|~ Newark Valley Historical
~ Nature Stories: 1940-1949 ~
|Local Historic Sites||
"Wild Deer Remain to Be Attraction"
"Hundreds of motorists have had for several days opportunities of watching the wild deer as they browse on the hillsides between Endicott and Waverly on the north side of the Susquehanna river. The deep snow on the ground has driven these animals to the hillsides, which have a southern exposure in order to obtain food. The snow is melted quickly by the sun's rays on these hillsides. The feed is nothing more than dead grass, but the deer also feed on shrub loads as well.
"No one knows just how many deer are grazing these hillsides, but they number a few hundred.
"Naturalist J. Alden Loring made a count one day last week and his number was 178 deer. Rollie C. Kolb, of Waverly, made a count one day later and he saw 181"
Owego Gazette, March 28, 1940
"Deer Destroy $1,000 Worth of Rare Shrubs"
"Marion Kelsey, who lives about one and one-half miles southwest of the village of Candor on the Kelsey road, and who specializes in the raising of rare plants and shrubs, suffered damage of approximately $1,000 last week when deer destroyed a large portion of his nursery stock.
"Mr. Kelsey said that the herd of deer consisted of nine animals. They had foraged in the vicinity during the entire winter, but this is the first time they have caused him any damage. These deer forage on an elevation several hundred feet from the house and can be plainly seen in the daytime. During the night they work their way down the hill and sleep under a large clump of pines at the rear of the Kelsey farmhouse.
"Game Warden Delos A. Baker visited the farm on Saturday in response to a call from Mr. Kelsey and said the damage caused by the deer was the worst he had ever seen done in such a case. Mr. Baker made an application at once to the conservation department for a permit allowing Mr. Kelsey to shoot the deer."
Owego Gazette, April 4, 1940
"Owego Angler Lands a Shad, Which Is the First Caught Here in 100 Years"
"Are shad coming back to the Susquehanna river after an absence of nearly a century? The answer is in the affirmative, according to Charles L. Decker, of West Main Street, one of Owego's most ardent fishermen. Mr. Decker recently made it known that while fishing in the river south of Hiawatha Island about two months ago he caught a shad weighing about four pounds.
"When Mr. Decker landed his catch he was unaware what species it was until identified by State Game Protector Delos Baker.
"In pioneer days shad abounded in the Susquehanna river in this vicinity. Every spring great numbers of these fish ran up the river from the ocean to spawn. They were caught by thousands in seines.
"About a century ago the construction of dams in the lower regions of the river stopped the shad from coming up the river from the ocean. Thus shad fishing abruptly ceased."
[This article also has an account of how shad were captured in the early 1800's by building a brush dam and forcing the shad through a narrow opening. The account was taken from a pamphlet entitled "Stories of Early Settlement" published in Albany in 1837 by Mrs. Abigail Beach Priest.]
Owego Gazette, August 8, 1940
"Deer Season Opens on Sunday, Nov. 24"
"The season of shooting cows for deer has already started. At milking time Monday, Leon Reynolds, of the town of Nichols, missed a valuable cow. A search was instituted and the animal was found dead in the rear of the barn. She had been shot through the head with a small calibre rifle bullet.
"Thousands of acres of land are now being posted throughout Tioga county against hunters. The owners of farms are sensing the trouble that might arise should the hordes of hunters be allowed to roam the fields when the deer hunting season shall be opened the last week in November. Never in the history of the county have so many farmers posted their lands than this year. Lands must be posted this month.
The hunters who seek pheasants, will find many farms posted, which heretofore have not been closed to them. The opening of a season for the taking of deer can be blamed for this situation.
"Some of the state officials appear to believe that because the state assists in stocking the fields that the hunters should have a right to invade other people's property and slaughter everything in sight. What if the farmers should enter the homes of the hunters and appropriate their silverware? They would be thrown in jail. If the deer are so numerous that they are destroying crops, the reasonable way, it would seem is that the animals should be killed in a humane manner by game protectors or other officers. Those farmers, who do not want the deer, could have them killed, and the others would allow the deer to remain unmolested."
