By W. B. CARAWAY
After reading the discussion pro and con regarding the redbone hounds in H-T-T the writer has decided to add a few words with the permission of the editor and hunters, trappers, sportsmen, dog men, etc.
We often see ads of hound merchants reading: "Celebrated Tennessee Redbone coon hounds for sale," in different magazines. Now, the question naturally arises in our mind, like Banquo's ghost, and will not down, why Tennessee redbone hounds? Are the redbones of Tennessee higher blooded than those in Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana or other states? We think not. Or is it because tradition tells us Dr. John Roberts of Tennessee, originated the redbone by crossing certain breeds in an early day or because David Crockett, pioneer hunter with the proverbial coonskin cap hunted with the redbones in Obion county, Tennessee? We wonder if Noah selected the redbone in preference to all others when he was loading the ark with animals and fowls from the four quarters of the earth? The Bible doesn’t say, but one fact put very plainly and is often discussed: Why is the nose of a redbone always cold? Our opinion is that when the animals were crowded into the Ark the dogs (redbones) could not turn around or lie down and thus stood with their heads to the sea, exposed to the rain, wind and flood forty days and nights, hence the coldness of the dog's nose until this day.
The writer has seen and handled a great many hounds the past 25 years and if called on to pick the best all round breed for coon hounds the honor would pass up the redbone and bestow the honor upon the blue ticked or blue spotted hound as the best cooners. We prefer the large breed known in some sections as the American Blue Beagle, large, strong specimens, flat heads and coarse voices, some deep and musical like a steamboat on the Mississippi, miles away but music to one's ears on a cold frosty night. Our next choice would be the native black and tan, Birdsong or Hudopeth; the latter two breeds usually make good tree dogs and real cooners, after they pass five years of age and too slow for fox. Our experience has been with the redbone, the larger this breed the more worthless he is. He gets fat easily, is lazy and will lie around only to be fed and never misses a meal. They are slow trailers for coons, neither are they fast enough for fox or rabbit and not fleet enough for any kind of a race. This applies to the large type redbones which breed is Al fine lookers but that is all I can say for them. As a rule they are not real hunting or varmint dogs.
There is, however, a medium size, dark red colored redbone strain that often prove to be good coonhounds. As to the registration of the redbone and a fancy price asked for such a hound, such does not make him a genuine coonhound. The price never made a fox dog, coon dog or other high class hunting dog. To my mind, it is the training and experience in the woods on real game that counting of course, there are cross breeds that are good coon dogs but we never liked their poor trailing qualities and short choppy barking. We like such dogs for rabbits and squirrels but not for game. Give us the old-style long-eared hounds with deep voice and a bawl on the track. The longer the ears, the louder the bawl so to speak. With apologies to Shakespeare, there is "Much Ado About Nothing" over the redbone, they are the most over-rated breed we know of unless it is the Airedale; these two breeds stand about even for honors (or dishonors) if you prefer it.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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