REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME FOR THE STATE OF MAINE FOR THE YEAR 1900.
KENNEBEC JOURNAL PRINT
Contents: Letter to Governor , Museum , Fish Hatcheries & Fish Stations , Necessity of Fish Culture by State ,Cottages, Hotels, Hunting Lodges & Camps , Number of people who came to Maine in 1900 , The Farmers & the Game Laws , Big Game of Maine , Caribou , Moose , Moose Hunters at Fault , The September Law & Forest Fires , Accidents While Hunting , Registered Maine Guides , Partridge Law Retail Dealers in Deer, Deer Skins , Hunters, Trappers, & Camp Proprietors , Taxidermists , Lacey Act , Birds & Bird Protection , Gulls & Terns , Belgian Hares , Changes in Fish & Game Laws , License Fee for Hunters , Letters from guides , Wardens , Prosecutions , Red Squirrel , Tramp Sportsmen , Financial Statement , Hatchery Expenses , Pay of Wardens
To His Excellency, the Governor, and the Honorable Council: The Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game beg leave to submit their annual report for the year 1900.
MUSEUM. The State museum, at present located in the office of the Commissioners, in the basement of the State House, has proven of great interest to the large numbers of visitors who have occasion to visit the Capitol. Many persons, including in some instances whole schools, have come from a distance especially to see the specimens. Since we began this collection of the fishes, birds and animals of Maine, five thousand visitors have voluntarily registered their names and addresses in the office,—not more than half of those who have visited the museum have taken the trouble to register, so that at least ten thousand persons have been delighted with their visit to the museum. We have been able, with the very limited means at our disposal, to procure but a few specimens of the many varieties of birds and animals native to Maine.
The list at present is as follows : 1 large cow moose, (Lady Bemis); 3 pairs of moose horns; 1 calf bull moose; 2 caribou heads; 1 skull and horns of caribou; 5 buck deer heads; 1 Albino deer, 1 buck deer; 2 large salmon; 3 trout, (square tailed); 4 white perch; 1 sturgeon; 1 codfish, with frame and glass; 2 hedgehogs; 1 chair made of deer horns; 1 Glaucous gull, with frame and glass; 1 panel of partridge, woodcock and quail, with frame and glass; 2 green herons; 6 loons; 1 black bear; 1 mink; 1 star-nosed mole; 1 weasel; 2 red foxes; 1 gray squirrel; 2 beavers; 13 hawks; bevy of quail; 1 American eagle; 2 blue herons; 2 crows; 5 sets of caribou horns, (one very large); 2 sets deer horns; 2 fawns; 1 cast of large salmon; 2 snowshoe
6 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
trout; 2 black bass; 1 lobster, with frame and glass; 2 wild cats; 1 snapping turtle; 1 Arctic owl in glass case; 3 muskrats; 1 black woodchuck; 2 red squirrels; 2 rabbits; family of skunks; 2 sables ; 1 flying squirrel; 2 coons; bevy of 10 partridges; 2 capercailzie and black game; 7 owls; : 4 coots; 1 wild goose; 1 meadow hen; bevy of sandpipers; 1 gull; 1 snow flake; 2 red-winged blackbirds; I hairy woodpecker; 2 yellow legs; 1 great northern shrike; 1 murre; 1 hooded merganser; 2 blue jays; 1 meadow lark; pair of horned larks; 1 fox sparrow; 3 woodcock; 1 crow blackbird; 2 yellow bellied sap suckers; plover; 12 ducks; 1 Wilson snipe; 1 brown pelican; 1 sea porcupine.
We have purchased a large and elegant show case in which to preserve many of the specimens, where they are shown to good advantage. For lack of funds we have been unable to do more than make a small beginning, and trust that a small appropriation will be made by the legislature to continue the work. In accordance with the requirements of section 34, of chapter 42, of the Public Laws of 1899, we have held twenty hearings upon petitions of citizens of the State.
The number of these remains at four, viz : One at Edes Falls, one at East Auburn, one at Monmouth and one at Caribou. These are all of small capacity, and supply but a small per cent of the urgent and insistent requests for their products by our people it., various parts of the State.
The hatchery at Edes Falls is a rather small affair, and is operated exclusively for the benefit of Sebago lake and its tributary waters. The product of the Caribou Hatchery ought to be planted largely in the great lakes and ponds of Aroostook county.
We had bad luck with our hatch of land-locked salmon at the Monmouth Hatchery, losing about all of them from a sack disease in a very few days after hatching. This left the Auburn Hatchery to supply about all the demands from sections outside of Sebago lake, Kennebec and Aroostook counties.
There have been planted in Sebago lake, and its tributary waters, this year, 164,900 land-locked salmon and 80,000 trout; we have taken at this lake 50,000 trout eggs and 325,000 landlocked salmon eggs which are now in this hatchery.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 7
We have distributed from the Caribou Hatchery 15,652 landlocked salmon, 68,666 brook trout, 7,500 brown trout and 200,000 white-fish; there are now 89,000 land-locked salmon eggs, 14,500 brook trout eggs, 20,000 white-fish eggs, and 6,000 brown trout eggs in this hatchery.
From the Auburn Hatchery we have distributed 237,600 landlocked salmon and 117,000 brook trout; we have taken at this hatchery 520,000 land-locked salmon eggs and 375,000 trout eggs this fall.
From the Monmouth Hatchery we have distributed 194,600 trout and 5,000 land-locked salmon; we have taken at this hatchery this fall 365,000 trout eggs.
Prior to 1867 nothing had been done in this State to protect or cultivate its inland fish,— there were no laws for their protection or for the protection of game, and but very few anglers came to Maine; very few knew that Maine had the largest, finest and gamiest brook trout in the world. In that year a few men were wise and far seeing enough to discern that we had a valuable resource in our inland fish and game, and to preserve them something must be done for their protection.
In 1867, a resolve was passed in the legislature relative to the restoration and protection of sea and inland fishes. This resolve was approved January 28th, 1867; and two commissioners of fisheries were appointed, Messrs. Nathan W. Foster and Charles G. Atkins. In 1872, Mr. Atkins went on the staff of the United States fish commissioners, and E. M. Stilwell, of Bangor, and Henry O. Stanley, of Dixfield, were appointed.
Mr. Stilwell remained on the commission until his death some six years ago; Mr. Stanley is still serving on the commission. From the time of the passage of this resolve in 1867 to the present it has been the settled policy of the State to enact and enforce needful, restrictive and protective laws for the propagation and protection of its fish and the protection of its game, and there has been an annual appropriation by the legislature each year for this purpose. The largest liberty to the individual consistent with keeping up the supply has been the criterion in the enactment of protective laws. That there has been bitter opposi-
8 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
tion at times is well known; but the results, the benefits accruing to the state have been and are too manifest to be safely disregarded. It is a helpful and hopeful fact that there is less opposition each year as these benefits become more apparent; it is now quite universally conceded that the fostering by the State of this great industry is absolutely necessary and has proved and is proving of great pecuniary benefit to our people. Opinions differ somewhat as to methods but nearly all agree that the artificial propagation of fish on the largest scale possible, in order to re-stock our more than fifteen hundred lakes and ponds, is a wise business policy. It is also conceded that it is equally important that needful laws made for the proper protection of its fish and game should be rigidly enforced. Fishing is well nigh universal in this State. Our lakes and ponds are situated in every section, and every part of the State derives more or less benefit therefrom. Around hundreds of these lakes and ponds are many cottages, some of them of great value, where the annual outing is enjoyed, in order to catch fish and enjoy our beautiful scenery and pure air.
The artificial hatching of fish is no longer an experiment. Mr. Atkins was the first in this State to demonstrate that it was possible. The first salmon eggs were purchased in 1868, at a cost of $44.80 per thousand in gold, from the Canadian government. Today, we are taking them from our own waters at a cost of less than one dollar per thousand, and there is practically no limit to the artificial propagation of fish in this State. For many years the result of the work of the commissioners did not show to a certainty; the only way it could be demonstrated was by introducing a new species of fish; for many years the commissioners were obliged to plant the young fry as soon as hatched, at a time when the young fish were helpless and at the mercy of frogs, other fish and even insects.
The results were somewhat meagre and there seemed to be but little encouragement. Some eight years ago, to the extent of our means, we commenced feeding our young fry, from the time of hatching in the spring until October, before liberating them; during this time they attain a growth of three to five inches in length, being then well able to take care of themselves. Beneficial results from this process were perceptible at once; adult fish
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 9
showing up in nearly every lake that was suitable for their growth in about four years. We believe that this is the only proper method to keep up our supply of trout and salmon; we cannot depend upon the supply from natural sources; the fishing will deteriorate to such an extent that we shall lose the anglers who come here from abroad and leave large sums of money with our people, unless fish are artificially propagated to a large extent.
We are greatly in need of a new and modern fish hatchery, of large capacity. Our entire appropriation of $25,000 could be expended for fish alone, and would be for our best interests, repaying the State every year many fold.
Our fish is worth more to our people than the game — although the game of Maine is well worth preserving and affords a good revenue to the State; yet we believe that the fish is many times more valuable than the game. Given the means, fish can be artificially propagated without limit; game cannot—nothing can be done for that except protection, which is very difficult in a large part of the State, as it is scattered over a very large territory, and of easy access to the poacher.
At the time our commission was instituted, there were only four places in Maine that contained the land-locked salmon, viz.: Sebago, Sebec, Grand and Green lakes. To-day, there are hundreds of lakes and ponds containing these fish, in some of which it is as good fishing as can be found in any of the original lakes which contained them; indeed from one of these lakes which ten years ago contained no salmon, we are now obtaining our largest stock of salmon eggs.
Our main efforts have been in stocking our large lakes with desirable fish, like the salmon and trout of the different varieties.
On our larger lakes and ponds in years to come we believe we shall have to depend largely for our fishing, and a crop of six months old fish should be sown each year if we are to keep up the supply. There are several new varieties of fish which we are raising at our hatcheries which we think will prove a desirable acquisition to our waters.
Maine today is the banner state for fish, and sportsmen are coming here more and more every year, leaving many hundreds
10 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
of thousands of dollars with our people, and it would seem to be for our best interests to foster and protect our fish and game. Maine is now far ahead of any other state in the Union as a desirable summer resort, or as a place to go fishing or hunting or to spend a vacation.
There are, according to the returns received at the office of the commissioners, over twelve hundred private cottages around our inland lakes and ponds, and more than six hundred hotels, hunting lodges and camps where sportsmen are entertained.
THEIR COST. These cost, with boats, canoes and furnishings something over three millions of dollars, (3,000,000). The number of these increases largely from year to year. Many of them are of great value, adding very much to the taxable property of the State.
Is variously estimated by those best qualified to judge as from fifty to two hundred and fifty thousand. Col. F. E. Boothby, general passenger agent of the Maine Central Railroad, writes: "While of course we cannot give you a definite statement as to the number of summer visitors, fishermen and hunters who passed over this road from out of the State the past season, yet from figures which we have previously made, I should say that two hundred and fifty thousand, (250,000), would not be very far out of the way; certainly as many as that number."
Fifty thousand would seem in view of Mr. Boothby's letter as much too small an estimate; two hundred and fifty thousand may be too large an estimate. It is clear, however, that not less than from four to six millions of dollars were expended in Maine by these visitors; certainly nearly double this amount if Mr. Boothby is correct.
This is a very conservative statement, not a mere guess or rough estimate; but based upon reliable data secured by wardens
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 11
and others, upon blanks furnished them for this purpose. We have, at great pains and much expense, secured these returns from the owners of these cottages, hotels, boarding houses and hunting lodges, in order that the people of the State might see the actual figures and more fully comprehended the vast material interests involved, and through their representatives in the legislature properly provide for the future in this direction, so far as the State ought to or can provide for the propagation and protection of fish and the protection of game.
This year has been one of the best, undoubtedly the best in our history, so far as the number of visiting tourists and sportsmen and the catch of fish is concerned.
More people have come here to fish and more of our own people have "gone a fishing" and caught more fish than ever before in a single year. More money has been expended by our own people in fishing and more money has been expended by people from out of the State within our borders for outdoor sports than ever before in a single year, nor will this condition cease to exist, provided the supply of fish and game can be kept up.
"The State of Maine from its northern situation, its bracing air, its pure water, its varied scenery, and its exemption from those contagious diseases of a fatal character so frequently the scourge of southern climates, has become deservedly popular as a summer resort, and the number of those who spend the summer months within our borders is steadily increasing, and embraces persons from all parts of the country." Thus wrote Dr. Wm. B. Lapham, in 1883, when sportsmen and tourists were few in comparison with the numbers that came to Maine in the year 1900, seeking the benefits of our cool and refreshing climate, hunting big game in our extensive forests or to catch fish in our lakes, ponds and streams.
