Hello Forest County Residents!
I recently had a visit from Mike Kukowski and his wife from Hager City, Wisconsin. The Kukowski’s have generously donated copies of the oldest known deer hunting licenses in Wisconsin, all issued in Forest County!
In 1897, Wisconsin required its first deer hunting license; which cost residents $1.00; nonresidents $30.00. Licenses were sold only in “counties frequented by deer” which were the northern counties. There were 12,000 issued the first year. Hunting without a license would incur a fine of $50 to $200; illegal transportation of deer would cost $100 to $500; and false swearing of having a license cost $500 to $1,000. Possession of skins in the red or spotted coat was unlawful.
Michael Kukowski, has also provided scanned copies of the deer and hunting licenses dated 1897, 1898, 1900 to the Wisconsin DNR headquarters in Madison. The documents were so rare, DNR attorneys recommended against owning the original copies. The DNR instead has framed replicas in their central office.
Research on the Licenses Themselves
The only known existing deer hunting license given out the first year, 1897, was issued to George Ogomoso of Armstrong Creek. George Og(k)mas aka Ogimass, Ogemah, Ogmass, Ok maus, Ogemos, was a Chippewa, who purchased land under the Indian Homestead Act in Forest County, located west of Carter, off of Highway C and east of King Lake (source: Mike Alloway). Through my research it is possible that the man’s name was actually George Amose, who resided in Flambeau in 1920 and was buried there as Chief George Amour Amose in 1929. It is likely that George was illiterate because he did not fill out the license himself or sign his name he only left an “X” as his mark. It is possible that George was a chief because the license describes him as having “lost two front upper teeth and two teeth were filled with gold”. He must have held some standing if he was able to afford gold filled teeth. The investigation into the identity of the only known recipient of the first deer hunting license is ongoing and if you have any information please contact me.