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Hunting Dogs

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<SPAN name="C17"></SPAN> <h3>CHAPTER XVII.<br> STILL TRAILERS VS. TONGUERS. MUSIC.</h3> <p>Perhaps no more mooted question enters in for so widely separated opinion as the comparative superiority of the Still Trailing dog and the Tonguers.</p> <p>The still or mute trailer is the deer, rabbit or night dog which does not give tongue on the trail. He keeps his silence, until his game is treed or in sight and about to tree.</p> <p>The tonguer gives forth a joyous and lusty cry as soon as he makes a strike, and continues to do so until the chase terminates. When treed he changes his bark, so that usually the hunter can distinguish between the signals.</p> <p>We shall withhold personal opinion as to the preferable style, and present the arguments of a number of adherents on both sides of the question, allowing the reader to come to his own conclusion.</p> <p>A West Virginia 'coon expert says, in favor of the tonguer: I have had several good 'coon dogs, both tonguers and silent trailers. This is a hilly, brushy country, with lots of deep hollows. The best 'coon dog I ever had was a three-fourths fox hound, one-fourth bull dog. He was very fast with a good nose and a wide hunter. He never struck a cold trail and went straight ahead all the time. He has started a 'coon half a mile away from me and would go right out of hearing of me, and I would follow the way I would judge the 'coon to travel and would be hours finding him barking treed. If he had been a mute trailer I would have left him in the woods without the slightest idea where he was and that is no fun when you have gone three or four miles walk from home to get a 'coon chase.</p> <p>Another brother puts it this way: Some hunters prefer a still trailer on a cold trail. I have handled both kinds but it is an advantage to the hunter in keeping in touch with his hound if the hound will "wind his horn" occasionally on a cold trail for very often a wide hound will travel a couple of miles on a cold trail before starting the game. In windy weather, the hunters might be at a loss to know in which direction his dog was working, if he did not hear him. I like a dog with a loud, clear voice and one that keeps the music going steady once the game is afoot.</p> <p>Still another gives voice to his sentiment thus: I want a good tonguer, one that will give me no trouble in keeping the direction they are going. One that is a courser, that is, that never foots around trying to find every track a 'coon makes, but keeps on finding ahead anywhere from a hundred yards to a quarter of a mile. That kind of a dog keeps you awake when cold trailing, and is apt to warm up at any time.</p> <p>A Western tonguer adherent says: For 'coon I like the cold trailer that lets you know where he is going, and don't believe they will hole any sooner for him than a still trailer, and I never saw a full blooded hound still track. My hounds give a long whoop every few rods on cold trail, and will "back brush" a 'coon or wolf that is many hours old but will find him, and you can follow up so as to keep in hearing. My dogs are quite fast but I do not go back on a moderately slow dog to shoot after. I think they circle better.</p> <p>From Indian Territory comes this addition to the testimony: The thoroughbred hound for 'coon is my view after 40 years' experience. A good many are giving their idea as to which is best, the still trailer or the dog that gives tongue. I have never known a thoroughbred hound fail to give tongue on trail. The thoroughbred has the greatest powers of scent and this is very important as you do not have to travel so much ground to find a trail that he can run. What we want when we go after 'coon is to start and catch all we can. If we cannot start one we cannot catch him, sure. I have followed behind over the same ground with my hound that another party had been over with their still trailers and caught more 'coon than they.</p> <p>And again if you are out on a windy night and your still trailer gets a 'coon treed to the windward of you, you might as well go home as there will be no more fun for you if he is a good tree dog.</p> <p>Now just one thing more in regard to still trailers catching 'coon on the ground. That has not been my experience, for you all know when you go a rabbit hunting with a still trailer, how soon the rabbit will hole. He has no warning where the dog is, so in trailing 'coon, the 'coon will wait and listen to the hound and if he is a fast runner, Mr. 'Coon has waited too long. He must make for the nearest tree or get caught. With the still trailer, the 'coon hears the leaves and brush snapping and without any more warning makes for his home tree.</p> <p>Hundreds of hunters take this view, that is, favor the dog which barks from the time he takes up the trail. The principal advantage as has been pointed out, is that the hound and hunter may thus keep in closer touch, and that the hunter is treated to "music," so sweet to the ear of the average enthusiast.</p> <p>Another considerable following, however, at once take issue and present an array of argument in favor of the dog which keeps his silence.</p> <p>Let us first consider the views of a conservative Pennsylvania brother, in favor of the still trailer: I see a good many 'coon hunters disagree on 'coon dogs, still trailers vs. tongueing dogs. Now in my experience, I have used nearly all kinds of 'coon dogs, some good ones and some not so good. I think the difference is in the kind of country to be hunted, for hunting in a very rough country that is cut up by long hollows and large tracts of timber I prefer a tongueing dog.</p> <p>For hunting in this locality where it is all cut up into small fields with principally all rail fences and timber in small blocks, mostly cut over by lumbermen and nothing left but hollow trees and brush, I prefer a still trailer by long odds, as the noisy dog gives the 'coon warning as soon as he strikes the trail, then Mr. 'Coon takes to the rail fence or a jungle of briers and old tree tops and begins to get busy and is soon in one of those hollow trees, where he is perfectly safe as far as I am concerned, for I never cut down any den trees.</p> <p>The still trailer does his work quietly and is right on to the 'coon before it is aware that the dog is after it. So Mr. 