The conditions and surroundings in different parts of the State are so varied that even the most fastidious cannot fail of being suited. We have every gradation of rustic beauty—beautiful rivers, towering mountains, and hilly districts; broad valleys and level tablelands, populous and thriving cities, rural villages, and the somber unbroken wilderness. A noted writer has said, "What the people want is a change," or in other words a vaca-
12 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
tion. It is an undeniable fact that a vacation has come to be a recognized American institution. Good judges estimate that at least ten of our seventy-six millions of population indulge in some sort of an extended vacation during the spring, summer, or fall months; that it is a part of the system of right living which Americans are coming more or less rapidly to adopt, admits of no denial.
For the great majority of city toilers who seek relief for jarred nerves and overwrought brain, physicians say there is nothing so delightful or so beneficial as the peaceful quiet and pure ozone of the woods and mountains. In these days of rapid transit those having even moderate means and limited time, have learned that they can leave the dust and toil of distant cities behind them of a morning or evening and in twelve, twenty-four or thirty-six hours breath the sweet breath of the piney woods of Maine about them, or look out upon old ocean from her rocky bound coast, and looking up, through forest trees or ocean mist, devoutly thank God they are there.
There is not in all our borders a single dangerous animal, reptile or poisonous insect; one may sleep in perfect security and safety under his blanket in the wilderness anywhere.
The area of our lakes and ponds is more than two millions of acres. The states of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware could be lost together in our northern forests, and still have about each a margin of wilderness sufficiently wide to make its exploration without a registered guide a work of desperate adventure.
There are 6000 streams represented upon the State map, these ramifying into innumerable branches thread the surface of the State by a fine network of brooks. The fame of our eighteen hundred lakes and ponds is world wide, beautifully situated, easily accessible. Lovely and grand Sebago in the south, yielding to the efforts of the sportsman its 30-pound salmon, the Rangeley lakes in the west, dear to the hearts of fishermen in nearly every state in America, with their gigantic specimens of the square-tailed trout, ten pounds and more in weight, Cobbosseecontee, Annabessacook, Maranocook, and the eight large lakes in the Belgrade chain, in Kennebec county, suddenly revealing their piscatorial enchantment, to the delight of thousands of
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 13
sportsmen, Moosehead lake in the north, Maine's great inland sea, forty miles in length, with Mt. Kineo in the midst, and majestic, silent Katandin, rearing its rugged head in the distance, beautiful Sebec dropped down in the midst of a cluster of grand mountains, Chesuncook, Chamberlain, Eagle, Churchill and Square lakes in the northeast, score of miles in the unbroken wilderness, surrounded by the virgin forests and great mountains. Grand and other lakes and the St. Croix waters in the "sunrise" county in the farthest east, beautiful beyond description, with hundreds of smaller lakes and ponds, sparkling like diamonds set in emerald green, are seen in every township, and afford the most glorious opportunities for piscatorial sport within the bounds of civilization.
It is undoubtedly true that many of our farmers have in the recent past been antagonistic to our game laws, and this feeling still exists to a greater degree than is generally known. This antagonism is most often manifested in connection with the closing of lakes and ponds to ice fishing and the closing of tributary streams in which they and their fathers have been accustomed to fish from time immemorial. Men who never in their lives fished in a certain stream or through the ice in a certain pond are at once aroused to great bitterness by a close time, not that they want to fish, but because "their natural and inalienable rights have been interfered with, as they think."
This is error; no natural or inherent rights have been interfered with wrongfully. It is too well settled law to spend time or space in discussing it, that the legislature may make any restrictions, rules or regulations relative to the taking of its fish and game it sees fit.
We are pleased to note that the farmer as a rule is coming to realize that it is for his interest to have needful laws, well enforced. This is aptly illustrated by the following taken from the public press:
14 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
"THE COUNTY GRANGE.
It was Entertained at Riverton on Saturday Afternoon Last.
Cumberland County Pomona Grange was entertained on the Riverton road, Saturday, by Presumpscot Grange No. 15. The granges of Westbrook, Windham, Gray, New Gloucester, Falmouth, North Yarmouth, Gorham, Cape Elizabeth and Scarboro were represented at this meeting.
The interesting feature of the gathering was the discussion of the resolution introduced at the last meeting by Mr. Rolfe, complaining about the expense of enforcing the game laws and complaining that these laws did not benefit the farmer any. Mr. H. K. Griggs of Westbrook, in a very able report made by him as chairman of the committee appointed to investigate this matter, marshalled the statistics of our game and fish laws, showing the immense amount of money invested in hotels, camps and other property in connection with the fishing and hunting in Maine, and also showing that over $12,000,000 a year is brought into Maine by fishermen and hunters who would not come here were it not for these game laws. He also spoke of the vast increase in the number of land-locked salmon, over 100 ponds now being stocked with this fish. He admitted that in the beginning he was of the same mind as the man who introduced this resolution, but that on looking into the subject he had begun to believe that the fish and game protection in Maine is one of the best things this State ever did to help not only the farmer, but all classes of people. Mr. W. J. Corthell of the Gorham Normal School, Mr. Peter Stewart of Windham and Mr. L. B. Dennett of Portland were among the others who discussed this subject on the line taken by Mr. Griggs and who made excellent speeches. At the conclusion of the speeches, the resolution was defeated by a vote of 71 to 9."
The meeting above referred to, brought out the following letters from the general passenger agents of our two greatest railroads, from which we are permitted to copy:
"I am writing you from the standpoint of a railroad man, knowing something of the benefits accruing to the State from our fish and game interests.
"I think that anyone who decries the efforts of the fish and game commission in our State, or who at all discourages or seeks
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 15
to discourage a continuance of these efforts, cannot have studied the situation. Those in communities of considerable size, who have enjoyed and enjoy, a most excellent and convenient train service, have, within my observation, assumed that their patronage sustained it. I do not think it an exaggeration to say that one-half of the passenger train mileage, a good part of each year, in the State of Maine, is made possible only by the patronage of visiting sportsmen or pleasure seekers.
"In other words out of the State, patrons are supporting many of the trains which are of such benefit to the citizens, notably the freight shippers, of the State. This one feature alone, fully analyzed, will convince any reasonable man, whatever his occupation, that any and all good means for protecting, propagating and heralding the natural attractions of the State is of value to him. The interests of everybody in the State are so interwoven as to make it impossible to help any class without helping all other classes, or to hurt one without hurting all; and I cannot conceive of anything which would hurt our State more than the curtailing of our most excellent passenger train service.
"While very largely supported by visitors to the State it is a most wonderful factor in serving our manufacturers and our farmers. It conveniently takes out into the larger markets those who canvass for sales of our lumber and produce; it conveniently brings in the thousands of buyers. Maine is a rugged State.
"In the broad, its grocery, clothing, etc., consumption must be paid for from the forests, the soil, or the granite in its hills. It is in competition at all times with the West, the Northwest and with Canada, in an effort to hold and enlarge its markets. The transportation problem is the vital one, and the maintenance of an efficient, prompt and comfortable passenger train service is the greatest factor in the whole problem. He who seeks to lessen the efforts to continue the attractions of our lakes, streams and forests musts, if he investigates, discover that he is working against himself and his own interests.
"To double, if possible, the attractions and to doubly herald them can only result in immensely increased benefit to every farmer, every laborer, every manufacturer within the State. The growing tendency to protect our forests; to guard against
16 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
fire, prevent wanton destruction of things animate and inanimate; the general education that is in progress, gradual but sure, which is bringing all classes within and those from without our borders, into a realization of what Maine's natural attractions are doing for Maine, must be worth several times its cost to everyone who lives here."
"Dear Sir: The seacoast attracts a great many people, but their visits are principally confined to the months of July and August alone.
"It is to the interior, then, which we have to look for a longer stay, and this travel commences immediately when it is known that the ice has left the lakes, and, indeed, the minute this appears in the Boston papers it is not unusual that we have to add extra cars to accommodate the travel; then, again, this sporting travel lasts through the month of October and some part of November.
"I beg of you, then, to consider what this interior travel would amount to if no effort was made to keep up the supply of fish and game in our State. It is not to be supposed for an instant, that persons are going to our interiors just to see what the rivers and lakes look like, it is, of course, for the pleasure derived in the way of sport instant to the catching of our fish and game, and any effort made by any particular community to take away revenue from another section of the State is as unwise as possibly can be.
V"As illustrating why sportsmen come here in great numbers, I am sending you herewith a copy of a record of game shipped over our line for the months of October, November and December, 1899, and to illustrate the cost to visitors, I want to say that a particular friend of mine once told me that to get one moose, he expended in Maine for transportation, guides, supplies, board, etc., the sum of $2,700.
"I hope, then, you will take methods so far as may be in your power to counteract any action likely to be inimical to our fish and game interests."
We failed to procure a copy of the resolution referred to, but learned from the public press that it was in substance "that the whole fish and game interests was of no use, that it was a pet for fat pulls, etc."
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 17
In conclusion of this subject, we submit the following:
"Maine Farmer : Never in its history has the State of Maine held so many visitors from towns and cities outside as at the present time. The railroads are carrying more than ever and the steamship lines are refusing to sell tickets to certain places where already they are overrun. At Poland Spring, every room was engaged before June 1st, for the month of August, and cots have been at a premium. It is claimed that we have at least twenty percent more visitors than during any season in our history. If these do not go to the mountains they flock to the hotels and farmhouses all through the State located near lakes and ponds. The returns are now being realized for the expenditures in stocking and restocking these lakes and streams. If the railroads are reaping a harvest and the hotel men are happy, surely the farmer 'who feeds them all,' has reason for rejoicing.
"From the moment these visitors step on the soil of Maine until they depart, they are all the while spending money, and when the dollars are in circulation everybody gets a share. Three time a day the cry for food goes up, and through the invigorating influence of pure air, water and exercise, it grows no less as the days pass. Here is the direct benefit the farmers are realizing from this generous advertising which has been given the State by railroads and hotel men. In some country towns, the home market is the best in the State, and everywhere it is more active because of their great influx from the cities."
18 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
By the provisions of section 19, of chapter 42, of the Public Laws of 1899, it is unlawful to hunt or kill caribou before October 15, 1905.
It appears to be certain that there are practically no caribou in the State. Many different reasons are given for their disappearance which appear to be plausible enough; that they are not here now is apparent. Where they have gone to and why they went will continue to furnish fruitful topics for speculation for years to come. It is freely prophesied by guides, hunters and others somewhat familiar with the haunts and habits of this valuable animal that they will as suddenly re-appear in the near future as they disappeared but a few years ago. Whether they migrated before the muzzle of a Winchester rifle, or died in consequence of an epidemic, or took a notion all at once to go to Canada will never be positively known. That it was in consequence of the great increase in deer is the prevailing opinion among those best qualified to give an opinion. The caribou seem inclined to isolate themselves from other large game.
The caribou is a valuable game animal, not, however, as valuable as the deer or moose. The Indian characterization of a caribou as a "fool deer" is not inappropriate. One of their striking peculiarities being that unless they scent their slayer they will not flee, and large droves frequently remain to be shot down. Moose and deer are much more wary, quickly taking to flight from noise or scent.
By the provisions of section 17, of chapter 42, of the Public Laws of 1899, it is unlawful to hunt or kill cow or calf moose at any time. The open time for hunting bull moose is from October 15th to December 1st of each year, and no bull moose
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 19
can be lawfully killed until he has two tines or prongs to his horns. Notwithstanding the fact that a very heavy penalty is imposed, (not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, or not exceeding four months in jail for illegally killing moose), we have reports of the killing of twenty-two cow and calf moose, illegally slaughtered this year. One cow moose was killed by a railroad train in Belgrade, Kennebec county, and one was so severely injured by a train near Bemis, Oxford county, that we were obliged to have it killed. We had it mounted and it is in the State Museum.
The best record obtainable shows but little variation in the number killed each year for the last four years, though the number hunting them has increased each year.
There seems to be a unanimity of agreement on the part of many that moose are actually increasing. The guides by about two to one in the game region report an increase in this game, while about one-third of the guides in the same region report that the bulls are surely decreasing.
Without venturing an opinion, where so many experts so radically disagree, we feel free to state that the change in the moose law of four years ago, restricting the open season to six weeks, came none too soon, notwithstanding the fact that this law was as fiercely and bitterly assailed as the September law, so called, is now being assailed. It is not believed that any well informed person would advocate the restoration of the old law, while there are very many who think that greater restrictions should be imposed than already exist. It is certain that if this change had not been made, moose by this time would have become practically extinct. Since this change was made we have had reports of small bulls, cows and calves in considerable numbers being in regions where they were previously comparatively unknown, and as a rule in those sections where in the past deer have been most plentiful.
It seems to be a well established fact that deer and moose are changing about to quite an extent. In the back woods where moose have always been the most plentiful, their numbers do not appear to have very materially changed in the last four years, and in addition we have this migration of small moose in considerable numbers and some good heads are found among them.
20 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
This change in the law has practically stopped the practice of hunting moose by "calling." Under the old law it was very difficult to guard against September shooting owing to the very large extent of territory; and the practice of "calling" moose was quite universal. It is undoubtedly true that some are killed now before the 15th of October, their heads preserved and brought out in open season. It is believed that the law in the Canadian provinces permitting the hunting of moose in the "calling" season has a tendency to drive them from that section into Maine.
