Surprise No. 2 came to the Americans in Adelaide. Word of the North American style of play had spread, and Adelaide's lacrosse teams eagerly decided to adopt it themselves. They flailed away with their sticks, alternating this tactic with a little inventive kicking and tripping not strictly called for, even by the North American style. The Americans retaliated, and the Aussies in their less protective costumes began falling on all sides. Though the Aussies clearly lost the free-for-all (seven of them checked in at the hospital), they did persist long enough to win the game. They beat the Yanks in the next game too, and narrowly lost a third.
The crowd response to the games provided Surprise No. 3. Some 4,000 fans attended the series in Perth, while crowds of 3,000 and 4,000 watched the two rugged Australian victories in Adelaide. And the last game of the tour, which found the Americans (who had won eight out of 10) facing the Australian All-Stars in Melbourne, supplied the topper. An almost unheard-of lacrosse crowd of 10,000 saw the Aussies stagger away with a hard-fought 8-to-5 victory.
All in all, Corrigan and his colleagues felt that the trip was an unqualified success. They had developed great respect for the Aussies' dogged-ness on the playing field, and had learned something of the crying need for agreed international rules. So enthusiastic are they that plans are already being made for another such go-round within the next couple of years. Here, it seems to us, is a good chance for somebody to come forward with an international lacrosse trophy. Nobody had ever heard much of international tennis, either, until Dwight Davis put up his big silver cup.
Drought and the Duck Season
From early spring until last July, no rain fell on the Saskatchewan prairie, breeding ground for millions of mallards, canvasbacks, pintails and other ducks—85% of the North American total. Sloughs and potholes that had not been dry in 20 years were baked, waterless depressions covered with the dried stubble of bulrushes. Ordinarily those rushes were part of the emergent vegetation in which ducks nested above the water, safe from predators. Only a million and a half water holes remained; ordinarily there are 5 million to 10 million of them. The number of broods was estimated as 71% below average. The number of ducklings to a brood was the smallest ever recorded. Canadian authorities were alarmed about ducks, but they had even more alarming prospects to consider: if it did not rain before July 1, the half-billion-dollar grain crop would be lost. As for American opinion on the prospects for ducks, the head of the wildlife department, Daniel Janzen, said "We can always hope some miracle will occur" (SI, June 29).
By July 1 a miracle of sorts had occurred. In two joyful, soaking days four inches of rain fell, saving the Canadian grain crop, filling the streams, turning the brown landscape a vivid green. And the ducks? No one seemed to want to speculate about them. Ducks Unlimited of Canada ventured cautiously that the outlook was a little improved, if only because "many broods that would have died through lack of water have been saved," and said that much rain last May would have made a great difference. While American and Canadian authorities conducted a joint survey of the breeding grounds by plane all through July, the Sports Fisheries and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior kept silent, refusing to discuss a shortened season, a curtailed daily bag limit, or—as some conservationists urged—no duck season at all in 1959.
Last week both the Canadian and the U.S. seasons and limits were announced, and the drought toll of the duck world received official recognition. In Saskatchewan, whose 70,000 hunters ordinarily kill a million ducks each fall, the daily limit was cut to seven (it was 12 last year, 15 the year before). In southern Saskatchewan, the season was shortened by three weeks. The hunting area of 14 lakes and marshes, running southwest from Saskatoon to the U.S. border, was entirely closed. Alberta cut the daily bag limit to seven, possession to 21 (down from 40) and shortened the season by about three weeks. Quebec and Ontario cut the daily limit to six.
The reduction in the U.S. was more drastic. A complicated optional system worked out by the wildlife service permitted the states to choose their own limitations, but these ran from 20- to 40-day reductions in the duck season. New York, Maryland and the other states in the Atlantic Flyway, for example, may take a 40-day season, with a daily limit of four and a possession limit of eight, or a 50-day season with limits of three and six. Last year the season ran 60 days (down from 70 in 1957), and an 80-day season was once normal. The same alternative is offered in the Mississippi Flyway; where such states as Minnesota and Louisiana have the same choice of 40- or 50-day seasons, but the reduction is greater because their seasons were longer in the past. In the Central Flyway there can be a 50-day season in 1959, with bag limits of four and eight, or a 60-day season with limits of three and six, as opposed to a 75-day season before, with limits of five and 10. The Pacific Flyway was unaffected by the drought. "We have attempted to cut the duck kill by one-third to one-half in all fly-ways except the Pacific," Janzen said. "Even though certain restrictions are essential, we have attempted to spread the shooting so that some hunting can be provided for all hunters across the country."
The wicketest game
Still can be fun,
Provided it's played
With mallets toward none.
—DANIEL E. BUTTON