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Easy Game

July 2024
1min read

Hunting in the Adirondacks was easy sport in the early days. There were lots of moose and many thousands of deer; there were also wolves, bears, beavers, raccoons, porcupines, minks, squirrels, rabbits, and many game birds. By the 1840's the moose were already scarce, the beavers nearly gone. But the deer were still plentiful when Murray’s Adventures in the Wilderness catalyzed the first large-scale trek to the big woods in 1869. Game laws existed but were generally ignored, and the slaughter that ensued to satisfy the urge of the hunters and the appetite of the campers and hotel guests was tremendous. Murray himself, although he rather smugly piqued himself on “always observing the rule, not to kill more than the camp can eat,” had no qualms about shooting deer in the summertime, a practice nowadays disreputable. The doe was thought a good prize, since it was well known that her meat was more tender and less gamy than her mate’s: in the painting at left it appears to be a female that has just been shot. The painter was Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, an Englishman who came to America in 1850 and found in the Adirondacks the kind of rugged wildlife scenes he was looking for. His realistic style had wide appeal, and many of his pictures were transformed into popular lithographs by Currier & Ives.

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