Friday, September 11, 2015

1913: When Utah deer hunting was almost always open season

THE general (rifle) deer hunting season Utah is almost always mid-October. However, hunting deer wasn’t always as structured as it is today. Back in 1913, hunting deer was more a matter of opportunity than a set season.
The Standard-Examiner of Dec. 13 that year reported “Deer to the west of Ogden.”  George Folkman was with a group of four other hunters near the Great Salt Lake, searching for geese and ducks when they came across a deer, west of Plain City.
“The party made a desperate effort to get close enough to the deer to shoot him with their shotguns, but they failed in their attempts,” the Standard story stated. They gave up after a four-hour chase and ended their hunt with five geese and some ducks, but no venison.
More historical tidbits:
-The Mount Ogden Game Sanctuary was established in 1920 to protect wildlife. From Weber Canyon on the south to the North Ogden Divide on the north and east in that section of the Wasatch Mountains to Ogden Valley, no hunting was then permitted there. At the 1919 deer hunt, some 60 deer were shot in that area. Deer were, in 1920, believed to be the most abundant big game in the Sanctuary, according to the Standard-Examiner of May 2, 1920. This wildlife sanctuary only lasted through the 1920s before it was discontinued.
-B.M. Fox of Ogden returned from his ranch in Viola, Wyoming in February of 1916 with an unusual deer hunting story, according to the Standard of Feb. 4 that year. Snow was so deep – 12 feet –in the La Barge Mountains of Wyoming that snow slides occurred frequently. While Fox and others were watching a deer herd of 29 head, a sudden snow slide, 100 yards wide, tore through the herd and buried 22. Hunters managed to dig in the edge of the snow mass and take seven of the deer, but the rest were lost. That winter was also reported as a tough one for livestock.
-Deer hunting is an annual fall adventure for thousands in Utah. However, 1945 was one of the most tragic deer hunts ever. “Deer hunter toll mounts of 8 as S.L. man dies” was an Oct. 24, 1945 Salt Lake Telegram headline.
From gun accidents, to a fatal heart attack to falling off a cliff, this was a disastrous deer hunting week. Bert Denning of Salt Lake was the latest fatality. His body was found by a search party in the rugged Davis Canyon of South Davis County. He was believed to have fallen off a 90-foot cliff, near a waterfall, in the evening darkness.
-“Many hurt in Ogden blast” was a May 6, 1923 Standard headline. A large Boy Scout bonfire, soaked with gasoline, exploded and injured 14 people as hundreds of persons looked on. Located at the corner of City Hall Park, near the police station, the explosion shattered jail windows. The bonfire marked the end of International Boys Week in Ogden. Flying timbers and glass caused most of the injuries.
-Underground seepage in the Plain City School partially submerged the building’s basement heating plant with water, according to the Standard of Aug. 15, 1916. A three-inch drain pipe was being installed and extended two blocks away to drain off the water. Six men were reported to be working on this job for the past 10 days to solve the problem before the beginning of school. 


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