Owego Gazette, September 26, 1940
"Evidence that Chestnut Trees Are Returning"
"The Towanda Review says that after a lapse of 25 years, chestnuts, probably the best known nuts of the northern hemisphere, are being gathered again in Pennsylvania this fall.
"Since the chestnut blight bark disease killed the native chestnut stand, comparatively few native chestnuts of nut-bearing size are now alive. Those that are found occasionally by foresters and rangers are trees that have grown from spouts and have resisted the blight, according to Chas. E. Baer, deputy secretary of the department of forests and waters."
"It is interesting to note that trees of seedling origin appear to offer the greatest resistance to the blight. Chestnuts mature in September but are not usually ripe until the first frost arrives as those that fall early from the tree are apt to be underdeveloped. The early part of November is the time they are at their best."
Owego Gazette, November 4, 1940
"Town of Tioga Woman Condemns Deer Killing Season
and Scathingly Writes of Lawlessness"
Editor of the Owego Gazette
"You put up a valiant fight for our wild life when you opposed the open season on deer and exposed its concurrent abuses. But, as you say, the 'sportsmen' and the State conservation commission had their way, and upon them and all who abetted them must rest the blame for the outrages that have been perpetrated.
"Well, it is over. The guns are stilled. There is a solemn hush over the valley now. The deer are dead. It is as though one had just returned from the mass funeral of one's neighbors.
"It had always been our dream to preserve our farm as a wild life sanctuary. We have faithfully tried to protect it and to encourage our hard-pressed and vanishing friends of the field and forest to come and find sanctuary here. But now, during this unholy week, we have been forced to see them come, and to feel that we have betrayed them. There have been trails of blood across their sanctuary. Wild eyed, they have been driven and cornered in agony, in a desperate attempt to save their lives, which they never had a chance of saving. And, we were helpless to save them from the unbridled greed, and lust for killing of our own kind.
"Hunters banded together and pitilessly hounded the deer for miles through the heavy snow until the poor, weary creatures nearly dropped from exhaustion. The snow! When greedy eyes looked out upon a white world Wednesday morning a fresh impulse was given to the murderous onslaught. The deer's last chance was gone. There were seemingly a dozen hunters for every track. A constant stream of cars choked the highway. Hunters from as far away as Binghamton, Albany, New York city and Buffalo found our obscure valley, and took away the creatures we have raised. Justice has never made it clear why we should be expected to furnish free meat for this grasping element of far away cities--people we never knew and to whom we own no favors. Nor has it made clear why we should furnish grounds for the filthy sport of those who enjoy the death throes of these graceful denizens of our woods. Had the snow been just a bit deeper the deer could have been mowed down in their tracks, unable even to run for their lives.
"It is time for the scattered individuals all over the county, who would put a stop to this evil traffic to get together, organize, and fight it. We must not be deterred by the odds against us, but, thankful for any friends who will join us, push forward until we win back our self respect. We must let our representatives know that they must stand by us, or risk being replaced at the next election. We must free our conservation department from the yoke of the gun clubs. We must learn to separate propaganda of gun clubs and ammunition companies from facts. A strong sentiment in favor of such action exists, we believe, and only awaits crystallization by a capable leader."
Edith A. Coleman
Owego Gazette, December 5, 1940
"P. S. Farnham, of Owego, Writes That Gun Clubs Are Not to Blame for Open Deer Season"
"Miss Edith A. Coleman's letter appearing in the Owego Gazette of December 5th, relating the unpleasant experiences with hunters on her posted lands during the first open season for the taking of deer in Tioga county, must be of great concern to many men, and I am asking your permission to make reply to the frank statements she makes. While I can in a measure appreciate her attitude, still I cannot agree with her in the placing of the blame as she does; and I feel sure all true sportsmen will agree with me. It is in their behalf, as well as my own, that I am writing this.
