This field trial poster surfaced recently and sent me on a search to learn something about field trials and such. My knowledge of coon hunting and field trials was limited to taking job printing orders for advertising flyers for such events when The Enterprise had a job printing business as well as the newspaper operation.
BILL FARSON was my first source, it was a good one. He'd been a coon hunter for years and was an early organizer of Wharton's Sportsman Club.
COON HUNTING became a popular and profitable sport, in the late 1940s. According to Farson, game protector Henry Richards brought a great number of coons from northern Ohio to distribute in this area which had practically no coons. The coons were distributed throughout the area, and in time the population increased. A county coon hunters group, centered in St. Clairsville, was formed. In a few years, when all the one-room school were being sold, a group of Barnesville coon hunters borrowed the money to buy the Wharton school and turned it into Wharton's Sportsman Club. A few years later, Houston Watt told them he was going to sell his cabin etc. and offered it to them. They sold the former Wharton school and bought the Watt property west of town for their new meeting place. They also added a large room for social events.
THIS 1946 snapshot shows four avid coon hunters with hounds and their 80 coon skins, barely visible, hanging on the wall behind them. From left, are: Banty Anshutz, "Doc" _______Lynn, Bill Farson and Willis Broomhall.
EARLY MEMBERS of Wharton's Sportsman Club included Bill and Willis Broomhall, Banty Anshutz, "Doc" ______Lynn, Raymond West, Sam Shuman, Sr., Floyd Wilcox, Bill Farson, and Kenny Moore. In those days, hunters got a decent price for hides, but no more.
THE CLUB grew and changed through the years. Dances, card games, bingo, shooting ranges, fox hunts, turkey shoots and field trials were enjoyed.
THE ONCE-popular hunting sports have faded; there are no "gun" members now, but changes are coming when Todd Lynn succeeds in his efforts at revitalization.
COON HUNTING is still carried on by a few avid hunters like Billy Crawford and Jim Mayhugh. Field trials are the main attraction for Cliff Butler and Bill Arick. Arick got into this some 60 years ago along with his dad, Henry Arick, Randall Long and Jack Cranston. Cliff says he and Bill attend about 30 field trials a year throughout Ohio and surrounding states. Prizes are a lot greater than those shown in the flyer pictured above.