A BEGINNER'S EXPERIENCE IN DOG BUYING AND COON HUNTING
By WM. F. BOONE
1st. I bought a dog for $30, supposed to be a No. 1 Coon dog. Had him two seasons and never had a chase, so I sold him for $25.
2nd. I bought a Red Bone dog for $25. He had mange and ear canker, so I shot him before trying him.
3rd. I bought a pair of — Red Bone — one died at Buffalo and the other arrived and was sick, so I shot that one.
4th. I bought another dog for $45. He would chase skunk, opossum and muskrats, but I never caught a coon with him. Sold him for $30.
5th. I got another pair of pups, one died before he was trained and the other turned out to be A No. 1 dog that would chase opossum and coon but took distemper and died.
6th. I got a dog from Kentucky for $75 guaranteed to be a No. 1 Coon dog, fox and rabbit proof, but chased fox all night so I returned him and got dog No. 7 in exchange, which would not leave my heels after I had given him a trial for 6 months. This dog I returned according to an agreement I had with the man of whom I had bought him and after paying between $19 and $20 express I received the balance of the $75 by check.
Being determined to have a coon dog that would give the required results I sent to a dog dealer in Tennessee, explaining to him the situation and he wrote and told me he could give me just what I wanted, and so I got dog No. 8, a Williams coon hound for $100. 1 had him' over the limited time, but a friend of mine an old coon hunter who went with me and saw the actions of the dog told me to stick to him as he would turn out alright as soon as he would get to know me so that he would have the required confidence in me.
Finally, one Tuesday night in October I was going along the foot of Kopp's Mountain, not over a half a mile from my home, when 1 had one of the great experiences of my life. I was going along the stream as I did a many a time before with the other dogs and was standing watching the actions of the dog, when he came over to the tree under which I stood, and smelling up along the tree he went away, only to repeat the same thing 3 times, when he went back and sat down and looked up along the tree. Taking it for granted that the strange actions of the dog meant a coon or some other fur bearing animal and that the dog was afraid of me so that he refused to bark treed, I came to the conclusion that I would climb the tree and find out. In the hurry and excitement I dropped my carbide lamp into the stream and so I was obliged to tie my dog to the tree and go to the nearest house and get a light. The only thing they could supply me with was a "tallow candle" which I took and went back to hunt my lamp which I found. 1 then loosened the dog and started up the tree again and soon discovered I had treed what afterwards proved to be a 2-lb. baby coon, of the long legged tribe. The new dog which soon showed his qualifications as a coon fighter soon had him killed so I picked him up and went home. This was coon No. 1.
I then took a trip to Perry County in the beginning of November to try a hunt on Raccoon Hill and the Tuscarora Mountain, but it rained every night I was over and so the dogs couldn't trail. We spent some of the time during the day, between showers in rabbit hunting and succeeded in bagging a number of rabbits, squirrel and a measly gray fox. We returned home on Election Day with no success in the Coon business.
Finally 1 decided to try it in the same direction where I had caught the baby coon and so on a Thursday night I started with my new coon dog Ring No. 1 and a year old pup that I had raised—Ring No. 2. I had only gone about 200 yds. above where I had caught the first coon when Ring No. 1 opened up just enough to let me know where he was going and I could tell it was going some and after it went about a mile they barked treed. It went so fast that the coon had no time to select a special tree and when I got there I found that they were barking at a large red oak. I climbed up and soon discovered it to be an old coon. I shot him with a 22 Cal. U. S. Revolver and hitting him in the eye he loosened up, but I struck the ground just about the same time as the coon did. The fight was short and hard, but when Ring No. 1 caught him by the throat it was "Farewell Coon." This was an old female "short legged" and red striped and weighed 19 IBS.
Ring No. 2 now had the required experience, so Saturday night I took both Rings and my Ford and started for Clarks Valley, about 9:30 o'clock arriving there about 10 o'clock P. M. By this time I was deeply interested and so I left the dogs out of the machine to give them a start while I would attend to the machine. I had hardly stopped the engine when I heard Ring No. 1 open up along the cornfield. I hurried to the stream, which was only a short distance and arrived there in time to hear the first fight in the deep hole. Here Mr. Coon got the best of the dogs and got to another hole to meet with the same success. Seeing that the dogs were his masters in the water he took to the Mountain Stoney, but the chase was so close to him that he again turned for the stream, but had to take cover up a small red oak in the thickets. Both dogs barked "Treed," and I proceeded to cut underbrush to give the dogs the benefit of a hard fight. I then climbed the tree and used my 22 Cal. Revolver with good results as it afterwards proved I had hit him in the mouth. He let go of the tree and when he struck the ground the frolic began. Each dog tried hard to get a hold, and after about 10 minutes of fight Ring No. 1 got him by the "throttle" and shut off the steam. I then loaded him on my back, thinking he was dead, but got the surprise of my life when he got awake and started to tickle my back. Being somewhat of a ticklish disposition when it comes to using coon claws for the tickling instrument, I dropped him some what quicker than what 1 had picked him up and of course Ring No. 1 performed his second operation. I could now handle him with perfect safety and so I started for the Ford. This coon weighed 20 Ibs. male, short legged and dark striped the prettiest coon I ever saw.
Being late in the season, and having satisfied myself as to the qualities of my dogs 1 decided to do no more hunting this season. After 7 years of hard work I at last succeeded in getting the dogs I was looking for.
In closing I wish to tell my friends who are interested in this kind of sport that a man can consider himself lucky if he gets a dog that will come up to the standard, without going to a lot of expense and inconvenience as a man who has the goods and who intends to stay in the game will not be likely to part with so faithful a friend as an up-to-date coon dog.
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