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Corbin Park Hunting Preserve in New Hampshire

May 4, 2008
By

Corbin Park Hunting Preserve Background
Corbin Park Hunting Preserve is around 20,000 acres or so and it cuts across parts of Cornish, Plainfield, Grantham and Newport. The main page for details about the park is here.

Apparently they have bison, elk, deer and boar in the park. Here are some more details about the park from an article listed on the site I linked to above:

Corbin Park, or the Blue Mountain Forest and Game Preserve, [also known as the "Blue Mountain Forest Association" and "Corbin's Park"], is a private, enclosed shooting preserve with a very limited membership.

The 24,000-acre preserve was founded in 1890 by Austin Corbin II, a Newport native who grew to prominence in the late 1800s as a founder of modern American banking.

Corbin used his fortune to buy up as much land as he could in the Croydon-Grantham area to establish a gigantic hunter’s playground, Originally, it was stocked with bison, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer, European red deer, bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, caribou, Himalayan mountain goats, pheasants and wild boar from the German Black Forest.

The bison, deer, elk and boar all flourished, but the pheasants flew over the fences and the rest of the species proved unable to survive. Corbin Park once had the largest bison herd in the country, and supplied bison and deer to refuges, parks and zoos all over the U.S.

It’s amazing that something like this is still around after all this time. I’m glad it is and, boy, what I wouldn’t give for a tour of the place! I wonder if I could pitch an article to some hunting magazine or other then try to get an interview with somebody that works there, along with a tour? Hmmm…probably wouldn’t get me anywhere but it might be worth a try! ;)

I also found an interesting discussion thread at the Hunting Chat forum about wild pigs in New Hampshire and some information about Corbin Park pigs, in particular. Some guys in that forum wanted to find out where to hunt some of the pigs that escaped from Corbin Park.

That thread also had information about membership costs (which I can’t verify so I have no idea if it’s true or not) starting around $235,000 for a share with around $30,000 yearly membership fee. Interesting if true and certainly outside of my price range.

A pic from Brian Meyer’s Corbin Park page. Click it to visit his site.

I found another thread at a different forum though that claims it’s more than $1,000,000 to join. Again, I have no idea if any of these price claims are remotely true or not.

There’s another page with information about elk in New Hampshire that came from Corbin Park:

One hundred years ago, one could hear the bugle of a bull elk in Andover, New Hampshire. Sixty-six years ago, two hundred men spread out across Lempster, Washington, Goshen and Unity and took forty-six wild elk in a two-day season. The elk, more accurately called wapiti or Cervus Canadensis has never been a native of New Hampshire, but briefly roamed free in the state during the first half of the 1900s. Newport-born financier Austin Corbin imported elk into the state in the 1890s as he stocked his private game reserve, the Blue Mountain Forest Park (known informally as Corbin’s Park).

A Death in Corbin Park Hunting Preserve
Apparently there was even a hunting fatality there too back in 2004:

At approximately 9:30 a.m., Saturday, January 3, a fatal shooting incident occurred at Corbin Park, a private shooting preserve in the town of Croydon, N.H. The victim has been identified as Robert H. Proulx, age 58, of Manchester. Next of kin have been notified. The name of the shooter is not yet available.

According to Col. Jeffrey Gray of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the incident is being investigated as a “probable mistaken-for-game scenario.”

First responders to the scene were Croydon Police Department and Croydon emergency medical personnel. The victim was pronounced dead of a single bullet wound at the scene. At the time of the incident, the victim was wearing blue jeans; a camouflage jacket, hat and boots; and no “hunter orange.” Mr. Proulx was the owner of Wildlife Taxidermy in Manchester.

According to witnesses, the shooter and the victim were both members of a hunting party that included a group of six hunting for elk, boar and deer. Four other members of the hunting party have been identified as Roger Williams of Barrington, John Twitchell of Hampton, Robert Barr of Strafford and Angelo Cacciatore, a visitor from Italy.

The incident is under investigation by New Hampshire Fish and Game in conjunction with New Hampshire State Police; Hal Brown, Cheshire County Medical Examiner; and Mark Hathaway, Sullivan County Attorney. Lead investigators are Fish and Game Conservation Officers Sgt. Brian Suttmeier and Lt. Todd Bogardus.

Based on the Fish and Game article I quoted above, it seems like the guy didn’t have any blaze orange on and was wearing camo. That’s not a very good idea when you have folks hunting deer, elk and bison. Obviously the responsibility rests with the person who took the shot but blaze orange is still the best and safest way to go when hunting that kind of game.

Much more details on the death and its aftermath in a Boston Globe story.

