Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/157

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Recollections of "Old Timers"

the army of pigeoners (estimated to be about five hundred) commenced taking them. Entering the woods in which the nesting was located, they cut down the trees right and left, cutting the timber over thousands of acres. When a tree fell, bringing with it the squabs, they picked the young birds up, sometimes getting as many as two dozen from one tree. The large trees, which might have yielded fifty or a hundred, were left standing. Our company of five took in two days thirteen barrels of squabs, averaging 400 to the barrel.

There were shipped from two stations on the Erie road in one day 200 barrels of these young pigeons. If they had been old birds, they would not have broken the market, but this was too many squabs, and the price dropped 25 to 45 cents per dozen.

Osborn told me that he once caught 3,500 at one catch. It was at a big nesting in the State of Wisconsin. He had an enormous flock baited. He said that he put out as high as forty bushels of shelled corn at one time on the bed where he caught this large number. For a trap, he had constructed a board pen built up from the ground four or five feet high. This pen was about one hundred feet long by twenty feet wide. He took three large-sized nets, and, tying them together, set them on this pen. He had feeding pens built by the side of the trap-pen, so when he made a catch he could drive the pigeons into the feeding pens and fatten them for market, these "stall-fed" birds bringing much