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Wisconsin. State Conservation Committee (1915-27) / Biennial report of the State Conservation Commission of Wisconsin for the years 1915 and 1916
(1916)

Prairie chicken,   p. 47 PDF (248.6 KB)


Page 47


                        BIENNIAL     REPORT                        47
season lessened the hatch of young birds. In the face of these facts it is
no wonder that word comes to us from every part of the state that partridge
are very scarce and in some localities that there are none at all. The only
thing that will save this specie is a closed season, and it should extend
until
1920.
                        PRAIRIE CHICKEN.
  We can only repeat the same story of the prairie chicken that we have
recited of the partridge. They are "on their last legs" and must
receive
attention from this legislature. Scattered flocks of small numbers are
seen in some sections of the state, but from many counties the report
comes to us that not a single bird is seen. This is a melancholy story as
compared to those of a few years ago when they were seen in every county
of the state in large flocks, furnishing the most exhilerating sport for
both
sportsmen and dog, and offering a resistless opportunity to enjoy
the great outdoors.
  There is a danger line in the resistless law of nature governing these
species below which we must not trespass or we invite inevitable exter-
mination. It is conceded by all ornithologists that there is a diverging
line below which bird life cannot survive their natural enemies, and a
lingering thinning of their numbers by these pests eventually results in
their extermination. We are not too sure that our prairie chicken have
not approached this line and we submit this information to this legislature
to enable it to pass such laws as in its best judgment will conserve this
specie. We advise a closed season until 1920.
                                QUAIL.
   Quail are coming back. That sounds good and is full of meaning for
 these birds were so nearly exterminated in Wisconsin that after 22 years
 of continuous closed season they are just beginning to recover in appreci-
 able numbers. We believe that at the expiration of the closed season which
 extends until 1921 we will have them in sufficient numbers to provide
 short open seasons for taking them. Many of the New England states
 have lost their quail and despite their efforts to bring them back by the
 importation of breeding stock, they have accomplished nothing as yet.
 It is the same story the world over that when you once let your native
 birds get away, it seems a matter of impossibility to restore them. There
 has been no degree of success attained by any of the states in the artificial
 propagation of our native birds. The only safe system is to watch care-
 fully and protect them in their natural habitations.
   The last two winters were exceedingly severe, as the heavy sleet and
 rain storms formed a coating of ice, covering the food supply, and im-
 mediately following we were visited with heavy falls of snow accompanied
 with severe cold weather. It was only through heroic work by this de-
 partment that tremendous losses of these birds was averted. Feed was
 supplied by the state and the various protective associations, which was


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