As everybody knows, the moose is the biggest and grandest game animal in North America. Its practical extinction in Maine would be greatly deplored and in addition be a direct pecuniary loss yearly to the State. How to adequately protect and preserve it from extinction is a live practical question of absorbing interest to a great many people. We do not suffer for any lack of advice upon this question. Hardly a day passes that we do not receive some sort of advice about it. "In a multitude of counsellors there may be wisdom," but the trouble is, there are so many variant opinions about it, each sure he is right, and unwilling that any opinions but his own should prevail that it is extremely difficult to get an agreement upon anything. Altogether too many seem literally "to take no thought of the morrow," but strive to kill all they can this year, inasmuch as they are uncertain about being able to hunt next year. One thing is certain, however, it is not safe to give more open time to hunt these animals. They should have and ought to have more and better protection in the future than in the past.
Many recommendations come to the office for a close time on bull moose for a series of years, others advocate a high license fee for those who hunt them, and others strenuously argue that the law should require each person who kills one to bring it out of the woods. We submit in this connection a communication published in one of the leading newspapers in the State, and also a communication from one of the most prominent business men of the State, and a practical sportsman :
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 21
"To the Sporting Editor : Does any Maine hunter know how many pounds of good, fresh moose meat are allowed to lie in the woods and decay in the course of a year? My own personal knowledge is not extended enough for me to make more than a rough guess, but from what I have seen and heard, I believe it is much larger than it should be. The worst of it is that we cannot punish the hunters for making so large a waste. So long as a moose head is worth from four to six times as much as all the rest of the carcass, the sportsman who goes for a set of large antlers will not burden himself with the weight of the body unless he is forced to do so by law.
"Now I have no complaint to make against the men who seek moose heads. I would like to get a good one myself. I do most emphatically protest against the habit of decapitating a moose for his antlers and throwing the body aside for the foxes and skunks. The moose is too scarce an animal to be used thus. Killing a moose for his antlers is worse than shooting a heron for his plumes, and both are cruel.
"I hope to see a law passed at the coming session of the legislature that will compel every man who shoots a moose in the Maine woods to bring the carcass out entire. It is my belief that there are other Maine hunters who agree with me on this subject.—Old Hunter."
"Grindstone, Me., Nov. 19, 1900.
22 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
"I know of one man who shot a moose this season in open time, who simply cut the horns off and left the carcass to rot. This, I believe to be wrong. Personally, if I had no use for the meat, I would be inclined to pay someone to transport the meat and accept it as a gift. I paid for the hauling of the carcass of the one I shot this fall twenty-eight miles, and then gave away such portion as I did not care to take to Portland.
"I simply offer these suggestions for your consideration, but I firmly believe that they will have a good effect in the preservation of game."
It is claimed on the part of many that it should not be permissible to leave the carcass of a moose in the woods; by others it is claimed that the value of the moose is not in its carcass, but as a trophy of the chase; that the meat of the moose is worth ordinarily $25 to $30, and the real value is not less than $500, estimated at what it costs to procure one ordinarily.
It is also claimed that if a person who shoots a moose was compelled by law to bring it out of the woods it would operate as a great protection, that they would not then be killed in remote and inaccessible places, but that they would have some home, some abiding place where they would be comparatively safe, but that as it is now there is no spot in Maine, no matter how remote or inaccessible, that the moose hunters' feet do not tread and the crack of his rifle is not heard.
It is a fact that the moose is hunted and killed simply for his head. We ought to take no chances, to run no risks of losing this most valuable of all game animals, remembering the fact that nearly all of the large game animals of North America have practically disappeared by the destroying hand of man, actuated by human greed.
There is about as much discussion of the "deer question" as of the "moose question." The number really killed in any one year is unknown, and various estimates are made, based upon more or less accurate information from guides, transportation companies, wardens and reliable persons in various localities, whom we have requested to keep count of the number killed and report to us.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 23
For instance, the count in Kennebec county shows sixty killed. It was a mistake to open this county to the killing of does, — it should be confined to bucks, and October only should be an open month for shooting buck deer in Kennebec county.
We have received very many recommendations and urgent requests to have the whole of December a closed month for deer hunting in the whole State. It is but mere butchery to kill deer in the deep, crusty snows of December; they are at this time practically helpless and at the mercy of anyone who can travel on snow-shoes and shoot any kind of a gun.
The question has been sharply raised, Are the deer decreasing in this State? Authorities disagree upon this question. We find that many are prophesying that the deer are. about to leave the State entirely, the feed being exhausted. Captain Pollard, of Foxcroft, one of our most competent and trustworthy wardens, who travels in the woods practically all of the time, says that he knows that deer in the section where he travels are less numerous than last year; in fact, there did not appear to be near as many in July and August as there were in May or June. He further says, "That he knows that they have not been killed but that they must have moved off somewhere." He is of the opinion that they are migrating for some reason or other. Now he is as well or better qualified to judge of the conditions existing as anyone. He is conservative, thoroughly trustworthy and reliable. He thinks that many of the old, weak and small deer perished in consequence of the great depth of snow the last two winters, and from being greatly afflicted with lice.
From the wardens who are on duty in Aroostook county, we have reports that deer apparently were never more plenty there than they have been this year.
We have practically the same reports from the wardens in Washington, Oxford and Franklin counties. Perhaps more sportsmen have failed to get the limit allowed by law this year than last year. November 10th, we conversed with an intelligent Boston gentleman, who was returning from his annual hunt. He had failed to get even one deer and was absolutely certain that they were much less plenty than he had ever known.
November 29th, we conversed with two sportsmen from Connecticut, returning from their annual hunting trip, who had each
24 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
a moose and two deer. They were loud in their praises of Maine as the "Sportsmen's Paradise," and said they had never known moose or deer to be more plenty.
The successful hunters found plenty of game, the unsuccessful one was certain that it was scarce.
The two instances above cited are merely typical of hundreds of other like instances. Opinions of those in every way best qualified to judge differ vastly upon this question. The reports of the guides in the same sections differ very widely.
Six hundred guides report deer as decreasing, 200 report them as increasing, while more than half of them fail to answer this question at all.
We have had recourse to every source of information and exhausted every means within our power to try and get at the real truth. Our conclusion is that deer are not less plentiful, take the State as a whole, than one or two years ago. They have decreased in some sections and increased in other sections.
For the last two winters the snow has been unusually and enormously deep, — from five to six feet deep on an average. Deer are, therefore, entirely helpless, unable to make large yards or paths to procure food, and it is claimed, not without good reason apparently, that a good many of them perished in consequence, that many were killed by poachers; reports also show that they were greatly afflicted with lice and many died in consequence.
Hunters' camps and lodges have greatly multiplied in the recent past; railroads, steamboat companies, hotels, sportsmen's shows, newspapers and guides have done an enormous amount of advertising the last few years, and the throng of hunters in consequence has steadily increased each year, each one anxious and ordinarily striving hard to secure the limit of big game allowed by law; the supply would undoubtedly meet this demand if the killing was legal, such only as is permitted by our unusually liberal game laws, the most liberal of any in the United States or in the world where any game laws exist.
It is claimed, by some at least, that the number illegally killed equals or exceeds the number legally taken. Nor is it possible to prevent this with the means at our disposal for this purpose. Human nature will have to be changed, more restrictive laws
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 25
enacted, or more means placed at our disposal before any marked change will be likely to take place.
Human greed, that greed we see so often manifested, that would take the last parent fish from her spawning bed, and kill the last doe deer in the forests for the sake of $1.50 that the pelt would bring, has to be contended with all along the line.
A well authenticated report which came to our office last August aptly illustrates this : Two ladies were overheard conversing together in a railroad car; one said, "I am,on my way home from _____ camps at ____ pond; I had a most delightful time, but I got so sick of deer meat; we had it in some form every meal for the four weeks that I was there."
At one well known and much patronized summer resort, a warden seized a deer all nicely dressed in the refrigerator in August; the proprietor was discharged by the court at his trial; the claim was made that the deer undertook to swim across the pond and was drowned and was taken, and dressed.
One sportsman from Boston writes to the public press as follows : "One man who had spent two weeks in camp in August said he had killed ten deer while there; that from June 1st to November 1st, guests and other people at that camp had averaged not less than ten daily, and that during all that time venison in some form was served at each and every meal. Three of the months were absolute close time, and in September none of the camp attaches had taken out a license. When camp proprietors, employees and guests slaughter freely in close time, everything within easy reach, is it not too much to expect that game will be just as plenty in the same district after the season legally opens? I know of a guide, now dead, who, in the open season of 1897, killed twenty-one deer."
Now this man was asked by the commissioners to communicate to us in confidence, names and location, but he flatly refused. This is not an isolated case. We could give many instances of like import. If these are facts, it is not surprising that the person who comes to hunt deer in October and November finds them less plenty around sporting camps and lodges than formerly and the September law can in no way be chargeable with it.
We often hear it said, "That the commissioners are paid a good salary to enforce the law, why don't they do it?"
[Pages 26 and 27 missing]
28 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
The farmers in several counties, notably in Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Cumberland and York seem to like the presence of deer. It is unlawful to kill deer in any of these counties at any time.
The law permitting the taking of one deer in September in certain sections of the State, for food purposes only, is found in section 21, of chapter 42, of the Public Laws of 1899
No enactment in recent years has been more misrepresented, misconstrued and misinterpreted, either purposely or otherwise.
It is not "a law to open the month of September to indiscriminate slaughter of deer," it is not "a law to permit anyone who will pay the license fee to kill a deer" as is persistently represented. It provides that "it shall be lawful for a person from the first day of September to the first day of October to take one deer, for food purposes only, to be consumed in the locality where taken by the person taking the same, in the counties of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, Hancock and Washington, such person having first procured a license therefor, * * * under such rules and regulations as the commissioners of inland fisheries and game shall from time to time establish."
Non-residents must be in charge of a registered guide when taking a deer under the provisions of this section.
It is difficult to account for the virulence with which this law has been assailed, except upon the theory that it is believed by those who attack it, to be the forerunner of a general license law for hunting, and therefore it was thought necessary to break it down completely.
It is unnecessary to state that this was not at all the intent or the intentions; this law was passed at the request, and upon the earnest recommendation, of a very large number of guides, visiting sportsmen and others who petitioned for it and no opposition was made from any source.
It did not originate with the commissioners, although we earnestly favored its passage. A careful examination of all that has passage said against it may be summarized under two heads,
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 29
1st. That it leads to the indiscriminate slaughter of deer, and has produced a scarcity of deer during the usual hunting months.
2nd. That it increases forest fires and is a menace and a danger to our forests.
A fair representation of what is charged under the first head is the following, taken from various newspapers in the State: "There have been few things done in the interests of our fish and game in the past that have met with such bitter opposition as has this measure, (September law). From a humane as well as economic point of view, the law should be turned down at the coming session. Of course the results of proposed legislation can never be positively foretold until it is tried, but this of a surety has been a costly experiment.
It is an undoubted fact that Maine has lost much in her income this year during the hunting season over what we might have expected. The hunting has not been as good as usual, owing to dry weather as well as the September law. There has not been such a large influx of sportsmen for various reasons."
Bangor correspondence of Boston Herald : "Hunters who have returned here say that the deer are growing scarce, and they attribute the decrease to the September law." This paper in the same issue printed from its Waterville correspondent the following : "It is claimed by some sportsmen that the fifteen days of September that were open for deer caused a wholesale stampede of what few moose there were."
There was recently published in the Lewiston Journal, from its Waterville correspondent, what purported to be interviews with several gentlemen, hunters, and sportsmen. This correspondent says in the article referred to, "There is a general feeling hereabouts that the September license law on deer is a bad thing for the State and a serious setback to the sport. There are numerous hunters who are crying out against it, and it is likely that the coming session of the legislature will be asked to straighten out the tangle that the game commissioner of the State seems to have worked up. It was Commissioner Carleton who evolved the idea that the State might receive a good thing in a pecuniary sense from sportsmen who would be willing to pay for a license to shoot deer in September, and consequently the last fifteen days of September were set aside as the period which
30 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
sportsmen might pay the sum of $4.00 for the privilege of shooting a deer if he lived in this State, and $6.00 if he resided in another State. That this license system has worked sad havoc with the game interests of the State, and quite the reverse of Mr. Carleton's expectations, and proved to be a great loss to the State is in evidence from what sportsmen have to say at this time."
A prominent attorney of Skowhegan, was particularly displeased with the way the September license has operated. When asked if he had anything to say on the subject he replied, "I go up river every year for the purpose of hunting; I have heard enough about this new scheme to get money for the State and have had sufficient experience this fall with the game that I did not see, to feel like stating that the plan is a bad one. It is just like this: A resident pays $4, and a non-resident $6 for a license to kill a deer. The man with a license goes up river in the month of September when deer are tame and easy to find in the waterways. He sits around the shore of a pond or a stream and when the deer comes along to the water, he shoots him. He examines the head and it proves to be not quite as good as he wants and he disposes of the carcass. I am told there are various ways of disposing of the carcass. It has been said in my hearing that some carcasses have been buried in leaves or underbrush, and that others have been dragged into the ponds with a great stone tied around the neck; then the hunter proceeds to shoot another deer and keeps on shooting until he brings down the head that suits his taste. In this way a man with a $4 license may shoot a dozen deer so long as he does not tag more than the law allows."
