Elmer Smith describes a typical “big boys hunting/camping trip” in this article from Outer’s Book, November, 1909. Elmer and seven friends took their “annual southern hunt” in the Indian Territory (I.T.), present day southeast Oklahoma. Click here for a PDF of Elmer’s article. On January 1, 1907, the hunting party packed their guns and gear and left Gridley, Illinois, bound for Hartshorne, Indian Territory (http://www.cityofhartshorneok.com/). Gridley is about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. Antique purists know to check early office equipment, file cabinets, desks, lamps, chairs, etc., for the “I.T.” stamp. The hunters arrived in Hartshorne the next day. Several friends helped them setup a camp on Jack Fork Creek in the Jack Fork Mountains about 20 miles south of Hartshorne. After two weeks of hunting this area with what seems to have been a pretty heavy footprint they moved to Anderson Creek, about 18 miles away, where game was more abundant.
There are many interesting articles in the Library but this one caught my attention because I am familiar with the area. A while back I had the good fortune to work throughout Oklahoma, often with the fine folks in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Oklahoma is a great state with a unique history. If you have never been to Oklahoma do yourself a favor and take a visit to one of our most interesting states. You won’t be disappointed. Oklahoma’s diverse habitats and rugged landscapes are thoroughly blended with interesting cultures and wonderful people. Check with my friends at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for hunting & fishing information (http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/).
A couple of things in this article caused me to do a double take. First, they do annual winter hunting trips to the south. This trip must have taken at least three weeks and maybe closer to one month! That’s pretty generous time off for an off-season vacation. I am also curious about hunting permits and licenses. This concept wasn’t mentioned. Maybe permits & licenses were not needed. I wonder if any of the Indian Territories issued hunting permits and if so, are any of these historical documents available? The hunting party held local host and guide Jim Threet in high regard for his hunting skills and woods-wise counsel. He sounds like the type of hunting companion we all want to have along on our next trip.
Teddy Roosevelt unified this patchwork quilt of boundaries and jurisdictions into one state on November 16, 1907, just a few months after this hunting trip.
Here are a couple ads from the November, 1909, Outer’s Book. – bob@ClassicOutdoorMagazines.com