Lots of fascinating news in 1956 Maine Outdoorsman and Conservationist

DSCN9552I have a copy of Dr. Alonzo Garcelon’s September 1956 issue of the Maine Outdoorsman and Conservationist magazine, published by The Waldoboro Press. Doc Garcelon was a Maine dentist who served as President of the National Rifle Association and who was a founder of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Doc gave me the newspaper when I served with him on SAM’s Board of Directors in the early 1980s.

In a letter to the editor of the magazine, Alfred Rosenberg of Lisbon Falls wrote, “After reading about the proposal of stocking togue in Sebago I just couldn’t sleep without writing to you about it… To put togue in Sebago would be like putting arsenic in my food, and that I wouldn’t want; so, as one salmon fisherman to another, and I think there are many others like myself, please don’t spoil such a lake as good old Sebago with so called ‘mud hens.”

Alas, the Fish and Wildlife Department didn’t listen to Mr. Rosenberg, and the togue they stocked in Sebago turned out to be a very big mistake.

One article was headlined, “Warden Force Seeking Young Men Interested in Outdoor Careers.” Women need not apply! Another headlined story reported that, “Frank Gleason of Anson was visited by Somerset County game wardens when the enforcement officers were seeking the poacher or poachers who shot three deer in Anson Park about mid-June and cut off only the hind quarters. Entering the Gleason house to question him concerning the incident, the wardens found Gleason with both hands in casts from a May 14 accident. The officers apologized and left.”

Another story touted the use of an outboard motor, reporting that “Finding the fish is the first chore on any fishing expedition, and in this connection an outboard motor has a pair of oars beat all hollow. When asked his favorite lure, a famed northwoods guide replied, ‘that light Johnson 5 ½ on the back of my boat!”

A 150 pound Mako Shark caught of the Maine coast was predicted to be a new record, and another article reported that “Blaine Gove is credited with bagging the largest Tautog of the year thus far with an 11 pounder taken off Nubble Light in about 10 feet of water.” Anyone know what a Tautog is?

The “Out on a Limb” column by Stumpy McDulloch included this: “Remember when the only difficult thing about parking a car was getting the girl to agree to it?”

Stumpy also reported, “Nowadays parking is everybody’s problem. Women, however, seem to find it the most difficult. Lucky Shields, down Oregon way, who sells those chain saws named after me, thinks that women drivers wouldn’t have so much trouble squeezing into a parkin place if they’d imagine it was a pair of shoes.”

I don’t think my friends in the Becoming and Outdoor Woman program would like Stumpy’s column! And they might not like this story either, about a spearfishing contest: “An interesting comment was heard by one of our divers – a man was watching his wife watching the proceedings. The wife remarked to her husband, “Why are those divers all going back into the water; isn’t the spearfishing contest over?’ Whereupon her husband replied, ‘They’ve got the fish dear, now they’re going back for the chips. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of fish and chips.”

There’s a delightful story about someone who saw a fish eat a seagull. The seagull wasn’t able to get off the water’s surface, so the guy grabbed and cut open the fish, and released the seagull that flew off.

There was also a list of legislative candidates endorsed by the Maine Fish and Game Association. Good to know sportsmen were actively involved in our political and governing system back then. On the list was J. Hollis Wyman of Milbridge, who was still in the Senate when I started hanging out there in the mid-1970s.

Perhaps the most interesting story was on the front page, titled, “Second Maine Bear Will Go To Red Sox.”

“For the second consecutive year, a live bear will be awarded the first Boston Red Sox player who hits a home run during State of Maine Day, August 26, at Fenway Park. Officials of the Maine Department of Development of Industry and Commerce, sponsors of the gift, say that the bear, Homer the Second, is housed at the Maine State Game Farm in Gray. He is three months old, one of quadruplets rescued by wardens after his mother died. Homer the First was won last year by Norm Zauchin, who hit two home runs. Zauchin donated his prize to the Birmingham, Alabama zoo.”

The U.S. Humane Society would not approve! But this sounds better than the dead Atlantic salmon Maine used to donate to the President of the United States on an annual basis!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.