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A Bold Move, For The Birds

Plumed hats, a shot-dead game warden, a Sebastian skiff and the birth of Florida wildlife conservation.

Was game warden Guy Bradley on this boat the day he was murdered? Bradley was shot and killed on July 8, 1905, while trying to stop the slaughter of snowy egrets at the Cuthbert Lake Rookery.

Was game warden Guy Bradley on this boat the day he was murdered? Bradley was shot and killed on July 8, 1905, while trying to stop the slaughter of snowy egrets at the Cuthbert Lake Rookery.

On the surface it seems a simple, even inspirational story. In 1903 Paul Kroegel lived on the western bank of the Indian River, near modern day Sebastian, the now famous Kroegel of Pelican Island. In addition to his storied role as the protector of America’s first wildlife refuge, Kroegel earned his living, among other things, by building boats.

Before his death in 1999, Paul’s son, Rodney Kroegel, reportedly shared the memory of a small “folding” boat called the Let’s Go that was made by his father and delivered to Guy Bradley, Florida’s first Audubon game warden in the Everglades. It was on this very same boat, the story goes, Bradley was shot and killed on July 8, 1905, while trying to stop the slaughter of Snowy Egrets at the Cuthbert Lake Rookery, not far from Bradley’s home base of Flamingo.
 

Read the entire article in the March 2014 issue