Stolen Antlers Returned to Ernest Hemingway’s Family

Hunter S. Thompson has garnered a well-deserved reputation for doing crazy things. He jumped to fame with the publication of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a nonfictional account of a trip to Vegas that laced with drugs of every caliber and almost ending his life several times. Credited as the founder of gonzo journalism, he never disappointed his readers with his writing and storytelling. A recent news article revealed that Thompson did even more shocking things than in Fear and Loathing and his drug-and-alcohol fueled journalism. 

In 1964, as a young journalist, Thompson visited the home of his literary idol Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. His original objective was to investigate what had drawn the author to such a random remote location when he could have lived anywhere. The essay, titled “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum? was later published in the National Observer. During his visit, Thompson stole a pair of elk antlers from Hemingway’s estate, intending to hang them in his garage. Hemingway was a notorious big game hunter, so it quite likely that he killed the elk himself. Anita Thompson, Hunter S. Thomspons’s wife, discussed her late husband’s actions in the same article, stating that he “got caught up in the moment.” She also added, though, that Hunter “had so much respect for Hemingway” and was significantly embarrassed by his choice to steal from him. 

Image courtesy of

Anita also revealed that before her husband’s suicide in 2005, they had planned to return to Ketchum to give back the antlers, but had never found the time to do so. This past month, she made the drive herself and gave the antlers to the Nature Conservancy, a charity group that now owns Hemingway’s old property.  The antlers are currently being shipped to New York City to Sean Hemingway, grandson of Ernest, who works there as a museum curator.

These antlers have been in the homes of two of America’s most famous writers. It certainly seems fitting that they should be in a museum.


Featured image courtesy of