Photo and Story by Rick Hiduk
Capt. Bill stands near a Posted sign in Wyoming County with his flock of 75 flamingos. The unusual contingent is guarding a property line to dissuade persistent hunters.
Motorists traveling a certain dirt road in western Wyoming County have thrown second and third glances into the woods recently at what appears to be a large flock of flamingos walking along with a tall man. The pink plastic birds and a full-sized manikin have become more clearly visible since the leaves have fallen but have in fact been a regular feature in a property line dispute since Oct. 4.
Two days before the start of archery season, the owners of the decorative items and the land on which they now sit, discovered a tree stand erected about 15 feet off their property line but clearly set up with intentions of hunting their property. A nearby resident who had been told multiple times that he could not hunt on the property was the prime suspect. The land had been purchased from a longtime inhabitant two years ago in large part as an investment toward hunting and living off the land.
It was subsequently discovered that the owner of a one-and-a-half-acre parcel of land between the posted property and the road had indeed granted the hunter permission to hunt on his land and to erect the tree stand. Given his perspective from New Mexico, the parcel owner was likely unaware of the hunter’s true intentions.
Unable to have the tree stand removed to a position that would redirect the view to the land on which permission for hunting had been given, the owners of the woods of which the hunter had provided himself such a good view developed a strategy that would eventually solve the problem though not the issue.
Just before dusk on Oct. 4, they carried several large bags of flamingos into the woods and to the edge of their property at the base of the tree stand. Using the unwanted tree stand as a focal point, the flamingos were staked into the ground in a wide arc, each facing the stand. A male manikin named Bill was festooned with redneck garb and strapped to a tree also facing the would-be hunter. That evening, in a heavy rain, the flock of flamingos grew to number about 75, with Capt. Bill front and center, a sign at his feet stating in block letters “You’ve Been Flocked.”
The next morning, another resident in the vicinity reported hearing a call on the scanner indicating that police presence had been requested at the flocking site. The hunter, who was named in the radioed request, was claiming “harassment of hunter’s rights.”
In the days following the decorating of the woods, the landowners were the recipients of multiple two-finger salutes while they made subtle changes to the display to demonstrate their continued activity and focus on that corner of their property. On Oct. 8, they discovered that Bill’s pants had been undone and lay at his ankles. The hunter and a buddy were seen earlier that day walking out of the woods with a camera, and they later bragged about it to neighbors. A sarcastic note was attached to Bill’s waist one day, each of these instances a clear case of simple trespass and criminal mischief.
On Oct. 19, the landowner was squirrel hunting and walking up a trail toward the area of dispute. The unwanted hunter was approaching from the opposite direction and the two met at the borderline, each with a gun in hand. The men shook hands and engaged in a civil yet fruitless conversation and walked away from each other, neither of them swayed from their convictions.
Just three weeks short of the first day of regular rifle season, the empty tree stand remains in place, facing a 6-foot three-inch manikin still leading an advancing line of angry flamingos – some wearing leis – bearing down on the border and ready to pounce. Bill currently sports instructions as to how to reach the landowners in the event that a wounded deer walks on to their property and needs to be tracked as per PA Game law.
The landowners have indicated that the flamingo brigade will stay in place and continue to evolve until the landowners have first culled the deer that they need from their property.