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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 15

We finally made it back to the woods this evening after a week of fighting off a cold. Me and misty hit the timber right at sunset and we caught some early action at the fields edge. The air was cold and crisp as the light breeze seemingly helped the sun and moon swap places.

Misty left decent when I unsnapped her and hit a track on a small branch in the corner of the pasture and worked it down the fence row. She chirped her way through the track and checked, rechecked, double checked, checked again, then finally committed to the tree with what is becoming her signature locate. As she settled in on the tree her squeaks and chirps transitioned into some male dog chops.

The moon was bright enough, and the sun was still glowing as it dropped over the horizon that no light was necessary to find the coon in the naked wild cherry tree. I tied misty back, petted her up, and knocked it out to her. The excitement in her eyes could light a fire in any coon hunter, and was inspiring enough to make another drop.

Misty loaded up in the UTV and we road a couple miles down the road to a neighboring farm. As we traveled the farm road towards the timber several deer crossed in front of us. I decided to tempt misty with a fast track and she took the bait. She had got 300 yards before I toned her and made her realize that this wasnít the track we were after. After she got toned she didnít hunt out as well as I like but I guess it was excusable after correction.

We eased through the big timber without a strike and dropped off into a small patch of woods with a small stream running through it. I caught eyes 100 yards ahead with the red light and watched as Mistyís tail went up, and her nose went down. Iím assuming the small coon had been laid up in the grape vines for awhile because misty spent a solid 15 minutes grubbing the track out in silence before finally committing to the correct tree.

She squeaked and squawked and let out a locate, followed by a steady chop to let me know to look right here. What happened next is still confusing to me. I donít believe the coon was asleep, because I saw his eyes. Due to the coons size, I donít believe he purposely jumped out. My best guess is the coon got tangled in the grape vines, and fell out?

He landed with a thud, and seemingly hopped up ready to fight as he slowly backed into the briar bushes. Misty was confused as she heard the thud, and seemed to tell me ďI just smelled here and there was very little scentĒ but about the time she realized what was going on, she touched her nose to the electric fence. Game over. She was definitely confused now so we headed out of the woods and called it a night in attempt to avoid further confusion.

I would consider tonight a success, followed by an unfortunate setback. Misty found two coons, real live coons. She seemed to be a little slow on the track and slower to commit but sheís still going in the right direction and hopefully speed will come with time. I enjoyed seeing her get excited about the right kind of scent. I hope that she can continue in the right direction even after the accidental electrocution. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 11-16-2021 03:33 AM
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Dave Richards
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Registered: Apr 2015
Location: church hill tn
Posts: 5271

Misty

I really enjoy these posts, I am laid up and not hunting as my hunting partner has been real sick, but these posts are very entertaining to me. I almost feel like I am with you and Misty as you tell a very good rendition of the hunt. Keep us posted and HAPPY HUNTING. Dave

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Old Post 11-16-2021 03:51 AM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 16

The weather was right, and the moon was bright; well at least thatís how our night ended. The night started several hours after the sun had already retired, due to a busy day at work. As I closed the gate at the end of the driveway and started towards the house a raccoon scurried across in front of me. He was leaving the creek and headed for the timber. What a wonderful opportunity for a young dog.

I went to the house and took the time to start a fire in the wood stove as it was 60 degrees today, but the rain had started and the temperature was dropping. I finished my chores and got misty collared up and headed towards the creek on foot. The sky was overcast with a light drizzle starting about the time misty hit the track.

She had her tail up, nose down, and was moving on out but never made a peep. If it werenít for the Garmin I wouldnít have had a clue she did anything all night. She worked the track steadily forward for 685 yards then popped up treed but still hadnít made a sound. I eased towards her and kept my eye on the Garmin as she circled the end of her line a dozen times, then came off and re worked the last hundred yards of the track, over and over.

By the time I got within 100 yards of her ďtreeĒ the rain was getting heavier and she started working the track a little further, then further, then in a few minutes she was 300 yards from her original ďtreeĒ. I shined the massive hollow maple, which had multiple opportunities for den entrances, but no coon was seen. She made about a 200 yard loop back up to the backbone of the hickory ridge and hooked back into the original maple ďtreeĒ where our night ended.

