Just Coon Huntin’
I don’t mean to brag but I find it hard to believe that anyone is enjoying their hunting more than I am. Good friends, good dogs, good hunting and the fellowship is the best. It doesn’t get any better. Welcome to my world.
I enjoyed a hunt with Nathan Pardue with a young Walker female, Grady Franklin with Dixie, Curt Sparks with Tar and Stephen Meyers went along just to keep us all in line. We made several trees and saw lots of coon with all of the dogs doing a good job. Star and Dixie each had a coon off to themselves and did their share on the others as well. We saw some good dog work with all of the dogs working together, yet showing they didn’t have to help and were very capable of doing it all on their own. Of course, when you hunt with this crowd, the fellowship is the best as they always keep something going on.
I ran into Reece Cheek, Randall Fender and his son, Garrett, the other night and their dogs Jack, Monkey and a couple of young dogs sure sounded good. These are some good guys who hunt about every night and keep good dogs.
Pete Barber called to say that the young female he’s hunting is doing a good job and he really likes her. I’ve seen Girl tree several coon and she was a natural, early starting pup. Bill Purvis called from Tennessee to ask about some dogs and remind me of when he came down and bred to one of my dogs many years ago.
James O’Neal called from Darlington, SC and we talked about some of the hunts we had enjoyed together. James is a good hunter and a good friend to me and many more people. He is tough and will go anywhere the dogs go. We also talked about our good friend Harvey Drawdy and Archie Hudson.
These two are the best and are liked and respected by all who know them. These two are also dyed-in-the-wool coon hunters like you seldom see in this day and age. They love to hunt and are a joy to hunt with and I feel privileged to know them and to have spent time with them.
Clint Miller called from Mt. Pleasant, NC to touch base. Clint was one of my main hunting partners for many years and I don’t know anyone I enjoyed hunting with more. Clint and I treed many coon and the fellowship was the best and I’ve never known anyone more liked and respected. He also always had a good dog on the end of his lead. He’s hoping Clint will get back into coon hunting now that he is getting a little bit of extra time on his hands.
I mentioned James O’Neal above and I was just thinking about a couple of special hunts we shared. One night James and I were joined by Harvey Drawdy and Jason Patrick and I crawled into one of the worst briar patches I’ve ever seen. I had a t-shirt on and had to crawl and tear holes through the briars to get the dogs. When I came out, I looked as if I had been run through a meat grinder and was covered with blood.
It took a long time for all of those scars to heal. Another time it was James and me and the same crew plus James brought one of his friends along. This friend wanted to get into the coon hunting game and we started and broke him in one hunt. It was bitter cold and the dogs were across deep water. Anybody who has hunted with me knows I don’t do much “going around,” so James and I piled in and here came the new guy. James is tall but I’m short and this other hunter was my size.
When I went up to my chest in that ice water, I heard a loud gasp, and when I turned around, there was James and the new guy and the poor guy was gasping for air, chest deep in that ice water and freezing to death. I knew James was as tough as they come and he would go with me but I didn’t think the other one would. I don’t remember his name but I’ll have to give him credit. He didn’t back down; that was also the last coon hunt he’s been on. If you see James, ask him about these hunts.
I received word my good friend Jimmy Small, Lumberton, NC passed away. Jim started hunting with me back in the early 80s when I was still hunting the Yadkin River Jeff and has hunted with everything I owned since then. Jimmy was a true friend and sportsman and was one of the most liked and well respected men I’ve ever known. Jimmy was a good hunter and owned several good dogs but his real love of the hunt was
the fellowship and his grandson, David McLamb. David is one fine young man and hunter carrying on the family tradition as a hunter and gentleman and has made his grandpa proud.
You’ve seen my column for a few years now with the mention of an outstanding Walker female named Kelly, owned by my good friend Buster Britt, Bennett, NC. I’ve told everyone I know she is the best coon dog I know of. At only four years old, she passed away with a flipped stomach. Buster is a hard hunter and one of the best trainers anywhere. Buster has owned more top dogs than anyone I know and has buried several top dogs which were special to him. Kelly would fit in this category. She was a loss to Buster and to the Walker breed as she has put on the ground hounds which treed naturally.
Buster is hunting with seven generations in a row of these dogs which he has bred, raised and trained. I have hunted with everyone of the dogs he’s owned and bred in these seven generations. Believe me, he hasn’t used selling pups as his criteria for the crosses he’s made. He made a cross to get a pup for himself and usually didn’t have many if any pups for sale as his friends usually got the ones he didn’t keep.
Buster trained and sold or gave his friends many good dogs, but all the dogs he bred were special dogs that he kept, not only to hunt but for breeding purposes. The dogs he bred were outstanding dog that were balanced coon dogs but were also from whole litters of the same. Buster will miss Kelly but he has a couple of extra nice young dogs off of her and also has a couple of coon treeing females he’s raised and trained some he’s far from being out.
I’ve hunted several nights with my good friend Linville Sparks from Trap Hill, NC and his Walker female, Princess. always does a good job and gets her share more and more. I hunted with Curtis Sparks and Jason Dancy a couple of times a week and their English female Tray and Tar tree coon every night. The dogs mentioned are top of the line and the hunters are the best and I appreciate them taking care of this old man and letting me tagalong.
I hunted some with Nathan Pardue, Elkins, NC and his Walker male, Bruiser. Bruiser is a coon dog and shows us coon every night in style. Nathan is a hard, tough hunter and a fine gentleman too. We thought we were on a mountain climbing expedition on one of these trips and walked uphill for what seemed like forever. All of these guys mentioned are the same, when you get into rough places and extreme circumstances they take care of business and get the job done. There may be a bunch of kidding and picking but you won’t hear a bunch of whining and complaining. Coon hunters . . . that is what they are.
Together in sports, Jim.