Here’s some of that article (be sure to read the rest as it’s interesting too):

“In Laro and Proulx’s fatal hunt, three days after the new year, Susan Proulx stayed home. The trip was to Corbin Park, a 24,000-acre game preserve created in the late 1800s by Austin Corbin, a land and bank baron. The place is famed for visits by Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling and for its exclusivity. It has just 25 members, whose identities are not made public; only they and their guests are permitted on the fenced-in grounds in Croydon, N.H.

Proulx and Laro, who knew each other casually through Laro’s visits to Proulx’s store, were two of five guests invited to Corbin Park that day by Roger Williams, a member each knew separately.

Laro and Proulx were assigned to hunt together. Proulx wore blue jeans and a camouflage jacket. Laro carried a Browning 300 WSM rifle equipped with a Bushnell variable scope.

Robert Barr, another member of the expedition, said that a few minutes into the hunt, he heard two gunshots and inquired on his radio who had taken a shot. Laro came over the radio saying, ”I shot a boar.” A few moments later Laro came back on the radio, shouting, ”Help, help, help! I shot Bob and he’s dead!”

Fish and Game Department investigation reports show that Laro had to be transported out of the woods in a rescue sled. Once inside an ambulance, he repeatedly said, ”Bob” and at times became ”combative” with rescuers. When he was told Proulx was dead, investigators wrote, Laro collapsed on the floor, wailing. He was not interviewed at the time due to his condition.

Three days later, on Jan. 7, investigators interviewed Laro in his home in Concord. Seated at his dining room table with his wife, Laro said he had ventured just a short distance, his gun on his shoulder, when he observed ”fresh boar clumps.” He walked into a field and heard a noise in front of him and then saw what he believed was a boar. He shot twice.

”I don’t know if I fired front, behind, over,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview. ”The recoil of the gun came back down, had movement. I know the boar was in the scope, I know the boar was in the scope. It was running across from me.”

”It is so sad,” he continued. ”I stood there. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t hear anything. I stood right there.

”I came up over the edge of the knoll, and then I ran. I went down and saw. He didn’t move. I held on to him, he didn’t move, and then I ran and I couldn’t find my way out, nobody came, nobody came.”

When told no boar had been found in the area, Laro responded: Why wasn’t he wearing orange? ”He used to laugh at me for wearing orange. You guys got to make it a law.”

Susan Proulx has not been in contact with Laro since the shooting. She said he has not apologized. She has filed a wrongful death suit asking for $2 million in damages, in addition to seeking the license suspension.

”It doesn’t make sense that someone who has killed someone should be able to carry a gun,” she said. ”That alone proves you don’t have the ability to make the right decisions.”

Proulx said that since the death of her husband she has been hunting once, last fall, during turkey season. But she’ll wait a while before going again.

”I’m hoping I can find somebody who will share it with me again,” she said.

”I don’t want to be in the woods alone.”

Wow. Very sad stuff! My condolences to Susan Proulx and her family.

I said a while back what a good idea it was for folks to be using blaze orange. Reading a story like this really underscores that and it’s too bad that the park didn’t encourage it on hunts within its boundaries.

Well if anybody knows anything else of interest about Corbin Park, please post it in the comments below. It’s certainly an interesting place and I can only imagine what it would be like to have a tour of it or even to see some photos of it. I found one photo via Google Books, after you click the link scroll down and you can see some Buffalo in the park. It’s a very old photo though.

Contact Corbin Park Hunting Preserve in New Hampshire
Corbin Park members are welcome to share their thoughts as well should they bump into this blog entry via Google or whatever.

Edit: In that other discussion thread I linked to above there is contact information and apparently you can visit there once per year or something.

Here is the contact information:

Blue Mountain Forest Association at 603-863-3250

Gerald Merrill
Blue Mountain Forest Association
P. O. Box 487
Newport, NH 03773

Apparently you have to pay a $50 fee to go in and see the park though. I think I am going to check it out as it might be neat to go there one day.

Pictures of Corbin Park Hunting Preserve
Here are some photos of Corbin Park Hunting Preserve. I visited and got some photos of the gates and grounds. I could not get inside obviously but here’s a bit of what I found when visiting. I’ve also included a few photos of the gates and the street signs near the entrance of the park. At some point I’d love to go inside and see what it looks like.

Please note that these photos are in no particular order.

corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 1

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corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 4

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corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 6

corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 7

corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 8

corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 9

corbin-park-hunting-preserve-new-hampshire 10

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One Response to Corbin Park Hunting Preserve in New Hampshire

  1. Jim Lynch on May 24, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Reposted here from a now defunct blog. Too good a post to let it go with the blog. My apologies if you posted comments on the other blog and they are not here now.

    Please feel free to repost your thoughts about Corbin Park in New Hampshire.



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