MEMORIES OF A COON HUNT OF LONG AGO
By O. H. BERGER
On a still, cold, December night, in 1913, we had planned to take a coon hunt down along the old Colorado river; this coon hunt was planned long before it was ever taken, the parties consisting of Albert Goodmann, Gernard Oncken, Jr., Frank J. Berger, Jr., Matt Haden (a colored fellow) and the author of this hunt.
Now, I will say a little about our coon dogs, of which we had four in the bunch. One, a black and tan bitch of half bull and half cur breed; her name was Fanny, and one of the best that ever went into the woods, hut she has gone to her happy hunting grounds many years ago; another one was Tige, a blue tick dog, of the coon hound and bull breed; another one was Watch, also of black and tan color, and of the cur and bull breed; and last, but not least, was Sport, a blue tick full blooded coon hound, full of pep and ginger, and ready any time to make a coon step high. Now, with this bunch of men and dogs we started east toward the Colorado river, where coon were quite plentiful at that time, but if one goes prospecting for good coon territory, he must go many a mile before he can find some coon track. Now, back to my hunt. Long before we reached the river Fanny opened up on a coon trail, but it did not take her very long to get it going good, for in about five minutes we heard that faint tree bark of Fanny and Sport, and before we could get there the other two dogs were there, too, barking treed up a small elm tree; they were telling it to him, too; believe me, they made some music; the tree had lots of grape vines on it, so it was impossible for us to shine it, it was left to Albert to climb it and knock off what-' ever was up there, so Albert went up and knocked off a No. 1 opossum, and then we had the laugh on Matt about his coon.
Well, we had our first game, so we took another drink and started off, but we walked only about fifty yards when Sport opened up on what was supposed to be one of those sly old coons, but to our surprise we had another opossum in about five minutes; on we went with our game, about thirty minutes, when Fanny opened up and it did not take five minutes and the rest of the dogs were also on the trail, some music, boys? and that coon went, too, let me tell you, so we sat down on a log to await results; we were sitting just as still as though someone had told us to do so, listening to the music those dogs made; it was some music, too, better than "Crazy Blues" on a phonograph. After about one hour of this music, we heard that faint old tree bark of Sport, which no doubt was more than a mile away, so we started to them; when we got there they were barking up a large pecan tree, about four feet in diameter, so it was up to us to shine the game if we wanted it because the tree was too large to climb, but to our sorrow we could not shine it, so we got a pole about twenty feet long and leaned it up against that pecan tree, and then Albert went up to the end of the pole and put the moss to fire and slid back on the pole in a hurry, and just as soon as Albert hit the ground the first coon was there, too, and the fun began, but the fight did not last long as it was four dogs on a twenty-one pound coon, so the fight was soon over. Albert began to shine up the tree some more and located another one. so he shot this one off and it did not leave much fight in him when he hit the ground.
We shouldered our game and went on.
This time we had not long to wait when Watch opened up and bayed a No. 1 star skunk in about three minutes, so we bagged him and went on; this time we went east to the river and followed it for about a half mile when all at once Sport and Fanny opened up together on a hot trail and in about fifteen minutes barked treed. We went to them and all four dogs were telling us just as plain as we could expect them to that the coon was up there, so after trying to shine his eyes and not being successful at it, so there was nothing else to do but to climb it, so Albert climbed the tree and shook out another coon which put up a pretty good fight, but was all over till Albert got off of the tree to see some of the fun, so after bagging this coon we took another drink and started off again in search of more game. We kept on going up along the river and all of a sudden the leader of the bunch (Albert) stopped and asked us to be still and listen, as it seemed to him as though he heard someone calling. So we stood there a while waiting for another call, and sure enough it called again, so we went toward them, and when we got to them it was a gentleman by the name of George Corner, with some more boys with him, so we asked for his trouble, and he said it was a coon up in that tree, pointing toward a huge pecan tree, and then he said that he was out of shells, and wanted to borrow some; Albert gave him five shells, and we all started to shine for that coon, and by gosh! do you know what we saw? Up in that pecan tree we saw six different pairs of coon eyes. Albert and George started to shoot, and Albert had but twenty shells left, and he was pretty well used up by this time, so Albert shot fourteen times and George shot his five and Albert killed only two coons and George only one, and now with three more coons up that tree, and only one more shell, Albert told George to stay all night at that tree, and he would bring more shells in the morning. Albert wanted to keep that one shell which he had left in case the dogs were to tree something on our way home, so we started home, about three miles, with only one shell. We went about two miles when all four dogs opened up on a hot trail and in about twenty minutes the dogs barked treed about one hundred yards from Albert's house, and we had but one shell left, so we said we would try it anyway and if we could not get it we would make Albert go home to get some more shells,
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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