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for Waterfowl shooting--Currituck Sound
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Plentiful game birds on Currituck Sound from the 1870s to the 1910s attracted many market hunters. These were hunters who were able to shoot without limit waterfowl which were then sold to markets and restaurants. Perhaps millions of birds were killed. Intervention by the federal government, with laws including the Weeks McLean Law (1913), brought unrestricted market hunting to an end in 1918.
Two elaborate, privately owned hunt clubs, the Currituck Shooting Club at Nags Head and the Whalehead Club at Corolla, are reminders of waterfowl hunting times that began in 1857 and lasted into the 1980s. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Currituck Club is the oldest active hunt club in North America. The Whalehead Club is now a museum and is owned by Currituck County.
An exact date when duck hunting for the market began in the Currituck area is hard to establish. It is known that hunting was going on before 1827, but no written records of it exist. The earliest written record of market hunting there is in 1856. Edgar Bourroughs employed twenty game hunters to shoot waterfowl. The game was hauled by wagon to Norfolk once a week and then packed and shipped to northern cities. Baum traces the history of this type of hunting from 1856 to the turn of the century.
In this second part of the series on market hunting in the Currituck Sound area, Baum discusses how duck blinds were constructed, what sort of setups were employed, and how the old timers managed fantastic hunts at the height of the market hunting era.