Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/158

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The Passenger Pigeon

higher prices than poor birds. This large catch filled all his feeding pens. He said he could have made another catch fully as large as the one just mentioned, in one-half hour afterward but, having no room, he could not take care of any more.

This method of catching pigeons was much the best when they were to be preserved alive. It was rather a late invention in the pigeon-netting business. We have caught with one net in the same way as many as four hundred at one time. With a net set on the ground we have taken from three to five hundred a great many times. In this latter manner, a brother of mine caught 556 with one net. Without help, in one day I have caught from thirteen to fourteen hundred out of a flock as they were flying over.

We have two ways of pigeoning. One is catching out of flocks as they are flying over; the other is catching baited pigeons. One way of bringing the flocks out of the air was by using live pigeons kept for that purpose. These we called "fliers" and "stool-pigeons;" generally from three to five fliers and two stool-pigeons. For the "fliers" and "stools" we made what we called "boots" of soft leather. These were slipped on the leg a little above the foot. To the boots of the fliers were fastened small stout cords from two to four rods long, on the other end of which was fastened a small bush. If the birds were flying high, we used a longer string.