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About Coon Hunting Dogs
As any seasoned raccoon hunting will tell you, coon hunting can be mighty tough on the hunter but, it takes a very special dog to be coondog. A coondog needs to have determination and strength beyond the typical dog. Rumor has it amongst the local coon hunters in my area that your dog must also have the name to match, short and tough names that make you say, “He must be a tough one,” like T-Bone and Spike. Coon hunting is a unique sport and once you go on a coon hunt, you will either love it or hate it. Most people consider it to be pretty addictive for the hunter and the dog. When most folks are settling down for the night and unwinding around the television your typical coon hunter is just getting started.
Tools of the Trade
With modern technology, tracking collars have made coon hunting safer for the coon dogs and less stressful for the hunter. Critics argue that using tracking collars has removed the challenge and the sport from this ancient hunting tradition however, the chase and the hunt is in the dog, not in the collar. The collars don’t help the dog find raccoons, the dogs do that all on their own, their instinct and drive will lead them straight to the coons. The collars are there to lead the hunter back to his dogs. Before tracking collars became affordable many hunters lost their coon dogs to angry landowners or exhausted dogs lying down and the hunter was unable to locate him. However, with a tracking collar the hunter is able to locate his dog and keep him in the area in which he is supposed to be. Hunting lands are often broken up by residential areas and it is pertinent that hunters be responsible for their dogs and keeping track of your dog using a tracking collar is one of the most responsible techniques available today. Growing up, I remember my dad searching for his hunting dogs for days, with tracking collars, hunters are able to locate their dogs and have them back safely with them the same day. No one wants to lose a good dog just because you couldn’t find him.
Which Dogs Make Great Coon Dogs?
When released to hunt, a good coon dog will race into the night almost like he knows that the challenge is on to be the first one to locate a coon. A good coondog won’t make a sound until he has tracked down the scent but, once the barking begins, it is a beautiful melody that gives you goose bumps every time. Once the coon is treed the tone of the bark changes dramatically into a different type of baying howl that is recognizable and oh so sweet to the hunter. The coon dog will seem almost cat-like in his hot pursuit to point out his find, often almost running up the tree where the coon is located.
Treeing Walkers are by far the most popular type of coon dog mainly due to their accessibility. But the English Redtick, the Redbone Coonhound, the Bluetick Hound and Black and Tan hounds are all breeds that have proven successful for coon hunting. It is hard to list which one is best because all the coon hunters I know have a breed they love and they won’t waiver. Typically, once a hunter finds a breed he likes, he usually becomes pretty loyal to his chosen breed and it can strike up some mighty heated debates amongst fellow hunters as to which breed is the best.
Benefits of Coon Hunting
Coon hunting isn’t just for sport. Because of an increase in residential areas in previously wooded lands, the raccoon is a threat to household pets and can become quite a nuisance if left unchecked. Raccoons have increased in population throughout their typical breeding areas and an increase in population has increased the rabies epidemic, which can wreak havoc on an area where livestock or other domestic animals might dwell. Coon hunting is actually encouraged and often coon hunting clubs are called into to an area to help get a handle on the raccoon population. Decreasing the raccoon population will often eliminate rabies cases and other diseases that can spread due to overpopulation in a concentrated area.