Monday, April 18, 2011

The day the raccoon came to play and eventually refused to play at all.

My dad loved his hound dogs, while in Grangeville he purchased most of the ones he ever had. I am not sure he really ran dogs before Grangeville and it may have been due to the group of friends he made ties with in Grangeville that he got into the dogs like he did. His best friends were a couple of brothers from, I believe, Missouri originally. They had dogs and sever other other fellows in the group ran them as well. They all had big families, hard working mill working fathers and homemaker moms. A perfect fit for our family. They hunted their hounds alot of nights and on week ends that they weren't, which wasn't often, they all got together to play pinochle, mostly to make the wife's happy, I think, not that they didn't like to but they liked to hunt coons, bobcats and cougars alot more.

My dad had purchased three dogs in a litter that turned out to be the best dogs he ever owned, they had something in them that wasn't hound and in the end the thought it may have been a little golden retriever. One of the dogs was a female, Sherry, the males were Big Red and Caesar, his favorite. He trained and sold dogs to a international buyer named Brock who took some of my dad's trained dogs to British Honduras to hunt Jaguars. My dad really was a quality hound trainer in his time, the most he ever made for a dog, and it was not papered was 1500 dollars and in the 1970's that was a lot of money.

My dad decided one summer that he needed a raccoon, to train his dogs with, he figured he would go out to a local pond and catch one. We all piled in to the station wagon, in our swimming suits, we never missed a chance to play in the water even if the ride was for another purpose. Mom took her Pekingese and we had a fun after noon playing in the water. It was getting late in the afternoon, toward dark when Giggett started to bark, he had found himself a raccoon.  Living by the hounds had either rubbed off on him or he got luck, my dad had brought his coon catcher with him so in a short time had snagged the raccoon on the pole with the cable on the end. He put the raccoon in the crate, he had put in the back of the station wagon, we loaded up and off toward home we went. A couple miles down the road the raccoon came out of that wooden crate angry and snarling. Us children stated screaming and jumping like we had been shot out of a cannon. There were kids everywhere in that back seat, no seat belts used back then, and we were head toward the front of the car. The raccoon jumped on my littlest, two year old, brothers head and on to the next child. Dad stopped the car and look back to see the chaos that was ensuing behind him. He reached out and caught the coon in his hand. I believe, it went to biting him, and my dad was trying to get the coon back in the crate, the Pekingese was barking, my mom was screeching, we kids were crying. My dad got the coon in the crate and called for calm with a bark. The rest of the way home dad held the crate to the back of the station wagon door, and mom drove home.

Once home the raccoon was housed in a rabbit cage. My dad took him out with a collar and put him up a tree to train the young dog to tree coons, but as the coon was housed near them they would go to the tree and look up as if to say "hey, we know you". The coon turned out to be not a good training tool, so we took the coon back to the pond and let him go. He had done what we was asked, served his purpose so dad let him go, he didn't go in the fur pile. We did miss him a little, but as he was a wild raccoon to the end we never actually made a pet of him the loss was minimal.  The hunts went on and the training continued live was good.... tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Your grandkids and great grandkids are going to love that you wrote down all these stories!!!


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