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her by the tail and I placing the muzzle of my gun under her ear and firing
she finally bade adieu to the upper world sank for a moment in the water and
then rose annihilated .
(Colles and Johnston [1851] in Adirondack
Museum 1961:17, emphasis in original)
While fish and 'game' (deer) had been a regular source of sustenance to local
Adirondack families and communities, the arrival en masse of the urban sportsman
provided these animals with an entirely different set of meanings, meanings that
would herald the end for the state's remnant wolf population.
In order to ensure a steady flow of urban-based revenue into the Adirondack
region, the maintenance of a healthy deer population was absolutely necessary.
Regional economic growth depended, literally, upon the living bodies of the
region's 'game' animals. Deer, thus, became the critical component of the
promotional landscape. The image of the deer appeared regularly in the paintings,
poetry and prose of the region; it was the selling-point to the wealthy New York
City sportsman, attracting the cash flow to the region necessary for continued
economic expansion and development. For each of these reasons, the continued
physical presence of deer in the region (i.e. their 'management') was fundamental. Any
'threat' to deer implied much more: a threat to the 'new' landscape of leisure; a
threat to the vision of economic expansion and development. In effect, deer
management became equivalent to wolf eradication (Flader 1974; Leopold 1949:
129-133).
Deer, like livestock before them, came to signify a new type of landscape,
embodying in symbolic form the 'tame yet wild' landscape that the Adirondacks
themselves had become, in both the literal and the figurative sense. In this new place
'game' ruled supreme and the wolf emerged heretical, an animal without a place.
Considered antithetical to successful deer management practices and also an animal
whose very presence contradicted the landscape's emerging signification, the wolf's
place as 'out of place' was quickly and widely determined. There was no longer room
for wolves, cougars or other 'threats' in this urban-defined 'playground' (cf. Gullo et
al. 1998; Philo 1995); the landscape's new meaning precluded their continued local
existence. Aggressive and popular bounty systems emerged, and by the turn of the
twentieth century wolves were gone from the Adirondacks and from the state of
New York entirely.
Re-placing the Adirondacks
Wolves, however, were not the only victims of these ideological appropriations of
landscape. Native Americans had long resided in the Adirondack region. Mohawk,
Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga (collectively, the Iroquois), Huron, Mohican
and Abenaqui maintained settlements from the St Lawrence River Valley through
the mountainous Adirondacks to Lake Erie. Early white explorers and chroniclers of
the region employed all manner of tropes to construct Native Americans as 'out of
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