A well known Waterville druggist, and a thorough sportsman, denounces the license system.
Mr. ____ has not yet visited the game section this year. He said when the thing was first suggested, "I understood it was Mr. Carleton's particular hobby; when asked if he had heard that carcasses of deer had been dumped into the ponds, when it was discovered that the head of the creature was not to the liking of the hunter, Mr. _____ said that he had heard of this being done, and also that carcasses had been buried in the ground, yet he was not in possession of any evidence that would prove this,
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 31
as it had come to him in conversation, in which another had expressed the belief to be general in the game sections that such work had been done."
John B. Murphy, a Waterville hotel man, was born and raised at West Forks, had the following to say: "The license system is simply spoiling the game privileges. Last year when I went into the Enchanted there were ten deer where there is one now. It is talked generally among the sportsmen that men have bought licenses of the game wardens and then have gone into the woods for a general slaughter of deer. I do not know of any men who can be convicted of such a thing, but I do know that it has been told to me. I have heard that does have been shot and buried and that the man with a license has killed bucks until he has secured the right kind of a head. I do not know that it is a fact, but I have heard that deer have been dragged into the ponds and sunk in order to cover up the fact that the slayer had overstepped the provisions of the law. I want to say that in all my goings and comings in the woods, I never saw the game so driven back and frightened as it has been this year. Why is it so if the selling of the September licenses is not to blame for it? I have said that last year there were ten deer to one this year."
Daniel Patience, proprietor of the Enchanted pond camps, admits that game is scarce, and says he can find no other excuse for it than the license system.
He can furnish no evidence that men have killed deer in excess of the number allowed by law.
"Time was when the Maine woods began to attract the attention of the great sporting world, that nearly every sportsman employed a guide, but now the new man to the country, or the man who cannot shoot, is about the only one who takes a guide along on a hunting expedition. The man who began coming to Maine a dozen or more years ago has become familiar with the woods and needs no guide. Often these bring along one or more friends and he is both companion and guide for the party. There are a great many of this latter class and as they have no guide along, there is no way of the guide knowing whether they have kept within the limits of the law, unless the latter stumbles onto the party and by accident discovers the fact of wrong doing.
32 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
In the meantime the sportsmen who did not take advantage of the license system are here, digging deeply into the forest and climbing hills in search of the game that formerly came meekly to the slaughter."
This is the strongest indictment that we have seen or heard against this law, and no doubt the writer of the article and the persons whose opinions he has quoted were sincere in their statements. Why some of them should be called upon to state that it was "Carleton's hobby" we are at a loss to know. Mr. Carleton is no more responsible for the law than his associates. We each of us earnestly recommended it; we each of us believe that it is a good law.
The writer of this article has evidently never read the law, or if he has read it has failed utterly to understand it, for he misquotes its provisions. Now to show how absurd all this is, it is only necessary to state that in all that region spoken of above, where deer are represented as "not being more than one in ten as compared with last year," there were just two licenses sold and not one of these within 3 ˝ miles of Enchanted pond camps. Surely the killing of two deer in that great territory cannot have produced the great scarcity alleged. There were only nine killed in all the territory spoken of by these men.
We would call attention also to the fact that the writer of this article, and the persons whom he quotes—if reported correctly —draws the blackest kind of an indictment against the guides. Slaughter of deer in September by persons holding one of these licenses cannot go on without the knowledge, aid and connivance of the guides.
We have called attention to this newspaper article in particular because it is a sample of what has appeared from time to time in several newspapers. The proof utterly fails to show that any alleged or apparent scarcity of deer can be fairly charged to the operations of this law.
The game wardens on active duty are men of large experience. They are in the usual haunts of deer much of the time. They are experienced and practical. After carefully watching the operations of this law for two years they pronounce it a good thing. Are their opinions entitled to respect?
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 33
We could exhaust the limits of this report with quotations from letters, from true sportsmen in and out of the State, written us earnestly commending the law.
It seems to us that the average newspaper correspondent, in order to furnish readable matter the public is interested in, has taken the opinions of those little competent to judge of game matters, and whose verdict should be little relied upon.
Now then, if a novice goes into the woods for a short time and fails to have a deer bite him he comes back and says, "game is scarce and the 'September law' caused it, and it is working a great injury to the State."
The facts are that owing to the peculiar habits of this animal, in certain seasons of the year they are in one kind of growth, and at other seasons in another kind, depending considerably whether it is wet or dry. This is well illustrated by the fact that while bucks are just as plenty in early October as in November it is rare, comparatively, that large bucks are taken at this season of the year. The hunter simply fails to find them. Why not charge this up against the September law?
In our article on deer we further call attention to this matter.
Off against the opinions of the gentlemen above quoted, for whom we have the highest respect as men, we submit herewith an interview with Dr. Geo. H. Rich of New York City, published in the Lewiston Journal:
"DEER ARE JUST AS NUMEROUS. "Dr Rich of New York explains the apparent scarcity. Moose more than holding their own. "Dr. Geo. H. Rich of New York City, passed through Lewiston, Friday, en route for home, a trifle late for Thanksgiving.
"To a Journal reporter who caught a moment's chat with him between trains, Dr. Rich explained in a new and most plausible manner the scarcity of deer which is occasioning so much comment in all the hunting sections of the State. Like nearly every man who has attempted an explanation, the New York sportsman in his premise protests against the theory that the September law or slaughter from any other cause has anything to do with the present status of the Maine deer. He says just this :
34 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
"It will be remembered that all of the complaints came during the latter part of September and the first two weeks in October. It was claimed deer were not found in their usual haunts and the returns from sportsmen showed this to be so. Various reasons have been advanced but none of them are agreed to by hunters, guides or sportsmen of experience. There is in my opinion but one real reason and that is the wet feeding grounds.
"It is well remembered how much rain fell during September. Well, this rain fairly flooded the lowlands where deer are wont to feed, and drove them back to the highlands and ridges where they are now being found. Deer like water all right but when it comes to browsing and feeding they take to places where water is not hoof deep. I have during my trip just closed talked with a score of guides and hunters, men who certainly should know whereof they speak and this is the explanation they give to a man, of the present apparent scarcity of deer in Maine.
"Later the deer will return where they have yarded in past winters and then it will be seen that there are just as many of them, if not more, than a year ago."
Harry Pierce, a veteran hunter, and proprietor of King-Bartlett camps for many years, said "he was about discouraged in October, there seemed to be no deer, but in November they came back and were as thick as ever."
2nd. Does it increase the danger of forest fires?
Attention was sharply called to this feature of the case by an able and thoughtful editorial in the Bangor Commercial, after the law had been in operation one season, in which it was strongly intimated that this law does endanger the forests.
This is a serious question and deserves the most candid and careful consideration. Our forests are far too important and far too valuable to take any chances in this respect. This is our feeling, and we have tried to govern ourselves accordingly. A popular writer says : "Fire is easily started in the woods. You knock out the ashes from your pipe on a fallen log; you toss the end of a match into a patch of grass; you scatter the dead brands of an old fire among the moss, — a conflagration is under way before you know it. A fire in the woods is one thing; fire in the woods is another thing; a terror, an uncontrollable fury, a burning shame."
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 35
Prior to the changes in the fish and game laws in 1895, the wild land owners had always been more or less antagonistic to the fish and game interests; but since then, we are pleased to state, there has been much less friction.
Ever since the change referred to, the Commissioners, in arranging their recommendations to the legislature, have always taken into careful consideration the interests and wishes of the wild land owners, and have carefully refrained from recommending the passage of any law, unless in their judgment it conserved their interests.
It seems, however, that there is likely to arise, in the near future, some new points of difference between the sporting interests and the wild land owners. In order to explain the position of the Commissioners fully, it seems necessary to call attention to some of the conditions as they exist to-day and have existed within the last few years. Under the old law of a few years ago, partridge shooting, as well as other varieties of birds and ducks, was allowed to commence from the first to the middle of September and the same regulations still exist. September is an open month for fishing, duck hunting, and the latter half for partridge and woodcock shooting. This furnishes ample excuse for many sportsmen and pretended sportsmen to be in the woods for the ostensible purpose of fishing, and hunting these birds.
September being one of the most beautiful months for camping purposes, — the flies having all disappeared, — is selected by many people who go to the woods for a simple outing or to regain their health, but ostensibly for the purpose of fishing or shooting partridges and ducks.
To the ordinary woodsman and lumberman, the necessity of carrying firearms into the woods at such times, for protection against wild beasts, is not apparent; but to the tourists from the large cities, the necessity of having firearms, for the purposes indicated, seems all important.
Few of them would dare to camp out in the woods without this means of protection. When so camping, especially if far from the settlements, it is next to impossible to procure fresh meat of any kind, such as the ordinary markets afford, and the temptation to shoot a deer has been so overpowering that but few could resist.
36 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
Thus we found at the time our duties commenced that owing to these causes, (the bird hunters, tourists and fishermen), much game was being destroyed and frequent fires occurred which were very difficult to trace. We found upon investigation that as many people were in the woods during the month of September as were there later in October, — sometimes even more.
The danger from fire occurred in this manner: Such tourists as wanted fresh meat would kill a deer perhaps. The remnants left unconsumed, as well as the bones and offal, was necessary to hide completely when moving camp, in order to avoid detection by any warden visiting the region where they were located. Fire seemed to serve the purpose as well or better than any other method.
About the time of leaving camp, if not before, we found it a very common practice to build a huge bonfire, into which they would put all the bones and refuse of deer killed, in order that they might be entirely consumed. Large fires were necessary for this purpose, as a small fire was not sufficient, and frequently these fires were left burning when the campers moved their tents.
Various methods were suggested to eliminate this danger; but we found it very difficult to trace these parties owing to the fact, as stated in a previous report, to the secretiveness of the tourists and their guides as to the routes they were to travel or the places they were to visit.
About the time these conditions existed, we were brought face to face with a strong movement on the part of our local sportsmen, as well as tourists from abroad, looking to the making of September, or part of the month at least, regular open season for deer hunting. This movement arose, doubtless, partly because the deer were very plenty, but principally because those physically weak could not withstand the hardships of October weather and because many would be deprived off their outing altogether unless it could be taken in September.
With these facts and conditions before us, we carefully considered ways and means by which we could better protect forest property and incidentally our game also.
For this purpose we readily assented to what at present is known as the "September law," and recommended that it should
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 37
have a passage; also the law compelling all non-residents to be in charge of a licensed guide when camping or hunting or building fires on forest property, — a very heavy license fee for nonresidents.
We recommended the law for the sole reason that in our judgment it would best conserve the interests of the land owners directly and the State indirectly.
A false impression seems to prevail that this law was recommended for the purpose of providing increased revenue for the fish and game department and for this purpose alone.
This is not the fact, although the revenues do serve us to a good purpose. We sought to provide a method, whereby the game that we knew to be slaughtered and would continue to be slaughtered during the month of September, could be lawfully obtained, by paying into the State treasury a small fee, and thus do away with the lawlessness so long in common practice. Prior to this September law, guides were almost compelled by force of circumstances to be poachers to a certain extent, but we expected by virtue of this law that the guides would have no further excuse for poaching and would heartily join with us in compelling all visitors, as well as residents, to abide by the law. It was believed there would be no more game killed during the month of September than was killed illegally prior to its enactment. We have no exact figures to prove or disprove this theory, but in the judgment of those best informed, and most familiar with the conditions before and since its enactment, no more deer are killed in September under this law than there were before without it; and instead of our game being destroyed by the surreptitious and illegal methods in vogue prior to 1899, sportsmen are allowed, in an open and legal manner, to obtain their necessary food supply without injuring our game interests,
At the coming session of the legislature, we anticipate that an effort will be made for the repeal of this law, owing to the fear that exists in the minds of some of the land owners that danger from forest fires is much greater than prior to its enactment.
Possibly we may be in error, but we think not. After having carefully observed the workings of the law as we would an experiment requiring the most careful attention, we honestly
38 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
believe that it works to the benefit of the land owners by preventing forest fires and submit our reasons for the faith that is in us. The total number of licenses sold has been about 600 during each of the past two seasons; but only about 350 deer have been killed each year by the parties holding these licenses, the others having failed to obtain a deer after having paid for a license. Instead of the secretiveness in regard to the intended route as formerly, all sportsmen holding such licenses are free to state the locality they intend to visit.
A non-resident being compelled to hire a guide, if he intends to camp or build fires on forest lands, is not likely to leave fires burning because of the presence of and the supervision exercised by the guide, who have all been cautioned and warned by the Commissioners that, whenever any camp fires are left burning by them, or any undue carelessness shown, their licenses would be immediately cancelled and they would be debarred from doing any guiding business for a full year.
