I. Value of Wild Animals*
C. D. RICHARDSON, WEST BROOKFIELD, MASS.
THOSE beautiful wooded dells should be the haunts of the wild creatures, as when first discovered by the white man. Too long they, with their wild life, have been given over to the pot hunter and to him who would despoil them of their title charm. There is a growing recognition that the sti ain of modern life can be best endured by often fleeing to the wilds, which calls at times to all, but louder to some than others.
All over this great country of ours there are vast stretches of waste land, with their variety of woods, swamps, and hillside, which yield but little pi ofit to the owner. Let us look a little into the futtn e. Suppose we make something of this land, fence it in, reforest it, and stock it with game. It will require little cane and the average farmer may Iealize from it more than he now does from his tilled acres. The fence problem is practically solved in the use of woven wire, and a large tract may be enclosed at a compai atively small expense.
The food problem, too, is a simple one, as grouse, pheasants, quail, etc., subsist almost wholly upon insects which, if unchecked, would destroy all vegetation, on noxious seeds, and on buds of unimportant trees, while the larger game animals, especially those of the deer family, feed almost wholly on twigs and leaves of vegetation which is of no real value, if not a menace to the farmer. In fact, the finest grazing ground for such animals is an old brush pasture in which the ordinary domestic animals would starve, but which furnishes to the wild creatures their most natural food.
The question of vermin—the fox, weasels, skunk, cat, etc., the natural enemies of the bird—must be considered and a systematic war-fare waged against them. An English moor of from 100 to 500 acres often rents for £300 ($1,500) a season, just for the shooting privileges of the grouse alone. When the vermin is disposed of, the increase in bird life on such a tract is simply enormous.
*From American Breeders' Association Annual Report, 1911.