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Hunting Dogs

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<SPAN name="C25"></SPAN> <h3>CHAPTER XXV.<br> A FARMER HUNTER &mdash; HIS VIEWS.</h3> <p>I am a farmer by trade and a raccoon hunter for sport, and nothing but a fox hound for me, and the better his breeding is the better I like it. I don't care how much noise he makes if he is fast. I like a good tonguer. I only have four hounds at this writing. I have caught 27 'coon and 10 opossum. On the night of November 9th, some friends of mine went out 'coon hunting with me. They had three 'coon dogs and I had four, seven hounds in all. We went about two miles south of where I live to where we sometimes hunt the 'coon. The first thing when we got there the dogs struck a trail and treed on top of a hill with an old coal entry just below it.</p> <p>We got up to the tree all right and could hear one of the dogs barking "treed" about one-half mile south, so I left the boys to attend to that tree and I went to the lone hound. He was barking up a large black oak in the corn field. I soon spied an eye up the tree and shot him out and down came Mr. 'Coon. I looked up in the tree again and saw two eyes. The little 20-gauge spoke again and down came 'coon No. 2. The other fellows did not have such good luck, as their coon got into the coal entry.</p> <p>We then started on and the dogs caught another trail and gave us some music for about twenty minutes. When they barked treed we went over to them and there were six of the dogs barking up a bushy oak and the lone dog was barking about eighty rods west of there. One of the boys started up the tree and got only part way up when out jumps Mr. 'Coon. The dogs all went for him and out comes another 'coon and into the corn field he went just about at the top of his speed, and I guess he had no slow orders either by the way he was going the last time I saw him. We got a couple of the dogs after the runaway 'coon but he made a hole, so we then went to the lone dog and he had one up. We got that and started west. We had not gone far when the dogs struck another trail and they circled to the northwest of us, came around west and south and turned east. Just across the hollow from us was a large tree that Mr. 'Coon was trying to make but he couldn't get speed enough to make it, so the dogs caught him as he got to the bottom of the tree.</p> <p>The lone dog was with them on that chase. We left our 'coon at a farmer's and started on. The dogs struck another trail and that 'coon got into a hole and he was safe, so we ate our lunch, rested a little while and started on west. The dogs hit another trail and went south about a mile and barked but not treed. We went to them and they had run this 'coon into a shallow hole in the corn field. We tried to get one of the dogs to pull him out but the 'coon got first hold every time, so we got a stick and dug in a little ways. We could then see Mr. 'Coon's eyes down in the hole. We sent three dogs in after him but they came out without him.</p> <p>I had an old speckled hound we called Teddy. He went in and when he backed out he had company with him, and he seemed to think a great deal of his company, for he was hanging right on to him just as though he thought his company might leave him if he got a chance. Ted was doing all he could, but he got him up so the other dogs could see Mr. 'Coon's back and then he had plenty of help and the 'coon's troubles were soon over.</p> <p>We then started northwest. The dogs were working a trail and they were puzzled on it; did not seem able to get away. There were a black oak and hazel bush where we were then, so we sat down to let the dogs work it out if they could. We were sitting within 10 feet of an oak tree, the lone dog came up, circles the tree and barks up, then three of the other dogs come up and start to bark. One of the boys says there might be a 'coon up that tree but I doubt it. Well, I said, when four good 'coon dogs bark up a tree at the same time, there is liable to be something up there, so up went one of the boys and down came Mr. 'Coon. We got him and the dogs were not long in starting another trail.</p> <p>They started south but it was a cold one, but they struck right after Mr. 'Coon, and I guess they must have taken us a mile and a half on that trail to another patch of timber, and we were about a half a mile behind them when they barked treed. They had Mr. 'Coon up a tall red oak. We shot him out and soon had another trail going. They took this one south, and it was a warm one, right out into a corn field, and they caught him on the ground. We could hear the fracas and went to them as quick as possible, but we were not quick enough for they had killed Mr. 'Coon and we met them coming back. We went to where we thought they were when they caught the 'coon but we did not find the right place for we did not find that coon.</p> <p>The dogs soon had another trail going and gave us some fine music for a little while and barked treed. We went to them and they had two 'coons up. We shot them out, and they soon had another one going south. It was getting pretty frosty about that time and they worked that trail about one hour south and west. We followed their music and they barked treed. We shot him out. That makes eleven 'coon and one killed in the field that we could not find. Now there may be some of the trappers that will think I have added a few 'coon to this hunt, but I have not. I have given you this 'coon hunt as near as it happened as I can remember, but we had seven as good 'coon dogs as you generally run across. I do not say seven of the best dogs ever went into the woods or the best in the United States, but they were 'coon dogs and fast ones.