A friend recently loaned me a book of amazing stories from the Rangeley region, focused on the Megantic Fish and Game Club. Most of the stories are from the 1800s.
One that shocked me was this:
As an illustration of the wanton and wholesale slaughter indulged in heretofore, – also showing, incidentally, the abundance of game, – In this region, in the winter of 1869-70, two hunters killed 265 moose between January 15 and April 15, taking only their skins. An old hunter told me last summer, with an air of pride, that 15 years ago last June he killed in one night, at Rush Lake, five moose, three of which were cows.
And consider this story.
Probably the most atrocious recent violation of the game laws was a slaughter, by still- hunting and hounds, of hundreds of deer, of which 2700 pounds of hind quarters only were shipped to the Boston market.
The fishing stories are pretty amazing. One fellow during a few days of fishing in June got 581 brook trout, many of them very big. He killed 98 and returned the rest to the water. 8 and 10 pound trout were not unusual.
In 1867 two guys from New Hampshire caught 59 trout weighing a total of 293 pounds, including 7 trout between eight and 10 pounds. Their smallest trout were 2 pounds.
Yup, this was the good old days!