"It is noted that Miss Coleman places the blame for an open season on deer in Tioga County on the 'gun clubs' and our legislators. I know of no gun club in this county favoring such legislation. At the first agitation for an open season, a conference of the officers of the Tioga County Sportsmen's association was held and I was present. At this time the question was fully discussed. It was brought out that none of these men or any sportsmen of their acquaintance was in favor of an open season for the taking of deer in Tioga county.
It was realized, however, that these animals were rapidly increasing and would, without doubt, soon be doing serious damage to farm crops, and also, be a menace upon the highways. Equally as important a factor would be a rush of hunters over farms, offending the owners and resulting in further posting of lands against all hunting.
The recommended policy was for the association not to ask for an open season, but, if the farmers demanded one, in order to be relieved from damage to crops, then the association would not oppose.
"It is reported that over 1,500 deer hunting licenses were issued in Tioga county this year, and that the legal kill in the Southern Tier was over 4,000. That is about the equal of the take in the Adirondack region. A count of the kill made by members of the Tioga county sportsmen's association would be of interest.
"Probably all of the 1,500 licenses, issued in Tioga county were used, and at least half as many more hunters came in from outside. This is quite a fair sized army to be let loose on farms and posted property. It is not difficult to understand the resentment of the farm folks.
"I can truthfully say, I have found the sportsmen's organizations are made up of men, and some women, who are ardent conservationists vitally interested in the preservation of streams and forests and all wildlife, but feeling it is their heritage to enjoy the oldest of all sports, namely, fishing and hunting, under reasonable laws and regulations."
Very truly yours,
PHILIP S. FARNHAM
Owego Gazette, December 12, 1940
"John Hyatt, of Owego, Wins Wood Chopping Contest at Raish Farm"
"About 20 farmers and several students in agriculture at the Candor central school attended the woodlot management meeting held on Monday afternoon at the farm of Edgar Raish in the town of Candor. The meeting was sponsored by the Tioga woodlot owners' co-operative association, of which Lewis A. Fisher, of Spencer, is president.
"A wood chopping contest was held in connection with the gathering. It was won by John Hyatt, of Owego, star route, who will represent Tioga county at the state-wide contest to be conducted at Ithaca during Farm and Home week in February. Mr. Hyatt cut through a beech log eight inches in diameter in 68 seconds.
Owego Gazette, December 19, 1940
"Submits a Stretch of the Imagination Story of a Meeting of a Deer and a Human"
"The following letter, the name of the author of which is not disclosed, will not only prove to be interesting reading, but will draw forth chuckles by its humor:
Editor Owego Gazette
"After carefully reading the several letters you have published in regard to the recent invasion against the common herds of deer that naturally roam rather promiscuous, I have to submit the following stretch of imagination, perhaps rather fantastic, but after all it is intended to suggest that in all controversial matters something or somebody is likely to be left out of the discussion.
"Well--one day once upon a time, the writer stood beside the road. From head to foot there was an overwhelming feeling that something thrilling was about to occur. All nature was out in her best bib and tucker; from every direction came sweet bird music, and the smell of posies was all over the place. Truly there was something magnetic coming straight at me, so I gave up and let 'er come.
"For several split seconds I stood entranced. Then I heard very familiar sounds. Yes, there they were scattered over the landscape--cows, sheep, pigs and chickens--domestic animals who pay their board regular and grow up to be beef, mutton, pork and fowl. Probably, I was foolish but it suddenly occurred to me that those dumb happy creatures must be equipped with more intelligence than whopping big appetites, and the thought proved too big to suppress, so out it came plain as day--'Maybe they have a language.' I said it, loud and clear.
"Gracious goodness! Then there was a snapping and cracking in the bushes, hardly fifty feet away. What did I see coming curiously toward me, until nothing but the fence separated us? Nothing else but a truly muscular chunk of venison! There he stood unafraid, and sure as preaching he greeted me with a musical snort, but according to recollection this big handsome fugitive actually decided to talk.
