Jan. 10, 2017
1964. LBJ defeats Barry Goldwater to remain in the White House; the U.S. becomes further embroiled in the Vietnam conflict; Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics....and game wardens in Maine remain vigilant as ever.
The exploits of state game wardens and conservation officers have become, in recent years, the stuff of cable reality TV, and perhaps help propagate the notion of wildlife agency enforcement as a recent phenomenon. But state wildlife officers have been on the job for decades, and local conservation efforts date back to the 19th century.
Thanks to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game, we can take a look back into the daily routines of Maine game wardens dating back to the '60s. And while many of the issues encountered by contemporary wardens simply didn't exist then, game wardens in 1964 remained vigilant protectors -- literally -- of both man and beast, as evidenced below.
Some samples wardens' field notes:
June 8, 1964
Warden Francis Cyr, Kokadjo: Several parties were stranded on Chesuncook, Caribou and Chamberlain lakes. Four of these parties totalling nine people were rescued by a large Great Northern Paper Co. boat. Nine other persons at Chamberlain Lake who failed to reach their destination were found to be OK by Warden Pilot Malcom Maheu after he searched the area in high winds and difficult flying conditions.
June 11, 1964
Warden Ivan Porter, Ashland: Moose are plentiful this year. Have seen quite a few and received reports of sightings daily. I found a pair of lamb deer in Rocky Brook this week, June 6, that were caught in the stream and couldn't get out. Put them together on the bank. They were so tired they couldn't stand up. I went back the next day and they were gone, so I assume they were OK.
June 4, 1964
Warden Pilot Malcolm Maheu, Aviation Division, Greenville: May 23 -- First black flies of the season encountered today. Moose also apparently bothered, as eight were observed in the water during today's patrol, east of Greenville. May 25 -- With all the warm weather since April 1, snow can still be found at the easdt end of Second Roach Pond and the south end of Horseshoe Pond in the Greenville area. June 3 -- Nine moose were observed at one time this evening, five in Mountain Pond and four in a beaver flowage a short distance away, four miles east of Greenville. More moose than deer being onserved this spring in the areas being patrolled by air from the Greenville base.
Great stuff. Check out field notes from Maine game wardens as far back as 1963 right here.
(The Thin Green Line is a term used to describe the role played by wildlife officers and game wardens in the U.S. and Canada. These men and women play a crucial role in helping buffer a harmonious co-existence between man, wildlife and the environment. The term borrows from the “Thin Blue Line,” used to describe the symbolic role of police officers in protecting society from criminal elements, which in turn was borrowed from the “Thin Red Line,” which refers to a famous 1854 British military engagement in which a thinly stretched regiment adorned in red held off an advancing Russian force.)