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Game Numbers Low in 1912

Two articles in a recent edition of the local newspaper show that some things never seem to change. First was an item announcing a study to learn why the deer herd is presently so low in this area. Further back in the Reflections was the following editorial from December 1912. Sounds familiar.

“After many years of strife to preserve the big game in this state, we are slowly drifting toward the utter extinction of the same. It may be well to drag the preservation out as far as possible, to prolong the hunting. But what is the use of all the talk about closing the season on this or that or feeding the elk?

“We have long been a supporter of the protection to game, but we have now reached a point where we have drawn new conclusions. Civilization and cultivation, and reclamation of the agricultural lands of the West are getting the game. The hunter might just as well have his share so long as he does not play the hog, as long as the game lasts.

“The range is going rapidly for all game, and there is little left for them but the interior of the roughest mountains. The settler encroaches upon the big game and drives him back farther and farther every year, until now the only game that is left is away back and has no winter range. The winters are killing more game from lack of range than all the hunters put together.

“The ranchman and farmer have come to stay, give them the fruits of their labors in the country they choose. It is only a little time until the big game is gone. It is useless to put closed season on them. They are killed anyway, and their extinction from hunters, ranchers and breakers of the law is only a matter of time, no matter what the law, or money spent to prevent it finds.”

Since my arrival in this valley in 1938, our family has noted many up and downs of the game herds, usually on about a 10-year cycle. I’ll bet the new expensive study will find the same.