I know that she was on a coon track, or at least I know she started on one. I know conditions werenít quite in her favor, and I know she didnít make a peep the entire night. Other than that I donít know much. Iím not sure why she didnít talk, I donít know why she didnít commit, and I donít know why I continue to follow these hounds through the woods time after time; trying to listen to them smell what I canít see. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 11-19-2021 04:03 AM
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ringtail
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2718

quote:
Originally posted by 5thgearwide
Night 16

She had her tail up, nose down, and was moving on out but never made a peep. ......popped up treed but still hadnít made a sound.

I know that she was on a coon track, or at least I know she started on one. I know conditions werenít quite in her favor, and I know she didnít make a peep the entire night.



She may have been hesitant to open because of the electric fence incident. But like you said conditions weren't ideal for a youngster... Either way keep her going and don't forget to post y'all's adventures.

Thank you for sharing, I really enjoy reading your posts.

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ringtail dave

"TREE MY DOG" - NO BETTER FEELING

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Old Post 11-21-2021 01:18 AM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 17

Tonight feels like winter, if I didnít know any better Iíd say it feels like snow is coming. With daylight fading I slipped the TT15 on misty and she found her way to the tailgate of the UTV. A beautiful red sky sunset welcomed the crisp overcast darkness as me and misty made our first drop into some big oak timber. She didnít leave well and only went about 100 yards or so before coming to check in so I loaded her up and we headed for another patch of timber.

I had already made up my mind that i was going to repeat the process of misty came back, i want her to hunt. The second drop was similar to the first, she didnít leave very hard, didnít get very deep, and came back in. I ignored her for a few minutes but she made it evident she wasnít going anywhere when she loaded herself back up. On to another spot we went.

The third drop she left decent, went about 300 yards where it appeared she hit a track on the branch in a cherry tree holler filled with grape vines. Wildlife are still feasting on grapes in some areas here so i waited for the race, but never got one. She slowly moved a track for about 15 minutes without a sound, before calling it quits and making a loop back in.

I opted to call it a night, she obviously didnít have the motivation to really get out and look on her own. The wind was started to pick up pretty good and like I mentioned before some of my broken bones from the past are trying to convince me weather is coming. I could feel the wood stove and a warm grilled cheese calling my name.

I may take her with an older dog tomorrow night to see if that wonít help her get excited about it although I am trying to be careful to not make her dependent on another dog. Ringtailís comment got me thinking that maybe she needs to have an experienced dog reaffirm for her what we are after, and how to get after it. You never know till you go and time will tell. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods.

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Old Post 11-22-2021 11:39 PM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 18

Last night we hit the woods about half an hour after sunset. The air was cold, the night was crisp, and the sky was clear. I donít know that one could expect a prettier night to coon hunt.

We hunted familiar timber with 2 seasoned dogs, Misty, and a green pup. The night started fairly quick with one of the seasoned dogs striking a track in the oak timber at about 200 yards. According to the Garmin, misty and the pup were right there and after a brief trail job they decided on a tree and locked down. Misty was the second to chime in at the tree, but never made a peep on the track. The pup was very vocal on the track, but did not know what was happening at the tree.

Misty looked and sounded great on the tree. She gave her squeaky squawky locate then rolled into a chop every breath. We were not able to find the coon in either of the tall pines that sprouted from the same stump so we leashed dogs and headed on.

We led dogs about 100 yards off the tree and cut them back into the timber. 3 dogs went the way we cut, misty went straight back to the tree and locked down on it yet again so I toned her and that was all it took to go on in a different direction. Misty came and went several times, the farthest I saw her go was about 350 yards before making her way back to us as we slowly made our loop.

About 2/3rds of the way through our loop all the dogs took what sounded like a red hot track, burned it down, and slammed a tree. Once again, I didnít hear a peep out of misty until she located and started treeing.

This coon was easy to pick out in the bare hardwood and after briefly shining and confirming, we knocked this one out. As the coon hit the ground with a thud misty pounced and crunched like sheíd done it a thousand times. We leashed dogs up and continued on, cutting the dogs loose again about 100 yards from the tree.

Same story as the first tree, 3 dogs went one way and misty went straight back to the tree. 2 tones this time and she came back, and went on. Not too long after this the pup struck a red hot deer and for the first time Misty decided she would give some mouth on a track, just not the intended track. Misty lost interest on the deer race 800 yards deep when it cut the original track that we treed in the pines. She fell out and started covering the track from earlier in the night and was circling the tree.

