The Mississippi Flyway: The Ancient Ones


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This is the waterfowling story of early modern man long since dead, as he followed migrating waterfowl from the Old World to the New World, where his descendants witnessed the arrival of the White man. So listen to the words of early modern man as The Mississippi Flyway: The Ancient Ones offers an unforgettable account of the birth and technological advancement of waterfowling in all its dynamics and glory—long before firearms were invented. It begins some 40,000 years ago with early modern man and continues to the Paleo-Indians, to the Mound Builders, to the Native Americans, while also looking back at the old timers from the arrival of the first White man in the New World to the first half of the twentieth century. It is the story of a time that can never again repeat itself—of an era of waterfowl abundance in the Mississippi Flyway that has gone forever. If you are young, the scenes depicted in The Mississippi Flyway; The Ancient Ones will fire your blood to strive for the great trophies in the sky; if you are old it will thrill you with memories of a past which shall seem to you brighter and better than anything the later years can yield. After receiving numerous requests for my out-of-print Waterfowling America set of books, I decided to update the history of the waterfowling states of the Mississippi Flyway and publish The Mississippi Flyway: The Ancient Ones.

Every state is represented except Alabama and Kentucky. This book represents the best from The Golden Age of Waterfowling and the best from Waterfowling America, Vol. II—updated and rebranded to offer you The Mississippi Flyway: The Ancient Ones,” which is almost unobtainable in the aftermarket.

PRICE is based on the book being out-of-print, rarity, collectability, demand, subject matter, limited first edition or an additional edition, softcover vs. hardcover with dust jacket, how hard is it to find one on the secondary/out-of-print market, and condition of book.

All out-of-print books are in “as new condition,” which means the covers are bright and there are no damages to covers or text pages or shelf-wear.

PRICE:$500, plus $6.00 for shipping and handling, limited first edition of 1,250 copies, published in 2013, softcover, 8.5 x 11, 614 pages with over 100 images, and in “as new” condition. No additional copies were printed after the 1,250 were sold. Very rare to find on out-or-print book market. In stock to purchase.

TERMS OF PURCHASE: Every out-of-print book I sell is unconditionally guaranteed to meet your standards and expectations. If you are not completely satisfied, please contact the seller within seven days. If returned, book(s) must arrive in the “as new condition” in which it was purchased and mailed and must be returned within 7 days. Return postage is at purchaser’s expense.

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EXCERPTS FROM THE GAME MARKET CHAPTER . . . . Prior to the railroads, farm produce was marketable only in one’s local area. To many, hunting was more profitable than farm work and was as good as a trade. Only health, robust natures could withstand the strain of hard travels and uncertain fare, which market hunters had to endure. Nonetheless, the quiver of a duck’s wing was more potent than a farmer’s plow, so many followed the paths of Gypsies. Hunting, fishing and trapping were their pastime; flintlocks and percussion, their weapons.

Since there was no easy mode of transport, the game was given to family and friends, and the excess sold at the nearest town. Feathers were stripped for making pillows and mattresses. There were few buyers or sellers during the 1850s. Mallards brought $1.50 per dozen; chickens, the same; quail, 75 cents. Then prairie chicken were everywhere on the prairie and ducks came in immense flocks and passed so close overhead that one could see their eyes. Cornfields were full of them and the squawking on the marshes were heard for miles. Snipe, golden plovers and passenger pigeons flew in countless droves. One could scare up five or six flocks of prairie chickens, possibly a dozen when going through one stubble field, and the flocks were large.

At this time, one could travel almost in any direction outside the limits of a small town without seeing a fence. More than half of the land was largely neglected. One’s neighbor was distant, perhaps many miles; one’s crops brought low prices and transport by wagon to market was long and arduous. The little cash one had was like the survival of the fittest, not to be measured in value by things around you. One had to pay taxes, but few things could you sell. One did not want many things. Taste and fashion did not live where one dwelt. You raised your own meat; you could and often did without it. With grated corn, you made bread for your breakfast; mills were miles distant, and your travel there was necessarily infrequent.

There were no railroads, no cold storage, no refrigerators and very little demand for game outside one’s local area, except what the steamboats delivered. Guns were poor quality; rifles prevailed. Wing shooting was so seldom seen or practiced that a good shot was set upon as one to be watched and in general avoided.hen the railroads came and a few market hunters made attempts to market their game to distant markets. The express on perishable goods like game was high and often prohibitory. Consequently, many goods perished and many goods that were consigned to distant markets were never reported by the consignees, if they received them. Losses were seldom paid and seldom recouped by new shipments. Therefore, it was mostly a failure, as the railroads did little to foster the trade, and they were so infrequent and unreliable that trade languished in all but the necessaries of life and goods in which slow time was unavoidable.Railroads were not entirely to blame. Nobody seemed to think there was any market for any game anywhere except in cold weather, because nobody knew how to pack in hot weather. At first, in an attempt to preserve the birds, the box was packed so heavily with ice that, although the birds brought good prices, a market hunter got but few dollars out of it. About one-half the birds were “green” and they brought only about half prices.

Two things they learned from this experience. They must cut down the weight of their shipments by using less ice because the express shipment charges were high, and they must draw their birds when killed. In wintertime, they frequently shipped without packing in ice, especially if one lived in the northern clime.

However, to make a profitable market hunter, one had to learn how to ship during the warmer months, thus extending one’s time in which to make money. It was always necessary in the warmer months to keep the flies away, so when they killed a bird and had a fair amount, which they wished to unload while continuing to hunt, they buried the birds in mud, under laid with leaves, near some river or creek until night when they were gathered.

Eventually, the railroads, before refrigeration, became more reliable and the market hunters learned how to pack their game during the warmer months. Instead of using single boxes, they made a doubled box, placing sawdust between the two, and this was a great protection against the ice melting on the inside. Inside the box, sawdust and ice surrounded the birds. The sawdust was mostly oak, and the ice-water drippings through it made the birds look of a dirty red color. Once they arrived at the dealer, he removed them from the sawdust and threw them into ice water, by which means they were restored to a normal color and consistency. Then they were air-dried and the feathers fluffed for good appearance.

Many market hunters packed their own game and shipped it to dealers. Many, however, preferred to let shippers do all the work, thus they spent more of their time hunting. Some shippers specialized only in a certain kind of bird; some preferred ducks, some pigeons such as William W. Judy of St. Louis, who was perhaps the largest dealer in pigeons in the nation. At Chicago, E. Osborne shipped by far the greatest numbers of pigeons to eastern game markets. . . . . . . .




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