"'Hi there, Bud!' That was the greeting from Bucky to me, and the dialogue which follows took place without any change of scene or lapse of time--believe it or not.
Bud--a Mendacious Man who quizzes a Deer
Bucky--A Brawny Buck who has the answers
Bucky--(sternly) Heard what you said, Mister Wise Guy, about the possible existence of an idiom exclusively confined to the animal kingdom. After listening to the conglomerate gab you humans use every day, we dumb clucks decided unanimously that such indiscriminate talk is what we need none of.
Bud--Say, big fellow, isn't that a rather unkind introduction? Perhaps, you have met a friend, who is sympathetic with creatures, who are dependent on the influence of others.
Bucky--You make me laugh, and when I get my face straight it is my determined intention to give you some advice right direct from the animal kingdom. Right now you are listening to the field representative of the I. O. D. D., which means Independent Order of Dependent Deers--and, as one who came up through the ranks, I'm here to report that it has not been a picnic, even though I did eat mostly in the woods, rain or shine.
Bud--I can believe it and I am curious to hear more.
Bucky--Well, for several seasons I have been going too and fro, hither and yon, successfully dodging bullets. So, here I am visiting this territory, where according to family tradition my race was share-cropping with the Indians when your pioneers settled here and called it 'The Boston Purchase.' The woods were literally alive with untamed creatures--bears, panthers and wolves, and it was not necessary to consult a book of rules and regulations before firing a fatal shot. No buttons, permits or license fees. It was every one for himself--and no fooling.
Bud--Is the name of your birthplace a secret?
Bucky--You see, my parents was boarding around in the Penn State when I became a blessed event, so I'm not sure whether I'm a Quaker or Pennsylvania Dutch; likewise in my gang there are three Finns, two Scandinavians, seven Italians, two Polish and one Greek. Reckon the others were hatched in no-man's land. My wife loves to brag about her girlhood days where big truck gardens were easy to visit. She insists that early vegetable diet is what established her present school girl figure. Pretty swell stock she came from, away up in the reindeer country, not so very far from where Santa Claus lives. Yeah, we got her family genealogy which dates back to the pair that Brother Noah sent out from his Ark; so, you are now privileged to estimate the number of pounds of quality venison this pedigreed family has furnished to succeeding generations."
Owego Gazette, January 23, 1941
"Oscar Settle, Aged 90 Years, Operates East Newark Farm Bought By Grandfather"
"The Town of Newark Valley, locale of many Tioga County's stories of pioneering, has its century farmer in the person of Oscar Settle, of East Newark, who represents the third generation of Settle family to operate a farm in the town. Mr. Settle, who is nearly 90 years of age, is one of the oldest residents of the town and recalls many of the early events in the history of the town.
"First of the Settle family to enter the Town of Newark Valley was David Settle, grandfather of Oscar Settle, who came from Albany in search of good timberland in 1825. ………… Tioga County history states that David Settle erected a tannery in east Newark in 1825 while deed records in the office of the county clerk disclose that first transfer of property to him in 1827.
"Oscar Settle recalls that the bark used for tanning was ground by horse power in the first tannery erected by his grandfather. His father later built another tannery near his home, this tannery being about 40 feet by 60 feet and three stories high. A steam engine was put into the tannery and for several years, the tannery did a big business
"……..Mr. Settle owns about 1,000 acres of land in East Newark. Much of the land is wooded, many of the trees being a part of the virgin forest.
"The old resident is proud of the woods on his farms and tells many tales of the forests in the vicinity. The largest pine tree ever found in this vicinity was located on the old Settle forest and the wood from this tree was used in the erection of the old Washingtonian Hall, near Endicott, by Amos Patterson. Mr. Settle says that he was told once by Mr. Patterson that the second and third logs from the trees were six feet square after they had been run through the sawmill.
