English and American Wildlife Law: Lessons From the Past

Stockdale, Michael
Tennessee Wildlife Resources agency
Publication Date: 

1993 Proc. Annu. Conf. SEAFWA
Other laws also gave particular attention to breeding animals: gathering the eggs of birds
was prohibited in 1533 and in 1710, salmon were protected during their spawning runs, so
that they might "become very plentiful and common . . . as they were formerly" (Lund 1980).
Physical changes in animals' defensive abilities were also the occasion for English regulations.
In 1533 birds were protected when "the said old fowl be moulted, and not replenished with
feathers to fly, nor the young fowl fully feathered perfectly to fly. The value of the animal was
considered as a basis in limiting the take because the flesh of moulting birds had been found
"unsavory and unwholesome, to the prejudice of those that buy them."

George Washington repeatedly warned his neighbor across the Potomac to avoid his Mt. Vernon
duck marsh. Responding to unauthorized shooting one day, Washington mounted his horse and
galloped in the direction from where the shots came. The poaching neighbor upon seeing him,
fled in a skiff. Washington rode his mount into the water and seized the boat. Fearing for his life,
the desperado leveled his gun at Washington's chest, swearing that he intended to shoot. Paying
no attention to the threat, Washington dragged the marauder ashore by his hair, disarmed him, and
administered a humiliating cowhiding. The punishment was effective, his neighbor thereafter poached ducks elsewhere.