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Punt Guns Picture

Punt Guns

A 1920’s tableau of the sublime and the arcane, depicting turn-of-the-century “punt guns” against a “duck-billed reptile” in a metropolitan museum. Punt guns were the bane of waterfowl managers at the turn-of-the-century and into the 1930’s, enabling market hunters to bring down between 30 and 100 diving ducks at a time. Punt guns were typically single- or multi-barrel shotguns up to 10 feet tall, loaded like an old-fashioned cannon with everything from rusty nuts and bolts to old nails. Weighing as much as 100 pounds, they were mounted the bow of flat-bottomed duck boats called “punt boats” or “sneak boats.” Often the boat and the gun were white-washed as camouflage against casting a moonlight silhouette. Floated in among rafts of diving ducks like canvasbacks and redheads and fired,

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A 1920’s tableau of the sublime and the arcane, depicting turn-of-the-century “punt guns” against a “duck-billed reptile” in a metropolitan museum. Punt guns were the bane of waterfowl managers at the turn-of-the-century and into the 1930’s, enabling market hunters to bring down between 30 and 100 diving ducks at a time. Punt guns were typically single- or multi-barrel shotguns up to 10 feet tall, loaded like an old-fashioned cannon with everything from rusty nuts and bolts to old nails. Weighing as much as 100 pounds, they were mounted the bow of flat-bottomed duck boats called “punt boats” or “sneak boats.” Often the boat and the gun were white-washed as camouflage against casting a moonlight silhouette. Floated in among rafts of diving ducks like canvasbacks and redheads and fired, punt guns decimated large flocks of birds in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast. Ducks were packed in ice and shipped by train to Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia to supply the restaurant trade. The public outcry over market hunting and pressure from individual hunters themselves, concerned over the mass killing of ducks by this and other methods, led to more restrictive hunting regulations and bolstered the creation and expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System by mid-century. Location and date of this photo are unknown.

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Author: Unknown/USFWS

License: Public Domain Mark 1.0 (Public domain)
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15th September 2015
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