Poacher (animal)

Members of the Poaching Fraternity

A MONG the various wild animals which inhabit the earth, it is difficult to decide which are really friendly and which are really hostile to man's interests. The actual fact appears to be that there is neither hostility nor friendship. If farmers and gardeners kill off too many birds, nature revenges herself by sending a plague of insects which the small birds, if alive, would have eaten. Gamekeepers ruthlessly shoot hawks and kites, or snare stoats and polecats, with the result that their game grows up too thick for its feeding ground, sickly specimens are allowed to linger on, and a destructive murrain follows. The rook, no doubt, is fond of eggs; but nevertheless he does the farmer good service when he devours the grubs which are turned up by the plow; and as the salmon disease, which of late has proved so destructive, is attributed by the best authorities to overcrowding, that glossy-coated fisherman, the otter, is really a benefactor to the followers of Izaak Walton's gentle craft.