By A. W. BINES
A FEW YEARS AGO I owned a liver colored hound and my partner owned a brother to my dog of the same color. The dog that I owned was the best I ever hunted with. He was good for 'coons, skunks, opossums and rabbits in daytime, but would not run them at night, and would run foxes if I would allow it. I have had lots of good chases after foxes with them, but the hunt that I started to write about was as follows:
One night in latter part of November, after supper, I went over to pard's house and we took the dogs and went west in a big tract of timbered land of two or three hundred acres. As it was a good night for 'coons we thought we would hunt mostly for 'coons and hadn't gone far till the dogs struck a hot 'coon track and made the woods ring as they both tongued on the trail. They only ran a short distance till they treed. We hurried to them and found them barking up a good sized beech tree, and we had no gun, only an ax, and wouldn't cut it, as the owner was opposed to that. So I told pard 1 thought I could climb it, and up I went, it not being far to the limbs, and then it was easy climbing. I got about halfway up the tree when I saw the 'coon start out on a long limb that drooped at the outer end towards the ground, and he sure was going some, and I called to pard to look out, he was running out on the lower side, and he ran down in that direction, and called to the dogs, and made so much racket that the dogs didn't hear the 'coon, and it got the start of them and got in a hole in the ground about a hundred yards from the tree. I told pard we would go on and come back that way, and maybe the 'coon would be out by that time.
We got about one-half mile and struck another trail and had some more music, and soon treed, and it was up another beech and was too large for me to climb, as we had no climbers and had to let it go. So we came back past where the 'coon went into a hole, and, sure enough, he was out and the dogs struck the trail hot right at the hole and ran it back across the hollow towards where they started it and treed within about one mile from the hole, and when we got to them they were barking up a large hickory, which was a den tree, and we knew it had a hole well up in the top and called the dogs and started on.
We turned east towards home and hadn't gone far till they struck another trail and soon had it going hot and ran it towards home. We hurried on after them, as it was going our way, and they soon were giving us that coarse bark that we loved to hear, that told us that they had treed again. When we got to them they were treed up a large black gum tree that stood on a short, steep bluff and leaned out over the bluff slightly. Pard asked me if I could climb it. I told him I would try it, provided we could make an agreement, and he asked what it was and I told him that we were neither of us to speak a word from the time I started up the tree till the 'coon hit the ground. Pard said it was a go, so I told him to give me a boost and I got to the upper side of the tree and he gave me a boost and I went after it. It was hard climbing, as the tree was large. I would climb a piece and rest and then climb again, till I finally got to the limbs, and they weren't very close together and it was slow climbing. I had got well up in the top and began to hold pretty tight, as I felt like I was a good ways from the ground and 1 could see pard's lantern far below. It looked like he might be way down in a sink hole. Now I could see ahead of me, where it looked like a short crook and then the top had grown straight up. The top had been broke out and had put out a growth that had grown straight up and wasn't more than eight or ten inches through where it started from the main body, and as I got within about three or four feet of the crook I saw a large, dark object whirl over to the under side of the crook and could hearv it tearing bark as it came down towards my hands, and it looked to me as large as I would imagine a bear would look, and I could feel my hair shoving my hat off; but couldn't hold it on for holding to that tree to keep from falling. As it came closer to my hands, as I was holding them around under the tree, as there was no limbs at that particular place (had there been I think I would have run out on one if the 'coon hadn't), I thought several things in a short time and was a little like a fellow I knew once that drove his team in the creek after dark and the creek was at a high stage and he got thrown off and fast in some part of the wagon and cried for help and a man living close by ran to his rescue and when he got close be could hear him promising the good Lord if he got out he never would go about the waters any more.
That was the way I felt about the tree; I knew what it would be if I let my hold go and hit the ground far below and knew how pard would be disappointed when he found that it was me instead of the 'coon, and knew I couldn't tell him it was me coming instead of the 'coon without breaking our agreement, as we was not to speak a word till the 'coon hit the ground, and I didn't just know what would happen when it ran over my hands. But luckily when it got within about one foot of my hands it seemed to let all holds go and down he went and I felt just like I was recovering from a bad spell of sickness and felt fully as weak, and I never heard such thrashing and slamming through the brush as it made and I wondered if it was a 'coon or a bear and soon heard the dogs and it in a fight and could hear pard yelling and sicking and telling them to go to it and he was making good use of his voice to make up the time he had kept quiet. I could hear a hound bawl out now and then like something was hurting him and could hear something squall like a 'coon that was pinched and when pard's voice lowered a little I hollooed and asked him what in thunder was it. He hollooed back something like this: "It is the darndest, biggest 'coon you ever saw and I believe it will whip both dogs!" So I thought then it might be safe for me to come down and I began to work my way down and when I got down they were still fighting and pard dashing around them with his lantern seeming very much excited, and each doe had a hold of an end of the 'coon and had him stretched out up off the ground and he looked to be three or four feet long the way they had him stretched out, and finally they got him killed. Either one of the dogs would have killed him quicker alone. They would have pinned it to the ground and soon killed it; but it was the biggest 'coon I ever saw. We took it home and skinned it, but didn't weigh it, as we didn't have any scales.
I have taken Fur News for one year and renewed my subscription to-night for another year and like it fine, as it works for the interest of the hunter, trapper and fur buyer. I am 2 fur buyer myself and have hunted and trapped all of my life through the winter season and now am thirty-seven years old and enjoy the spon fine and like to read the stories that the hunters and trappers write for "Fur News."
Harrison County, Indiana.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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