A VERMONT 'COON HUNT
I will endeavor to give a description of two of my hunting dogs in the accompanying picture and a hunt I had with them one night last November. Rock, the dog on the left, is one of my fox hounds I bought in Tennessee, and he is three-quarter Redbone and one-quarter Walker. I won first prize with him at the Boston dog show, 1915, in the largest class of fox hounds they ever had. I did not know he would look at a 'coon until two years ago in the late fall I had him out hunting and heard him barking a long way off, stationary. As soon as I could get to where he was I found he had four 'coons in a brush heap. After some lively work, my friend and I killed all four. Since then I have taken him on most of my 'coon hunts and nothing pleases him more. He is not a finished 'coon dog by any means, for I have to lead him most of the time, or he would jump a fox. When my 'coon dog strikes a track I slip Rock's leash and he immediately packs in with him and I tell you there is music, for his voice is the best I ever heard. At the tree he is great and is always on the spot where a 'coon is dropped down.
"Wailer," the black and tan dog on the right, is also from the South, was bred to hunt 'coon and has always been used on them. He is a busy worker, a great ranger and hard to beat at the tree. In Vermont we are handicapped in 'coon hunting, for the law is not off until October 20, and from that time on we are very likely to have windy nights and very little dew, consequently it is almost impossible for a dog to follow the scent.
One night of the above description three friends and I started out in an auto to try our luck. We drove out of town about five miles and stopped the car at the side of the woods. Before I could stop him "Wailer" jumped out and went into the woods on our left. I tried to call him back, but could not, and before we were ready to leave the auto he had a track and was barking. I thought we would be likely to find the 'coon in some hard timber on the right, so took Rock with me that way. I let him loose a little ways before I entered the woods and in a very short time he barked treed. When we got to him we could see two 'coon up a large maple. In looking around one of my friends discovered another 'coon in a tree about ten rods away and as the limbs were rather low Oliver fastened on the climbers and started up the tree to shoot them with a revolver. By this time the 'coon dog had come in on the track. The first 'coon came down quite easy and the dogs had him as soon as he struck the ground. It took several shots to bring down the second 'coon and he landed full of fight. He got into some thick firs, which made it hard for the dogs. At the height of the mix-up Oliver hollered that the third 'coon had jumped at least fifty feet to the ground. As soon as we were at liberty we took the dogs and they struck his track at once and were off like the wind. There was as good barking as I ever heard. The 'coon headed for the auto, crossing the road a little above and went into the fir woods on the left. Ray was carrying the second, when he seemed to find one of his several lives and tried to grab Ray's leg. We were delayed ať little in taking care of him. Then we hurried after the dogs as fast as we could and had not gone far when both dogs barked up. We found the 'coon in a very thick place up a medium sized but tall spruce. I had with me a friend from Massachusetts, an excellent shot, who was up bird shooting and he was given a try at the 'coon from the ground. One man stood back of him with the large electric searchlight and threw it along the gun barrel. Luther landed the 'coon the first shot. I was under the tree with the dogs and it was so thick I could not see up more than ten feet. After the shot I heard some one say, "He's coming," and the next thing the 'coon landed on my shoulder, slid off and the dogs had him. There was a sharp fight, but not very long. We took the 'coons to the auto and drove further up into the hills. We were now 2,000 feet above sea level and the wind was blowing hard. This was a good 'coon country, but dry as a bone, so the dogs could not work out a track. It was early; but we decided the very thing to do was to go home.
Julian Clarke Hood.
Orange County, Vermont.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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