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A rainy night **** huntin story....

Snuggle up with a hot cup of chocolate, and start a fire :grin....and remember, this is all a true story of a 16 year old lad....that would be me !!

The Hazards of Training a **** Dog

He was a cross between one of the best dang Plott **** hounds around, my big 90 pound Plott, His name was Diamond….and another fabulous blue tick **** dog named Critter. He was also the pick of the litter. He had the blue tick markings, on a plott body, and was a long legged gangly lookin’ dog. I just knew he was destined for greatness, so I named him Sounder. Sounder just seemed like a glamorous name…and I figured that ol sounder would be talked about in the inner **** huntin’ circles, like the great Hammer, a treein’ walker of grand night champion fame.

You see, I hunted with the Claxton’s, and Hammer was a legend when it came to **** huntin’. And since I didn’t have papers on Diamond, my big plott, I had to hunt in a different division, so as not to ruffle the feathers too much of the champion pure bred dogs. And so it was….

But this night was a fun night. We had the two big dogs of the area….Hammer and Diamond….and they were gonna hunt together !!! Word had gotten out and several of the area **** hunters showed up, just to listen to the hunt, they didn’t even bring their dogs. Never before had had Diamond and Hammer hunted together in the same cast, so that’s what made this night so special. But what was special to others was just a trainin’ session to us. Kenny had a new puppy that he wanted Hammer to train….and I had Sounder that I wanted Diamond to train. So that’s what this night was all about. :dog

We eased along a loggin’ road until we got to the place that was frequented by coons….a big holler of oaks, that made their way down to the huge marsh that separated Yulee from Fernandina. The trick was for the dogs to tree those coons before they made it to the marshes….’cause if they made it to the marshes, the coons would run along the tidal banks, where many a gator made a snack of some unsuspecting’ **** dogs.

Well as soon as we turned ‘em loose, Diamond and Hammer didn’t disappoint, as they both struck a hot **** trail right off the bat. Diamond with his rich dolce’ toned voice, and Hammer with his deep classic walker hound chop had the night’s woods full of melody. And the many spectators were fully satisfied to be there.

Diamond being big and fast tree’d the **** first and he was soon followed by Hammer….and the excited chop in their voices turned to those mournful classic “bays”….that only true **** hunters can appreciate. The only break in the treein’ was when Diamond would stop and “mark the trees”. Which is what a good dog does. I always wondered why Diamond kept getting’ vines and wood and stuff caught in his mouth. I just thought that him runnin’ into stuff broke it off in there……but that wasn’t it at all. Kenny told me this. He said that the top tier dogs would “mark the tree”…..meaning that they would tree the **** in one tree, and every now and then they’d go and check the other trees near by to make sure that those old smart boar coons wouldn’t jump from tree top to tree top and come down another tree, way out there, and run off…leavin’ the unwary dog treein’ an empty tree !! Diamond always marked his tree’d coons !!!

Well the plan was simple, we were gonna lead those two puppies down to the tree, and shoot that **** in the rear and let those puppies get a taste of the ****…as they helped out in the kill. This would whet their appetite hopefully and make ‘em better **** dogs.

Now up until this time, I couldn’t even get Sounder to run a house cat, so I was thinking’ that somehow he was gonna waste those good genes that he was born with…but we pushed on.

When we came to this tree, it was a huge oak just before the marsh, sittin’ on a small cliff. Diamond and Hammer had done their jobs and we led the pups up to the tree, and they started barkin’ a bit and seemed to be gettin’ into it some. They seemed to know that this wasn’t no **** tail on a stick, like the training sessions, but a real live **** was up there. Little did they know, however, that things were fixin’ to change drastically……

What we were gonna do was go up to the tree and get that **** out and let the puppies try to fight it and kill it.....that was the plan anyway....

“Can you shoot this pistol” ?…Kenny asked while handing me a long barreled .22 pistol…..I said sure can. And commenced to open fire on that boar ****, half way up the tree. After ten shots and not a hair was cut, I looked up, from reloading....... and there that boar **** was…pacing back and forth on one of the lowest limbs….hissin’ and growlin’….as I took careful aim at his behind and popped him good !! Well he hit the ground looking’ for a fight and went straight for the closest dog there, that just so happened to be Sounder, and bit and scratched the poor fella something’ fierce. Then he turned and went after the other puppy and basically cleaned house. :cool He even went after a couple of bystanders that had made it down to the tree, and sent them scurryin’ for safety !! :hairraiser I finally had to let Diamond loose to kill that old ****, before he hurt somebody good.

When all the dust had settled, and the woods quieted down, we couldn’t find Sounder !!! I thought maybe he had run off that cliff and into the mouth of a gator, and a good searchin’ down there turned up nothing’. We called and called, and called some more. We rode all the loggin’ trails…no Sounder. I finally lost hope after 3 full hours of searchin’ everywhere and callin’ for Sounder. Kenny suggested that I leave my coat where we first turned ‘em loose and that maybe by morning, he’d come and find Sounder layin’ near my coat or on top of it… that’s what I did.

The ride out of the woods that night, was long slow and painful. I felt as if I was leaving a friend to the elements. Gators and snakes, to name just some of the hazards. I just didn’t want to think about it….:cry

We finally hit the hard road, and headed back to the farm, some five miles away and across town. Kenny assured me that he’d head back down to the holler first thing in the morning’ and check for young Sounder…but it did little to lift my spirits.

Then we turned into his driveway and as the lights shined on my old blazer, we both saw the eyes shinin’ of a sleepy young **** dog…curled up underneath my truck…and that old tail of his….that long lanky gangly old tail started pattin’ the ground as he wagged it without coming out of his curl. And with each wag, a little puff of dust would come up. I jumped out of the truck and ran up there to make sure it was Sounder, and it was, and he finally came out….and he stretched a bit…..and looked at me. And them eyes said….you know Steve….I don’t think I like this **** huntin’ stuff, after all…..

Sounder went on to a fine career of runnin’ deer in Ocala national forest, along with my beagle named Shorty. A motley crew for sure….but that’s another story altogether……



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