The Garrison Fish and Game Club, Inc.

 Our Founders: Robert G. Roda, John A. McIntyre, Guy D. Cockburn, Chester A. Tompkins, Arthur Leveque, Madison Forde, Alan N. Anderson, Alexander Saunders, Ezra P. Prentice, Jr.

 25th anniversary 4/27/1973

 A Brief History By: Bob Roda and Pete Prentice

 The hunting season of 1947 in garrison was a rough one. Outsiders swarmed over the largely unposted land with little or no regard for the rights or, in some cases, the safety of the landowners. What was left of the deer herd was further decimated by the severe winter which followed. The situation called for drastic action, and with the support and urging of several of our more influential landowners The Garrison Fish and Game Club was born.

 Our charter was prepared and duly filed in Albany. Of the nine incorporators who signed it in March, 1948, eight are alive today and four are still active members of the Club twenty-five years later.

 Once the Club was formed there was much to do and the first board of directors met for long hours almost weekly. One of the early problems that arose was the matter of where the ultimate decision-making power lay, with the Board or with the membership. In the forefront of the fight for the most democratic approach was that fiery Frenchman, Art Leveque, then the proprietor of what we all know and love as Guinan’s friendly country store.

 The technical questions were all soon resolved without too much bloodshed, but great deal of hard work remained to be done if we were to be ready for our first hunting season. A form of lease suited to our special needs had to be prepared. Much "missionary work had to be done, particularly among some of the smaller landowners whose property was important to us not only for its own sake, but because many small leases helped us round out road enclosed blocks of land which would simplify the posting and patrolling for which we assumed responsibility in exchange for the exclusive hunting and fishing rights granted to us. Work groups to get leases, determine boundaries and then do the posting had to be organized and directed. Screening of membership applications went on with the dual objectives of building our treasury and obtaining a responsible core of local members in whom the landowners could place their confidence. In preparation for our first season, maps with instructions as to their conduct while hunting the posted land had to be issued to our members so the landowners would have no possible cause for complaint. Most important, arrangements had to be made to patrol the property during the deer season, or all our work would have been for naught.

Albeit, not without a few minor incidents, we passed the test of our first season with flying colors. Patrolling was effective for the most part and the landowners reassured. We ran a few "drives" in pre-designated areas to pick up poachers, but possibly because of advance publicity or because the word was out generally that we meant business, the only benefits obtained were some healthy exercise and on one memorable occasion, meat in the pot which fell to the shotgun of one of our younger members. (Some say he had help – but there is no existing evidence this to be the case).

Over those early years the Club grew and prospered. We added to our original land holdings until at one point we had about 12,000 acres under lease. We began to use metal posters, some of which are still in the woods today. We assumed sponsorship of the Boy Scouts, and annually sent boys to the Conservation Department camp at DeBruce as part of an active junior membership program. Stream improvement was a subject often discussed but seldom put into effect. We stocked pheasant and trout and instituted winter feeding of deer. All in all these were active and enthusiastic years during which we had plenty of hunting country and hopefully, fulfilled our responsibilities with a minimum of friction.

Gradually we began to feel the pressure of the population increase, particularly in the form of a reduction in the acreage under our control, lost through charitable donations, development and home building. This trend continues and is bringing with it a shift of emphasis with the focal point of Club activities now being the magnificent new Clubhouse erected on the shore of the pond given to us by Earl Osborn. Now there are complaints from some of our remaining landowners, not about outsiders, but about the conduct of some of our own members while hunting. In this our 25th Anniversary year of 1973 we should not forget that we owe a quarter century of magnificent hunting, virtually without cost, within 60 miles of the largest city in the world, to the opportunity given us by our landowners. Our first responsibility continues to be to them.

We might benefit considerably by re-affirming the basic philosophies that have made the Garrison Fish and Game Club the great organization it has been, while at the same time looking ahead to promote the ideals of the true sportsman in these younger members who will inherit the joys and pleasure still to be offered by our beautiful countryside. Our objectives remain the joy of the chase and the thrill of the catch but we must, in today’s world, give more than we get to preserve these benefits for tomorrow.