John's Journal...

The Addiction of Coon Hunting

Breaking In A Coon Dog

Click to enlargeEditors Note’s: I’ve befriended and hunted with some of the best coon hunters in the nation. I’ve changed some names in this week’s stories to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent and whatever reputations they may have left. An abundance of raccoons or ringtails as some hunters call them makes this species a critter you can chase all over the U.S. and parts of southern Canada. Be sure to check the seasons and bag limits in your area. Hunters have fun running their dogs year-round even if they can’t bag the coons.

Dr. Karl, a professor of wildlife science at a prominent southern university, purchased one of the greatest coon-dog pups a man ever could own. Dr. Karl named his young Walker hound Hawk because of a black patch in the middle of the pup’s back that resembled the silhouette of a flying hawk. The dog only had oneClick to enlarge problem. He loved to run deer as much if not more than he loved to run coons. Each time Hawk jumped a deer, Dr. Karl chased his dog until he caught him. “I’d correct him at the spot where I caught him,” Dr, Karl told me. “Then I’d lead him bask to the place where hi jumped the deer and correct him again. I learned the only way to teach a coon dog not to run off-game was to convince him that he’d have more fun chasing coon than getting corrected for running after deer.” But as luck would have it, for some reason known only to God, Hawk treed coons all night long on the following Friday and did not run a deer. From that night on, Hawk became a straight coon hound for the rest of his life. Dr, Karl not only gained back the weight he had lost chasing Hawk though the woods, he also regained his pleasing personality after ending his starlight runs.

Once Dr. Karl had straightened-out Hawk, he hunted his coon hound five to six nightsClick to enlarge a week. I asked Dr. Karl, a single man at the time, if his zeal for coon hunting ever interfered with his social life. “Not at all,” Dr. Karl answered. “Coon hunting helps me get dates and allows me to search for the kind of woman I eventually want to marry. If a young woman doesn’t like coon hunting, she won’t like me. I coon hunted long before I became interested in dating, I’ll chase ringtails in the woods at night long after most young ladies leave.” Because of his addiction, Dr. Karl developed a unique way to meet girls and take them out on low-cost dates. He explained, “Often during my undergraduate days, I would eat lunch with a group of students in the cafeteria. Someone would ask, ‘What do you like to do for fun, Karl?’ I’d always reply, ‘For me, nothing surpasses the fun of going coon hunting with my dog, Hawk.’”At the university Dr. Karl attended, most of the female coeds never had heard of coon hunting, and even fewer had had the opportunity to run down ringtails. “When I’d described the beauty of the stars at night, the melody the hound sang as he ran, the swClick to enlargeeet smells of wild flowers and the adventures of crossing a creek in the dead of night, they all would say, ‘Coon hunting? Sounds like a lot of fun.’ Naturally, then I’d ask them if they’d like to go with me one night.’”
Many times a girl would pack a meal for the two of them to snack on while they coon hunted, which helped Dr. Karl save his cash, He just had to provide the dogs, the woods and the entertainment. “You really can get to know someone while coon hunting at night,” Dr. Karl said. “When alone with just her and the dog, you have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. If you have to cross a muddy swamp, wade a creed or crawl through briars to reach the tree where the dog’s barking, you can determine whether the girl is a whiner of not. You can learn how she handles adversity and whether or not she really enjoys your company. When I finally found a female who liked me and coon hunting, I married her. I knew those kind of women were hard to come by.” I have to agree with Dr. Karl. Many marriages end in divorce because of a man’s passion for staying out all night with a pack of dogs.


Check back each day this week for more about "The Addiction of Coon Hunting"

Day 1: The Pre-Game Coon Hunts
Day 2: Breaking In A Coon Dog
Day 3: Remembering The Toughest Coon Hunter Alive
Day 4: Having A Place Of Honor
Day 5: The Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard


Entry 428, Day 2