Racoon Hunting in Missouri
By C.O. Allen
There is nothing so melodious to my ears as to hear Old Tom or Buck say, here he is, come on and get him for us. Speaking of Tom and Buck that is our dogs names and I won't say they are two of the best dogs ever lived either, for they are not, but still they are good.
We have treed sixteen coon this fall with them and that is good in this part of the country for they are scarce here, but will say they have the best mouths I have ever heard and I have hunted with a good many.
I will call this the prelude to my coon hunt I intend to tell you about, as this is my first attempt of reproducing a coon hunt on paper, it is likely to be lacking in several respects.
It was on the 5th of December 1918, and that afternoon Dr. C. B. Harrison, my hunting partner, called up No. 17. Going to the phone saying hello, he asked, is this you, Curt? How would you like to take a little ankle excursion tonight and pet in communication with some ringtail? My answer was o. k. Alright, says Doc, be ready and I will call around at your shop after supper.
Now, you old coon hunters all know how a fellow feels just prior to a hunt. It affected me so that I got out my carbide light, which is about six times as large as an ordinary miner's light, I believe they call it a Frog Hunting Light, it sends out a good, strong light and I find it to be excellent for shining eyes and not at all unhandy to carry around, and after cleaning it up, find my carbide can a little low, so I go and purchase a jitney's worth which is plenty for an all night hunt. I shook my hunting clothes free from the large particles of dirt that got on them during my last hunt and then sat back wondering what else I could do to make ready for the greatest of my enjoyments.
Eight o'clock finally arrived, so did Doc, and immediately the argument started as to which way we were going. Doc being partial to the hill, won, so we loaded old Tom and Buck in the car and started for the hills, after about three miles drive we stopped the car under a leafy oak by the side of road and started up Keener Creek. After about one half mile of walking, Buck bawled out, I have heard of dogs shaking off acorns, but old Buck when he barked he almost shook the corn off the stalks. He has the loudest mouth I have ever heard on a dog. He hadn't been trailing over two minutes when Tom opened up and up the creek they went. We were sure it was a coon as it stayed in the creek bed, all the way and after trailing it for at least one-half mile, old Tom said, here it is. Doc started on one of those beelines of his and me being bothered with obesity, of course was always behind, as usual. After being fixed for the big fight Doc shined his eyes and upon close examination found it to be nothing but a big, old grinny opossum. Fooled, I said: never mind, said Doc, we are starting out good, we are just a little superstitious hunting and always make it a point to bag the first thing the dog start, so up the creek we went and it wasn't long until Buck opened up again and this time it proved to be an old Mr. Coon. They trailed him for about one hour and treed him up a big elm. It seems in this part of the country coons are partial to big elms. After about one-half hour of hard climbing and punching, we got him out and the fight was on, and oh, boy, t some fight we had, only coon hunters can imagine.
This put us up the creek a ways so we decided to cross over the hills and come down Fishing River and on the way over treed another opossum and bagged a skunk which delayed us some time, as it made the dogs awfully sick; maybe some day they will learn better and not have anything to do with those sweet smelling varmints.
We hadn't been on the river five minutes - until they had another trail started which •I - proved to be a wise one, of all the rounds of tapping of trees, I believe he was the worst one I have ever seen and after two and one half hours of that sweet and melodious music they finally sung the chorus to the tune of Home Sweet Home. Of course, he was up a tall tree so we used our .22 on him. This satisfied us so we started, for our car. On the way they started another trail, it didn't lair long for they soon bushed him, "another opossum."
When we got home the eastern horizon hat' begun to fade to a light gray. Tired and hungry, we turned in for a little sleep and it wasn't long until my alarm clock began to ring at the 7:30 mark and just then I wished Doc hadn't thought of going for a hunt, but • the next night was ready to go for another round. You all know how that is.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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