Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor. May 19, 1882. Omaha Weekly Herald 17(33): 8. Two editorials.

The Coming Carnival of Bird-Murder in Omaha.

The so-called sportsmen of Nebraska, the knights of the shot-gun, will assemble in Omaha in the later days of the present month to murder and maim thousands of birds by shooting them from traps. This will be called sport by these gentlemen, whereas it is neither more nor less than wanton cruelty to birds which are not merely killed, but which are maimed and wounded, and left to suffer untold agony from their wounds and to perish from thirst and hunger. Of all the cruel things we ever heard of, not excepting the scenes in Roman arenas and at the bloody bull-fights of Spain, this wanton bird-murder is undoubtedly the most cruel and inexcusable. These Nebraska sportsmen are largely men of character and standing. They are among our most intelligent citizens. They do not pretend to defend this gratuitous bird-murder on any principle whatever. They do not even apologize for their bad behavior. The fascination of murdering birds is the only thing that can be plead in defense of a practice that is simply cruel brutality which is without shadow of excuse and utterly indefensible. It will not be our fault that this coming carnival of bird-murder will not be stopped. If there were any law under which we could prohibit it, no friend of ours in the Nebraska Sportsmen's Association need doubt that that law would be evoked on this coming occasion.

These knights of the murderous shot-gun have powerfully assisted the mercenary sneaks who trap the quail and prairie-chickens to exterminate these beautiful birds from our country, thus inflicting great damage upon the farmers, whose useful friend and beautiful neighbors they were. But this does not satisfy them. They must now go at the tame pigeon, as innocent and beautiful a bird as walks the air, to gratify this unholy and barbarous passion for killing. We denounce the practice of these matches in bird-murder as unworthy of the respectable citizens who engage in them. These men ought to respect the widespread and growing sentiment that is wounded and hurt by them, and which demands that they shall cease. There are, we are glad to know, many members of this association who despise these matches in bird-murder, and we ask them to make themselves heard and felt in putting them down as cruel and barbarous and utterly inconsistent with a true and manly sport.

To Whom It May Concern - The Bird Murdering Festival.

Special notice is hereby given to the managers of the coming bird-slaughter in this city that if the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals can find no law to stop the coming slaughter it will prosecute and punish every man or set of men who shall bring thousands of pigeons here to half starve of thirst and hunger by the brutes who are hired to cage and torture them. There is, we believe, a state law under which this can be done if the bird-murdering festival goes on outside of the city limits and there is an ordinance under which, by the good help of Judge Benecke, it can be done if this performance is to go on inside of those limits. A friend of the cause will furnish whatever money may be needed to test this matter in the courts having jurisdiction of these cases, and it is already in the hands of a lawyer who will give it prompt and proper attention.

The Herald does not want to give Nebraska sportsmen unnecessary annoyance in this nor in any other way, but it proposes, without regard to persons, to stop some of the brutalities connected with bird-slaughter if it can. The maiming and wounding of birds and leaving them to suffer and die from want of food and water is not the greatest of these cruelties. Packing pigeons in cages, shipping them long distances and keeping them waiting upon their fate for days together without food or water, is a very common feature of these noble festivals in bird-murder. It is said of Bogardus that in order to win wagers of money in his matches in bird-shooting he starves birds until they are so weak that when they are flown from the trap that they are easy victims of his skill with the murderous shot gun. Decent people, all manly and true sportsmen will have their opinions of a wretch who is capable of that kind of outrage. The day will come when men who do such things will be called on to wear stripes and do muscular service for the state. Some people in this country are very much in earnest in a matter that utterly refuses to be put down by technical decisions of courts or by the sneers that the feeling against these things arises in a sickly sentimentality.