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Maine History Online

Maine History Online

A Maine Historical Society Website

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Hunting Season

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society, Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum, Fryeburg Historical Society, Nylander Museum, Phillips Historical Society, Sanford Historical Committee and Stockholm Historical Society.

"The state of Maine has long enjoyed an unchallenged reputation as pre-eminently a land for sportsmen," L.T. Carleton, chairman of the Fish and Game Commission, wrote in 1899.

"There is more big game and good fishing to the square mile than in any other available state or country, for the huntsman and angler," he continued.

"That the forests of Maine are filled with moose, deer, birds, ruffed grouse, and other game; and the lakes, ponds and streams teem with land-locked salmon, trout, togue, black bass and white perch, is a matter of common knowledge."

Carleton wrote in his Pathfinder and Gazetteer of the Hunting and Fishing Resorts of the State of Maine that the state "cordially invites true sportsmen" to come take advantage of Maine's riches. However, he warned, "poachers we don't want and have no room for."

Public and private entities had promoted both Maine's attractiveness to out-of-state hunters and the idea of the gentleman hunter for several decades. That effort and those ideas sometimes were at odds with more local interpretations of the state's wealth of game resources and the traditional uses of hunting game for food and profit.