By HOWARD RILEY
Last week this space covered the history of the Trudeau Big Buck contest (started in 1916 by Dr. Francis B. Trudeau) and described the treasured trophy that was given to the winner for the biggest buck, a silver pitcher well, I wondered if any of those trophies might still exist
And you know what? Francis (Gokey) Gauthier has the pitcher that his father, Ernest, was awarded for the biggest buck in 1929. Now there is a good story that goes with it and I'll cover that in the future, along with a photo of the pitcherwhen Francis called me, I thought he said he had a picture, not a pitcher, so that took a couple of minutes to clear up and he added that a blanket was also part of the prize.
Deer Statistics from 1895
These are interesting figures because they cover only Essex and Franklin Counties as reported in the Forest & Game Commission report to the legislature obviously from the previous year with the township or town listed with the person who gave the report - it does not say if the reporters are game wardens, just the name opposite the number of bucks & does taken.
Lake Placid, 39, Hon. George A. Stevens; North Elba, 28, Charles H. Wood; Minerva, 9, Thomas Powers; Santanoni Park, 17, Robert C. Pruyn; Elk Lake, 19, H. P. Jones; Adirondack Preserve Association, 11, Robert Bibby, Superintendent; Lewis & Elizabethtown, 23, Charles H. Palmer; (and the following towns) Keene, 15, W. S. Brown; Schroon, 24, Orin Harris; Wilmington, 4, Sanford Avery; Chesterfield, 10, Carlos Rowe; Jay, 3, Spencer G. Prime; Moriah, 10, W. C. Witherbee; Ticonderoga, 3, D. S. Sharp; Westport, 9, Warren Pooler; Willsborough, (sic) 8, Edward Higby total 486.
The locations in Franklin County were mostly by Township numbers as listed in Macomb's Purchase which nothing today but those reporting the numbers still have relatives in the area: A. R. Fuller, James W. Wardner, Smith Kirby, Warren J. Slater, Hal D. Stevens, R. G. Low, Abraham Lester, W. J. Ayres, J. C. Shaw, C. A. MacArthur, W. J. Alfred, Charles O. Dwight, D. W. Riddle, Phelps Smith, John H. Miller, Eugene S. Bruce, Martin (Mart) Moody and Ernest Johnsonthe total, 813.
...and 90 years ago
These startling statewide statistics (in round figures) from the Commission report in 1918 reveals game no longer hunted, or maybe in some instances, game which no longer exists in the Adirondacks. There was an aside to the report which said that 8,293 deer were killed in 1918 but when doe permits were issued in 1919 there were "in excess of 20,000 deer killed."
Here are some other statewide game figures: fishers, 396; martin, 823; gallinules, 216; bobcats, 159; otters, 591; bears, 189; black squirrels, 11,000; fox squirrels, 8,000; red foxes, 15,000; grey squirrels, 115,000; muskrats, 400,000; skunks, 187,000; snowshoe rabbits, 36,000 (as opposed to 465,000 cottontails); coots, 1,900; mink, 8,000; quail, 9,000; grouse, 41,000; pheasants, 35,000 and brant, 241.
The crow column
I mentioned in a recent column that the state used to poison crows because they caused so much damage to farmer's crops - well the state does not do that anymore, and neither can you.
But I did hear from others who claim that crows cause untold thousands of dollars in damage, not only to farm crops every year, but also to golf courses in the Adirondacks. Apparently the damage is caused when they go after beetles, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets and worms. The crow is a clever bird who is always on patrol for his pals who are feasting on carrion, more commonly known to the motorists as "road kill". They also feast on small birds & bird eggs and household garbage.
While the state was attempting to get rid of the crow they were hard at work trying to save other species according to the Commission's report of 1920:
"Last winter was an exceptionally hard one on the birds that inhabit the state year round, and particularly the pheasants. The continued cold weather, which was accompanied by heavy snows, placed the natural food beyond reach.
"Immediately an order was issued directing the protectors to purchase corn and place it in the localities where the pheasants were wintering. Much of the corn was obtained from farmers, who, upon learning of the purposes for which it was to be used, in many instances, not only refused to accept compensation, but placed their time, and equipment at the disposal of the protectors for carrying on their work. This is indicative of the general attitude of the farmers toward these birds and is evidence that they are becoming more appreciative of their economic value to agriculture."