11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 17


The Armistice

When the open season comes to an end on February rst (a day later than was intended in the Act) many people, including many sportsmen, regret that the armistice is not more comprehensive and in some regards earlier. This year, for the first time, so far as I remember, a strong plea has been raised on behalf of the tribe of duck. It seems to be generally agreed that they are diminishing seriously in number, over Eastern Europe and Britain, at any rate ; and there is an equally general feeling that stronger and wider methods of preservation should be undertaken. After they pair most birds, duck perhaps more certainly than other species, lose much of their native shyness. As it happens I saw this very season a pair of Mallard rise at the feet of sportsmen and both were killed. The duck is also tame enough at the end of the open season, for the reason that many of the birds are young and weak on the wing. Yet duck are freely shot both early in the spring and again in the first week of August. The total loss must be great for this reason. The quarry is too easily destroyed.