My Last Coon Hunt and Remembering
My Last Coon Hunt
When I was in high school the fellows I ran with were good old country boys. They lived to hunt and even played hooky if the notion hit to go to the woods with a deer rifle as soon as hunting season opened. They also were big into hunting coons. This area of Western North Carolina is mountainous and when fall came the guys would begin running their dogs. this was a night activity and the early hunts were for training purposes. When hunting season arrived there were the hunts that created for lively discussions the next day at school with the usual bragging rights of who caught the most coons and which breed of dog was best to strike a hot trail and put an old ring tail up a tree. Trophies from a nights hunt were the feet and sometimes a part of an old boar coons anatomy avowed to be the biggest one ever seen!
Coon hides could be sold for around $5 and the coon hides were harvested, nailed to the side of the barn and later tanned before selling. Some of my buddies did quite well selling their hides. I was never into hunting coons enjoyed hearing the tales of a nights hunt. I did go a few times and we hunted the better part of the night. We would stop on a ridge and listen to the dogs which at times seemed confused as to what they were after, coons, rabbits or some sly old fox. Lying on a bed of leaves on what would be my last coon hunting expedition I looked up into the stars twinkling in the cloudless sky occasionally seeing a commercial airplane streaming in the night sky on a journey to parts unknown, while the dogs ran a phantom.For me it was a time of reflection and small talk while we waited for the unmistakable howls from the dogs a coon had been treed. Someone always carried a rifle or shot gun to shoot the coon and a burlap sack we used to carry the coons back home.
This night proved to be an unfruitful hunt and walking out of the woods climbing up a river valley, we heard a wildcat. The scream of a Bobcat is one you never forget. It was haunting and scary even the dogs past us on a dead run heading back to the vehicle. The Bobcat in all probability would never have bothered us but one thing for sure it wanted us to know we were not in friendly territory.
One small town near where I live and where I went to high school, Saluda, North Carolina has an annual Coon Dog Day. Thousands from all over attend the parade and showcase their coon dogs. The coons used in the event are not harmed.
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