The number of different sorts of birds sold at the Chicago game market are indicated by details available primarily from 1865 to 1873. During this period, the market report in the Chicago Daily Commercial Report and Market Review indicated the price and number sold especially for the early 1870s, and the Chicago Commercial Express and Western Produce Reporter gave similar information for the 1860s.
There are six species which were reported in a most numerous manner on the pages of the market report.
Greater Prairie Chicken: 170 different dates during the year, based upon an evaluation of 578 records. The peak numbers known to sold were more than 6200 as reported on January 17, 1872 when the entry read:
"150 dozen prairie chickens at $2.75; 101 dozen at $2.85; 197 dozen at $3.00; 75 dozen in poor order at $2.50"
There were 6000 offered for purchase, according to the publication report for December 29, 1866. Numbers exceeding 4000 were reported for January 4th, both in 1872 and 1873. The primary dates when these birds were available for purchase was for the first forty days of the year, and after mid-August, when the season opened in the states from which the birds were harvested. Larger numbers were sold during December and January.
Mallard: 138 dates as derived from 331 records. Most of the peak numbers sold are from the early 1870s, with only one report of more than one thousand (October 25, 1873); the next lesser value as indicated by the evaluated records, is 900 in March of 1872, with a few more dates at the same time indicating an influx of birds transported to the market.
Northern Bobwhite (quail): 115 dates during the year, based upon 364 records. There were thousands and thousands of quail sold at the Chicago market. On January 2, 1873, the indicated tally was 7680. Peak counts were primarily in January and December.
Passenger Pigeon (wild pigeons): 114 dates, as derived from 219 records. The largest tally indicated for a day was more than 9100 for May 24, 1867, when the entry read:
"400 dozen pigeons at 25 c, 6 dozen 40 c, 219 dozen 60 c @ 65, 30 dozen picked at 75 c, 60 dozen 80 c, 50 dozen live at 90 c; large supply, very dull.
Perhaps some of the dead bird carcasses reported for the were from May 22, when the reportorial account indicated a number of 6300. Other peak counts occurred primarily during April and May.
Ruffed Grouse (partridges): 33 dates during the years from 1865 to 1873, and with the exception of three January dates, the remainder were in the autumn. An amazing 1200, that would be 100 dozen were available for $4.50, as reported for December 17, 1872.. Any other indications for this species are less than 350, as indicated by the 46 records considered.
Canvasback: 18 dates represented by 22 records. There were never more than 120 birds as indicated for sale, and these dates were for March 24, 1869 and April 5, 1873. All of the subsequent counts were less than 85.
This an example of the dates of sale and prices for this epicure's delight, as sportsmen loved to feast upon the flesh of the superb canvasback. The purchase price indicated was the minimum for the day, since birds in a better condition were sold for a better price. The values given were the cost to purchase a dozen carcasses, with the lowest value indicated.
Similar details are available for each of the species mentioned in this summary. Facts of this sort are also available for the other primary game markets, especially at New York City and Washington, D.C. Available particulars are just too extensive to present in a verbal format, since they can be best appreciated as a digital summary.