Flash back to the 1890s in Nebraska’s Platte River Valley. The man doesn’t look like much. He’s barely five feet tall, in his 20’s and of modest means. He’s had a big day though, and so he’s decided to spend his hard-earned money to have a formal studio portrait taken with his two prized possessions: a 10-gauge shotgun and the whooping crane he’s just killed with it. Even then, the whooper was rare, and people knew it. Market hunters heavily targeted large birds, hoping to sell their oversized feathers for writing quills. The tallest of all North American birds paid dearly for it. In their darkest hour, whooper numbers would drop to just a handful of individuals. But that was the Victorian era—a time when virtually no laws protected our nation’s wildlife. We know better now. Or do we?