Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

December 8, 1912. Omaha Sunday Bee 42(25): 3-S.

Hunting Season Nears End

Most of the Game Birds Have Moved to Their Winter Home.

Rabbit Hunting is Still Left

Local Hunters Have Little Luck in Their Efforts to Bag Some Game of Any Kind During the Last Week.

  • 'Midst the campfire's glowing embers, while the leaves go swirling on,
  • Come thoughts of an early comrade, who now is dead and gone,
  • Whose heart was fond of hunting, no matter what the luck,
  • Though we got a hundred mallards - or but a single duck.
  • Who through cold or rain or sunshine had a smile upon his face,
  • And in every kind of hardship was the one to set the pace.
  • When I was over weary and ready to give up,
  • He'd with his cheery "Come on, Bill," refill my courage cup.
  • Through his bright and sunny presence every hunt was full of joy.
  • Truly, there are few now like him - Ah, Dan was a bully boy!
  • And as I sit and ponder - high above me in the sky,
  • A dusky V, its point turned south, with mellow honk, glides by;
  • But it somehow does not stir me as in the days of old,
  • For my heart is sore within me and the fire is growing cold.
  • Mayhap the days of hunting on my spirit now do cloy -
  • Ah, there never was one like him - Dan was a perfect boy.

First Taste of Winter.

At last old Boreas has succeeded in breaking the charm, and with Thursday morning came the first real taste of wintry weather and end of one of the longest drawn-ut autumns we have had for many years. With the advent of this somewhat blizzardly change came the news of the best flight of ducks along the Platte and down the Missouri that has been noticed since the first movement among the locally-bred birds away back in September. That it will be but of brief duration, however, is very probable, as it is only the birds that have been routed out of their feeding places on the lakes and about the marshes back in the hills by the freezing of the waters and the sealing up of their feeding places. With any considerable snowfall the birds will also be driven from the rivers, notwithstanding that the swift currents may keep them open for some considerable time yet, for with the cornfields frozen hard and the grasses and winter wheat covered with snow they will be pushed on by sheer hunger, if nothing else.

Of course it requires the severest kind of cold weather to make the last of the hardy mallards pack up and get out, for there seems to be some particular quantity of feed that they find in this region that makes them extremely loth to quit, and the Canada geese will not leave until forced to go, by accumulating snows. They are the strongest and most rugged of all the wild fowl family, and can find sustenance by means of their strong bills long after the ducks could obtain nothing at all.

Birds in Fine Condition.

The hunter who goes out in these bleak December days, we are told by old hands at the business, and is favored with a bit of luck, finds the birds bigger, heavier and more desirable in every way than at any other period during the season. But such hunters are in the vast minority, for it requires unusual fortitude to screw one's courage up to the sticking point during such raw, blustering weather as came in with the cold winds of Thursday morning. Lying in a blind for hours, shivering and hoping against hope, for an occasional shot, is too much of a good thing, and there will be but precious few hardy enough to take a chance. Therefore it may be said once and for all that the hunting season for the fall of 1912 is over on all sorts of game with the exception of the cottontail, who is available all through the winter time.

Hunting Rabbits is Fun.

An old fashioned rabbit hunt is not to be sneezed at, as any lad with a good yellow cur will tell you. With a good tracking snow, no matter how keen the weather, it is a difficult thing to keep the rabbit hunter indoors. Then another thing about rabbit hunting is that no matter what the weather, with a little persisting one is always sure of his reward, as the rabbits are particularly plentiful this fall all over the state, and they are easy game at all times.

The open season on squirrels closed with November, and rabbits are truly about all the game left that is worthy of a trip afield, and it takes a plucky lad, indeed, and an overly enthusiastic gunner to work himself up to the required notch to even appreciate this. So once more it may be well said, that the hunting season for the year, poor as it has been, is at an end.

As all indications now point to winter weather, and more of it, the good ranchman and the good sportsman should not forget to lend a helping hand to the quail whenever the opportunity permits itself. A little pile of brush thrown into a fence corner, or against some tree or cock or boulder, will afford a much needed shelter, and a few handfuls of grain scattered about where they can get at it will be a noble set of kindness that the birds at least will appreciate. Nebraska's quail crop, the crop left over for seed, is small enough as it is, and every bird saved by the thoughtfulness of those most interested will surely bring its full measure or recompense in the days that are to come.

J.M. Gillian put in the last of the pleasant days of last week out on the Platte at Hershbarger lodge near Schuyler, and while he hunted early and late, the bag he made was a small one, seven ducks and one goose being the sum total, and as these necessitated an outlay of something like $25, it will be seen that the genial J.M.'s final outing was not a very remunerative one.

And so it was with Eddie Lawler and Fred Bradford, likewise; they put in several days on their old stamping grounds on the river near Clarks, and while they saw a good many birds, both mallards and geese, traveling southward high in the air, they were unable to glut the market with these savory birds - three geese and a brace of mallards being the size of it.

One of the interesting things of wild life is the fact that for several evenings in succession during the last week a coyote has taken his stand off on the hillside just west of the Chadwick residence out at the corner of Forty-ninth and Dodge streets, and filled the chilly atmosphere with his sweet song, much to the delight of the residents of the neighborhood who heard him, and to the perturbation of every dog and cat which happened to be in reach of his falsetto tones. A coyote within the city limits does not sound very much as if this little wolf was near the end of his siring yet.

H.M. Anderson, a rancher from out on the Dismal, was in Townsend's gun store yesterday and said that a bunch of nine whitetail deer have been seen among the breaks near his place all fall, and that they were there no longer ago than Sunday.