AMERICAN GAME

GAME EMBEZZLEMENT
Described By NASH BUCKINGHAM

T HE present obvious shortage in our
quail crop and visible reduction in
1930's wild fowl migration, gives ample
ground for discussion of the game res-
toration movement as it could, and
should, apply to Tennessee. The drouth
cut wild life production to a minimum.
We shot practically all old birds this sea-
son. It amounted, in effect, to unsport-
ing embezzlement, or tampering with a
valuable capital of breeding stock of
bobwhites.
Bird shortage has affected not only
Tennessee, but scored the coverts from
Maryland and Virginia, across sectors of
Louisiana and Texas, and as far north as
the baked areas of Missouri, Kentucky,
Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. Over the
bird's richest producing domain, the deep
south, quail life has sustained a major
disaster. If this be calamity howling, so
be it, but it is the truth. And it may
prove a mortal blow, if the wound is not
promptly and sanely staunched. Mere
"restriction" means postponement of the
inevitable.
What is needed is game restoration, in
equivalent to blood transfusion. In some
regions, peculiarly fortunate as to water
supply, shade and wild bird food growth,
there were healthy "bring offs" of quail
chicks, but the great drouth, as it grew
in intensity, and we were busy lamenting
its more serious effacements, had taken
insidious toll from our finest game crop.
Little if any dew, arid watercourses, dry
ponds, dearth of fluid bearing insect life,
shrivelled forage, over-exposure, furred
and feathered predators, all wrought dire
havoc. Whole covies perished from eat-
ing arsenic killed insects or poisoned dew.
Nested egg clutches were found contain-
ing baked remnants of forming bird life.
Regardless, however, of why or how na-
ture's inscrutable cycles so wreak destruc-
tion, the main question is, "What are the
folks of Tennessee going to do about
their game problems?"
T HE situation's horizon is far beyond
one of mere indulgence in sport-the
simple, unsafeguarded process for sports-
men, alien or game butcher, of exchang-
ing a dollar or two for the extreme privi-
lege of straying over open or posted fields
and waters to secure a regulated toll of
wild life. In the United States nearly
7,000,000 gunners bought permits, and
of this number less than 60,000 were non-
resident certificates. Probably a full mil-
lion more, legally or illegally, bought no
license. At least two and a half million
folks shoot wildfowl. There are at least

A straight punch from
the Executive Secretary
of American Wild Fowl-
ers. Though aimed at
Tennessee, much of this
to-the-point survey may
be applicable to many
other states.
two and a half million automatic and
pump guns abroad in the land.
And while on that point, it might be
well to call attention to a resolution,
presented to the recent national game
conference by the national committee on
wild life legislation and adopted by that
body "commending the efforts of fire-
arms and ammunition manufacturers in
helping to perpetuate a game supply and
NASH BUCKINGHAM
in helping to place hunting upon a sports-
manship basis" and further "recommend-
ing to the secretary of agriculture and to
the migratory bird advisory board that
serious consideration be given to the ad-
visability of restricting all shotguns to a
maximum of three shots at one loading
for the taking of migratory birds, be-
coming effective Feb. 1, 1932." It might
be well to say here that the Remington

Arms Company, Inc., already has a three-
shot 20-bore shotgun on the market and
a double gun en route to production. The
famous old Winchester gun company has
placed a superb double gun on the mar-
ket. It is not unreasonable to assume
that 1931 will see the manufacture of a
three-shot weapon by both the remain-
ing manufacturers of such gun types,
and that, inevitably, present day five, six
and seven-shot repeaters and automatics
will be replaced or plugged to a legal
three-shot basis, for use on either upland
or migratory game. The gun pace is too
fast, too mechanized, the strain too great
on over-matched feathered resources.
Crippling alone is a deadly factor of
shrinkage. We have good roads, cheaper
automobiles, outboard motors, shortened
seasons, and an increasingly high com-
mercialization and exploitation of wild
life. It amounts to the adage of "all
going out and nothing coming in." Es-
tablish the picture mentally. Now get
this:
Duck shooting, due to its federal ad-
ministration, is essentially a national
problem. Eventually, however, its rami-
fications of enjoyment and enforcement
become localized. Upland game shooting,
rabbits, quail, pheasants, grouse, etc., is
intensely local. This means that the com-
mercial and recreational trends affected
by shooting, rise or fall on the upgrowth
and gun-maturity of certain indigenous
game bird crops. We are brought to our
present melancholy estate i n g a m e
through sheer "taking game for granted."
C ONSERVATION'S job, therefore, is
to put into the minds of the farm-
ers and their friends, the real sportsmen,
authoritative, easily obtained, practical
methods of game bird production at min-
imum expense. Such information nat-
urally includes lessons in "environmental
control"-sounding like "big words," but
meaning, in reality simply revamping
one's spare farm acres to provide water,
cover and food and recurring secondary
crops of valuable game birds. It means
if Farmer Brown owns 1,000 acres of
land partly suitable for cotton or grain
and partly suitable for apparently noth-
ing at all, that he may have a game crop
worth selling and capable of expansion.
It means that Farmer Brown has certain
well-defined shooting rights to sell and
that he should be rigidly protected in his
right to the crop he raises. There is all
the difference in the world between the
sale of game and the sale of shooting
rights. That this system will work is

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