The guides have learned their lessons so well, and are so loyal to the wild land interests, that we have yet to learn of a single instance during the past two years of a forest fire occurring that has caused damage of consequence, by the sporting party who was in the care of a registered guide.
During the seasons of 1899 and 1900 a severe drought occurred during the month of September. We venture the assertion that, although the woods were full of sportsmen, during the month of September of these years less damage resulted from fires than during any month of similar drought, with possibly two exceptions, that occurred prior to the time visitors began flocking into our State, and we assume that the reason for this was wholly on account of the careful manner that fires were looked after and extinguished by the guides in charge of the various parties.
During the month of September the present year, numerous forest fires occurred, resulting in a large property loss. The charge was repeatedly made that these fires resulted from the September law and that the Commissioners were indirectly responsible by reason of having recommended the law. It was our duty to investigate the cause and extent of these fires, and
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 39
having another incentive, that of being in a way responsible, if the charge was true, we have sent our agents and thoroughly investigated the causes of these fires and in addition made very numerous inquiries in order to learn of our error if we had made one.
We are pleased to report that in no single instance have we been able to trace any fire of consequence to a party in charge of a guide. To a party of berry pickers camping near a bog, one of our large fires seems traceable.
In another instance, a colony of bees was smoked out of a tree in order to obtain their honey, and a large fire resulted. Locomotives undoubtedly caused several fires, but two of the very largest losses were unquestionably of incendiary origin, although positive proof is lacking. In fact in not a single instance do those who have actually suffered property loss charge the sportsman with being responsible, so far as we have been able to learn.
In deference to the fear and anxiety that existed, the Commissioners suspended the workings of this law during a portion of the month of September of this year, not because we believed it responsible for the losses sustained, but because we wished to learn the facts, the charge having been made through the press that it was responsible for the larger part of the fires, but the facts do not warrant the charge.
Should the legislature repeal this law at its next session, it is our judgment that it will work an injury rather than a benefit to the property owners, unless other radical changes are made.
Facetiously expressed, the restrictions should be as follows : Without this law, all woods work including cruising lands, and especially camping, should be prohibited during this month. Berry picking should not be allowed unless the pickers live in houses. Partridge shooting should be prohibited, as well as woodcock shooting and all other fowling. Guards should be stationed with authority to search all persons entering forest growth and seize all matches in their possession. Incendiaries should all be locked up before the drought commences. No land should be cleared or stump fires set along the border unless the wood and the stumps are so wet they will not burn. Railroad trains should be moved by horse power and lighting rods placed on all tall dead trees in the forests.
40 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
Seriously these are all sources of danger to forest growth and when fires result from these various causes, and the innocent guide is charged with being responsible, it is but human for him to resent it. If it can be shown that the guides are otherwise than careful about setting fires., or are responsible in any material degree for the fire losses of the past year, the Commissioners are very willing to join with the wild land owners in asking a repeal of the September law. If the facts are as we have outlined, however, we think it unfair and unjust to charge the guides with misdemeanors of which they are entirely innocent.
Of course it is well understood and admitted by all that assertion is not proof. To assert that this law causes additional forest fires is attacking it in the most effectual way possible, but we have asked for the facts and sought most earnestly for them, if there were any to prove this allegation. We have utterly failed to find any proof of this assertion. On the contrary we find that in the localities where the most September licenses were sold there were the fewest fires.
Of all the licenses sold 41 per cent of them were sold at Moosehead lake,—the gateway to the vast wilderness to the North, and the greatest outing and camping out section in the State. More tourists from outside the State are in the woods in that section in September than in all the rest of the State, and yet not a dollar's worth of property was destroyed by fire during that month in all that section. '* If the wild land owners want this law repealed we should not feel like opposing it. Forest fires are likely to occur from a multitude of causes, and if one should occur, doing much damage, in consequence of the negligence of a guide or a sportsman who had such a license, it would work great injury to our game interests.
vWe cannot refrain from saying in conclusion that we fully. believe that this law is a very great additional protection to the forests, and its repeal would be a mistake, but that we shall in no wise antagonize the wishes of the wild land owners in this respect.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 41
There have been nine cases reported during the year of accidental shooting of one person by another while hunting, five of which resulted fatally. Three were mistaken for a deer, one for a white faced bear, one where the hunter shot at a deer, missed it and shot his companion, the others were purely accidental.
In each case where the person was mistaken for a deer the shooting was fatal. There have been no prosecutions, so far as we can learn, for any of these shootings. A great deal is said about such accidents and we copy approvingly the following from the Kennebec journal:
"ACCIDENTS IN THE MAINE WOODS.
"The return of each hunting season brings its series of shooting accidents in the Maine woods. Each year there are a few fatalities, many accidents and many more narrow escapes of which the outside world seldom hears. Considering the great number of hunters, the unfamiliarity of the average man with firearms, and the excitement of the chase for big game, some of these accidents are as inevitable as they are deplorable. But there is one species of 'accident' of which the outside world is very tired of hearing. This is the kind for which the 'thought-it-was-a--deer' excuse is given. This excuse has lost its effectiveness. It has been offered so many times and so many warnings have been given against such criminal carelessness, that the man who now fires at anything which moves in the bushes, without first making sure it is not a human being, deserves harsher punishment than the pangs of conscience can possibly bring him.
"The accidental discharge of a rifle by which a hunter or guide is killed or injured is quite another thing. Accidents are accidents and while there is no excuse for failing to exercise ordinary care, it is impossible to enjoy complete immunity from shooting accidents in the hunting season. But there is little of the accidental element in shooting a man because he was 'mistaken for a deer.' The man who raises his rifle and fires, with aim deliberate enough to kill, at 'something moving in the bushes,' places his exultation at the possibility of bringing down
42 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
a deer above his value of human life. It is worse than carelessness, and each succeeding fatality of this nature makes stronger the demand that the law be invoked to punish such hunters. If the existing laws regarding manslaughter are not sufficient, it would not be difficult to pass a law to cover such cases. If one or two examples were made, it is probable that sportsmen would make sure they were killing deer instead of men.
"In this connection the Bangor Commercial says : 'The accidental killing of a man in the woods by a reckless hunter seems to call for the indictment of the author of the tragedy and his conviction and sentence to imprisonment for a term according to the extenuating circumstances in each case. If all hunters should realize that some punishment besides the pangs of conscience which may come over them for a time, were to be meted out to those who blaze away regardless of the safety of human life, then the frequency of these deplorable accidents might be lessened.' "
The legislature of 1897 enacted a law requiring every person who engages in the business of guiding either in inland fishing or forest hunting to cause his name, age and residence to be recorded in a book kept for that purpose by the Commissioners, and procure a certificate from them setting forth in substance that he is deemed suitable to act as a guide and providing for a penalty for those who guide without being registered. They were also required to make a report to the Commissioners, on blanks furnished them, of the number of days they have been employed as a guide, and such other useful information relative to the inland fish and game, forest fires and preservation of the forests in the localities where he has guided as the Commissioners deem of importance to the State. The fee for such registration is 1.00 for residents and $20 for non-residents.
This law, and the Commissioners in consequence of the law, were immediately bitterly assailed by a few guides, some sympathetic poachers and others; every expedient that ingenuity could devise was resorted to to try and bring the law into disrepute. A great deal was said about its not being constitutional; a few guides acting upon their own inclination, with claimed
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 43
promises of financial support, openly defied the law by guiding without complying with its provisions; this, of course, compelled immediate action by the Commissioners. There was no straightforward movement on the part of anyone to test the constitutionality of this law—though they made much ado in the public press about their desire to do so; the Commissioners offered to assist in every way to have the law tested with as little expense as possible, if such was their desire; but we were driven to all the expense possible by arrests and trials before the lower court and appeals and trials by jury; at length the case, State vs. Elmer Snowman of Rangeley, Franklin county, was taken to the law court, after he had been indicted and tried and found guilty by the jury of the wilful violation of this law.
The principal question before the law court was whether the statute under which the respondent was indicted was unconstitutional. Eminent counsel was employed who contended that the statute under which the respondent was indicted is repugnant to that clause of the declaration of rights, Section 1, Article 1 of the Constitution of Maine, which declares that, "All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness."
It was argued in support of this contention, that the statute in question deprived the respondent and others from engaging in a lawful vocation, and is therefore in contravention of the provisions of the bill of rights, guaranteeing the liberty of all citizens.
The court unanimously held that this law is not repugnant to the constitution of the State, but is constitutional and valid, thus forever settling this question.
It is a matter of public regret that there are so many of the guides who are not disposed to render any aid or assistance, whatever, in the enforcement of the fish and game laws, but are themselves flagrant violators of these laws.
One of the most conservative men in the State living in the game region writes : "The guides are getting the benefit of the fish and game laws and they should be the ones to protect the fish and game. Some of these licensed guides have done worse
[page 44 and 45 missing]
46 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
would be much less. We think, too, that if each person were obliged to kill his own game, it would develop a sturdier, more self-reliant and honorable class of sportsmen.
It is undoubtedly true that the guides as a rule are opposed to a license fee for hunters; they appear to be about a unit in favor of compelling non-residents to hire registered guides when hunting — the highest kind of a license fee.
There is much force in their reasoning why this should be done, but should they then not be willing to pay a much larger fee for being registered?
The law provides that "any marketman or provision dealer having an established place of business in this State, may purchase and have in his possession deer lawfully killed, (not exceeding three at any one time), and sell the same at retail to his local customers;" this has been the law substantially for many years — thereby giving to marketmen and provision dealers a monopoly of this business. In 1897 this law was amended so as to require them to keep a record, open to the inspection of the inland fish and game wardens and the commissioners, "of the name and residence of each person of whom he purchased deer and the date of such purchase." This amendment proved of great value as it practically put a stop to killing deer for the market. Before its passage many marketmen were convicted of buying deer and shipping them to the Boston market.
In 1899 the sale of partridges was prohibited by statute; this so offended a few marketmen that they have, since its passage, refused to procure licenses to retail deer to their local customers, their purpose evidently being to break down this partridge law. Now it is admitted on all sides that the partridge is the best game bird in North America; it is a native of Maine. Hunting partridges for the market had been so persistent that they had become exceedingly scarce in many sections of the State, and their practical extermination seemed but a question of a short
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 47
time. It is thought that an effort will be made to repeal this clause of the law prohibiting the sale of partridges.
We respectfully submit that if the sale of partridges and other birds is to be allowed under any circumstances that it should be permitted only under the closest scrutiny possible; that the person dealing in them should be subject to the supervision of the State authorities, and only such persons should be permitted to deal in them as are friendly to the game laws, of good repute and has procured a license therefor; further, if the sale of partridges is to be permitted under any circumstances, the number of these birds that may be lawfully killed by any one person during a season should be restricted to a small number, in the same way the number of deer a person is permitted to take is restricted. We do not undertake to say in this connection what the number should be, but it should be borne in mind that the tendency of all modern legislation is against the marketing of game or birds.
Twenty-seven persons have procured licenses as retail dealers in deer this year, paying therefor $52. The fee required is $5 in towns of over 3,000 inhabitants, $3 in all other towns, or 50 cents for each deer retailed as the dealer chooses.
One-half of these only have reported, as yet, as the law requires. They report having purchased fifty-nine deer by virtue of their licenses.
There are nine dealers in deer skins licensed. They report having bought 609 deer skins during the year. Average price paid was 46 cents each.
There are sixty-three licensed hunters and trappers. As yet only one-half have reported as required by law. They report having taken the following amount of game :
Twelve bears, 100 martins, 19 wildcats, 34 fisher, 90 foxes, 10 skunks, 108 mink, 2 coons, 334 muskrats, 15 otter.
The law requires every person who keeps a sporting camp, lodge or place of resort for inland fishing or hunting parties to annually procure a license therefor.
48 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
Under the provisions of this law we have licensed 107 persons. But seventy-five of the camp proprietors have reported as yet, as required by law.
They report as follows : 2,412 resident guests entertained; 3,869 non-resident guests entertained; 34 deer purchased for consumption at their camps and 261 deer consumed at their camps.
There are thirty-four licensed taxidermists in the State. Only one-half of these have made a report as yet. They report as follows :
Amount of game killed in Maine received for mounting the past year : 1 moose, 79 moose heads, 44 deer, 674 deer heads, 47 bears, 64 foxes, 3 turtles, 17 squirrels, 7 porcupines, 1 wildcat, 22 coons, 2 mink, 351 birds.
Game killed out of the State: 16 moose heads, 3 deer, 58 deer heads, 54 birds.
The Act of Congress, approved May 25, 1900, has given new interest to the restrictions imposed by the various states for the protection of game.
This Act supplements existing State laws by prohibiting the shipment from one state to another of game or birds killed in violation of local laws, and by subjecting birds and game brought into a state to the same restrictions as those prescribed for game and birds produced within that state.
This law is regarded as one of the most important ones yet enacted in the interests of game and bird protection.
This federal game law, it can readily be seen, is additional protection to existing State game laws. With good laws well executed, the craft of law evader falls into disrepute. This federal game law will prove an additional check to violators of the State game laws.