Owego Times, August 7, 1941
"'Bucky,' the Educated Deer, Writes What May Prove to Be His Valedictory"
I have been patiently putting off this letter until after the World's series--and just as I expected--the Yanks won! But--there are some 'hot-heads' in my own herd madder'n hornets. They even locked horns when Mickey Owen missed that third strike, and what my brother, 'Scarface,' said about them umpires was rather profane--but true as gospel. Glad the hectic season is over so we can more calmly face the changing situations that confront us after the clocks have returned to normal
"The groundhog will soon hold-up 'til February. The pheasants and partridges are something to look at--handsome, but instinctively aware of approaching danger; squirrels and foxes are also inclined to be suspicious. In other words, it seems like me and my neighbors are about due for the annual 'blitzkrieg.' As usual, our defense is 'all out'-- and gone. We have no barracks--not even a tent; no guns--not even a toy pistol; no jack-knife nor pants--pocket to carry it. I am making this report on behalf of my colleagues who are justly proud of their personal appearance and physical condition. Never have I gazed upon specimens so sleek, plump and meaty. Expert dietitians in our ranks are constantly on the lookout for the best that nature doth provide. Our bill of fare does not call for rich desserts--but lots of hay, spinach and other recognized vitamins--with plenty of salt. The result is truly marvelous.
"Already the posted notices are up, thanks to Jasper, and his 'Wildlife Protective Association,' to which, we, of the 'Amalgamated Deer Corporation of the United States and Canada,' do hereby add the suggestion that cow, chickens, sheep, goats, dogs and cats must keep out of range; and good sports will please bear in mind that this solemn warning also applies to the farmer and his family, regardless of their social, religious or political distinction. You know a stray bullet has no preference!
"Well, my dear co-operative chum, I have purposely refrained from making the following confession, but I feel you should know that my coming election as president of our Amalgamation is practically assured. It will be my fifth term--something to brag about, isn't it?
"Sure, it may be my last. I guess we know that ballots and bullets are both deadly."
Your deer friend,
Owego Gazette, October 16, 1941
"Beavers Reappear In an Old -Time Haunt"
"Beavers have returned to the locality known as Beaver Meadows in the town of Tioga, after an absence of nearly a century. The animals now have two dams in streams in that locality. One dam is in the main course of Pine creek on the Lloyd Stetler farm and the other dam is on a branch of this creek on the Ernest Rider farm, about a mile north of the first dam.
"The fact that beavers had returned to Beaver Meadows was first noted in July, 1941, by Clifford Builes, who owns the farm adjoining the Stetler farm on the south."
Owego Gazette, October 29, 1942
"'Bucky' Writes His Annual Message About the Last Invasion of the Animal Kingdom"
"I promise you an accurate report after the conclusion of this the last invasion of the Animal Kingdom--and here it is.
"Sure enough, Old Timer, once more fate has been kind, and my name will not appear in the casualty lists now coming in from all sections where the 'blitz' was in progress.
"Probably it is unfortunate that my miserable existence was not 'slugged' out in lieu of some becoming stag whose span of life was ruthlessly cut short. Even the thought of several former escapes is not enough to make me hilarious.
"Yeah--I am determined to remain serenely tranquil as I continue to browse around, chew my cud and watch the world go by. What a parade! Some on foot--others in cars, trucks, buses, trains, wagons, bicycles--going places--and home for a snack and forty winks.
"Whew--a deer's life for me with all its hazards! Of course you humans have everything and lots of it, which should make Mr. Methuselah sound like a piker when you reckon length of lie; but taking into consideration the grunts, groans, screams; hells and loose talk that float around promiscuously, I now infer that you are either disorderly or naturally savage. Actually--I'm ashamed of such conduct, knowing what I do about a minority of kind-hearted people like you, Bud, whose mission is to live and let live--see what I mean?
"Sorry to admit it, but several of my teeth are gone; hearing is not so keen, and eyesight blurred--seems like the whole works is out of kilter. Sounds kinda like human symptoms--what say? When you get sick like I am, Bud, don't forget to call Doc! As for me--I'll hunt up some roots and herbs, finish with a few licks of salt--and that's that!
