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Letter: Historical perspective on quail program

By Jim

Yesterday's PR release concerning Kentucky's quail restoration program (Public meetings scheduled to discuss quail restoration plan) brought to mind two passages from the Adair County News.

The first, an opinion piece, appeared toward the end of 1905. just days before the opening of quail season. Although unattributed, it possibly was written by C.S. Harris, himself a farmer as well as newspaper owner/publisher.

"Wholesale Slaughter

"What a slaughter of birds will be made during the short time the law legalizes their killing, can only be approximated after the season is over.

"Hunters from every direction usually pitch their tents in old Adair and the large covies of quail are sacked in a short time, barely leaving enough to whistle 'bob-white' at harvest time, to remind us of the days of long ago when their whistle was heard in almost every field...

"Every farmer has it within his power to prevent hunting on his lands and it would be to his own profit and pleasure, as well as protection for the birds, to enforce his rights in this particular."

The other article, found in one of Melvin White's letters, appeared in early 1919 but in part harks evokes an era half a century before that. Wrote the ever-loquacious Mr. White:

"Fifty years ago, virgin forest covered our domain, game was plentiful; and most of the people were too busy to hunt. Now cultivated fields have replaced the forest, the habitat of game is destroyed except for bobwhite; and he is needed to destroy the insect pests, of farm, orchard, and garden.

"But a gang of men whose daddies left them land that cost one dollar an acre that now will bring from $25 to $100 an acre, must use a pump gun and setter dog and ruthlessly destroy an innocent, clean, and useful bird that is worth more to a community that fifty idle sportsmen..."

This story was posted on 2015-04-16 14:29:03
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