Deer Tails ~ Shoot up Ladies High Chairs

11.6.2022 [archived ~ originally published 11.5.2015]

Terry Pinette, grandson of Abygail Pinette found this photograph of the deer head and the high back chair used to construct the mystical deer.  It is unknown who the men are, and if the photograph was taken before or after it was camouflaged in the bushes.

I found a couple unusual tales that occurred during the 1930 hunting season and the best way to share them is in their entirety.  The first is about illegal gains (or an attempt anyway) so the editor choose not to name names, but that doesn’t mean a sheriff didn’t extract a name and at least give the “young man” a stern talking to. 

The second article is about Abygail Pinette, wife of John Pinette, from Bigfork and how she entertained herself that hunting season.  One of the mighty hunters of that story was a sheriff deputy from Todd County.  I would love to know if anyone in Todd County heard of his hunting story!  Members of the Pinette family say that this story resurfaces in at least one deer camp every year provoking lots of laughs and good cheer.

Here’s Prize Story of Hunting Season ~ Deer River News 11-20-1930

The strangest story of the big game hunting season is being told on a young man of Itasca County, on reliable authority.

A day or so before the big game seasons opened, it is said this young man was traveling near Weller’s Spur, when he saw a fine buck beside the road ahead of him.  One shot brought the animal down, but before the shooter could bleed the deer, a car appeared in the distance.  Fearing detection, the hunter hastily threw the deer into the back seat of the car and pursued his journey.

He had driven but a short distance when the deer revived and began kicking his way out of prison.  One hoof struck the driver in the back of the head, stunning him and causing him to lose control of the car, which crashed into the ditch and turned over.  Mr. Buck kicked his way through the top of the car and disappeared into the swamp.  When the hunter revived, his prize had disappeared, leaving no notice of his destination.

Carry deer on the running board!  They object to cushions!

Hunters, Victim of Practical Joke, Shoot up Ladies High Chairs, Ancient Deer Head ~ Bigfork Times 11-28-1930

Every big game season for many years, Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Pinette have as their guests the Adams of Long Prairie.  This year the party was made up of the following: F.H. Adams, Kenneth Adams, August Stephen, Rolland Knapp and Selie Adams, all of Long Prairie, Jim Adams of St. Cloud, Will Adams of Cass Lake and W. LaRoux of Minneapolis.  Our story concerns only two members of the party, Jimmy and Kenneth Adams.

The first few days of the season the weather was miserable and hunting as not so good.  The deer didn’t seem to be moving in the rainy weather.  No one could get a shot.  Mrs. Pinette, with an eye for business, realized that something must be done, or the Adams would hunt no more at Bigfork.  And too, the guns were getting rusty from the damp weather and lack of exercise.  Some shooting had to be provided somehow.

Then a brilliant thought struck her.  In the garage was a deer head, a thirteen-point buck, salvaged from the pool hall fire two years ago.  To be sure, the hair was singed, and one eye was missing, but it would do.  While the party was out for their morning exercise (that’s all that their wanderings in the brush had netted them so far) Mrs. Pinette and Mary Hollander, who was visiting at the Pinette home, took the scarred and weather-beaten deer head and a high chair and arranged them very artistically in the bushes on the road towards town.  The deer head could not be in too plain sight, or the deception would be instantly noticed so the services of Oscar were solicited to act as guide. 

Mr. Pearson was sent to town on an errand and invited Kenneth Adams to accompany him.  When about a block from the house Oscar, like a true setter froze in his tracks.  (Setters who are set from cars don’t actually freeze in their tracks – they just step on the brakes.)  Kenneth’s eyes followed the direction of the guide’s pointing finger, and he began to shake like a man with the ague.  Here, almost in the yard, was a monster buck and seven of them had scoured the woods for miles and never sighted a flag.

Kenneth shook himself out of the car and started on a dead run for the house.  Dashing breathlessly into the house he gasped, “Buck, buck,” and grabbed the nearest gun and dashed back.  But before he got back James Adams, who is rangier and consequently faster, had overtaken him and both of them arrived on the scene with Jim nose in the lead.  Oscar’s nod and warning gesture assured them that their quarry was still there.  Then the bombardment began.

Bang! Bang! and many more Bangs.  Singed hair was flying! Sawdust, the very lifeblood of mounted deer, was streaming to the ground from innumerable holes!  Splinters were flying from the highchair!  What a slaughter!

But here Oscar broke down and cried.  This was too cruel.  And here Kenneth and Jimmy first realized the deception – but they didn’t cry.  They threw their red caps on the ground and danced on them and swore by all that was good and holy that a special election would have to be called to fill the vacancy caused by the untimely demise of the commissioner of the 2nd district.

So that’s that.  In justice to Kenneth and Jimmy Adams it must be said that their marksmanship was good, and the ruse would have deceived anyone.  And this target practice apparently was just what they needed for both came in the next evening with a buck apiece.  True, they weren’t 13-point bucks, but they had two good eyes apiece and unsinged hair.”

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