“Plume hunting” for sport and fashion was common in the years before laws were enacted to protect our birds. The following is an excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book by naturalist Bradford Torrey in 1895, mocking those who engaged in such activity:
“Happily, the lawmakers of the State have done something of recent years for the protection of such defenseless beauties. Happily, too, shooting from the river boats is no longer permitted,—on the regular lines, that is. I myself saw a young gentleman stand on the deck of an excursion steamer, with a rifle, and do his worst to kill or maim every living thing that came in sight, from a spotted sandpiper to a turkey buzzard! I call him a ‘gentleman;’ he was in gentle company, and the fact that he chewed gum industriously would, I fear, hardly invalidate his claim to that title. The narrow river wound in and out between low, densely wooded banks, and the beauty of the shifting scene was enough almost to take one’s breath away; but the crack of the rifle was not the less frequent on that account. Perhaps the sportsman was a Southerner, to whom river scenery of that enchanting kind was an old story. More likely he was a Northerner, one of the men who thank Heaven they are ‘not sentimental’.”
Torrey, Bradford. “Chapter 4: “Along the Hillsborough”.” A Florida Sketch-Book. 1895.
iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30255238