Friday, March 19, 2010

Mrs. L.H. Bath – Oregon Game Warden

In the autumn of 1912, Mrs. L.H Bath pursued the position of game warden in Oregon’s Klamath Lake region. An article in the Februay 1, 1914, issue of The Oregonian stated, “It was not with any great confidence in her ability to police the Klamath country that the position was given to Mrs. Bath.” But Mrs. Bath quickly proved herself in her new position.
Klamath Lake had long been known as a great breeding ground for waterfowl. But it also had a reputation as an area in which the game and hunting laws were not observed by residents and hunters who came to the area to kill the birds for the open market. Hunters slaughtered them by the thousands. 
In 1908, the area became a wild game refuge, and although game wardens tried to curb the wholesale slaughter, they were largely unsuccessful until Mrs. Bath took the position in 1912.
She chose her battles carefully. She was not afraid to confront hunters if necessary. However, by February 1914, she had not had to make an arrest. Arrests and court appearances had done little to solve the problem. Mrs. Bath’s strength lay in her attempts to educate the public, starting with the children. Boys had long made a game of throwing stones on their way home home from school at the ducks and other water fowl on the lake. Mrs. Bath encouraged them to feed the birds instead of killing them, and soon the boys were intent on trying to tame the wild birds.
Mrs. Bath herself successfully tamed six pelicans to eat from her hand and sit on her lap, even though pelicans had a reputation of being one of the wildest of species. That autumn she tagged the birds in hopes of learning more about their migratory patterns.

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