Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 51

by

Joe

Ko s a c k

Roaring
Rabbits
and Better Protecting
Cottontails in the 1920s

Pennsylvania Game Commissioner John M. Phillips recognized the pressure being put on
the Commonwealth's rabbit
population in the early 1900s,
and the need for changes. But
in the agency's formative years, it wasn't easy
convincing the General Assembly that seasons
or bag limits needed to be dialed back, particularly now that hunters were paying for the
privilege through the purchase of their hunting
licenses. But Phillips stumped for reform at
every opportunity.
One of his more-descriptive accounts of
Pennsylvania rabbit hunting came in 1921
at the 13th International Association of Fish,
Game and Conservation Commissioners
Conference.
"Here in Pennsylvania, we are sort of a
settled community," Phillips reported. "Our
people look forward to the hunting season, and
they get ready for it. This great army of ours
is mobilized every year. The railroads put on
special trains; the street railway companies run
special cars, to get them out into the country.
It is a great army that you will see on the first
few days of the season. On the first morning
of the season I have gone into a baggage car,
and it was nothing but a great crowd of dogs.
Everybody was taking his dog out, and they
had to put on separate baggage cars for the
dogs.
AUGUST 2020	

"This great army starts out," Phillips noted.
"We allow a bag limit of 10 rabbits, and every
man who goes out with his dog wants his
limit. The consequence is that in 10 days the
rabbits disappear. The poor fellow who went
out on the second or third morning did not get
any rabbits. So, the sportsmen said to us, 'It
is not fair to kill them all in 10 days by this
great army. Instead of having a bag limit of 10
rabbits, make it five, so that the early fellows
won't kill them all. We are afraid to go out the
first few days, because we may get killed, but
we want some of the game saved.'
"We today have 600,000 men scouring
these hills of Pennsylvania," Phillips continued. "A brush pile, in the beginning of the
season may be as high as my head. At the end
of the season, you can hardly find two sticks
together from the tramping it has received. I
have seen ten men on one brush pile in one
hour on the first day of season, hunting for
the rabbit that the first man had chased out of
it. As ... we said to our legislators, 'We have
600,000 men, armed with modern guns, who
have automobiles to climb hills. We must
restrict our hunting seasons.'"
Through Phillips' convincing, the daily
bag limit on rabbits was cut from 10 to five
in 1921, relieving some of the pressure on
the resource and allowing the harvest to be
distributed more equitably while maintaining
the pursuit's popularity.
51



Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 58
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Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2020 - Cover4
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