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Page ~ TH~ PINE CONE July 1, 1931. PRESiDENT OF BORDER G. P. A. WRITES NEWSY LETTER Mark L. Terry, President of the today. From what I can learn, Border G. P. A., Luna County,Ithis is a reasonably high percentwrites us the following welcome let- age of survival, at that. ter regarding conservation activi- Mrs. Jacobs is an experienced ties in his neck of the woods: poultry raiser, and is taking care "of the birds for us on the halves, "I wish to congratulate you and she furnishing everything but the the Board upon the showing you breeding stock and the pen. We have made in the brief time sincebulape25y50ftadsi the Board was created, and to as- built a pen 25 by 50 feet and six sue your tha y ae, md wole a feet high for the purpose. We have sure you that you have my whole ed to find a sale for hesare hearted support. There are a great of the birds, and hope to have them many people here who feel about liberated here in the Mimhres Valthe matter as I do, and I feel sure ley. that you may look forward to sev- Our hens are still aying eral memberships from this section. Mr. Yee Ling, at Hachita, has givI am calling a meeting of our As- en us 40 more eggs, part of which sociation for June 29 to discuss the we turned over to Mrs. Jacobs and State Game Commission meeting the balance to a Mr. Pond who lives scheduled for August 1, and I insouthwest of town. He is also gotend to lay a proposal before them ing to raise birds on the shares to increase our per capita remit- with us from now on. tance to the State Organization to We expect to have 50 hens next $1.00 per year. I feel that the year, and may buy an incubator if membership of the G. P. A. should a suitable one can be found. It support the work of the Board begins to look like we were going since it directly benefits all of them, to stock the Mimbres Valley with and I believe that most of us here pheasants if we keep on as we are feel that way about it. going! You may be interested in know- We turned out three surplus lng that our Association has been cocks last spring, and none of them doing very well at the pheasant have left the place. They are quite raising game. Our four hens which tame, in fact one of them is enwe carried over the winter as our tirely too tame. He gets mad if part last year's crop have so far anyone refuses to feed him, and laid 148 eggs, though they did not the other day chased a little girl get started to laying until April 20. up a peach tree! Mrs. Jacobs swatMrs. Jacobs, who is handling ted him with a mop, so he is now them for us has set eight hens on sulking in the alfalfa field. the eggs, four of which have Bassett Lake-the lake which we brought off chicks. From the 72 built in cooperation with the Game eggs set under these hens we Department last year is nearly full hatched off 65 birds, but have since of water and is a splendid sightWe lost 10 of them, all but one through have just placed 250 sacks of sand accidents of one kind and another. on the dam to keep down wave They are all past the infantile ac- erosion, and the Game Department cident stage now, however, and I has promised to give us some monsee no reason why we should not ey to widen and lengthen it. We raise our remaining 55 birds. In plan to plant willows and duck food fact some of them are a month old plants there this fall." The Fishing Waters of New Mexico By E. L. PERRY (Editor's Note:-In this and succeeding issues of TIIE PINE CONE will be published the results of a survey of the fishing waters of the State upon which Mr. Perry worked at odd times during his five years of service in the State Game Department. The object of this series of articles Is to present, with.as few technical frills and furbelows as possible, and for the benefit of the ordinary fisherman, the factors which govern fish production in our various streams and lakes.) I. Fishing is one of the oldest pursuits of man. Hardly ever have archaeologists unearthed the artifacts of ancient man without finding the implements, however crude in comparison with our modern tackle, with which he whiled away the summer hours along the banks of his favorite stream or lake. Of such ancient origin, and so deeply rooted is the passion for angling that to this day it flows strongly in our veins, and while we may now wonder a little superciliously regarding the tastes which prompted some of the pursuits and pastimes of the ancients, we readily find ourselves in sympathetic understanding with the Cave Dweller of prehistoric France, slipping away from his querulous spouse with bone fish hook and hair line carefully concealed, or with the Cliff Man of our own Frijoles Canyon "wetting a line" in the gurgling Rito flowing before his doorway. There is another point of comparison between ourselves and our ancient forbears, and it Is this: beyond a doubt he too was often sorely puzzled regarding the distance between bites in certain waters, or at certain times. Unlike ourselves, unfortunately, he had no Game Department at whose door to indignantly lay his lack of success, so his gods doubtless bore the brunt of the blame. Being a fisherman, we know without being told