The violator of the law has heretofore not had much to fear, if the game was once got out of the State, consequently State game laws have not been sufficiently far reaching.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 49
We submit herewith sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Act above referred to for the information of shippers, dealers and others :
"An Act to Enlarge the Powers of the Department of Agriculture, Prohibit the Transportation by Interstate Commerce of Game killed in Violation of Local Laws, and for other Purposes.
Section 3. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to deliver to any common carrier, or for any common carrier to transport from one state or territory to another state or territory, or from any state or territory to the District of Columbia or Alaska, any foreign animals or birds the importation of which is prohibited, or the dead bodies or parts thereof of any wild animals or birds, where such animals or birds have been killed in violation of the laws of the state, territory or district in which the same were killed: Provided, that nothing herein shall prevent the transportation of any dead birds or animals during the season when the same may be lawfully captured, and the export of which is not prohibited by law in the state, territory or district in which the same are killed.
Section 4. That all packages containing such dead animals, birds or parts thereof, when shipped by interstate commerce, as provided in section one of this Act, shall be plainly and clearly marked, so that the name and address of the shipper and the nature of the contents may be readily ascertained on inspection of the outside of such packages. For each evasion or violation of this Act the shipper shall, upon conviction, pay a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars; and the consignee knowingly receiving such articles so shipped and transported in violation of this Act shall, upon conviction, pay a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars; and the carrier knowingly carrying or transporting the same shall, upon conviction, pay a fine of not exceeding two hundred dollars.
Section 5. That all dead bodies, or parts thereof, of any foreign game animals, or game or song birds, the importation of which is prohibited, or the dead bodies or parts thereof, of any wild game animals, or game or song birds transported into any state or territory, or remaining therein for use, consumption, sale or storage therein, shall, upon arrival in such state or territory, be subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such
50 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
state or territory enacted in the exercise of its police powers, to the same extent and in the same manner as though such animals and birds had been produced in such state or territory, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of being introduced therein in original packages or otherwise. This Act shall not prevent any importation, transportation, or sale of birds or bird plumage manufactured from the feathers of barnyard fowl."
The first law for the protection of birds, their nests and eggs was promulgated 1,451 years before Christ, when the old Hebrew law-giver Moses formulated a code for the Children of Israel; he enacted the following : "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young; but thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayst prolong thy days."
This was a plain, common sense direction, which we do not think has ever been repealed. Probably ever since the day that first law was enacted, there have been laws of some sort for the protection of birds; some of them have been good and some of them worthless, but none of them have been observed as they should be.
We copy from a circular issued by the Audubon Society of New York:
"The Circular Letter of William Dutcher, Treasurer of the American Ornithologists' Union.
"According to the census of 1890, there were in the United States the enormous number of 4,564,641 farms, with a total acreage of 623,218,619. The valuation of these farm lands is placed at the sum of $13,279,252,649. The labor of the farmer and fruit grower is repaid by products to the value of $2,460,167,454 per year, but it is said that insects and rodents destroy products annually to the astonishing money value of $200,0000,000, even with the birds as protectors. Just imagine what the
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 51
additional loss would be were all the birds destroyed. They are fast being exterminated, and unless that large class of the population, the agriculturists, awaken to the gravity of the situation and absolutely demand that no more birds be killed for any purpose whatever, they will soon feel the shortsightedness in actual dollars and cents. A difference of one per cent. in the value of the farm products amounts to the enormous sum of $24,600,074. The birds are now killed for two purposes only; for food and for millinery ornaments. For food, only a very few are shot, i.e., the game birds, and those only during restricted portions of the year, so they do not materially affect the result.
There is no excuse for shooting the second class of birds, as their value as millinery ornaments is far less than their value as insect destroyers.
"Besides this, contrast the difference in the money value of the two interests that are opposed to each other. By the census of 1890, we find that the total capital invested in the millinery and lace trade is $22,939,430, and the cost of the materials used that year was $27,345,118. Place the two interests side by side, thirteen billions as against twenty-two millions ! Again, an annual product of 2,212 millions as against twenty-seven millions! I ask, and wish I could shout my question in a voice so loud and clear that every man, woman and child in this broad land of ours could hear it, Have the milliners with their paltry interests, any right to jeopardize the safety of the agricultural interests ?
Ponder ! A difference of only one per cent. in the annual products of our farms and gardens amounts to more than the entire millinery and lace interests in the United States. Will the farmers and fruit growers remain silent much longer and permit the birds, their best friends, to be killed that a trifling interest like the millinery trade may make a few more dollars at the sacrifice of so much that is beautiful, as well as of economic value?
"Realizing how our birds are being diminished, and also how very valuable they are from every point of view, let us endeavor to discover some method by which they may be protected. "Laws to protect birds, however, no matter how good they may be, are useless unless they are enforced, or unless there is a public sentiment in favor of bird protection. This sentiment is the
52 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
very goal that all bird lovers are striving for, and it may be attained in many different ways.
"For want of space I suggest but two of the many methods that could be used to create sentiment; first, let the members of the Christian Endeavor Societies, and the Epworth Leagues and the Young People's Christian Associations have an additional aim. It is to love God's wild birds as well as his human children.
If all the male members of these three bodies will pledge themselves to refrain from killing their little brothers of the air, and the female members absolutely refuse to wear the plumage of any wild birds as ornaments, then a great advance will have been made toward the better protection of our birds;
second, let the farmers' clubs and institutes take up the subject of bird protection, for it is of vital importance to them.
"There is no other class to whom the subject appeals so strongly from the economic side as to the agriculturist or fruit grower. The farmers of the present day are much more advanced in their methods than were their ancestors, even those of a few generations back. Farming is now largely done on scientific principles, helped by study and research in chemistry, etc., but the most important helpers that the farmers have, those that lighten his labors, or rather permit his labors to be rewarded, are rapidly bring destroyed, simply because the farmer has not made himself acquainted with the good they do him. The birds protect the farmer; they work for him more faithfully and continuously than any other helper he can get. Let the farmer recognize this and in turn let him protect the birds.
"It would be a wise investment in actual dollars and cents for every farmers' club and institute in this land to employ a naturalist to teach the names of the birds about them and the part that each one takes in the preservation of nature's balance. I believe that when the farmers, their wives and their children, once become well acquainted with the good the birds do in the meadows and orchards, the gardens and forests, it will be dangerous for anyone to destroy one of the feathered helpers. Hasten the day !"
One of the principal branches of work undertaken by this society is the protection of North American birds. During recent years the millinery interests have made such inroads upon birds
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 53
that a number of species have become almost totally extinct in North America, and therefore redoubled efforts have recently been made by this union in several sections of the country, especially along the Atlantic coast.
The method of protection is as follows:
1. By the establishment of Audubon Societies throughout the country in order to create an interest
in birds among women and children.
In 1886 the protection committee of the society formulated a suggestion for a law which is simple, direct and effective, and wherever it has been adopted by any state legislature has proved of great value.
Under this statute, birds are divided into two classes, game and non-game birds, and the union's proposed law only refers to non-game birds as all others are fully protected by the various state game laws.
Subsequent to the founding of the union in 1883, the United States Department of Agriculture created a division known as the biological survey; this department is now very actively engaged in bird protection along the same lines followed by the American Ornithologists' Union, the two bodies working entirely in harmony with each other. In a recent publication, Bulletin No. 12, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, the passage by state legislatures of the proposed law of the American Ornithologists' Union is advocated.
Early in the present year, the Federal government caused to be enacted a law known as the "Lacey Act" the enforcement of which rests with the United States Department of Agriculture; this law prevents interstate commerce in all birds and game killed illegally and therefore it is extremely important that uniform laws for the protection of non-game birds be passed in all of the states. In the State of Maine during the year 1900, the union spent a large sum of money in protecting sea birds on their breeding
54 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
grounds with very excellent results although the law for their protection in the State is very insufficient, and if it is not remedied soon, the sea gulls that now breed in Maine will shortly become extinct. Their eggs are being taken and wantonly destroyed on the nesting grounds and the birds are shot in large numbers for millinery purposes.
The picturesque and beautiful coast line of Maine will soon be deprived of one of its great beauties if this wanton and unnecessary slaughter is permitted to be continued.
Only the most limited number of persons, and those of the most worthless character, receive any benefit by the destruction of the sea birds on the coast of Maine. The great body of citizens of the State being deprived of what should be one of the most entertaining and instructive of her natural resources.
For the public good, a statute should at once be passed by the Maine legislature in order that the various outside organizations now working for the protection of birds may continue to aid the citizens of Maine in preserving her land and sea birds, the former of which are the greatest existing benefactors of the agriculturists and fruit grower, and the latter very valuable as scavengers; both classes being especially valuable from an aesthetic standpoint.
The legislature of 1899 enacted a law prohibiting the killing of terns. This was good so far as it went, but it did not go far enough. Gulls, sand-pipers and all shore birds should be protected, and in this connection, we submit extracts from leading papers in this State and throughout the country:
“MAINE GULL DESTRUCTION.
"The Portland Evening Express of March 5th contains an interesting article on bird destruction from the pen of J. Merton Swain, a writer well known to most ornithologists. Mr. Swain, like many others, is urgent for the creation of a better sentiment among women with regard to the wearing of bird plumage for ornament, and he gives some facts with regard to the destruction of birds on our northeast coast from which we quote the following paragraph:
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 55
" 'What would the scenery of our rugged Maine coast be without the presence of the gulls and terns ?'
"It would be bare and desolate to a great many who live along the coast and watch for the coming and going of these ever restless wanderers of the briny deep. The terns are now protected by law in this State, I believe, but protection in some cases came too late. For years the common and arctic terns bred in numbers on outer Green Island, Casco bay. A short time ago the writer made a trip to Green Island to see how the terns were living. To my great surprise, not a bird bred on the island. The terns and petrels, that had bred in large numbers only a few years ago, had gone, and now only a song sparrow or two, that had flown over from the mainland, or some adjoining island, was left to break the monotony of the restless waves that beat the rocky sides of the island that only serves as a resting place for the weary wanderers of the deep.
"What has transpired on the island is only a repetition of what has happened to many islands in our Maine waters. And now the gulls are in great demand. Look into the windows of the millinery stores, and see the work of slaughter that has been done. Then go into the rooms of a taxidermist and see the number of birds he has had brought in, to prepare for such purposes.
"Last fall I visited John Lord's rooms. The floor was literally covered with dead gulls, and they were being brought in by the hundreds. This is only one among many.
"Letters and even agents were sent the whole length of the Maine coast, offering a good price for every gull, by large New York and Boston houses. The Indians, `down east,' were urged to get them and ship them, through an agent they made arrangements with, in many of our seaport towns.
"At the annual meeting of the Maine Ornithological Society held at Brunswick last month, Capt. H. L. Spinney, first assistant keeper of the Seguin light, closed a very interesting article on our shore birds by saying, and very truthfully, too : 'And now man, (he should have said woman), demands the gulls. All who have visited our coast are acquainted with these beautiful birds. A few more seasons of slaughter like the one now nearly past, and only a few will remain to lend their presence to the storms which spend their fury on our coast.'
56 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME
"This traffic is not carried on intentionally to destroy, and the ladies who help to carry on such slaughter do not realize what it means. They have not given it thought.
"Their kind, motherly hearts are warm towards God's happy creatures, and they do not really intend to aid this slaughter, and it is to be hoped they may realize it before it is too late the sad havoc that is being wrought among our feathered friends, and that when they become aware of it they will join us, as. protectionists, in saying, 'long live the birds.' "
We are permitted to print the following extract from a letter written us by Hon. F. S. Dixon of Philadelphia, who for many years has been a summer visitor of Rangeley, on Dixon island, so called, in Rangeley lake, on which he has erected large and elegant buildings :
"When I first came here in 1888 to live on the island I heard that in former years there had been numbers of partridge, (ruffed grouse), on the island but that all had been killed some time before. This was a source of regret to me as I would have been glad to see the birds here. I did nothing, however, towards bringing them here except the same policy I adopted towards all birds, never doing anything to frighten them and never permitting any kind to be shot at any time; soon the birds began to find us out and to realize that the island was a safe place to live and raise their young.
Finally the partridge came about 1894 and raised a brood of twelve young birds. These I fed all summer long and left in the cart house a box of cracked corn in the fall which was kept filled by my direction during the winter. The birds remained on the island during the winter and used regularly the food provided for them. The following year I built a home for them with openings at different levels to permit access during deep snows. During the building of this house a cock partridge sat on a log not more than two rods away and appeared to be superintending the work. He was there every day for days and seemed to approve of the building as he and his companions promptly appropriated it to their use when finished. So tame did these birds become that I have seen them follow one of the men about like chickens waiting for corn to be cast to them. One day an inquisitive bird made his way into the boat house, walked up stairs into the second story where
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 57
there are bedrooms and was found there by one of the men. He caught the bird and carried it down stairs, placing it on the ground. The bird shook out its feathers and calmly walked off apparently not in the least alarmed.