"Yes, dear sympathizer, I actually dreaded the approach of awkward squads generally including Rich men, Poor men--Doctors, Lawyers, Merchants, Republicans, Democrats--and plenty of Young Tarzans. I felt relieved to think that nearly all of the 'good shots' were otherwise engaged--God Help 'em! My entire contingent would gladly 'lay down our lives' to feed the boys who are fighting to preserve our Freedom; but why not give us a ceiling price along with beef, pork, mutton, chicken and fish?
"Your worry over pork chops, bacon and sausage has just begun. My gang never misses coffee, tea, gasoline and fuel oil. If there is not enough of such human necessities to go 'round it might be sensible for some Conservation Commission to recognize a season of extermination. Get rid of the excess population--fat, lean and otherwise. This is just a passing suggestion, Bud, and I sincerely hope you will not recommend it.
"Fact is--We gotta Win This War! Not much my gang can do now, unless we tell you where there are some 'pieces of scrap' in our territory. Yeah--mowers, rakes, plows, drags and cultivators--out in the open. Nuff Sed!"
Yours for Another Year,
Owego Gazette, December 3, 1942
"'Bucky,' the Veteran of the Woods, Is No More-- Except in Spirit, Writes 'Bud'"
Dear Friend Bud:
"I can hardly express in words the sorrow and regret that accompanies this communication, and the same feeling permeates the ranks of your regional deer population.
"First of all, you should know that your old friend, 'Bucky,' is with us no more--except in spirit. The faithful patriarch was game to the last breath--and we are thankful he was not 'slugged to death.'
"According to 'Deer-ology'--his time had come, and ripe old age marked a wise and generous progenitor, whose sons, daughters and grandchildren are there in droves.
"The fatal stroke that hastened his inevitable leave, came almost instantaneous, when the terrible announcement was made that my handsome young sister, Docie Doe--was probably selected for sacrifice.
"When our private listening-post received this feminine insult, old Bucky, crippled and maimed, stumbled to his four feet, stomped vehemently, let out several bellowing snorts--louder far, than any air raid siren yet invented.
"Gracious, Bud, you should have heard the old fellow rave. There are words in our deer vocabulary you would hardly understand--might be called secret code--anyhow what Bucky really uttered would not be fit for print in the Owego Gazette--or any other newspapers whose business is confined to the improvement of wildlife--human and animal.
"Despite all efforts of the family group, we could not quell his display of vehemence. Never have we heard such a vituperous flow of jungle judgement. He actually defied every man with a gun--keep away from our women-folk! He cried. You men with lottery tickets--keep off our premises--we've got farmers all over our county with stop signs and plenty of legal authority. So Keep away From Our Women!
"Then the poor fellow actually wilted and cried tears. For the moment something came over him and sort of calmed that desperate nature. He gazed fondly at the family group nearby, and this is approximately what managed to escape between his two remaining teeth:
"'Folks of mine, a gave crisis is now reached in our family existence; the man-power has been exclusive in our ranks--we's been brave--every Buck-of-us, anxious to protect the honor and safety of mothers and daughters. We've always met our enemies, face to face, plague take'em. Some of the dangerous ones have shot from ambush; they have trailed us for miles and miles--now, in the midst of human conflict, wholesale slaughter of our kith and kin was ordered. The casualties have been reported--and as usual exaggerated--but, this hymn of hate is for the lucky sport who points a gun at the queens of this collection of boasts. Too late, now--they gave us both barrels.'
"Sort of out of breath, Bucky, seemed to buckle at the knees--but a renewed effort gave us what proved to be a final conclusion.
"'Shoot my women! He bellowed, Then looking straight up, he actually prayed: 'Please spare my Dolly Doe--and take me instead.'
"The veteran dropped in his tracks--it was angina pectoris--or something.
Owego Gazette, December 16, 1943
"Only a Few Does Shot in Tioga County"
"State Game Protector Delos A. Baker estimated early this week that not more than 50 does were killed in Tioga county during the open season for taking female deer last Saturday night.
