Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/256

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Miscellaneous Notes

they supply the inhabitants with a material part of their subsistence, and are sold in the market at Quebec remarkably cheap, often as low as a shilling per dozen, and sometimes even at a less rate. It appears that the pigeon prefers the loftiest and most leafless tree to settle on. In addition to the natural beauty of St. Ann and its environs, the process by which the inhabitants take the pigeons is worth remarking. Upon the loftiest tree, long bare poles are slantingly fixed; small pieces of wood are placed transversely across this pole, upon which the birds crowd; below, in ambush, the sportsman with a long gun enfilades the whole length of the pole, and, when he fires, few if any escape. Innumerable poles are prepared at St. Ann for this purpose. The other method they have of taking them is by nets, by which means they are enabled to preserve them alive, and kill them occasionally for their own use or for the market, when it has ceased to be glutted with them. Behind Madam Fontane's this sport may be seen in perfection. The nets, which are very large, are placed at the end of an avenue of trees (for it appears the pigeons choose an avenue to fly down); opposite a large tree, upon erect poles two nets are suspended, one facing the avenue, the other the tree; another is placed over them, which is fixed at one end, and supported by pulleys and two perpendicular poles at the opposite; a man is hid in a small covered house under the tree, with a rope leading from the pulleys in his hand. Directly the