</p> <p>It seems that about every man that has a 'coon dog or dogs and they tree a few 'coons, gets it into his head that nobody has a dog quite as good as his. I have one pair of hounds from a Williams bitch and a dog owned by Mr. Williams &mdash; Hodo is his name &mdash; but he is a pure Trigg dog. His pedigree runs back over forty years. One of Haiden C. Trigg's dogs, Trigg, is the most successful hound breeder in the United States today. He started on the old original American fox hound, these long eared fellows with a deep mellow voice, called by some nigger chasers, as they used them in the south for that purpose, and some dealers are selling the old American Fox Hound today for American Blood Hounds. The only genuine blood hound we have is the English. See what the Trigg dog is today, short ears or much shorter than the dog Mr. Trigg started to improve on, with narrow muzzle, and stands up well with good feet and built on speedy lines, a red fox dog, and when he started on there were few of them that could hole a red fox inside of eight hours, and the Trigg dog of today will hole a red fox in a comparatively short time. Of course the fox they are running and the kind of country they have to run in, have a great deal to do with it. I run fox myself sometimes, or my hounds do rather.</p> <p>Now I see some of the hunters like a still trailer, but I want to hear my dogs work and I want to know which way they are going, and when they begin to get away I can follow and keep in hearing of my dogs. I can tell by their baying just about what they are doing, if the trail is cold or warm, and can tell which way they are going. I wouldn't give a cent to hunt with dogs that couldn't make a little music when on the trail.</p> <p>I see some of the brothers think nothing but a still trailer catches his 'coon on the ground. If you have fast trailers they will catch 'coon on the ground if they tongue every other jump. My dogs are all good tonguers and I often have them catch 'coon on the ground and big 'coon, not little young 'coon any more than old ones. A young 'coon will take to a tree quicker than an old one. I have got to see my first well bred 'coon hound that will still trail. I have never seen him yet, that is, a fox hound. I have tried shepherd and hound cross, bull dog and hound cross, and beagle and fox hound cross, but give me the pure bred fox hound every time for a 'coon dog, and I don't care how long his pedigree is either. Let me tell you, you cannot get a fox hound too fast for 'coon, the faster he is the better.</p> <p>I read where a brother made the statement that you wanted a slow hound for a 'coon dog. Well, he may want a slow one, yet I am sure I do not. He goes on to say that a fast dog will run over the trail if the 'coon makes a short or square turn, the fast hound will run by and lose too much time finding the trail again. Let me tell you right here, the fast hound can't help but run over, but he knows right where he lost that trail. If he happens to circle the right way he only has to make a half circle and he is off again. On the other hand, if he circles the other way he makes a full circle and hits the trail and is going just as fast as ever. If he has a good nose on him he has not lost four seconds. A fast hound will make that turn in a trail quicker every time than a slow one will. I have had both slow and fast and have hunted 'coons about 23 years. Am now a man 38 years old, and if I don't know what a hound is I sure never will.</p> <p>I don't claim to know it all, for a man never gets too old to learn. He could learn something every day if he lived a thousand years, or for all time to come. There is no dog that will work a cold trail out like a good hound. He will work out a trail and tree a 'coon when a cur dog would pass right over the trail and pay no attention to it whatever. It must be the brothers that like the still trailers that never had a good 'coon hound, for I have never seen good 'coon dogs but I have seen the best ones wrapped up in a fox hound hide.</p> <p>I have a black and tan hound that will fight for me at any time. I can't scuffle with any one outside of my own family for he will bite them just as quick as he can get close enough to them. I had to give him several hard whippings to make him quit rabbits. Now they don't bother him any when he is looking for 'coon with me at night. His father was the hardest dog to break off of rabbits that I ever broke, but when he was three years old he would not notice a rabbit at night but would trail them in the day time. He turned out to be a very valuable hound. He would retrieve as good as a retriever on land or in water, would catch any hog that I told him to catch and hold it until I told him to let it go. I could point out any chicken I wanted him to catch and he would get it for me and would not hurt the chicken any.</p> <p>Some people think a hound don't know anything but trail, but a good hound is a very smart dog and a poor hound is about as worthless a dog as you can find. Take the hound as a breed and I must say they are a noble breed. The fox hound requires, I think, more exercise than any other breed of dogs. I have a 25 gallon caldron. I put most any kind of meat that I can get, beef, horse flesh, 'coon, when there is one that is pretty badly bruised up, pork or any kind of meat that is not decomposed, and put it into this caldron. Of course, I put water in first then put in my meat and boil until it will all stir off the bone. I then take all the bones out and stir in corn meal until I have enough so that when the meal is done it will be a very stiff mush. When it is done and cooled off you can take it out in chunks. Use no salt, if any, very little, as a very little salt will physic a dog.