SI Vault
November 03, 1958
10 to 1 at Belmont
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November 03, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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DeMarco also learned how the hunters got their birds. One method was the "creep"; five or six hunters, using Long Toms (unplugged guns which held a dozen or more shells and were filed so as to be almost automatic) would creep up on the ducks as they rested in the marshes at night. At a signal from the leaders, the hunters would start firing in arcs carefully planned to cover the entire flock. In this manner, two or three thousand ducks could be massacred in one night.

Much of the meat-hunting was also just plain killing over the limit by skilled shots operating in blinds without plugs in their guns. The market-hunters also baited traps, caught the birds alive and stuffed them into burlap sacks. They then fired shotgun blasts into the sacks so the ducks would have pellets in their bodies. DeMarco estimates that the Mississippi flyway meat-hunters used to kill half a million ducks a year by these grisly techniques.

As DeMarco was purchasing, the louver company president was getting calls asking if he was, indeed, an employee. The president said he was. Lumber dealers received calls asking if they were actually being called on by DeMarco. They said they were. An assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois called the Fish and Wildlife Service and asked if they had an undercover agent in the Peoria area and was told no. Once the market-hunters gave DeMarco the cold shoulder for several weeks, then welcomed him back, explaining that he had been "cleared" by the Illinois underworld.

In Beardstown, Ill., DeMarco had his most trying moment. A notorious hunter, who once had pulled a shotgun on two federal agents and told them to "git" (they "got") took De-Marco out for a little shooting.

"He took me to a blind," he said later, "and I could hear shooting, and this was before daylight. When we approached, he shouted, 'Watch out, I've got a federal agent with me.' I don't know what the hell his idea was. I said to him, 'That was a helluva thing to say. You're besmirching my name and character; I'm a legitimate salesman, and I don't want anybody to intimate that I'm a federal agent.' "

DeMarco certainly did not, because as Anthony Marc Stefano, his real name, he was. And he had not given away a single duck; they had been tagged and consigned to deepfreeze. Stefano had made the biggest killing of market hunters in the history of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service several years back in the Sacramento area. Two years later, he broke his own record in Texas (SI, April 30, 1956).

Stefano's work in the Midwest came to an end at dawn the other day when 45 agents, from 11 states, took 95 market-hunters into custody in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. They face an average of six charges each, and the penalty can be up to $500 fine and six months in jail, or both, on each count. Already about a third of those arrested have pleaded guilty. As for Stefano, he has a new assignment.

Magic in Baltimore

In winning professional football games 270-pound guards and big-handed halfbacks have their uses. But the Baltimore Colts (five wins, no losses) don't depend on competence alone. As Halloween time approached, Baltimore led the Western Conference in hexes, spells, charms and general witchcraft. Before and during each game, several members of the Colt organization hold their nerves as delicately taut as bridle reins and coax the team's luck along as gently as if it were a squirrel in a public park.

Head Coach Weeb Ewbank has worn the same suit to all the Baltimore games this year, and he plans to keep on wearing it (without cleaning) until the Colts lose. Carroll Rosen-bloom, who owns the team, has a beat-up old hat which he is careful never to remove when the ball is in play.

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