Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

[Sandy Griswold?]. October 15, 1911. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 47(3): 3-M. Includes five pictures. Obvious typographic errors corrected.

Scenes of an Omaha Shooting Party's Outing in the Sandhills --- A Woman's Sport

Golf, tennis, automobiling, cross country hikes, anything of that kind may be very enjoyable to the average woman, but there are a few in Omaha who think that no sport or amusement can compare with a good hunting trip. Oh they don't want a little jaunt out into the suburbs of the city to shoot sparrows or mudhens, but a genuine two weeks' trip, living in tents, roaming over the hills, gun in hand, with plenty of roughing it, and enough game to keep up the excitement.

Mrs. W.A. Pixley is one of those who thinks that it is the best, healthiest "sport" going. She has been going out every year now for several years, and a grouse that flies up in front of her gun is mighty unlucky if he hasn't got a big life insurance policy, so that his family will be provided for. There aren't many of them that get away if she has a good shot at them, and when Mr. Pixley is with her, if he doesn't shoot fast, he doesn't get a chance at all.

In September a party consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Pixley, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hamilton and Jarvis and Casper Offut went on a hunting trip. They went to Hyannis, and there a small cavalcade was organized, the party taking along a cook, drivers and another man. They drove sixteen miles into a lake region, and there camped. Six tents were pitched and there, with a most complete "headquarters," the hunting was begun.

Out of Doors the Best.

"Oh, I think this the finest kind of sport," said Mrs. Pixley, after returning to Omaha. "We were there two weeks, and that wasn't long enough. There is so much excitement to it, and it is so healthy being in the open, and tramping across the country. Then we had a fine cook, so that when we came in tired we had the most delicious meals.

"I have been out hunting several times now, and I don't think there is any other 'sport" that compares with it.

"How many birds did I kill? Oh, I couldn't tell just how many," but she laughed in a manner that indicated that she got a good sized "bag."

"We shot chicken, grouse and ducks. Every morning early we all used to go out shooting chicken and grouse. Then in the afternoon we would go to a 'pass' between two lakes, and shoot the ducks as they were flying from one to the other.

"Could I hit them on the wing? Why, I never have shot a grouse on the ground! The first time that I went out I wanted to, but Mr. Pixley would not let me. 'You are after the sport more than you are the game,' he said. So that all that I have killed, I have shot on the wing.

I like grouse or chicken shooting better than duck shooting. When we went to shoot ducks we could see them coming and would be all ready, and though of course they were flying so fast that it took some skill to hit them, and so furnished some excitement, yet it is quite different from grouse shooting.

"When you are hunting grouse, they get up with such a noise-Oh, a sort of roaring, whirring noise. Even though you are expecting it it always startles you, and then you have to shoot so quickly. There is a great deal of excitement and pleasure in that.

"The rest of the party came in a couple of days earlier than Mr. Pixley and I. After they had left we went out shooting, one morning. Pretty soon a grouse arose, and I shot it. Then another flew up, and shot it. Then another flew up, and I shot it. Then a third, and I got it. We didn't see any more that morning, and Mr. Pixley didn't get a chance at all, but I had the three all right.

"We had fine dogs, seven of them, including our champion, Captain Whitestone, and Mr. Hamilton's fine English setter, Rockland.

"It was interesting to see Captain Whitestone work. The other dogs we could follow on foot, but Mr. Pixley had to follow him on horseback, and he had to gallop most of the time. Captain Whitestone, you know, is a field trial dog. He could cover so much ground, such a broad space, and do it so rapidly.

"Mr. Pixley would follow him on horseback, and when the dog found some birds he would ride back to a hilltop, or where we could see him, and motion us on, or whistle to us. Captain Whitestone would hold them until we got up to him, and then we would get a shot at them.

"We saw quite a few coyotes while we were there, but never while we had a rifle along. When we were hunting, of course, we had the shotguns, so didn't have a rifle. It is pretty hard to kill a coyote with a shotgun. Mr. Hamilton got a shot at one, on one occasion, and hit the coyote all right. It turned a complete somersault, but when it 'landed' it was on its feet and running like the wind.

"Jarvis and Casper Offut took the rifle and went out hunting for coyotes one day, but they did not see any on that trip.

"Mr. Pixley has gone back there again, to hunt."

"Well, I am just crazy about it," was the enthusiastic endorsement given to hunting by Mrs. Fred Hamilton. "This was the first time that I had ever been out after game. I had never even fired a shotgun before.

"I killed quite a few birds. You know, at first the birds frightened me so that I couldn't shoot any. When the chicken or grouse would rise they would make such a noise that it startled me.

"The first bird that I killed was a shitepoke. After that, though, I got more used to shooting the gun, and to the way that the birds rose, and killed grouse, chicken and ducks.

"Of course, this was only my first trip, but I will do better next time. Yes, indeed, I will go again-at least I am very anxious to. The one trip was enough to make me enthusiastic over it."

Other members of the party said that although Mrs. Hamilton had to be introduced to the gun and the boards at first, it did not take her long to become so well acquainted with them that in a few days she had the gun "speaking" in the most easy and effective manner, its remarks carrying considerable weight with the birds.

There was never any lack of game at the meals, because all of the members of the party were able to bag their share of the birds.

The accompanying set of photographs represent different scenes at the Hamilton and Pixley hunting camp out on the ranch of G.M. Gentry, north of Hyannis. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hamilton, Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Pixley, the two Offult boys and M.C. Peters and son comprised the party, which put in the first two weeks of the present season with the ducks and grouse.

The group of dogs represents the best English setter strain in America, headed by Pixley's champion, Captain Whitestone, and Hamilton's peerless Rockland. On the right is the camp, with the full party, in addition to the rotund host, Mr. Gentry himself, drawn up in dress array for the Pixley camera.

Another view is of the caravan enroute to the sandhills. Mrs. Pixley, her birds and Captain Whitestone, form another interesting picture. Mrs. Pixley is probably the best woman field shot in the state, if not in the west. She has had much field experience with her husband, and has cut down the whizzing quail, the zigzagging jacksnipe, and meteoric teal with a skill that many an old field shot might well be envious.

Mrs. Fred Hamilton is shown with "Rockland" and her first kill of chicken. Mrs. Hamilton also shoots, and for a young woman of limited experience shoots well. She is an apt student and may at no distant future make her husband take a backseat with the hammerless.

  • Picture captions:
  • Mrs. Will Pixley and the great Whitestone.
  • Mrs. Fred Hamilton and the celebrated Rockland.
  • Camp Cupidonia on the Gentry ranch.
  • Enroute to the hills.
  • America's greatest group of settlers.