"Two adverse conditions prevailed, so that the take would be small. In the first place many does were taken during the opened buck season. This statement is abundantly proved because of the fact that many does were shot in this county subsequently to being found with the hind quarters of the animals being removed and the rest of the carcass was thrown away.
"Weather conditions were anything but ideal for hunting these animals. Last Saturday morning the thermometers ranged as low as eight degrees below zero with an intensely cold wind blowing a strong gale.
Owego Gazette, December 16, 1943
"Bucky, Jr., of the Fields and Forests, Writes A Letter Anent the Recent Deer Season"
"A year ago that grand patriarch Bucky, passed over the Great Divide through the means of a slug hurled from a shotgun in the hands of a nimrod. His passing caused much anguish among the four-footed denizens of the fields and forests.
"Now the place of good old Bucky, of pleasant memory has been taken by Bucky, Jr., who writes an interesting letter to the Owego Gazette about the tribulations and woes which overtake members of his clan, especially at the season of the year when they are the prey of the huntsmen.
The letter follows:
Editor, Owego Gazette:
"Yes, sir--her it is! The annual 'hot-air blast' that rockets through space from a secret hideout somewhere near a fox-hole, and finally lands slambang in the midst of your news columns! It is submitted without reserve or censure.
"And so it is now my unbiased desire to submit some doughty presumption coming from an influential representative of the cud-chewing clan. I know you have not forgotten last year's tragic report of the demise of venerable 'Bucky'--the idol of his generation in Deer circles. Since that sad day his beloved son, 'Bucky, Jr.,' has faithfully obeyed the obligation to 'carryon,' and the subjoined communiqué comes direct from his secret headquarters. It is my acceptable privilege to pass it along for human consideration.
Your Deer Friend,
"For me this particular season marks a sorrowful anniversary in the annals of my family history, and when you read this communication of private opinion please keep in mind the grand old patriarch 'Bucky,' whose emotional passing requires no further comment.
"Listen, Bud, I may be a back-woods buck with very limited qualifications and resources, but much of the integrity of my worthy progenitor is thankfully inherited, and whoever proposes to 'shove me around' must do the trick with full authority and humane conduct--or else!
"Up to now my organized heirs are 100 per cent, loyal to these principles, and the effort has been entirely voluntary. No fabulous campaign funds are required because each buck and doe works for nothing and board themselves. In fact we strenuously resent any implication that we depend upon public charity--the earth is ours, and the fullness thereof--just a system of family instinct that permits personal responsibility and very little favoritism.
"We furnish our own cuds, and never waste any time shopping for chewing gum. Nature controls the maintenance supply and demand without our expert advice--we never question; and rationed merchandise nor a cigarette shortage does not cause a fit of hysterics.
"Our thirst is methodically quenched by crystal pure water--never bottled, labeled and mixed with 'tanglefoot.'
"Vegetarian diet is a matter of individual concern--and no grumbling. Nocturnal visits to Victory gardens and farmers' fields have enabled us to select a balanced ration that sticks to our ribs and produces quality venison. It is no secret, and our ability to search and seize the choicest yield has been definitely established--nice going, isn't it.
"Now that our final casualty list has been checked no elusive buck or doe has returned with an arrow sticking out of their anatomy, but many are the limps, wounds and abrasions caused by reckless pot-shots. The loss of our rugged male population is regrettable, and many clever dames and foxy damsels will surely be missed.
"And once more our everlasting gratitude is extended to loyal farmers in Nichols and Tioga Centre. We hereby promise to make their premises our future zones of safety whenever want and privilege prevails, and it is worth mentioning too that the our Doe Continent No. 13, has great respect for miss Edith Coleman, of the Tioga Centre Wildlife Club, and that goes for the entire membership.
"After all, Bud, I'm glad this annual excitement is over, and now that danger is not so imminent, I feel inclined to appropriate a few lines from a wiseacre, that seem to make life worth living:
'Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep blue sky, and the clustering stars above, seems to impart a quiet to the mind.'