'Coon is obliged to climb whatever kind of a tree there is handy and very often is taken on the ground.</p> <p>From a Central States hunter's letter: I used to be a dear lover of a dog that would bark on trail and raise some of them, but now my choice is a still trailer, as a quiet trailer suits this locality best on account of the thickly populated country and the great amount of stock raised, and a great many farmers claim the constant barking of dogs frightens their sheep. For that reason fox chasing is fast losing its interest and foxes are becoming quite a nuisance in the destruction of quail, pheasant, rabbit and such like game.</p> <p>A brother of conviction on this question writes: It takes patience, perseverance and skill to properly train a hound for 'coon. First, the dog must be silent until he finds the hot scent, so as not to give Mr. Coon time to commence his sunny ways, as the 'coon has a good knowledge box and lots of strings to his bow which he uses to evade Mr. Hound. He will swim down and sometimes up stream and often crosses them. Will never miss a hollow log and comes out at the other end, and will climb leaning trees and leap from them to others and may return to the stream for a good long swim before he will make quietly for his den. This is what an old 'coon will often do with a noisy dog, but with a swift and silent one he will have to climb at once and stay there.</p> <p>Another telling stroke for silence: Regarding silent trailers: By silent trailer I mean a dog that will not tongue the very instant he finds an old trail when there is yet some scent, but that will work it quietly until he starts the game. I have often seen hounds roar on an old scent as well as on a new one. These dogs have generally a special gait, which they keep steady whether the trail is cold or hot, and give the full cry the whole time, and also often come to a full stop to blast away a few louder roars. These dogs dwell too long on the scent for me. My strain of dogs will open only when they are on a hot scent; if cold, they will cover the ground silently and fast.</p> <p>A swift dog cannot keep up the full cry, but will give a roar now and then and not bark often as it takes a lot of wind to roar. Therefore, a dog cannot be a flyer and a roarer in the meantime, and a deer, fox, lynx or 'coon, chased by a fleet and silent dog as above mentioned, will have to point at once for safety, and will have no spare time for tricks. The lynx or 'coon will have to climb in a hurry the first tree he finds, while with a noisy dog Mr. 'Coon will commence with his tricks as soon as he will hear the music, and I maintain and stand ready to prove that a silent trailer as I have described will water more deer in five hours in this country than a noisy one will in five days.</p> <SPAN name="pic164"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/164.jpg" alt="He Was Here a Moment Ago!"><br>"He Was Here a Moment Ago!"</h5> <p class="center">THE MUSIC OF THE HOUND.</p> <p>The term "music" as applied to the barking of trailing hunting dogs, is to the uninitiated a gross misnomer.</p> <p>"Isn't that music grand!" exclaimed an enthusiast afield.</p> <p>"I can hear no music for the noise those dogs are making," replied the other. And so it goes.</p> <p>The hound is the master orator, with a command of language that varies from uncertainty, joy, anxiety, conviction, eagerness with great clearness and truth. His shades of meaning are accurately intonated and perfectly comprehendible to the well versed hunter.</p> <p>The hound is looked upon with disdain by people who know not his capabilities, and is considered in the nature of the dunce of the tribe. Well do the well informed know that he is the most delicately strung and the most highly emotional type we have.</p> <p>Every note that he utters is an expression of emotion. Because emotion is more susceptible to music than any other agency, his code of expression is likened unto notes of music, and with more fidelity than some instrumental sound producers committed in the name of music.</p> <p>A student of this pure and undefiled language says: "Each note represents a particular feeling, and the whole harmoniously blended, tells a simple story in a pleasing way."</p> <p>Now the hound takes up the cold trail. He signals his master &mdash; there are notes of expectancy and hope in the tone. As the scent grows warmer, his tone of hope rises. He makes a loss. Could anything express regret and chagrin any more plainly than his doleful cry? Back on the trail. Then joy again. Then comes the excited, imperative, anxious yet joyous fortissimo scale running when the quarry trees.</p> <SPAN name="pic166"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/166.jpg" alt="Here He Is!"><br>"Here He Is!"</h5> <p>He who has not been schooled in classical music sits bored and alone at the production of an opera, or yawns and wishes he were at home in bed, as the vigorous long haired performer spells out his emotions on the piano key board. So it is that one with no ear for music of the hound is disgusted thruout the sally to the woods at night, or the fields by day. He can dwell upon nothing save the scratches, falls and efforts required, all of which another forgets in fixing his attention on the action and music of the chase.</p> <p>Some hounds are better singers than others, just as is the case with people. Also he must be trained to perform pleasingly and truly. If he is well trained and is certain in his movements it will be reflected in his music. If he is faulty in foot and head work he will also betray these faults in his voice. Anxious to cover his own shortcomings, he takes to guessing and guesses wrong. He becomes a liar, and his singing is like unto the fellow with a cracked voice who insists on singing in the church choir, thereby annoying everybody.</p> <p>An experienced hunter can tell by the song of a hound how capable he is, even if there were not many other ways of fixing values.</p> <p>Bring up a hound under proper training methods, and he is almost certain to prove a rare musician.</p> <p>If you are not versed in music of this kind, you are unfortunate, and should join the fox or 'coon hunters and take a course of lessons. It is well worth while.</p> <hr>
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