Pennsyvlania Game Laws in the Early 1900’s

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, January 30, 1912:  Ran a splinter in my hand at noon and didn’t get it out until this evening. It went in almost straight. Jimmie pulled it out for me, although I didn’t think he could. Saw an owl this evening. Would like to have laid my hands on him and seen the result.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I’m amazed that Grandma’s six-year-old brother Jimmie was able to pull the splinter out.

My sense is that the population of many wild animals and birds has decreased over the years—though I’m really not sure.  This diary entry makes it sound as if it was unusual to see an owl a hundred years ago.

By the early 1900’s many people realized that it was important to protect wildlife.

According to The Old Tackle Box, the first non-resident hunting licenses in Pennsylvania were issued in 1901—though resident licenses were not issued until 1913.

However, bounties were still offered for some animals.

A 1908 book called The Compendium of Everyday Wants described the Pennsylvania Game Laws:

Hunting is prohibited on Sunday, and any one convicted of this offense is liable to a penalty consisting of a fine and imprisonment.

It is illegal to kill any song bird. It is unlawful to place on sale any song birds caught, except those generally sold, such as parrots, canary and other similar birds. Birds taken for scientific purposes are not included in this restriction, when the person capturing or killing them holds a certificate. These certificates are good for one year, under the law of Pennsylvania.

It is unlawful to kill deer, fawn, etc., for the purpose of selling them, in Pennsylvania.

For the benefit of agriculture and the protection of game, the legislatures in many States have passed laws whereby a certain amount of money is paid for killing wildcats, foxes, minks and any such dangerous animals. A bounty, that is a sum of money, is paid by the counties of the States for each one destroyed. In Pennsylvania, $2 is given for every wildcat, $1 for every red or grey fox, and 50 cents for every mink.

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