Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/159

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Recollections of "Old Timers"

The stool-pigeons were fastened to stools and set on the "bed"; when the net was sprung the birds were under it. The bed over which the net was sprung was the same size as the net, or from thirty to forty feet long by twelve to fifteen feet wide. It was made by clearing the ground of all rubbish, and making it as clean as a garden. Before the net was set it covered the bed. We tied a rope to each of the front corners. On the front side we used two spring stakes fastened in the ground at the ends of the ropes, which were tied to the stake about five feet from the ground. At one of the stakes we built a bough house so that the rope from the net would pass through the house. The back corners were fastened with small, notched stakes which were driven in the ground so that the notches faced the bough house. We used what we called "flying staffs"—small stakes about four feet long and the thickness of a broom handle, with a notch cut in one end. We also used two more small stakes to set the flying staffs against, to hold the net when set. It took two to properly set a net. Each one took a staff, stepped in front, one at each corner, caught hold of the rope, and crowded the front edge back of the back edge about six inches. Then the flying staffs were placed against the small stakes, notch end against the ropes. The net was now crowded to the ground and the staffs slipped into the notches of the stakes to hold the net in place. The slack of the net was laid alongside the rope