Bagging a Hornets' Nest Souvenir

News & Tips: Bagging a Hornets' Nest Souvenir

HornetsNest blogI hate wasp, yellow jackets and hornets. As a kid I can't tell you how many times I got drilled by a swarm of yellow jackets or red wasps. Close to a half dozen times they've stung me in the head 4-6 times and my eyes would nearly swell shut. I imagine that's what prompted a lifelong battle between us.

But with the above said, I do periodically discover a cool nest while out hunting. I remember one year while elk hunting up by Sage Hen Reservoir in Idaho I bet I found four hornet nests with the majority of them being in small sagebrush sized bushes.

One afternoon I pulled up to a trailhead and parked my four-wheeler and hiked up to the top of a mountain. When I parked I had noticed a hornets' nest by where I parked. It was warm and they were active so I left them alone. I hiked back to the trailhead well after dark and saw the nest again.

Hmmm — it was dark and had gotten cold. Maybe I could get that nest now. I had a big plastic bag at the four-wheeler. I got it and by the light of the four-wheeler I slipped it over the nest and broke off the branch that it was attached to and tied a knot in the bag.

I got up well before daylight the next morning and took off hunting again. I came back to camp around noon and whipped up breakfast. As I was lounging around camp I noticed one of the four bags had a swarm of hornets buzzing around inside the bag.

I guess one nest hadn't been empty after all. I don't remember now but I either sprayed something in the bag to kill them or hooked the bag onto the exhaust of my four-wheeler. Be careful or you will have the old proverbial "Madder than a wet hornet" situation on your hands.

I think that hornets' nests can make a cool addition to your cabin or hunting room. It always amazes me. If you cut one down it's semi hard to get it home without damaging it and yet they hold up fine to being in a tree and surviving the wind, rain and other elements.

I was up elk hunting just a few days ago and got a nice one. I was coasting up a trail to find a place to hunt and just happened to see one up in a tree. If you want to get one, it's best — or rather I should say safest — to get an empty one. Throw a stick at the tree to see if any come out. Don't hit the nest or you'll harm it.

The nest in the above picture is a nice sized one but I've seen a couple that were probably 30-36 inches long. One time there was a huge one in a barn and another time we were having a church picnic in a park in Boise. Jack Sweet looked up in a super big tree and spotted a hornets' nest in top. I bet it was close to 30 inches long.

If you want to hang up your trophy to add to the decor in your cabin you need to do something to protect/preserve your nest. You can try a couple of different options. Some people spray the nest with hairspray. This will help stiffen it up and protect it. You can also use some kind of spray varnish.

You'll want to set it up so people don't poke and prod it or they'll damage it over time.  I think it's cool to have one strategically located amid your old bottles and other mountain treasures that you have on display.