New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations About Sport Hunting in New Brunswick

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From the blog at

These remarks are from Gesner’s New Brunswick, with Notes for Emigrants and shed light on some of the species that were prevalent in New Brunswick at that time. They concentrate on species that were hunted. The following are abridged extracts from pages 256 to 261 and quotation marks are therefore not used. These extracts also exclude Gesner’s comments regarding game fish and birds:

Among the expectations that lure British settlers to America is the almost unlimited scope of hunting in a country of wild woodland. But the farmers of New Brunswick well know that the chasing of wild animals through the woods is incompatible with ease, and in general very unprofitable.

The elk or moose deer offers the greatest inducement for hunting, the flesh of the animal being as valuable a food as beef. In the winter, a drove of these animals will form a ‘yard’ which is merely a small tract of ground over which they feed and beat down the snow. The hunter, having discovered the haunt, enters it and shoots down the harmless herd.

The Indians are remarkably subtle to the moose-walk. The animal does not always bound away when he discovers his pursuer, but turns around and elevates his lofty antlers, apparently pleased with the fatal novelty. They have been known to stand a few moments after the first shot was fired; but, if unhurt, they seldom wait for a second discharge of the gun.

The reindeer, or caribou, is a small animal, the largest weighing 400 lbs., but when there is deep snow covered by a crust, they are soon overtaken by men and dogs. They are numerous, and their flesh, which is far less palatable than moose venison, is sold in the principal markets during the cold season. There is another kind of deer, smaller than the caribou, and seldom exceeding 100 lbs. is called by the inhabitants the red deer; but in reality it is the Virginian deer. The Virginian deer was not known in New Brunswick prior to 1818; and it is evident that they have been driven into the province from the south-west by droves of wolves.

Foxes are sometimes hunted by a single hound or beagle, which often pursues reynard for several days. The fox seldom runs away but performs a wide circuit. The hunter conceals himself upon the circle and fires upon the fox as he passes.

Beaver have become scarce, being only taken by the Indians, at the sources of the Tobique River, and upon the branches of the Restigouche.

Notwithstanding the bounties offered by the Legislature for their destruction, bears are rather numerous. They are hunted by men and dogs but more frequently by fall-traps made of wood.

Among the carnivorous animals, wolves are the most destructive, and are yearly growing more numerous.

The lynx offers some sport; and when a number of them assemble together, they are very formidable. The panther is another cat, better known in the Province as the Indian Devil. It is very dangerous and rare but a skin is sometimes taken to the market.


Written by johnwood1946

July 11, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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