Wild animals occasionally make their way into Central Park. Just a few months ago, a coyote in the Park seemed to be the talk of the town. In modern times, these animals are taken down by NYPD sharpshooters with tranquilizer guns. But back in 1910, there was one man whose full time job was hunting animals in New York City’s parks. His name was Archer Hazzler. He had a license to kill.
Hazzler’s method of hunting is very simple. He keeps a small boat ready to be launched on the lakes and, rifle in hand, gently paddles along the shores. These expeditions are usually undertaken early in the mornings before the public is astir.
Early risers in the great buildings facing the Park have doubtless heard the persistent crack, crack of a rifle near by and wondered at it. Hazzler thinks nothing of coming in from such a hunting trip with a bag of fifty or more rats…
The Park sharpshooter must, of course, be extremely cautious in his hunting not to interfere with the safety of the general public. So well has he done his work that there has never been an accident, never a stray shot for all the thousands of birds and animals he has brought in.
He avoids the more frequented sections of the Park, and especially the walks or drives. For this reason very few people of the millions who constantly visit the parks have ever caught a glimpse of him.
But some day if you chance upon a wiry, alert little man wearing a rough rider hat with a faded gilt cord and carrying a polished rifle in his hand you will know that it is he.
POT SHOOTING IN CENTRAL PARK: Archer Hazzler, a Crack Rifle Shot, Has the Unique Privilege of Shooting When and Where He Will in the Great Pleasure Ground (PDF)
From June 19, 1910