Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 20

Game Names

By Wes Bower

N

O MATTER the outdoor activity,
including hunting, the involved
participants enjoy their own unique
ways of self-expression. Most of us have
heard these words: "See any horns?"
"Saw only tails!" "I took my gun for a
walk." "I lost my shirttail today."
Additionally, while we are aware of
the appropriate names of various wild
birds and animals, we often resort to using aliases, nicknames or slang. These
informal names, some of which date
back to colonial times, often refer to
a physical characteristic or the unique
habitat of the animal in question.
Some examples of widely used
nicknames of birds and mammals by
sportsmen include "buzzard" for turkey
vultures and black vultures, "greenheads" for mallards, "groundhog" for
woodchuck - yep it's really woodchuck, "timberdoodle" for woodcock
and "snowshoe rabbit" for varying
hares. Beavers are sometimes called
"flat-tails," while bobcats are often referred to as "wildcats." The extirpated
20

eastern cougar was known as a mountain lion, puma, panther or catamount.
Many of our earlier-day rural residents and hunters referred to all
hawks as "chicken hawks." As time
progressed, birds of prey were provided
with their own special designations. A
kestrel was a "sparrow hawk," harriers
were "marsh hawks," peregrines were
called "duck hawks" and a merlin was
a "pigeon hawk." Ospreys are still "fish
hawks."
Owls also have their own "nicknames." Barn owls are still sometimes
called "monkey-face owls," great
horned owls are "cat owls" or "hoot
owls," short-eared owls are "marsh
owls" and barred owls continue to be
called "rain owls."
There's no disputing that waterfowl
species are referred to by more aliases
than any other species of wildlife.
Many of these colloquialisms are regional and seldom heard outside a particular area. It's been written that the
ruddy duck, sometimes called "creek
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014

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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - A
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - B
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover4
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