Yours once more,
(B. C. R.)
Owego Gazette, December 14, 1944
"'Wildlife Bucky, Jr.,' Comes Across With a Letter to 'Bud' His Protector"
Since the establishing of an open season for killing deer in Tioga county, the Owego Gazette has been favored by being permitted to publish the letters, which have passed annually and at this season of the year between 'Bucky, Jr.,' and his friend, 'Bud'.
This year's communication from 'Bucky, Jr.,' has just arrived, which greatly relieved 'Bud,' who had been apprehensive that his pal had gone to the happy Deer Land to remain forever more. The delay evidently was occasioned by 'Bucky, Jr.,' not having in his pants pocket three Abram Lincoln of the white metal variety, because the letter carried a stamped notice, 'postage three cents due'.
Editor Owego Gazette:
D'ye know--I was about ready to give up in despair when the anticipated communiqué from General Bucky, Jr., finally arrived by mail--with three cents postage due.
Just the same there is so much human nature under the hide of this pretentious animal, it naturally oozes out at stated intervals until nobody knows hardly which from t'other, unless they are able to qualify as a 'straight-shooter!'
"Oh, yes--this correspondent has always been prejudiced in favor of living peaceably with beings whose reason or intelligence is morally and physically civilized, but there is a miscellaneous assortment of curious creatures with priority rights that should be consigned to the category of public nuisance--but, what does it mean when somebody says: 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard?'
"I am sure your readers will be interested to learn what a typical backwoods delegate of the animal kingdom has to offer in self defense. Here it is--verbatim.
Your Deer Friend,
"The Venison Den"
North of Nichols, NY
I hope you forgive me for calling you 'old sport'--even though you never did shoot a gun. I may be 'tough as tripe' when the occasion permits, but coming in contact with genial guys of your rank and station always softens me up like a flat tire.
"You have certainly been a worthy pal of mine, and I am taking this opportunity to tell the world you are at least one man who does not fairly itch to shoot somebody--or something.
"Yes, brother, I am always in close communion with the chosen leaders of this widespread outdoor fraternity, and their united strategy is always gratifying because no matter what happens we are mutually bound to inhabit the earth and make life more or less miserable for mankind--according to his own time table.
"One solid week of such perpetrated recklessness aimed at the solid-horned buckskin species in particular is now another page in the annals of Deerology--and, no kidding, this nine-point buck was awarded a citation medal as the most daredevilist daredevil--forgive me, Bud, for making this personal allusion--but, Am I Proud?
"Probably there is only one other acknowledged leader whose personal responsibility is about equal to my own native popularity right now--but, neither of us know what to do with the atomic bomb. And this is actual proof that there always comes a time when man and beast are just about--and that's all.
"And listen, Bud, don't overlook the stubborn fact that I am a free-born American--dumb, but docile unless the world's 'big shots' start a war. After that my dander goes up--sometimes sky-high, but never yet went high falutin out here in the open spaces--actually we have been too busy hunting fodder to stand on ceremony. Rationing, shortages, inflation and post-war difficulties have not disturbed our daily routine. We are each for us with no dispute over wages, because we love our country and your boys who have sacrificed so much to keep freedom worthy of respect.
"Gee whiz, man, I nearly missed something important. The female contingent of my domain wishes to thank the 'powers that be' for the stay of execution granted, and regardless of the fact that some of them are now widowed, they will act human and suffer the consequences, hoping for a new romance.
"You know very little about our plans for the coming year--and how about your own? Our area of activity has not been disturbed by devastation, and nothing we do year after year has been strictly forbidden. Nature has backed us to the limit, and in the meantime people with brains require rational guidance to keep them law-abiding.
"Well, Bud, forgive me for this plain speaking-but, ain't it the truth? If you think so, please accept in conclusion the wish of my family group for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year--with turkey.
Your Wildlife Reporter,
Owego Gazette, December 13, 1945
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