Another big game hunting season has come to an end and the "huntin' camps" have been closed up and left to the solitary wilderness and an occasional marauding bear. The hunting tradition runs deep in the Adirondacks, and in its longtime families, going back to those first Native Americans who traversed the Adirondack hunting grounds. They were in search of meat and hides to get them through the year. Hunters and trappers followed, learning to tan the hides from the Indians. The settlers came and soon found they could make it through the year if the hunting was good.
When the hunting season rolls around again, generations of families, lifelong friends, hunting buddies, and loyal guides will find their way back to the remote Adirondack hunting camps, some rustic tar-paper shacks and some elaborate log cabins. The "Art of Hunting" has become an annual tradition in the Adirondacks and has found its way into modern times.
Some with long experience have found that the act of hunting can supersede the actual taking of the game. Much like the angler who enjoys the peace and solitude of fishing on a calm Adirondack lake and does not wish to be interrupted by the taking of fish, hunters have found the woodland experience to be satisfying. In their minds, the success of the hunt is incidental, somewhat like an afterthought, and not always a necessary ingredient to the Art of Hunting. The combined activities included in a hunting trip add to the enjoyment of the time in the Adirondack woods.
Taking game, especially by the sports who are seeking a trophy, often can justify all the rest. Hunting clothes, firearms, food, drink, transportation, and time off from work, when added together, provides what that venison cost per pound. And taxes on an Adirondack camp adds to that cost of the hunt.
Stories of hunting trips to the Adirondacks filled the newspapers of days-gone-by. One such story, on October 30, 1906, reported that "The afternoon southbound F.J.&G. train brought fourteen deer to Gloversville yesterday, which are being shipped to New York city." That was a common practice and the Conservation Department often kept track of the number of deer taken during the season my recording the numbers that went out on the trains.
The deer in the newspaper article were shot by the Jessup's River Gun Club and represented an 11 days' hunt near Camp Perkins in Hamilton County. America's rich and famous as well as others were among those who made the annual trek to the huntin' camps. The members of the Jessups club were composed mostly of New York City business and professional men. Henry Gerding, general baggage master of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company of Hoboken was president. Mayor Clute of Schenectady took a 170 pound doe on the hunt. W. R. Connors of the General Electric company felled a 250 pound buck.
Leon R. Anibal of Northville also was a member of the club and the members stayed at his Northville House when coming and going from the annual hunt. The club was interested in more than the hunt; during their stay, four dances were held at the camp along with a masquerade. An amateur show was another event but the best was "a fake Dutch wedding." As many as 80 people attended the events. They also reported it took five teams of horses to haul their baggage and they had enough "provender" to stock a city hotel. It appears an Adirondack "huntin' camp" is what you make it!