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,
, was on the map for a good
place to find and shoot wild pheasants.
Earnest Hemingway was mostly to blame. Dietrich,
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.