many others and covered with bushes, and the death trap set for another harvest.

Scarcely able to conceal our indignation, we sat upon the bank and questioned this hero, learning that he had pursued the business for years, and had caught as high as 87 dozen in one day, learning later that he caught and killed upon that day, 82 dozen, or 984 birds. This outrage was perpetrated within 100 rods of the nests and in plain hearing of the nesting sounds, instead of two miles away, as the law prescribes. After gaining some further information, the old gray-headed land-looker and his companion withdrew, bidding the pigeon pirate good-day, and leaving him none the wiser for the visit. Out of sight we worked our way back to the road, overtook the stage and returned to Petoskey. The next day the writer swore out a warrant and caused the arrest of the offender, who could not do otherwise than plead guilty, and had the satisfaction of seeing him pay over his fine of $50 for his poor knowledge of distances.

The shooting done at the nesting was in the most flagrant violation of the protective laws. The five-mile limit was a dead letter. The shotgun brigade went where they listed, and shot the birds in the nesting as