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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Coon hunting

When I was a boy, half a century ago, I recall a group of men who would run dogs at night to hunt coons. Armed with a 22 pistol, and a kerosene lamp they would trudge threw the low lying areas chasing the dogs till they "Run em up a littlen"(tree the coon up a small tree) at which time they would harvest the coon. After many hours and usually seeing the rising sun these men would get on home and do their chores, after taking care of the dogs of course. That evening they would feast on a dinner of roasted coon, turnips with greens, sweet potatoes, and maybe a thick wet corn bread cooked in a skillet, with fresh butter and honey. Back then few of the best dogs had papers, and questionable pedigrees at best, but the ones who had them knew their dogs. Soon local areas had dogs of great value, whose ability to run coon, sound off, and tree a coon were known far and wide.. A hunter knew his dogs by their "Note" or the sound of their bark or bay, knew when they were trailing, or treeing, knew when they were searching for the coon and when they had the scent. With today's mass communication the reputation of a dog can be known far and wide, and his or her pups be a valuable source of income for the owner. By the same token dogs not bred for the hunt but for their look, may distract a person from purchasing a dog that they want to hunt or to be a pet. A dog bred for the hunt will want to run for hours at night around the neighborhood, and the neighbors cat will catch hell on a regular basis. Also one bred for looks mat not have the intense desire to hunt or the nose for hunting like hunting stock, but will be a better pet.
Not many are left today in this area that enjoy a night listening to their dogs run and a good coon dinner the next night. A good friend of mine Bill Jackson of Delmar was just such a man and I had the privilege of knowing and learning from him the finer points of steel fabrication, but also how to skin and cook a coon. There is a coon club in Powelville I think that hunts with mules and dogs. if anyone knows of another club or good running dog let us know.

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