Friday, December 23, 2011


When the last cutting of hay was stacked and the wheat was safely stored in the granaries; the next order of business was securing the property against an onslaught of pheasant hunters.
The area where my childhood farm home was located, Dietrich, Idaho, was on the map for a good place to find and shoot wild pheasants.  Earnest Hemingway was mostly to blame.

To quote one of his friends, a rancher named Bud Purdy,

“Hemingway stayed with his girlfriend, writer and journalist Martha Gellhorn, in Suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge, which he soon dubbed “Glamour House.” Hemingway worked diligently on “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and soon became enamored with duck hunting at Silver Creek, near Picabo, and pheasant hunting at points south, near Shoshone, Dietrich and Gooding.”

Pheasant hunters actually did farmers a favor by thinning out the flocks of hungry birds that could do a great deal of damage to a new grain crop.  But there were always a few inconsiderate guys who left gates open, wrecked fences and often shot cattle in their eagerness to blow a bird out of the sky. 

Californians (who had more gear than brains) and their big idiot dogs, seemed to be the worst offenders.  They could be seen driving their vehicles with the black and yellow license plates slowly by stubble fields looking for game.  They’d jump from their automobiles and charge through the fences to be the first to bag a bird.

Neighbors and friends who came to the door and asked permission were usually allowed to hunt on our property.  They were given information on the best places to hunt and told where the cows were grazing so they could watch out for them.

My brother and I were given the job of making the “No Hunting” signs.  We used scrap lumber and old paint to label our fields off limits.  This was probably one of my first lessons in the importance of planning ahead when doing a lettering job. I discovered the word “hunting” was too long when painted in all caps on a square board.  The sign ended up reading, YOU NO HUNT.  On another one I ran out of room and stuck on an apostrophe instead of the letter G.  It read, NO HUNTIN’.

We had several big fields a couple of miles from our house.  Hunters seemed to think they could get away with shooting pheasants there even when it was posted.

Mom came up with a great way to get their attention.  We made a scarecrow dummy out of old clothes and straw and hung it on a rope from a tree along the road with a big sign around his neck that read, “I TRESSPASSED.” 

Our “hangin’ victim” seemed to keep the hunters away.  Plus our neighbors reported back how the guy really gave them a shock until they realized the joke.  The hang-man did his job well during that hunting season.  That is until Danny Larson, a teenage neighbor boy, blew away his whole bottom torso with his shot gun.


Alica said...

Quite the story...I had to laugh at the YOU NO HUNT sign...sounds like lots of memories!

Debbie said...

you always make me smile!!

merry christmas, i hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

Pam said...

Good god! That's quite a story. Guess you didn't have a lot of travelling salesmen either, but it does prove that guns and carelessness are a terrible mix. Loved the attempts at signwriting! Wishing you a very happy Christmas and great New Year ahead.

Buttons said...

Wow Leenie now I know where all your artistic talents took root.
I love your stories.
Merry Christmas.B

TALON said...

lol - "You No Hunt" :)

That would be terrifying having people running around with guns all willy-nilly. The hanging man was perfect (darn that Danny Larson!).

We see that around here when it's deer hunting season - you're driving along and there's guys in their orange vests on the sides of country roads with their guns (totally illegal, but it never stops them).

Merry Christmas, Leenie!

Sarah said...

A fun and slightly scary story Leenie! I would certainly rush away if I saw a hangin' man in a tree!

Anzu said...

My dear friend, Leenie_φ(゚▽゚*)♪
We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement this year!

Mama Zen said...

That's hilarious!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great post..loved the I Trespassed Guy! Too funny! Merry Christmas! :)