Saturday, May 9, 2009


The neighbor that lived one mile north of us had a coon hound.  His name was Wheeler. I believe he was what you call a black and tan, anyway that was his colors.   I didn't really know this man very well even though he was only a mile from us because he was in another township and the mail and telephone and schools were different than ours.  But sometimes he would be driving by our school at recess and he would stop and talk with us.  He always had a gun or two with him and had a hunting story to tell us. And he liked to tell dirty stories to us boys so we got to know him better because we were always interested in his stories, especially the off colored ones.  

One time he asked me if I wanted to go coon hunting with him that night?   I said yes.  I think I was 8 or 9 and I had never been coon hunting before so I didn't know what to expect.  It was quite an experience.   It was scary for me and he made it worse by telling scary stories that he was making up. It was cold and dark and after a half hour I wanted to go home but I didn't tell him.   That night I learned to tell the different cry of a coon dog when they are tracking a coon or rabbit or the opossum.  The cry is a distinct sound, when they tree a coon they really come alive.

Pipe creek runs through our land so we would hunt it often.   The neighbor to the east of us had some land that joined ours that made one mile of creek to hunt.   In his field he had a drain that drained the water from his land.   It was a 10 or 12 inch clay tile that dumped in the creek.   The smart coons would run into the tile.  It had two openings in the field and they would get in the tile and the dog couldn't get them.    One night we put buckets in the openings before we started so they couldn't get in the tile.    Old Wheeler started chasing a coon and soon we heard the old coon  hit the buckets so we got some of the smart coons that night.   One time when hunters from a northern town was hunting by the tile they had a small dog and it got caught in the tile and they finally had to dig the tile up to get him out.   

In later years my brother LaRoy hunted with Lester more than I did.   I remember one night all three of us were hunting on Briggs' place.  We just turned old Wheeler loose and most of the time we would wait for Wheeler to get his running around done before we started walking but tonight we were still getting our lights and coats on when Wheeler opened up a hot trail and a short time later  he treed.   So we took off to see what he had treed.  When we got there we were surprised there were 5 coons in one tree.    So Lester shot them out of the tree.   He said it was a family. We forgot to bring a sack so we put four on the dog chain and I put it over my shoulder, two in front and two in the back, and LaRoy carried the other one.    Lester said we will hunt a little more and as we were walking things were crawling all over me and driving me nuts so I headed back to the pickup.   When I got there I was covered with fleas I had to take my clothes off to get rid of them.  That was the last time I went coon hunting.

In those days the fur of the animals were worth a lot of money so coon hunters would skin them and sell the pelts of coons, possums, and sometimes, skunks.  If the dog cornered a skunk and got sprayed that was the end of the coon hunting for that night because the dog couldn't pick up the scent of a coon after he got sprayed. 

One thing that I really liked about coon hunting was looking at the heavens, all the stars and different lights in the sky, the night life you hear and see, owls, skunks, birds, farm animals and other sounds that made you wonder what kind of animal that was!  It was a whole new world. Fleas to you!!

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