The Way Things Were - 03/06/2013

ABOUT FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 1964, At HAMILTON COUNTY, the annual Red Cross Campaign was in progress. These local chairmen were carrying on the campaign in their respective communities: Arietta - Mrs. Wilson McGee; Benson - Mrs. Norman Storer; Hope - Mrs. Woodrow Call; Indian Lake - Miss Lenore Turner; Blue Mt. Lake - Mrs. Harvey Carr; Inlet - Mrs. Norton Bird; Lake Pleasant - Mrs. Ashley Perkins; Long Lake - Mrs. Arthur Parker; Raquette Lake - Mrs. Dennis Dillon Jr.; Morehouse - Walter Smith; and Wells - Mrs. Frank Parker. Executive Secretary Mrs. Stella King urged everyone to respond generously.

All members were present for the March meeting of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors held in the county courthouse in Lake Pleasant Monday.

Representatives of four printing firms discussed their bids for printing “The History of Hamilton County.” The board planned to award a contract during its April meeting.

The transfer of 2.41 miles in the Town of Hope from the state to the county was approved. The board appointed William Aird, Wells, as county fire coordinator.

At MOOSE RIVER PLAINS, antagonism had been mounting steadily this week among residents of the Central Adirondacks over the state Conservation Department’s alleged slaying of about 50 deer, most of them does carrying fawns.

The slaughter occurred in the Moose River Plains near Inlet the previous weekend. A state study on deer reproduction led to the killings, which had sportsmen up in arms and the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors protesting and demanding the resignation of those who did the shooting.

Local groups had been going into the area to investigate the “mess” and numerous pictures and other evidence had been gathered by interested officials and residents of Central Adirondack communities.

Harold Luther, chairman of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board of Region 4, said March 2 that game protectors shot the deer from the previous Monday through Friday in the Limekiln Lake area.

Luther, of Dolgeville, said he had received 12 telephone calls Sunday from irate residents of northern Herkimer and Hamilton counties. They complained they had found 30 deer killed in one area.

Otto Koenig, a Forestport sportsman, said 53 deer were killed. “Some deer have been found running through the woods wounded,” he said. “The deer were in beautiful shape, and this thing should be stopped.”

Luther said officials of the Conservation Dept. in Albany told him the deer were slaughtered as part of state research into changes in deer reproduction. The state was also conducting a survey on the results of timber cutting by the Gould Paper Company and how it was affecting the deer population, Luther said.

State officials told Luther, he said, that timber cutting gives deer a better chance to feed. “This is one thing they are trying to prove,” Luther said, “but sportsmen I talked to are up in arms over the mass killing.”

Koenig wanted to know, “Who gave the state permission to go in there and kill the deer?” The paper company owned the tract of land involved.

“It doesn’t seem that they have to kill more than 50,” Koenig said. “We have more bobcats and coyote now than deer.”

The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Monday opposing the slaughter. John Burgess, supervisor of the Town of Indian Lake, went into the remote Moose River Plains with the state team Saturday night. He came out Tuesday afternoon.

Burgess said he didn’t know they were going to kill that many deer, and it was by chance that he was on the trip. The biologists stopped at his place of business to obtain snow machines he said, and he asked to join the team. “I didn’t know what they were doing until I went in with them,” Burgess said.

“It is a good thing a lot of people didn’t know about it or someone would have been shot,” Burgess said. “We’re going to see a shakeup around here.

“We can’t understand why they needed this many deer. It was terrible. They just kill them and leave them lay. Some of the does were carrying twin fawns. This means when they killed an adult doe they were really killing three deer.”

Burgess said he saw at least 20 does with twin fawns.

Stuart Free, senior wildlife biologist for the Conservation Department, headed the team. He said they collected deer in the towns of Inlet, Arietta and Morehouse, all in Hamilton County.

Free said the group collected 41 deer, 28 females, four adult males and nine fawn males. However, residents of the area claimed they counted 53. Free said the biologists had obtained permission from the state to obtain 35 adult deer.

Free said the program started in the 1930s. A second collection was taken from the same area in the late 1940s.

The reproduction rate in the 1930s was determined to average about one fawn per doe, Free said. This, he added, is a very poor rate compared to better deer ranges.

Free said the state was using the area for study because the herd was quite large in the winter. Few hunters were able to get into the remote area, he claimed.

The biologists removed a hind leg from each deer and sent the specimens to Syracuse University to determine the mineral content of each body. This was done, Free said, to compare mineral content of leg bones of deer from other parts of the state. The reproduction organs also were removed from each of the females, he said.

Free said the program was explained to the Hamilton County Sportsmen’s Federation prior to the collection.

Free said the deer had returned to The Plains since extensive logging was completed several years prior. “We wanted to go in and complete the study to determine the changes in weights and reproduction rates that may have occurred because of the additional food in the area,” Free said.