that he never by any chance admitted any inadequacy in himself. Considering the vast store of very minute information regarding land animals which man has collected and recorded; information the essentials of which are familiar to almost everybody, It is a little surprising that even the most ardent fisherman generally has but a very scanty knowledge of the biological facts which govern as rigidly as ever did the laws of the Medes and Persians, his chances of catching fish from a given water. Not that there has been any laqk of scientific investigation of acquatic organisms; quite the contrary. Ever since the invention of the microscope water has been the favorite field of a vast host of inquisitive biologists, and there are hundreds of fat volumes in which are set forth even the digestive processes and reproductive pecularities of aquatic animals and plants too minute to be visible to the naked eye. Many a 1 high school student with a bent for the subject can recite in detail the life history of a nymph collected at random from the bottom of a brook, or glibly identify a fragment of algae from a pond. Countless thousands of acquatic organisms, both plant and animal, have been minutely studied, classified, named, and voluninously described. The trouble is, as some one has neatly'summed it up, that "we know their bones, but not their habits." The fascinating career of the caddis worm with his portable stone house and peculiar method of locomotion has been the subject of a thousand biological romances, but just what part does he play in the tremendously intricate, interlocking and complete economic scheme which has its peculiar province beneath the waters, and which has its ultimate fruition in fish for the angler? The aquatic biologist with his elaborate equipment and artificial aquaria can answer that roughly, though not necessarily with any great degree of accuracy. No aquarium, however carefully constructed and complied represents an exact duplication of the environment from which the subject under study was removed, and it may omit elements which are obscure to the investigator but elemental in nature's scheme. To the layman, of course, even this source of information is denied. If he wishes to find out about the habits of quail the process is simple. He goes out in the field where quail are to be found and studies them in their native environment. ie can observe his subject as long as he cares to, as well as the physical characteristics of its environmental surroundings, study its habits and draw conclusions regarding its requirements, and be able in the end to say instantly of any given location "this is good quail country," or the reverse. But the study of fish is not so simple. We are not equipped to live In their native element, and hence are not able to study them in their habitual environment. To most of us the depths are a sealed book, and hence mysterious. Most of the fabulous creatures of mythology were water dwellers, and there are plenty of people today who are willing to believe in seaserpents, mermaids, and their ilk. We know that no such beings exist upon land for if they did we could see them. We cannot see the bottom of a body of water, hence anything-or nothing-may exist there. To the average fisherman a fish does not begin to have its being until he has seen it at the end of his line. When it came, how it began its life, by what means it lived, he knows not, and, 't must be admitted in the interest of truth, often cares less. Sufficient unto his needs is the fact that he has the fish in his creel. If he fails to get a fish from a pool he presumes, without any basis in logic for the assumption however, that the pool is fished out, that he is unlucky, or that the moon is in the wrong phase. Ordinarily his remed for-the-cndition-wtila1-e+_ edy for the condition woul dbe to' dump more young fish in the water and thus improve the fishing. It is seldom indeed that he suspects that there may be something wrong with the biological processes of his pool; that dumping more young fish into it with a view to producing more fish for the creel would be comparable to dumping more cattle into a barren pasture with the expectation of increasing the beef production. Fundamentally it is this lack of knowledge of the ecology of acquatic organims that is responsible for a great deal of poor fishing water, and for a great deal more of waste in the attempt to improve it. As pointed out before, such ecological investigations, by which is meant the study of the relation- ship existing between such organisms and their environment, is much hampered by the limitations imposed by the fact that they dwell in an element which man may not invade. But certain broad truths have never the less been discovered by experiment and deduction, a consideratioi of which dissolves many mysteries and incidentally exposes many time honored fallacies. To the fisherman the possession of such knowledge means a more intelligent pleasure in his sport, the advantage of being able to appraise a water for fishing purposes in advance, and to determine the methods which are most likely to be successful. But it has a much more practical and