19 May 2014

Ten Miles of Pigeons in Western Ulster County

We copy from the Windham (Green Co.) Journal, the following account of a Hunting Expedition in the wilds of Western Ulster — a region of country traversed by ourselves "once in a time," some twenty years ago — drawn thither by the wonderful stories told of trouting in Balsom Lake:

We stated last week that a party of our villagers had started for the Pigeon Encampment on Tuesday afternoon. It is in the town of Denning, Ulster county, on the west branch of the Neversink. The party consisted of Messrs. B.H. Waldron, S.W. Stimpson, Geo. W. Potter, T.D. Traphagen, S.D. Cowles, J.E. Matthews, Edwin Story and Asa Palmer.

They left here at about 2 o'clock, arriving at D.C. Deyo's Westkill, at about 5. After a halt of half an hour, they proceeded to Brownell's Hotel, Shandaken, and up for the night. They left early the next morning, and arrived at the head of Big Indian at about 10 o'clock A.M. Here they left their team and proceeded to cross the mountain on foot a distance of about four miles, to the Hunter's Cabin, around which they found the woods fairly alive with pigeons. The flock is said to be spread over a space of ground some ten miles long and two miles wide.

The trees there are filled with nests in every direction, and the ground is almost covered with eggs and dead pigeons. The hunters shoot into the crowds, and when the birds do not fall within a few steps, they make no effort to find them, but try them again. There was an immense number of hunters on the ground, and when the party from this place came out they met some 150 or 200 persons armed and equipped — for the work of slaughter — who were just "going in."

The country is a perfect wilderness, it being some ten miles through from the settlements in Ulster county, to the settlements in Sullivan. The timber is very large and tall. The west branch of the Neversink is one of the most beautiful streams in the country.

The party encamped one night in the woods, and enjoyed themselves immensely living on broiled pigeons, &c., with nothing to disturb their repose at night save the hootings of one owl, and the barking of few wolves in the distance.

Leaving their encampment on Thursday morning, they returned to the Windham on Friday — having had a pleasant excursion, with no accident to lament, and having captured about 500. Of course the game was liberally divided among the friends of the party, and their being one partridge in the lot, it fell to the share of the printer, with a fine bunch of pigeons for which we return our thanks.

May 16, 1860. Lehigh Register 14(33): 2.