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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Curator's Corner: Shooting Birds, Not Dinosaurs

3 men in front of a dinosaur skeleton, one with a big gun, 2 with oars

This large-caliber weapon shown off by Biological Survey officer George Lawyer is not the real reason dinosaurs met their doom. Actually, It is a confiscated “punt gun,” which was mounted onto the front of a “punt” boat, loaded with shot or even nails, and fired at groups of waterfowl to illegally harvest large numbers of ducks and geese for sale on the black market by bootleggers, or “duckleggers” as they were called. Either way, dinosaurs or ducks, extinction could be the result. Luckily our diligent law enforcement officers saved the day and prevented waterfowl extinction in the early 20th century.

Jeanne M. Harold, curator of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Museum and Archives at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, says the history surrounding the objects in the museum gives them life.

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Fish & Wildlife News  
  • This article is from the fall issue of Fish & Wildlife News, our quarterly magazine.

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