Heritage, Volume 11, Number 1, Winter 1993 Page: 14
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dog days, and wanted to know where your
hunting buddy was, you would sound your
horn two long blows, and he would answer
you with two long blows. If you wanted him
to come to you, or he wanted you to come
to him, he blew three long blows. Four long
blows indicated that I have shot and wounded
a deer, I'm hollering blood, and I'm agonna
go on with the hounds, so don't
worry about me.
In other words, three long blows meant
"Come to me," two long blows meant both
"Where are you?" and "Here I am," and four
long blows meant "I'm following wounded
Horns were essential for proper conduct
of the deer drive with dogs, the standard
hunting method used for many years in
southeastern Texas. In this traditional hunt,
"standers" were placed at "deer crossings"
across a stretch of countryside, then the
"driver" took the dogs a mile or so away
upwind and loosed them to search for deer,
"jump" them, and run them towards the
standers. The driver tooted his horn from
time to time so the standers could tell his
location and follow the progress of the hunt.
If he failed to jump a deer and wanted to set
up another drive, three long blows from the
driver brought the standers to him or signaled
them to move on to other prearranged stands
for a second drive. If the deer passed the line
of standers too far away for a shot, the
stander who saw it notified the driver with
two long blows.
Another use of the horn in deer hunting
was by two stalkers, moving parallel to each
other several hundred yards apart and out of
sight of each other down both sides of a
slough or creek bottom. When either one of
them jumped a deer on the side toward the
other stalker, he blew his horn as a signal
that the deer was coming. Thus, with the
aid of his horn, each stalker worked as a
driver for the other, and no dogs were necessary.
Finally, in the flat, trackless, heavilytimbered
bottoms it was very easy to get lost,
especially on cloudy or rainy days, so the
blowing horn was also used as a beacon for
hunters to home in on to find their way back
to camp. One person might agree to stay
behind and - beginning at some agreedupon-time
- to blow the horn at regular
intervals so the rest of the party could find
their way in before dark. As Aubrey Cole
told, "I've blown a-many a lost hunter out of
Some very important uses of the blowing
horn had nothing at all to do with
At the end of a hog hunt, the trussed hog is dragged by the hunter from the woods.
A"t 12 o'clockat night, if you heardyour neighbor's
blowing horn blowing three tong blows, he was in
trouble, and all the neighbors rolled out and went to
him. And of course they answered him with two tong
blows to let him know "I heard you and I'm a-coming...
hunting. Rural farmsteads usually were
dispersed across considerable distances,
and the blowing horn was used for communication
between them, to call for
help, and to communicate between home
and field. Once again, Aubrey Cole offered
an excellent account.
Blowing horns was something pretty vital
in the early day, I've heard my daddy talk
about it. A distress call, or come-to-me
call, was just three long blows. Like something
happened in the night, somebody got
bad sick, or your house caught on fire, or
something was wrong. You had to get the
word to your neighbor, and course there
wasn't any way of communicating except
go over there mouth-to-ear or sound this
horn. And at 12 o'clock at night, if you heard
your neighbor's blowing horn blowing three
long blows, he was in trouble, and all the
neighbors rolled out and went to him. And
of course they answered him with two long
blows to let him know 'I heard you, and I'm
a-coming to you.'
14 HERITAGE * WINTER 1993
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 1, Winter 1993, periodical, Winter 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45415/m1/14/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.