Wildlife Conservation Society: Library & Archives

Hornaday Wildlife Conservation Scrapbooks

Where the majority of Hornaday’s scrapbooks focus on a single subject among his wildlife campaigns (volume 1 on the creation of the Elk River preserve, for instance, or volume 2 on the founding of the national bison herds), volume 3 covers several events, between 1911 and 1928, with which Hornaday was involved.

Prominent among them is the 1911 passage of the Bayne Bill in New York State. Named for Senator Howard R. Bayne of Staten Island, who drew up the bill based on Hornaday’s recommendations and support, the law prohibited the sale and importation for sale of any species of wild game, regardless of where it had been killed. As Hornaday remembered it later in his Thirty Years War For Wildlife, the “acorn” that grew into the Bayne Bill was planted by a 1910 visit to Hornaday from a friend who told him of a plot by supporters of market hunting to abolish existing wildlife protection laws. “Well, then,” Hornaday reportedly declared upon learning of these plans, “damn their souls, we will give them the fight of their lives. We will introduce a bill to stop the sale of game, and carry the war right into the enemy’s camp.” Indeed, Hornaday charged ahead with his fight, and the bill passed the state senate 38 to 1 and the assembly unanimously.

Hornaday’s militancy surfaces throughout the wildlife campaigns covered in volume 3 and particularly in his conflicts with the makers of automatic guns. To Hornaday, modern firearms were not only the greatest threat to American wildlife, they also robbed hunting of its sportsmanship. In 1911, he denounced the National Association of Audubon Societies for accepting a $125,000 gift from leading gun and ammunition manufacturers (a gift the Association eventually rescinded, to Hornaday’s delight). Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, he scrapped with the American Game Protective and Propagation Association (later the American Game Protective Association), a group sponsored by gun and ammunition manufacturers, over such issues as bag limits.

Additional subjects featured in volume 3 include the protection of antelope in Montana and elk in Wyoming in 1911 and the sage grouse and quail in Iowa in 1917; Hornaday’s 1911 appeals to the Boy Scouts of America to help protect American wildlife; the late-1920s activities of conservation groups including the Midwestern Wild Life League, the Will H. Dilg League, and the Isaak Walton League of America; and the silver medal Hornaday received in 1927 from the Société nationale d’acclimatation de France.

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