Mr. Knight states that predator-control campaigns sponsored by the Bureau of Biological Survey have aided the return of the pronghorn (The Comeback of the American Antelope, SI, Oct. 19). This may be true, but what Mr. Knight doesn't tell us is how these predators are controlled. For the benefit of Mr. Knight and anyone who doesn't know, the method mainly used in the West is poison baiting, which is the greatest disgrace to wildlife conservation in the history of America. Coyotes and bobcats, which provide sport to countless hunters and trappers, are destroyed by a method that provides sport for no one. Millions of dollars worth of fur bearers as well as innocent game and pets are lost. Surely no one can justify such a waste.
THOMAS R. BENINSKY
GOLF: DREAM ON
I must say Mr. Jablow's very amusing (and excellently written) article, How to Beat Sam Snead (SI, Oct. 12), does brighten my bleak golfing outlook as I had given up all hope of ever beating our annual company golf champion (who also happens to be my boss). Why, I never dreamed he could be so easy. Do you realize I had him hopelessly beaten by 15—and still had a beautifully hooked four-iron around a palm tree at Miami Springs (mainly because the course we were playing didn't have any palm trees) and half a bottle of beer I never even needed. Mr. Jablow, your name should go down in history with Ben Hogan's as the only men to ever beat the game.
BIRD BANDS AND A RABBIT-FOOT
Gilbert Cant's interesting article on bird banding (When You See This, Act! SI, Oct. 19) is very well written and most informative—a story which should materially help in a better understanding of the study of migrations and enable conservation agencies interested in this wildlife resource to gain greater benefits from their banding efforts.
Our congratulations and thanks for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S contribution to the wildlife of our nation.
LAWRENCE J. DURKIN
Executive Secretary, Ducks Unlimited
New York City
Your publication of my article on bird banding served as a potent rabbit-foot. Before taking up banding I had been an eager field birder for 20 years, and had taken off at the drop of a feather whenever a friend told me there was a saw-whet owl in a patch of evergreens five to 50 miles away. And for 20 years I was foiled: the bird had always gone, or been killed by a cat or a car, when I got there.
Now I have Japanese mist nets in my garden, and in good weather leave them set overnight. The morning when an early copy of your October 19 issue was due, I checked the nets at 7 a.m. Empty. At 7:30 four birds: a ruby-crowned kinglet, two sparrows—and a saw-whet owl. While it did no good for this Mahomet to go to the mountain, the mountain obligingly came to him.
The saw-whet is the smallest and most retiring owl in eastern North America. It gets its name from its somewhat less than musical voice, which recalls the tooth-jarring sound of a saw being sharpened. Silent in the net and in the hand, the one saw-whet of my belated acquaintance now bears the number 613-80209 on its aluminum leg band.
FOOTBALL: BUTTON BUSTIN' PROUD
Hundreds of loyal fans met Oklahoma's Sooners when they returned from their unhappy expedition to Evanston. Fifty-three thousand fans braved flood conditions to be on hand to give them an ovation when they came on the field for the Colorado game on October 3.
Why this loyalty? I suppose different people have different reasons, but my own reason was forcibly brought home to me by your articles on the OU-Northwestern and the Ohio State-Southern Cal games (A Slight Case of Murder, SI, Oct. 5; Thunder from the Herd, SI, Oct. 12). It's probably pretty feminine reasoning, but I guess that's O.K. since I'm a female-type football fan.
We're used to the typically sportsmanlike reaction from Coach Wilkinson, as indicated by the dressing room interview after the game, but how can you help being button-bustin' proud of a team exemplified by an unhappy young Brewster Hobby who, when the reporters tried to put a readymade poison food alibi into his mouth, said, "Naw. We just got our tails beat."
We think Bud Wilkinson has done a pretty fabulous job of teaching football at Oklahoma, but in addition the boys seem to be learning good sportsmanship from a master at the art.
FOOTBALL: WHERE THERE'S A WILL...
The boys of Adamsville (Tenn.) High School—the boys who disclaim defeatism (A Cotton-pickin' Team with Heart, SI, Oct. 12)—can take heart from the saga of a small crossroads school in Lander, Pa.: "The Little Miracle of Northern Area."
Northern Area was known as Sugar Grove High when it decided to field a football team back in 1951—at the time it looked like a horrible mistake. Sugar Grove lost 10 straight.
The records in 1952 and 1953 were equally bad—the school picked up 15 more consecutive losses—and it looked as if the streak would go on forever when the club opened the 1954 season by losing three-more, running the total to 28.
On Oct. 1, 1954, Northern Area won. It didn't lose again until Nov. 4, 1955. Since then it has played 43 and lost six. Where there's a will there's a way—and Northern Area, somehow, has found it.
DOUGLAS M. SMITH
RETRIEVERS: THE IMMORTAL RIP
An ardent retriever owner and field trial enthusiast, I was pleased to read your recent articles on sporting dogs (SI, June 15, et seq.). I have heard mentioned an immortal golden retriever by name of Rip, who performed in the late '30s. Most of today's retriever owners are Labrador enthusiasts, but I have seen that faraway look gleam in an oldtimer's eye at mention of this dog. I wonder if you could supply me with some information on the accomplishments of this great dog.
CHARLES H. LA FRANCHI
LIEUT. (J.G.) USN
USS Halsey Powell
•F.T. Ch. Rip, owned by Paul Bakewell III, of St. Louis, became in 1939 the first golden retriever to win the open all-age stake in all-breed competition at an American Kennel Club licensed trial; brought favorable acclaim for goldens, first recognized in the U.S. as a separate breed in 1932, by winning the Field & Stream Trophy (equivalent to the National Retriever Championship) in 1939 and 1940; in all, won a then-record total of 63 points in field trial competition before his death in 1941.—ED.
ROWING: CANADIAN STORY
Contrary to the opinion of the Philadelphia Bulletin ("Philadelphia Story," EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Oct. 19), there was a notable oarsman, other than Noah's coxswain, not on hand for Jack Kelly's anniversary dinner.
My grandfather, Hilton A. Belyea, 74, now of St. Petersburg, Fla., Canadian single sculls and speed skating champion, was not present to honor and be honored.
Mr. Belyea rowed in the Diamond Sculls in 1924 while suffering from neuritis, was carried into his shell for the trials in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He won a citation for his sportsmanship.
He also beat Rower Robert Dibble who previously had beaten John Kelly.
Mr. Belyea was beaten only once in Canada by a U.S. rower—W. E. Garret Gilmore—in 1924, never by a Canadian.
I am sorry Pop missed the dinner.
Mrs. BEVERLY BELYEA SCHOENDUBE