"Of course all the birds hatched here did not remain. The present line of shore is just half a mile distant, and I do not think these birds willingly fly that far, but in the winter the ice makes a bridge for them and most of them disappear to the main shore, leaving probably not more than two pairs on the island. This is natural as the stronger birds will drive out the weaker.
"This success with our native birds induced me to try and introduce other varieties, and in 1897 my friend Mr. John L. Keser sent me three pairs of English pheasants from his preserve near Newton, N. J. I got from New Jersey also, at the same time, two pairs of Mongolian pheasants and all were liberated that spring on the island. The first year I had two broods of these birds, possibly more. It is certain, however, that only two or three out of each brood survived infancy and lived till fall. The following spring I had three pairs of pheasants on the island, one pair being certainly Mongolian. All raised broods and in September I am assured that the broods averaged not less than nine or ten healthy birds. This spring I certainly had two pairs nesting and the young, now larger than a quail and almost full grown, are in the same condition and number, also nine or ten to the brood. The disappearance of the birds during the winter does not, I think, indicate death but rather migration as the birds are known to be in several localities on the shore of this lake and have been seen several miles away.
"Now the only secret about this is kindness. The birds quickly find it out. When I first came here there were few birds of any kind on the island. They have increased yearly and have been present in greater profusion than ever the past season. Take the smallest as an instance: Five years ago I never saw a humming bird in this region. Yesterday I saw them as thick as bees among the flowers. Probably there were twenty in sight at one time. For the past two months you could not look on the lawn without seeing not less than a dozen robins. They build their nests close to the house, in the wood sheds, on the window sills, on the porch roof, under the eaves of the house. Many pairs
58 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
build two nests in a season. Other varieties are almost as common. The white-throated sparrow, (peabody bird) has been more common this year than ever before.
"The same year that I brought the pheasants here I also got a number of quail. They survived the winter here, severe as it was, and I both saw and heard these birds as late as May 20th the following year. About this time, however, all we had left the island. These birds are of stronger flight than the pheasants and during their first summer they were seen to fly from the island to the north shore about 1 /4 miles distant. Anyway, they left the island after the lake was free of ice and never returned. I think that it is not possible to raise these birds in any but a grain growing country, and do not believe they can survive Maine winters unless provided with food and shelter. Even with this they would not stay with us.
"In numerous places the ring-neck pheasant is reared in captivity. The eggs are hatched under bantam hens in cages. The young when full grown are permitted to escape and then shot down before they are permitted to get far away. I do not care for this kind of sport. I believe, and my experience warrants the opinion, that these birds can be introduced into Maine successfully in just the way I have started. It should be an island so that they would not be inclined to wander far until after the hatching season. They are not inclined to fly during the summer, unless frightened suddenly, trusting generally to their fleetness of foot, therefore I think that a quarter and possibly an eighth of a mile of water would be ample. This gives the caretaker an opportunity to feed them and protect them from owls and hawks."
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 59
Our attention has been called to the fact that Belgian hares are being bred in this State by various parties. We have taken considerable pains to ascertain whether or not they are likely to be of benefit or otherwise. So long as they are not allowed to escape from the rabbitry they, of course, can do no harm. We have received notes of warning from various sources that this species of rabbit, like the English sparrow, is likely to do much harm. The following is a sample of some of the information we have received :
"BEWARE OF THE BELGIAN HARE.
"A note of warning to Eastern farmers in relation to the Belgian hare fad is sounded by a California exchange of the Journal. That paper, published at Los Angeles, points out the other side of the picture and shows the danger that lies in the business. It shows that the proportions reached by Belgian hare culture in the southern part of California have resulted in conditions that alarm the thoughtful. The people have quickly become satiated with the hare as an article of food, and in consequence the price has dropped so low that there is no longer profit in the business for the raisers.
"But though the demand ceases the supply does not, for the hares multiply at a prodigious rate and their culture is much more easily started than it is stopped. Now that section is overrun with the hares which ravage all forms of vegetation and particularly the vineyards. It is feared that it will become as bad as the rabbit curse in Australia, or the Gipsy moth scourge in Massachusetts which had its origin in the scientific investiga-
60 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
tion of a college professor. The warning of our California exchange should be heeded by our Maine people who are embarking in the Belgian hare business. It is well to go slow, and to examine the real conditions elsewhere before one is lured on by the glittering promises of this fad. Let somebody else do the experimenting."
Upon receipt of this, which was sent us through the mail, we wrote the United States Secretary of Agriculture for such information as he could furnish us, and received in reply a copy of his last annual report, from which we copy the following, from page 43 of said report :
THE BELGIAN HARE.
On the other hand we have noticed that the public press has been discussing this subject quite fully of late and many advertisements have appeared in our leading newspapers like the following:
"THE BELGIAN HARE IS SURELY COMING".
New Business that is Destined to be Important in the State of Maine.
"He's coming. The Belgian hare is nibbling his way into the good graces of the Maine people slowly but surely and it is no idle prophesy to say that in less than ten years the Belgian hare will be bred, reared and marketed on half the farms in the State. "And why not?
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 61
"There is more profit in Belgians than in any kind of live stock which can be raised on a farm.
"There is hardly a reader of this paper but what has heard of Belgian hares, but very few have more than a general idea concerning this modest claimant for public attention. To go into all the details of their origin, breeding, care, etc., would make ample material for a big book, but to answer a few questions, those most generally asked, may add to the interested reader's general information.
"WHAT IS THE BELGIAN HARE?
"In color it is a reddish brown—rufous red—the breeders call it. The coat is glossy and refulgent. As its name indicates it originated in Belgium. In England hare culture has attained a high degree of excellence and there are males or bucks valued as high as $2, 500. The business has been carried on extensively in California and the western states for several years and is gradually working east.
"CAN THEY BE RAISED IN MAINE?
"HOW MUCH ROOM IS REQUIRED?
62 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
thus the hutches can be tiered three, four or even five high, if floor space is limited. Wire netting, or even wooden slats can be used. At the end of each hutch a nest box—a cracker box makes a good one—is placed. Larger pens are usually provided for youngsters when a number are in together.
"WHAT DO THEY EAT?
"They require plenty of fresh and clean water and like any other stock cannot be expected to thrive without regular and intelligent care.
"HOW OFTEN DO THEY BREED?
We would suggest that it would be a wise move to have a law prohibiting the introduction into this State of any birds or animals without permission having first been obtained from the Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game; it has long been the law that no fish can be introduced into the waters of the State without their permission.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 63
It is pretty generally admitted that Maine has the best code of game laws of any in existence, and many states and other countries are rapidly patterning after them. After the people have familiarized themselves with them we do not deem it wise to make frequent changes, "tinkering the laws" should be avoided as much as possible.
We do not think it would be deemed expedient to make any radical changes at present. Some few changes of minor importance are needed and some clerical errors should be corrected. Without venturing an opinion upon proposed changes we submit herewith a few of the very many suggestions for amendments to these laws we have received.
"I understand that you are somewhat cramped for funds, and that it is impossible for you in consequence to have adequate warden service. I, for one, would favor a license for everyone hunting deer or moose, the whole to be expended in the protection of game. I know that this matter has been agitated to some extent and that there are divers opinions in regard to it.
"I should prefer to pay a license fee and feel that I had a fair chance of securing game of good growth or none at all, which indications point to at the present time. I was born and bred in the good old State of Maine and have never lost my interest in the State or its affairs."
Another writes : "The deer population of the woods is variously estimated at from 50,000 to 100,000. There are from 125,000 to 150,000 voters. No citizen of Maine can take even one deer without taking more than his exact share. When he takes two he greatly exceeds it. Why should he not purchase the excess by a method of license? There is nothing unfair to any citizen of Maine requiring him to pay for what he takes of the property belonging to the corporation, as it has been decided by the courts that all wild game in the State belongs to the citizens thereof—not pro rata to them individually, but to all in their corporate capacity. No one citizen, therefore, has any
64 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
more right to help himself to any portion, than he has to put his hand into the State treasury and extract a few dollars as his share. Last year about 4,000 deer were taken out the State (estimated) by about the same number of non-resident sportsmen, an average of one each, many had none.
Call it one-third. Then one-third must have had two. If the law had limited all to one, probably some of the unlucky hunters would have had given them some of the surplus killed by those who were more fortunate. It might have reduced the legal shipment one thousand. It is not the shipments that need to be watched as much as the killing. What is needed is a corps of wardens who shall visit every fishing and hunting and every lumbering camp in the State, both in close and open time, irregularly, but frequently. Hold every camp proprietor, guide and foreman personally responsible for violations of law by employees, guests or patrons —such responsibility to be avoided only by promptly reporting each and every offender. Present laws are ample, if the Commissioners only had the means with which to enforce them. Additional restrictions would be of no use without money, unnecessary with it. I am an advocate of a license fee for all who hunt in Maine, the money to be used exclusively for the protection of game."
"Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game:
"GENTLMEN: The lumber camps in this section ought to be watched more closely because they are certainly supplying their camps with more venison than the law allows. This is all done in open season in the following manner: Each crew or camp contains from one to a dozen rifles. The men owning the rifles are furnished with ammunition to kill all they can for camp use and the crew being banded together claim whatever each man kills over the number allowed by law. I do not think that the large concerns do much of this but it is the smaller ones, jobbers and contractors. It is a well known fact that there were 52 deer killed and brought into _______ lumber camp which was situated at ________ lake. Now about these 52 deer,—when I first heard the story I would not believe it, but since then from remarks made by men who worked there I have been obliged to believe that the story is true.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 65
"One day during the past summer I heard several lumbermen talking about the number of deer that were shot at this camp. One of the men commenced to brag about this crew killing 52 deer,-- said he worked there and knew it. As I was quite close to them I said, 'You don't mean to say that every man in the crew killed his deer,'—and this is his answer: 'No, _______ but we had ten or twelve good shots in camp,—they all killed their two and whatever they killed over that were claimed by some of the crew.' I then asked him if he was well acquainted with the men who did the shooting, but he became suspicious and would not say another word."
"To the Honorable Commissioners:
GENTLEMEN: I see there is some talk of repealing the September law, thus depriving the cause of several thousands of dollars of revenue received from sale of licenses. I would respectfully suggest that a large amount might be raised each year by increasing the fee for guides' registration. As a guide I think first class licenses should be $10 a year; second class licenses $5.00; this would give the cause some $15,000 a year. Think of the good work that could be done by such an amount. I, myself, am willing to pay $10 for a license, especially if you will weed out a lot of poor men who are now in the business,—disreputable men, I mean.
"I think guiding noble, honorable,—a profession equal to that of a soldier, and it should be made impossible for unworthy men to engage in the business."
From another guide : "We ought to have a law to grant five deer to each logging camp of five men or more. If there are 50 or more men in a crew and then all kill a deer it is cutting off our deer very fast."
From another guide : "To the Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game,—Gentlemen: There have been a great many hunters coming to the woods in November in this region from Indiana and other western states, and they come and go into the woods and camp without any guides and do as they are a mind to. They are good hunters and kill everything they come to and take home the best and leave the rest in the woods. There is a party of 19 up here now that will take out two deer
66 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
each and they will be the best they kill. Now if the law required them to have a guide for the whole open season I think it would save a good deal of game."
To this letter the Commissioners replied as follows :
"Dear Sir: Your letter calling attention to the operations of hunters from distant states received and has been given careful attention. We are not sure but what your ideas are correct. You will perceive that such legislation as you suggest would at least greatly benefit the guides. Indeed nobody is so much benefited by the policy of the State in appropriating large sums of money for our inland fish and game interests as the guides, and we regret to be compelled to say that as a rule they do not appear to appreciate it by any aid or assistance to the authorities. When the guides of Maine will honestly aid in the enforcement of our laws then the question of game protection will be solved, and any reasonable legislation in their interests could no doubt be easily procured. Why will not the guides honestly assist in the enforcement of our fish and game laws?" .
"My Dear Sir: My experience during the present hunting season has led me to offer a suggestion to you in the way of an amendment of the moose law, not only to avoid what I consider a sinful waste, but to solve something which has been for years past a serious difficulty concerning the shooting of moose. It is this : Amend the law so that a person who shoots a moose will be obliged to either bring the meat out of the woods, or to have some responsible party vouch for its being killed in open season. It is a very easy matter for a man to kill a moose any time prior to October 15th, skin out the head and bring it out at any time after that date, but if he is obliged to account for the meat, it is much more difficult to evade the law. I know of one man who shot a moose this season in open time, who simply cut the horns off and left the carcass to rot. This I believe to be wrong. Personally, if I had no use for the meat, I would be inclined to pay someone to transport the meat and accept it as a gift. I paid for the hauling of the carcass of the one I shot this fall twenty-eight miles, and then gave away such portion as I did not care to take to Portland.
"I simply offer these suggestions for your consideration, but I firmly believe that they will have a good effect in the preservation of game."
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 67
"Dear Sir: Yours of the 18th, regarding proposed special legislation respecting the sale of trout in Hancock county, is at hand.
"I have talked with a few gentlemen interested in these matters, and have found a variety of opinion as to the remedy.
