John's Journal...

Coon Hunting – the Sport, the Business and the Country Way of Life

Day 2: Outdoorsmen Invest Money and Time in Coon Dogs

Editor’s Note: During the still summer nights high on top of a hill, men will sit and listen to that pure sweet country music made by hounds with bawl and chop mouths. There's a huge army of coon hunters that most of the hunting world never sees. Many of them hunt all year long and practice catch-and-release. They’re tough. They cross creeks, swim rivers, crawl through briars and get hit in the face by limbs they never see. When our country was more rural and made up of many small farms, owning one or more coon hounds to protect your crops and produce an income was a necessity. In parts of the U.S., this is the same reason that farmers own, raise and hunt coon dogs today. But today, coon hunting and raising, training and selling coon dogs also has become a productive part-time job for hunters like Dexter Whatley of Kildare Junction in Cass County, Texas. In many states, you can run coons with dogs all year long, but you only can harvest coons during coon season. To learn more about when men and women hunted coons, raised coon dogs, swapped and sold coon hounds we talked with Whatley, who’s been raising, training, showing and competing with coon dogs for 50 years.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“Many competitive coon hunters believe winners produce winners,” Whatley reports. “Usually the best pups come from a Grand Nite Champion male and a Grand Nite Champion female, with grandparents that were both Grand Nite Champions. I’ve known some pups with this type of dual Grand Nite Champions in their backgrounds selling for $3,000.”

If the pup not only has this lineage but also has a Grand Nite Champion great granddad and great grandma, most people only can afford to buy part interest in that dog - much like horse breeders buy 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 of a race horse. “I knew one pup that had triple Grand Nite Champions in its bloodline like the one just described that sold for $6,000 cash,” Whatley says. “Two brothers went together, and each laid out $3,000 to buy that dog, and their bet paid off. The dog, House’s Lipper from Marshall, Tex., was owned by Tommy Hopkins won many events and was in the Treeing Walker Hall of Fame ( His stud fee of $1,000 was considered astronomical. The pups of House’s Lipper were selling for $1,000 apiece at birth, regardless of the female to which House’s Lipper was bred. Personally I’d rather own part of a really, really great coon dog than all of a mediocre coon dog.” Whatley says that most often, the value of a coon dog is determined by how much the purchaser believes in that dog and his/her ability to become a great coon dog.

Coon hunters pay top dollar for coon dog pups with the possibility of being great or for great finished dogs because:

* they can enjoy going out at night and hunting coons with their buddies with that great dog, go to competition hunts and watch their dog win. They also will get fees from the dog at stud and for selling the pups that were sired by this dog. A really great coon dog can produce thousands of dollars for his owner, besides producing hundreds of great nights of coon hunting for the owner and his friends.
* a coon dog is like any other investment. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But regardless of the financial outcome, having a great coon dog pup or a great coon dog sire and dame is a bragging point on any coon hunt or any competition you enter.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewProbably no one is as rabid about his or her sport and hounds as coon hunters.

To learn more about various dog events and titles, visit the United Kennel Club at (

To learn more about all outdoor subjects, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on fishing for bass, crappie, catfish and all saltwater offshore and inshore fish and hunting for dangerous game, deer, elk and turkeys, go to, type in John E. Phillips in the search, and click on the second listing to go to his author’s page and check out the names of his eBooks and print books (

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: The Evolution of a Coon Dog Man

Check back each day this week for more about Coon Hunting – the Sport, the Business and the Country Way of Life"

Day 1: Pleasure and $$$ in Coon Hunting and Coon Hounds
Day 2: Outdoorsmen Invest Money and Time in Coon Dogs
Day 3: The Evolution of a Coon Dog Man
Day 4: You Buy the Man Not the Dog When You’re Shopping for a Coon Hound
Day 5: The Cost to Produce a Grand Nite Champion Coon Hound

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Entry 776, Day 2