A RHODE ISLAND RACCOON HUNT
I have been a constant reader of the H-T-T for the past six years but have noticed no coon hunting article from Little Rhody. I will now try to describe a coon hunt, which took place on Thanksgiving night of 1919, in the town of Smithfield about 8 miles from Providence. Our party included Floyd Mowry, Charles Drew, Bill Cole, my brother Alston, my father and the writer.
We left our house at about 8 o'clock and upon arriving at the place we intended to hunt parked our machine in a wood road and turned loose our two coon hounds. Lead, the faithful, our old coon hound, tried and true, and Joe, a new dog that was on trial. After being bothered a few minutes the trail led straight away and soon was out of hearing. After several minutes walking upon reaching the top of a wooded hill we heard them hitting on all six in a big swamp some distance to the east. On we went again and upon reaching the edge of the swamp we knew by the baying of the hounds and the snarling and growling of a coon that old Mr. Ringtail had been caught in the water and was putting up a grand fight for his life. Everybody started on the run to get in on the fun before it was all over. It proved to be one of the worst swamps I was ever in and all hands were to trouble for the water and mud way up to our hips. Some of the boys in their excitement forgot to pull up their hip rubber boots. After fighting our way through for several hundred yards we arrived upon the scene of battle soaking wet to our waists. We then found there had been two coons running together. One had been crippled but had managed to get up a swamp maple about twenty feet from the ground. The other had gone on. About the time we reached the tree the dogs went on after the other coon, leaving us with a big coon treed and no dogs, with water and mud nearly up to our hips. My Uncle Charlie discovered that he had only some shells loaded with birdshot. We finally decided to give the coon one of these and take chances of killing him ourselves when he struck the water. The shot hardly went through his pelt and he came down as mad a coon as you ever saw. He struck directly in front of my father and the fun began. Dad grabbed him by the back and about the same time the coon took him through the wrist and down they both went in the icy water, one doing about as much squealing as the other. Uncle Charlie jumped on the coon and stamped him under the water. It was several minutes before he would let go of Dad's wrist so he could get up. After tying his legs together so we could carry him we then proceeded to find our way out of the swamp. At last we succeeded upon reaching high ground and upon listening for our dogs could not hear them. So decided to start in the direction they had gone and found after walking a long distance that the other coon had fled. We finally reached the machine, a cold and wet crowd, but light-hearted, as all real coon hunters after a successful hunt.
If this article finds its way into the pages of the good old H-T-T perhaps I will come again with some more hunts I have taken part in. I am thirteen years old and have been hunting coons with Dad and the boys since I was eight and think it is the greatest sport on earth.
Edwin F. Drew,
Providence, R. I.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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