important application in the improvement of fishing waters, to the end that they may produce annually the greatest possible amount of catchable fish. To partments of only a very few states ionsde anything other than the T'1'i 0' A X TrFV A 11-1'"N T A RbfV"Q Q Tbo volume of water present in determining the stocking policy for a given water, and the Federal Government plants the great bulk of the game fish which it produces upon the most meager data. And the improvement of the environmental conditions in waters is still a practically untouched field though it offers really amazing possibilities in many instances. NATURE'S BALANCE It is a fundamental principle of biology that all animal life depends for existence, directly or indirectly, upon the presence of vegetation. This is no less true of water animals than of those which dwell on land; if there is no vegetation there are no fish. I see some one thumbing through the pages of his memory for the source -of his understandirg that less than one per cent of the diet of the trouts is composed of vegetable matter, and I hasten to assure him that the information is accurate. The same is true of the mountain lion. But the mountain lion dines preferably upon a deer, which in turn is a strict vegetarian. Similarly, the trout feeds upon a great variety of acquatic animals which, if they are not themselves vegetarians are eaters of herbivores. All flesh goes back to vegetation for its genesis, a breath taking thought when we consider how earnestly we are striving to destroy the native vegetation in the Southwest through overgrazing, overlumbering, and other similar abuses. The kinds of vegetation which grow in water are numerous almost beyond computation, and they vary in size and botanical complexity from microscopic plants which live afloat and give the water its greenish or bluish color, to branching, tree-like forms firmly rooted to the soil and standing several feet in height. We are speaking now of course of the truly acquatic plants, and not including those which have their feet in the water but their heads above it, and most of which, by the way, play but little part in the economy of acquatic life. At first blush it is difficult to see the necessity for this great diversity in size and form and structure of plant life, but as we delve into the matter more deeply it begins to dawn upon us that each of the species is a very accurately fitting part of a tremendously intricate but smoothly functioning plan; a plan which, of course, includes the animals, and which consists of a chain of interlocking dependencies. Each of them depends upon some other for existence, and in turn contributes to the existence of some other. And all of them are locked up in the great general plan which we speak of as the balance of nature, a scheme whereby the three broad classes of organisms are forever balanced against each other to the end that waste may be minimized and yet that neither of the trinity may destroy the other. These three classes of beings are vegetation, the herbivores, and the carnivores, and each of them are constantly engaged in consuming the bodies of the others in some form. If we start at a point on the circle represkited by the plants, we find that they are eaten by the herbivorous animals, that these latter fall prey to the carnivores, and that the carnivores eventually die and their bodies dissolve into the elements which furnish food for the plants. Nothing ever escapes in nature; it may be changed temporarily into some other form but the basic elements remain constant in quantity and quality. Now how does nature prevent this three-story house of cards from tumbling down? Suppose that the carnivores, for example, should devour all of the vegetarians and thus break ,the chain of dependencies? Dame nature has taken care of that. It is not practically possible for the carnivores to absolutely exterminate the other tribe, and long before that point is even approached the law which provides that each pound of living flesh must have constantly a given amount of food to live will have started to operate to reduce the numbers of the meat eaters. (To be continued in August issue.) Plan Long-time Program to Re- store Wild Life That every state should build on a constructive program and over a sufficiently long period of time for the restoration of game is exemplified by the new ten-year program of Oregon, officials of the American Game Association point out. "Ten years may seem a long time to look ahead, yet who will say that in the last ten years Oregon angling has improved?" Oregonians ask. "Such programs have been proposed in the past, and, of course, a very praiseworth routine has at all times been carried forward, but detailed study and advancement of the state's fish and game resoruces have ever confronted the stumbling block of political change. A sound policy, to which any commission membership has committed itself, should remain the objective of all subsequent commissions until it is fully realized." ~IXIN.1. t1.. ' ~ ~I~e-~-.Friends of Conservation 0 The Ideal Place To lBuv Sporting Goods of the Best A. J. 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