Every new year brings a multitude of end-of-the-year reports and one hundred years ago, the newspaper was full of stories about the accomplishments of 1913 and the hopes for 1914.
This article appeared in The Oklahoman on Jan. 1, 1914, under the headline “Gothamites Think Well of Oklahoma Fish and Game Warden.”
When John B. Doolin, state game and fish warden issued his annual report, lovers of nature quickly showed great satisfaction at the novelty of a report which told of the wonders of field, forest and stream, on which held figures to the background, even though the department showed a large profit for the benefit of the state treasury.
In the east, where the reports of the Doolin kind are unknown, nature lovers were startled and pleased at the readable report of John Doolin, and the New York Tribune commented on the report as follows:
“Among the dull, dreary wastes of official documents, the annual report of John B. Doolin, game and fish warden of Oklahoma, slips before the eye, a green and shady oasis. “Field, Forest and Stream,” it is called. And there is hardly a dull page in it.
“Anybody can write statistics, is John B.'s idea. The difficult thing is to interest people in wildlife and so get the needed laws to protect your game. Song birds, game birds and game animals are in many cases at the point of extinction, he observes ‘There never was a more pathetic tragedy than this slaughter of week and helpless creatures.'”
“However, it is not with tragedy, but with rich luscious, dripping tales of the woods and the brooks and the rivers that our friend, the warden, makes his plea. Have you heard of the catfish of Cimarron river, in Pleasant Valley? In this salty, yellow stream, ‘where bed of shifting sand is as clean as if swept hourly with a housewife's broom,' there swim untold numbers of drum, rock buffalo, carp and hickory shad. Also there flourishes the yellow catfish, reaching a weight of 100 pounds.
“Anybody but an Oklahoman would pursue those noble beasts in sordid, machine-like fashion. The Pleasant Valley folk use a seine, to be sure, but only to locate and corner the catfish. The Oklahoman dives into the yellow Cimarron river and captures his catfish, man to man, so to speak, seizing him by the gills with his bare hands!
“If you prefer honey, you should read of the Kiamichi country and its wild bees feeding the hunger with manna. And such manna! Listen:
‘Then there was swinging and a-swishing of burning boughs, and the bees were soon drowsy with smoke ... ‘Bill' called for his pan and spoon, he said that some of the honey was two, possibly three years old. It tasted of the perfume of wildflowers that bloom in meadows, in valleys, on crags and beside clear, swiftly running water courses. And when the clammy sweetness has been sucked from the comb, there came from the latter — as it was pressed between the teeth — a delicate, almost intangible flavor of cedar — from the fragrant house in which the honey had been stored!'
“By the side of the cedar-honey must be placed the squirrel potpie made according to the ancient formula of woodsmen, and rated by Warden Doolin as the best thing the hungry hunter finds in his camp, ‘about the time the first stars begin singing.'”
“We envy Oklahoma much as a result of reading this volume — but nothing do we envy her more than her individual families.”
Our state still offers wonderful outdoor experiences just waiting to be enjoyed.
John B. Doolin was a pioneer businessman of Woods County and served as game warden from 1911 to 1913.