"Some argue that a law prohibiting the sale of trout would antagonize some men who make a little money at the business, and at the same time do no real good, arguing that the sale of trout would continue as the sale of partridges continues to Bar Harbor cottagers.
"During the past season one man admits that he caught and sold 2,770 trout to a man who made a business all last summer of selling trout at Bar Harbor. This was only one of many men engaged in the business. The man who sold to Bar Harbor made semi-weekly trips up through the county, buying fish and engaging men to fish for him. He paid 25 cents a pound for the fish at the door. You can readily see that the temptation for men to fish for the market was great, and the drain on the trout streams of the county must have been enormous. The conditions in Hancock county are peculiarly favorable to this market fishing, Bar Harbor furnishing a big and ready market for trout at high prices, as it also does for young partridges out of season. To me, and to the resident sportsmen whom I have talked with, the situation seems serious enough to warrant some special legislation, but just what form it should take is the troublesome question. I think the sportsmen here would favor a general law increasing the length of trout that could be legally caught to seven inches, but that would not supply the remedy for the market fishing in Hancock county. Cannot you recommend or suggest the form of law and petition which your experience tells you would best apply to this case? I would like, if you conveniently can, to have you draft roughly the form of petition and such special law as you could consistently give your endorsement if it reached the legislature."
"PHILADELPHIA, October 6, 1900.
"Dear Sir: Your favor of the 2nd received and carefully noted, and I will answer it now while I have the matter in mind, because it might be overlooked later, and you can then make such use of my letter as seems proper to you, before the legislature or otherwise.
68 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
"The criticism referred to by certain land owners of the September game law and the danger from forest fires was suggested to me while I was in the woods this year and it seemed so absolutely absurd that it made no impression on me whatever.
"It was, therefore, something of a surprise to me to have it referred to in your letter, because I cannot understand how the danger of fires is increased unless it be on account of the increase of the number of camping parties within the State.
"The fact that the September deer law makes the Maine woods more attractive to visiting sportsmen naturally means, I presume, that there will be an increased number of camping parties and the income of the State and its people, therefore, increased and benefited. There might be the danger of fire referred to were it not for the fact that your Commission is exercising a much more strict supervision over the registered guides who have charge of such camping parties, and also were it not for the fact that a great deal of the territory of Maine which is owned by large lumber and paper companies is placed by such companies under the supervision of men who maintain camps and sportsmen's headquarters, keeping a general supervision over the territory on which they are given this sporting privilege.
"I have visited a great number of such places in your State since 1878. Their number has increased greatly since that time and many instances have come before me of the care which the men who are given such hunting and fishing privileges exercise in order to prevent forest fires.
"A case in point came to my notice this year while we were at the Penobscot lake camps, maintained by Wm. Murtha and his brother. A fire which our guides had kindled at lunch one day on a back pond had not been entirely extinguished, and the fact coming to Murtha's attention through another guide who had seen smoke coming from that locality, we immediately returned to the place and took such steps as were required to prevent any possibility of any spreading of the fire, of which there had really been no danger; still extraordinary precaution was taken. This precaution I have always found among good guides, and I may say right here that one of the most important elements of the success of the September law and of the pleasure of the trips
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 69
which sportsmen take into the Maine woods depends upon the men who guide them. In other words, the guides have it in their power to make the trips a success or a failure, and I am sorry to say there are lots of guides in your State who are not fit to guide any sportsman. How much power your Commission has to improve this situation I do not know, but you certainly have some such power, and by a judicious use thereof in registering only competent guides can do more than in any other way to prevent danger from forest fires.
"In conclusion, I would say that I have seen no evidence whatever that the danger of such fires is in any way increased by the September deer law."
The itemized bills show what these wardens have been paid.
We have a great many petitions and letters asking for the appointment of wardens,: almost always accompanied by the statement that a warden is very much needed in that locality, which is undoubtedly true. We are always pleased to recommend the appointment of any suitable person in any locality for warden, but they cannot receive pay from the State unless authorized by the Commissioners. We regard the operation of our hatcheries and feeding stations, with the necessary expenses of the Commissioners, as fixed charges upon the appropriation, the balance we expend to pay wardens for services, distributed as equitably over the State as possible, according to the best interests of the State.
There are seventy-four wardens as follows, by counties : Androscoggin 2, Aroostook 2, Cumberland 4, Franklin 9, Kennebec 6, Knox 2, Lincoln 3, Oxford 10, Penobscot 7, Piscataquis 5, Sagadahoc 1, Somerset 4, Waldo 6, Washington 6 and York 7.
We have employed practically all of the time during the year Huston and Cummings of Aroostook , Neal and Durgin of Somerset; Pollard and Nichols of Piscataquis; Perkins and Templeton of Penobscot; Esty of Franklin; Jones of Franklin until October; Ross and Breen of Washington; Clark of Somerset and Clark of Oxford county.
70 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
There have been instituted 124 prosecutions for violations of the inland fish and game laws during the year.
The aggregate of fines imposed during the year amounts to $2,200.00. Of this amount there has been paid $2,012.73. For the balance $187.27, the court imposing sentence either gave the respondents time to pay their fine or suspended sentence during "good behavior."
The jail sentences amounted to 1,500 days. A portion of these were served and the balance were either appealed and have not yet been disposed of, or the cases were continued for sentence during "good behavior."
In addition to this we have caused forty-nine deer dogs to be killed which were found chasing deer or kept or used for that purpose.
It has been claimed by those living in certain sections that the red squirrel has so multiplied in recent years as to become a dangerous pest. They call attention to the days of "Auld Lang Syne," when one of the country sports, during the fall months, was what was known as a "squirrel hunt;" and many a good time is recorded of the hunt and supper following, paid for by the defeated side.
In such contests, all the game and game-birds captured were counted; but the squirrel usually predominated as far as numbers were counted, and gave the name to this pastime.
Gradually these hunts fell into disrepute, such sport being regarded as demoralizing, particularly the shooting of innocent squirrels which were utterly useless, until to-day they are almost a thing of the past. The small boy even, who formerly learned to use the gun and became a skilled marksman by practicing on squirrels, is discouraged from participating in such sports by the people who strive to inculcate more humane ideas among children. As a result, these little animals have become very numerous; so much so, in fact, that it may be a serious question in the near future how best to subdue or exterminate them.
71 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
"You will doubtless ask what harm they do. We are wholly unable to answer this question, but think it proper to offer this suggestion. During years when the beechnuts are scarce, like the present season, squirrels live very largely on spruce cones, destroying nearly all of the seed from this specie of tree. In many localities, beechnuts are never plentiful, and spruce cones are nearly all destroyed every year. As a result, there seems to be less baby spruce springing up than in former years, and land owners are becoming more or less anxious about the future supply of this wood.
Whether their fears are well founded or not, we leave to the people of the State to judge; but it seems desirable that this condition should be called to their attention, in order that closer observation can be made and if deemed necessary, a crusade be started to exterminate them."
While it seems especially desirable not to multiply our fish and game laws any more than circumstances seem to demand, still we are constantly being annoyed by unusual occurrences whereby our fish and game interests are materially affected and for which there seem to be no remedy in our present laws. Particularly is this true with reference to a certain class of non-resident sportsmen, whose annual trips to the State of Maine are certainly of no benefit to us.
The law provides that during certain seasons, all non-resident sportsmen who wish to camp or build fires on forest lands, shall be under the supervision of a registered guide. This seems to be a wise and wholesome law, not only for the preservation of our forest property against destruction by fire, but also for our fish and game interests, when the guides employed are well disposed.
The primary object desired, when this law was enacted, was the preservation of forest property, and, in consequence, this requirement terminates October 31st each year, when danger from forest fires ceases. Prior to its enactment, we found it a common practice for very large companies of tourists and sportsmen to come here during September and October, bringing all their provisions and equipments with them, camping and
72 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
destroying game in large quantities, without leaving any equivalent. When the present law went into effect, instead of coming and employing guides as the majority of the sportsmen do, they simply delayed their visit until November 1st and then followed the same practices as formerly. The number of this class of sportsmen this season would probably exceed 250; and, as the most of them carried away their full quota of game, probably 500 deer and much other game was destroyed. In two instances at least, we are satisfied that considerable poaching was done by these parties.
If we admit that all the game they took was legally obtained, it is no benefit to the people of this State to allow this practice to continue. The State can ill afford to protect its game, pay wardens to look after just such parties as described, and then allow them to kill and destroy without ever having left a dollar within our borders for the privilege. We would suggest that some remedy should be provided whereby the State will receive some benefit, either directly or indirectly, or else these visits be prohibited.
73 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
Amount appropriated by the legislature. $25,000.00
received and paid into the State treasury from the
registration of guides. 2,109.00
received by the State treasurer from fines for violation of the inland fish and game laws, and game seized and sold 2,075.73
received from taxidermists' licenses 50.00
THE ABOVE AMOUNT HAS BEEN EXPENDED AS FOLLOWS :
For operating the four fish hatcheries, including the distribution of fish, repairs and improvements
on hatcheries, and actual travelling expenses of the Commissioners, as audited
by and vouchers filed with the Governor and Council $17,834.83
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 75
R. T. York, Damariscotta, warden service $61.75
76 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
L. T. Carleton, Chairman of Commission $1,000 00
EXPENSES OF THE HATCHERIES.
William Rolfe, salt $22.10
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME 77
Total $6,205 54
The superintendent paid all bills for workmen and supplies, filing vouchers for same.
ENFIELD HATCHERY. $169 30
EDES FALLS HATCHERY.
Total $4,600 93
COMMODORE CLUB HATCHERY.
We repaired this hatchery with a view of feeding some trout and salmon fry there, but the loss of the salmon fry at Cobbosseecontee Hatchery, prevented it.
Land-locked salmon and trout distributed from the Auburn Hatchery for the year ending, December 31, 1900:
78 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
L. L. S. Brook Trout. Brown Trout.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 79
L. L. S. Brook Trout.
Upper and Lower Kezar ponds,
(Stoneham) ......... 3,000
Note. The large number of fish planted in Lake Auburn is accounted for by the following: The land on which the fish hatchery and buildings are erected at East Auburn was leased of the Lake Auburn Fish Protective Association, in 1895, for a term of 20 years, one of the conditions of this lease being as follows :
"That the State shall annually return to said Lake Auburn at least 25% of the young fish reared from spawn taken from land-locked salmon in said lake, and all the young fish reared from at least 150,000 spawn taken from trout from Lake Auburn; provided that the young fish raised from said 150,000 spawn shall not exceed 50% of all the young fish raised from spawn taken from said brook and lake; and further provided that the number of young trout so returned shall not be less than 25% of all such fish reared from spawn taken from said brook and lake; and further provided that young fish from spawn of trout from waters other than Lake Auburn may be substituted.
And the return to and liberation of said young fish in the waters of said lake or its tributaries shall be under the supervision of a committee for that purpose, appointed by the board of directors of said party on the first part, after due notice to its president; which notice may be given, in writing by any member of the Board of Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game for Maine, at least 10 days before liberating said fish; provided, however, that said Commissioners may liberate said fish at the expiration of the time fixed in said notice for their liberation if such committee is not appointed or refuses or neglects to supervise such liberation, and the commissioners' statement in writing of the fact and the number of fish liberated shall be final and conclusive.
That the young fish so as aforesaid returned and liberated into said Lake Auburn shall be equal to the average in size and quality, of the young fish reared at said hatchery ."
We get our principal supply of salmon eggs from salmon taken from this lake.
This is of great importance, as eggs can be taken much cheaper than at any other place in Maine now accessible, and this lake is really our breeding ground for salmon from which to take eggs for our hatcheries.
80 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME.
Brook trout, Brown trout and Land-locked salmon, distributed from Caribou Hatchery for the year
ending December 31, 1900:
Brook Brown L. L. S.
Aroostook river waters 8,000 700
EDES FALLS HATCHERY, CUMBERLAND COUNTY.
ENFIELD HATCHERY, ENFIELD.
MONMOUTH HATCHERY, MONMOUTH.
We received a few from Enfield where they have no facilities for feeding fish and fed them at this hatchery.
INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME. 81
Practically all the trout reared at this hatchery were planted in Kennebec county waters. The following were planted outside the county: Sebec lake, 20,000 trout fry, and 6,000 land-locked salmon. L. L. S. Trout
Holeb pond, Somerset county 2,500 8,000
They are required to make a report at the end of each week, where they have been each day during the week, what doing, and their expenses for each day and what for.
These reports are on file in the office and open to inspection.
These reports are copied from (1) original paper editions of the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Fish and Game 1895.
Digitized and uploaded to the internet by Ron Huber, Rockland, Maine, 2004-2008. Please contact him to point out errata, or for more information.
Original paper editions of these documents are in the collection of the Bangor Public Library, A sincere thank you! to the patient assistance of the librarians stewarding these invaluable information resources.
Digitized and uploaded to the internet by Ron Huber, Rockland, Maine, 2004-2008. Please contact him to point out errata, or for more information.
Original paper editions of these documents are in the collection of the Bangor Public Library, A sincere thank you! to the patient assistance of the librarians stewarding these invaluable information resources.