By L. HARLOW
I have been a reader of the H-T-T for several years, and as coon hunting is my favorite sport I always enjoy reading the coon hunting stories, and the different breeds of dogs used. I have hunted in several states with lots of different kinds of dogs, and will say that the old Southern coon hound has no equal. Why? Simply because he has been worked on coon and for all tree purposes for generations. I have read several pieces in this magazine concerning the best breed or strain for coon. Some people don't believe there is such a thing as a pure bred coon hound, but they are all wrong. Most of these brother coon hunters, I notice, are north of the Ohio river, where coons are not plentiful in most sections, and the sport not popular enough to cause dogs to be raised and trained exclusively for coon. Most people claim the coon hound is not a recognized breed, and it is true the American Kennel Club does not recognize them as such. This is a mistake, for I believe in the near future he will be recognized as a separate breed, and why should he not be? There are coon dogs here in Alabama and Tennessee that are bred as fine and as true for coons as most of the fox hounds are and more eligible to registration than a lot of fox hounds that I know of that are registered, but the coon hound is coming into his own all over the country.
Wealthy men, and others that once called coon hunting low and degrading, are now hunting coon for sport, and as the larger game becomes more scarce, and the game laws get more strict, there will be still more night hunting. Fur is high, and coon hounds are in great demand. Two-thirds of the fur sold in this district is caught with dogs, very little trapping done here. I would no more think of trying to train a fox hound or a half fox hound for coon, than I would of trying to train a coon hound to run fox. Let the fox hound run the fox, and use the coon hound for all tree purposes, for that is all either is good for. A cross between the coon hound and some of the other breeds sometimes makes a fairly good coon and tree dog but only as the coon hound predominates. You can't depend on pups of this cross making good dogs; they don't breed true.
I believe in using dogs for what they are intended; for crossing a bird dog with a bulldog or a poodle would not make a better bird dog or a better yard dog.
I do not believe in cross breeds, crossing the fox hound with a first class cur dog, some people say makes good coon dogs. I have seen this tried, and know that the cur without the hound cross makes a better coon dog than with it. He is a still trailer either way, and the cur dog, when properly trained, is a good tree barker and a hard fighter, but very few of them make good. The average fox hound hasn't got the grey matter in his head to untangle the cold and tangled trail of old ringtail. We have tree dogs here that will not run fox, they are so correctly bred, have been worked on coon and other fur bearing animals so long, that they are easily trained for all tree purposes. We would not think of trying to make a coon dog out of a fox hound here, nor a fox dog out of a coon hound. The Redbone hound is a conglomerated mixture of breeds. Sometimes one will develop into an extra good coon dog, but seldom. They are usually too slow for either coon or fox but there are good dogs among all breeds, especially if he is used for what he is intended. I have seen bird dogs that would run fox like thunder for a while, but that did not make him a fox dog. I have known shepherd dogs catching fox in a sight race, but that did not make them fox dogs.
I have seen our dogs, collies, fox terriers and all kinds of breeds go clown in the cornfield along the river bottom in late afternoon in July and tree an old mother coon and her family up a gum bush, and that is where most of such dogs get their reputation as coon dogs; but, boys, when it comes to going out into the big bottoms among the fallen timber, the almost impenetrable undergrowth of briars, cane and rotten vines, and acres and acres of standing water, it takes a real coon hound, an everlasting pusher with endurance and gameness to the last breath to put a coon up a tree. I always keep two or three of these grand old fellows around me. I hunt coon for the sport only. I don't go as often as some, 'but when I do I want to bring back something. I have a male and female, Mack and Queen, that money could not buy. We have kennels here in the South, as well as other places that should be run out of business for their crooked dealings. I also know of some that are very honest and reliable. Fox hounds; shepherds, curs, and Airedales sometimes develop into an excuse for a coon dog and will run a hot track, and tree a coon once in a while; but men that keep and feed such dogs never owned or saw a real, honest-to-goodness coon dog
Come on, you Alabamians, I haven't seen anything from you yet know, I know you have many a hair-raising chase under your old hat if you will only tell it. I know you have the dogs and the coons, so come on.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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