You couldn’t just go out with a pair of field glasses and see the things. You had to really get at it and study them.

Vancouver 1927

Small mammals, Huntingdon, 1927

Small mammals, Huntingdon, 1927

Photograph by Hamilton Mack Laing Image J-00300 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives.
White-footed Mouse

White-footed Mouse

Peromyscus maniculatus , Kamloops, 1929. Photograph by Cowan. Image Cowan_PH_121 courtesy of University of Victoria Special Collections.
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Cowan’s correspondence with J.A. Munro sparked a much greater scientific bent. His trapping and shooting skills (for food) had given him the opportunity to see in his hands the subtle differences of the animals he was observing. Now he started to notice not just the differences between species of mice and shrew, but the even more subtle differences between the same species up the mountain, on an island or at sea level, something that was nearly impossible to do without having them together for comparison. “At this time, I had been setting out little traps mostly for mice and shrews and I began to realize the extraordinary wealth of small mammals that there were. One of the things that attracted me was they were more difficult. You couldn’t just go out with a pair of field glasses and see the things. You had to really get at it and study them.”16

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White-footed Mouse or Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus, Kamloops, 1929. Photograph by Cowan. Image Cowan_PH_121 courtesy of University of Victoria Special Collections.

Small mammals, Huntingdon, 1927. Photograph by Hamilton Mack Laing Image J-00300 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives.

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16 Cowan, interview, July 9, 2002.

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