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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
DIVISION OF BIOLOGICAL SURVEY,
Washington, D. ('., August 9, 1901. SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith, and to recommend for publication, as Bulletin No. 16 of the Biological Survey, a report entitled Digest of Game Laws for 1901,' by T. S. Palmer and H. W. Olds. The object of this report is to present in convenient form the provisions of the laws now in force, including the amendments enacted during the present year. In view of the fact that the game season opens in several States on September 1, it is desirable that this bulletin be published and distributed as promptly as possible. Respectfully.
T. S. PALMER,
Acting Chief, Biological Survey. Ilon. JAMES WILSON, Secretary of Igriculture.
The act of Congress approved May 25, 1900, requires the Secretary of Agriculture to collect and publish, from time to time, useful information concerning the preservation of game and other birds. In accordance with this provision it has been deemed important to pub lish a digest of the game laws embodying the numerous changes made during the present year.
In the spring of 1901 legislative sessions were held in about forty States and Territories, and in nearly all amendments to the game laws were enacted. Numerous changes were made in the old laws, amounting to 200 or more in the matter of close seasons alone. This multitude of amendments has necessitated a thorough revision of the bulletin issued in 1900, entitled Laws Regulating the Transportation and Sale of Game,' and the issue of a new report has afforded an opportunity for making certain important additions, including a chapter on Federal game laws, a digest of the county laws of Virginia, and incorporation of the provisions of the Canadian laws. Experience has shown that while much stress is laid on close seasons, comparatively little impor tance is attached to violations of other provisions of game laws. It does not seem to be generally recognized that killing game by illegal methods, in excess of the number allowed by law, or for unlawful purposes, is as serious an offense as killing game out of season.
In order to emphasize this point, a special chapter on methods has been introduced and some of the other sections in the former report have been rearranged. As the bulletin now stands it is practically a complete digest of existing Federal, State, and Provincial laws relating to the capture, shipment, and sale of game. It has been possible, however, to give this information only in the most condensed form. Attention is called to the tables at the end of the bulletin in which the close seasons under State and Provincial laws for all the more important game of the United States and Canada are brought together for ready reference, and similarly close seasons for the principal game protected in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, under county laws. It has been possible to give extracts from the laws only in the cases of sections relating to shipment and sale. All provisions relating to enforcement of laws, appointment and duties of game commissions and wardens, procedure, search, and disposition of confiscated game
have been necessarily omitted. Detailed information on these and other points must be sought in unofficial compilations of game laws, in the compilations issued by State authorities, or in the statutes themselves.
In the preparation of the bulletin much assistance has been derived from the valuable compendium published under the title of ‘Game Laws in Brief,' which, however, is designed primarily for the use of sportsmen, and omits penalties and frequently the provisions regarding sale.
The difficulties of the work have also been materially lessened by the aid rendered by State officers and private individuals, who, with uniform courtesy, have furnished copies of the laws or other information.
It should be stated that many of the statutes were not accessible until after July 1, and even at the date of going to press it has been impracticable to consult the county laws passed this year in Tennessee, or the amendments enacted in Delaware. The time for preparation of the bulletin has thus been short, and while great care has been taken in compilation, errors may have crept in, which, under other circumstances, might easily have been eliminated. Sportsmen and others, therefore, are requested to report promptly any inaccuracies or omissions that may be detected.
T. S. PALMER.