RE: NANFA-- Col. Burr (was 'odd fact about gar')

Hoover, Jan J WES (
Wed, 10 Nov 1999 09:16:03 -0600

>>Some esoteric gar trivia (or minutia):
>>What was the rather dubious claim-to-fame of Col. J.G. Burr?

> Jan, don't say he was killed by a gar, or even worse-- eaten...

Jay and other Gar Enthusiasts -

I won't say that.

Col. Burr was a research director at the Game, Fish , and Oyster Commission
of Texas. He is credited with developing the "electrical gar destroyer."
The EGD was a barge equipped with an electrical generator and power lines,
with a seine that could be raised and lowered, and with powerful lights
intended to blind its victims (a taxon-specific and deadlier precursor to
electrofishing boats). In a series of "interesting experiments" it was
shown to be very effective at electrocuting alligator gar. Apparently, this
was considered an important technological innovation in fisheries management
back in the 30's. James Gowanloch's 1933 book "Fishes and Fishing In
Louisiana" devotes 7 pages to a discussion of Burr's "gar machine." The
author, however, seems to have had a vendetta against gars. In a fairly
extensive section devoted to gars,he repeatedly uses words like
"objectionable," "destructive," "sluggish," "sly," and "greedy" to describe
them and their "many sins." Of particular interest though is his
description gar scales made into arrowheads and his account of a nine-year
old girl (Elizabeth Grainger of Mandeville, LA) who was possibly attacked by
a gar in Lake Pontchartrain in 1932.

- Jan

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,