- ty (noun) a reward paid by the government to encourage the killing
of … animals ….
1925 1950 Philip Coolidge in his History of the Maine Woods tells us that the first Maine bounty law was enacted in 1832. This provided that the towns should pay bounties of $3.00 on bear, $8.00 on wolf, and $1.00 on bobcat and lynx. During the first year the state reimbursed towns bounties on 726 bears, 138 cats, and 2 wolves.
Porcupines were eventually added to the bounty list and were worth 25 cents. In the l950's, the bounty was raised to 50 cents.
Bounty hunting was not sustenance hunting. Likely every settler in the area killed wild animals in order to feed the family. This was legal until the turn of the century. Bounty hunting was not commercial hunting. Commercial hunters were farmers who found that they could earn cash by killing wild animals and selling the meat (and hides). Typically the animals killed were deer, occasionally moose, and the market was in Calais, Eastport, or Machias. Again this was legal until the turn of the century.
George Maroon and the Downeast Game War: History, Folklore, and the Law was written by member Edward D. ''Sandy'' Ives. It gives a history of sustenance and commercial hunting, and lets us view the conflict that came when it became illegal to kill wild animals for other than ''sport''. For our newer members, George Magoon (1851 - 1929) was a life long resident of Crawford.
A-CHS acquired the written record of bounties paid on porcupines killed in Alexander between 1927 and 1939 excepting 1934, 35, and 36. Study of this record reveals several items of interest. First, it is a record of those who hunted. Were they taking advantage of a government program? Or were they trying to help with wildlife control? Or was this just a chance to earn a quarter?
Secondly, it tells that during the ten years, 2376 porcupines were killed, and local people earned $594.00. This was at a time when a man would earn between 50 cents and a dollar a day for woods work.
Clerk during many of these years was Bertha McArthur, wife of Fay.
She was the daughter of Sidney and Flora (Harriman) Cheney. The
selectmen who signed off on the reports to the state were Roy
Seamans, Norland Perkins, Vernon Perkins, Ellery Frost, Lewis Frost,
Lyman Strout, Clinton Flood, Lester Craft, Almond Frost, and King
WERE THE BOUNTY HUNTERS?
This list contains the name of each person on the original list. Note that some were not Alexander residents. Likely some of the porcupines weren't Alexander residents either.
Victor Archer, Lynn Averill
Glenwood, Max, and Marshall Berry, Chancy Brown, Asher and Ray Bohanon
Clarence, Harold, Horace, Orris and Ronald Cousins,
Albert, Lewis and Otis Carlow
Gerald and Lester Craft
Everett, Fannie, Frank, Harold, Harvard, Hubert, Paul. Stephen and Wayne Dwelley
Arthur, Bernard, Bert, George, Lawrence, Lincoln, Nelson, Raymond, Russell and Sherman Flood
Carl, Cecil, Curtis, Darrell, Donald, Evans, Lawrence, Lewis, Pliney and Richard Frost
Edward and Millard Harriman, Genevieve Hogan, Arthur Holmes, William Holst
Elden, Ella, Floyd, Milton, Morey, Orrin, Robert and Stephen Hunnewell
Horace Keen, Forrest Kinney, Irving Kneeland, Earl and Merle Knowles
Louis Larrabee, Joe Leighton, Herbert Lowe
Ben, Dan, Elbridge, Fay, , Lawrence, Neal, Nettie, Ralph and Robert McArthur
Kathlene Miner, Cecil and Gates Mitchell
Arnold, Donald, Elwood, Harold, Herbert, Ira, Leonard, Merle, Morris, Norman, Roland, Ronald and Walter Perkins
Ross Sadler, Guy Scribner
Allan, Hazen, Lyman, Percy and Russell Strout
AND WHO WERE THE CHAMPIOM BOUNTY HUNTERS? Fay McArthur turned in 198 sets of porcupine feet. Orris cousins was second with 181 kills. Orris' brother Harold killed 143, and their neighbor Otis Carlow was paid for 114 porcupines.