</p> <p>I sometimes bake corn bread for the dogs for a change, which makes a good food for them but not so strong a food as the other. I think a hound will do more running and keep in better order on that mush with meat than any food you can give them. Of course, if a person has but one dog, he can generally get enough from the house scraps from the table, but when you have a dozen or so you will have to get your dog food elsewhere. In warm weather this mush will sour in a few hours, but in cold weather it will keep sweet. I feed my dogs once a day when they are idle, but when I am hunting them I feed them twice a day. Feed each dog by himself.</p> <p>Now as to their sleeping places, if you can let your dogs run loose, and they will find warm places to sleep, with plenty of bedding in the barn or other out buildings where the ventilation is good, but no drafts of air to blow on them, that is the best place for them. I keep part of my dogs tied up, as they would be off hunting if I let them run loose. For those I use on the chain I use a 20-foot chain. Build a good, warm dog house with a shingle roof, an individual house for one dog. Cut a hole that he can get thru easily and then tack some burlap just above the hole and let it hang down over the hole. When it is cold weather I leave it down, but when it is pleasant I fasten it up so that it leaves the hole open. The air can get thru the burlap but it breaks the wind off of the dog and keeps the snow from blowing in on his nest, or rain if it is raining. He can go out and in when the burlap is down.</p> <p>Another easy way to make a good place for a dog is cut a hole in the side of a building that has a good roof, and put a box large enough so that it will give your dog plenty of room right tight up against the inside of the building where you cut the holes thru. Knock one side of your box out and put it to the hole on inside of building. Put your burlap on the outside at the hole as before described, and you have a fine place for your dog. Make the hole just large enough so he can get thru it easily, and cut it high enough so that when he lays down in the box, the bottom of the hole will be above the dog. Give your dog good, clean bedding at least once a week. Twice a week is not too often. Use some disinfectant about two or three times a month inside of dog house. The best cure for mange that I have ever used, or for sores to heal them is black gun powder, powdered sulphur and lard, mixed and well rubbed in. It is a sure cure for mange. It will soon kill the germs, if properly applied.</p> <p>I notice where a brother, in telling how to break a young dog to tree 'Coon said, to let the 'coon chew the dog for a while, help the 'coon, let him eat the dog for about 20 minutes and the dog would go to hunting them to get revenge, or something to that effect. Now it is my opinion that the dog would not want any more revenge as he would get a plenty right there, and the chances are that he would ever after be afraid of a 'coon, if he were a pup and got that kind of treatment. Help your dog kill a 'coon whenever you can, if you can do it without danger to the dog. I never let my dogs kill a 'coon when it can be avoided. If I can find the 'coon with my light in the tree I shoot him out, and then sometimes he has plenty of fight in him when he comes down. Other times he is dead when he hits the ground.</p> <p>Any one of my dogs will kill a 'coon if necessary, but they don't get the chance very often. There has been a few times that I let them kill the 'coon, when I could have killed him myself, when there were some of the boys with me that wanted to see them kill the 'coon, but it is tiresome work on a dog to kill a 'coon, harder a great deal than treeing one. My dogs will not stay at a hole unless the 'coon is very close to the top of the ground, as where I hunt there are a great many old coal entries and it would be a nuisance to have them bark at such places as you could not get them out, so I never encourage them to stay at a hole when they run one in.</p> <p>I have seen some discussion about the size of 'coons. The largest 'coon I ever caught weighed 30 pounds. He measured from the tip of his tail to the end of his nose, 4 feet and 4 inches. I caught another one last winter that weighed 25 pounds and measured four feet and 2 inches from his nose to the end of his tail.</p> <p>I catch a good many that weigh over 20 pounds. Another thing I want to tell you is this, in over 20 years of 'coon hunting I have never cut a tree down to get a 'coon. There is too much of that kind of work done. Where are all of the 'coons going to stay when you get all of the den trees cut down? I want to ask you where is the land owner that wants 'coon hunters cutting his timber down? Think of cutting a fine, large tree down because it has a hole in it with a 'coon inside. If I get a 'coon in such a tree and can't climb it, I just call the dogs away from the tree and let him go until some other time. I make it my business to go that way again some night, and the chances are I get that same 'coon in such a tree and can't climb it, I just tree a head of Mr. 'Coon if I can, and he goes up some tree that I can get him out of when he sees he is cut off from his den tree, and the tree is left for the next 'coon that comes along. So, brothers, please cut the tree cutting out, as it is for your own good to let those kind of trees stand if you want to hunt 'coon. When you go around thru the timber destroying it, some one is going to call a halt on YOU, and on the other hand it is not at all necessary to cut the timber to get the 'coon, and the tree is undoubtedly worth more to the man that own the land than the 'coon is to you.</p> <p>Of course, if the owner of the tree gives you permission to cut the tree, that clears you on that score, but after the tree is down, you will never find another 'coon in that tree.</p> <hr>
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