I let the pup run the deer for a pretty good race and laughed about the amount of drive and track speed a little 6 month old could have. After catching him of the track we leashed the gang up and headed for the truck. When we got 100 yards from where we came into the woods the older dogs struck, then misty, then the pup. All on the lead, and absolutely screaming.

We had already decided to call it a night so we let this coon live to fight another day. Misty definitely hunts out better with company, and she knows what a coon is. She seems to be becoming silent on the track, but on the bright side is making a tree dog. I would really like to see her hunting as hard on her own, as she does with company. But to say the least she has yet again given me some hope that she might make a dog.

Itís too early to tell how sheíll end up, but ya never know till ya go. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 11-26-2021 05:30 AM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 18

Last night we hit the woods about half an hour after sunset. The air was cold, the night was crisp, and the sky was clear. I donít know that one could expect a prettier night to coon hunt.

We hunted familiar timber with 2 seasoned dogs, Misty, and a green pup. The night started fairly quick with one of the seasoned dogs striking a track in the oak timber at about 200 yards. According to the Garmin, misty and the pup were right there and after a brief trail job they decided on a tree and locked down. Misty was the second to chime in at the tree, but never made a peep on the track. The pup was very vocal on the track, but did not know what was happening at the tree.

Misty looked and sounded great on the tree. She gave her squeaky squawky locate then rolled into a chop every breath. We were not able to find the coon in either of the tall pines that sprouted from the same stump so we leashed dogs and headed on.

We led dogs about 100 yards off the tree and cut them back into the timber. 3 dogs went the way we cut, misty went straight back to the tree and locked down on it yet again so I toned her and that was all it took to go on in a different direction. Misty came and went several times, the farthest I saw her go was about 350 yards before making her way back to us as we slowly made our loop.

About 2/3rds of the way through our loop all the dogs took what sounded like a red hot track, burned it down, and slammed a tree. Once again, I didnít hear a peep out of misty until she located and started treeing.

This coon was easy to pick out in the bare hardwood and after briefly shining and confirming, we knocked this one out. As the coon hit the ground with a thud misty pounced and crunched like sheíd done it a thousand times. We leashed dogs up and continued on, cutting the dogs loose again about 100 yards from the tree.

Same story as the first tree, 3 dogs went one way and misty went straight back to the tree. 2 tones this time and she came back, and went on. Not too long after this the pup struck a red hot deer and for the first time Misty decided she would give some mouth on a track, just not the intended track. Misty lost interest on the deer race 800 yards deep when it cut the original track that we treed in the pines. She fell out and started covering the track from earlier in the night and was circling the tree.

I let the pup run the deer for a pretty good race and laughed about the amount of drive and track speed a little 6 month old could have. After catching him of the track we leashed the gang up and headed for the truck. When we got 100 yards from where we came into the woods the older dogs struck, then misty, then the pup. All on the lead, and absolutely screaming.

We had already decided to call it a night so we let this coon live to fight another day. Misty definitely hunts out better with company, and she knows what a coon is. She seems to be becoming silent on the track, but on the bright side is making a tree dog. I would really like to see her hunting as hard on her own, as she does with company. But to say the least she has yet again given me some hope that she might make a dog.

Itís too early to tell how sheíll end up, but ya never know till ya go. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 11-26-2021 05:30 AM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Update

I apologize to the readers for the delay in the posts. As I have stated before I primarily run bear dogs, and run coondogs when bear season is not in. Misty timed her heat cycle accordingly, which I really appreciated; as she started her heat cycle the second week of December. We ran bear dogs the first 6 days of season then averaged 4 days a week till season went out. We took a week to get all settled back in and now weíre taking to the woods with misty again to see what is what.

Night 19


We went an entire bear season without any snow, but as luck would have it now that bear season is gone, the snow has arrived. I love tracks, always have. I enjoy seeing an impression from the past, and trying to anticipate where itís going, look at where itís been; and try to understand why. We got 7 inches of snow and although I doubted there would be any coon activity while the flakes were still falling, I took misty out anyway.

We hunted some familiar oak flats that still have some grapes on the vines. I dropped the tailgate and sent misty into the timber that was blanketed by the white canvas. Misty was thoroughly enjoying this white stuff and trying to figure out the easiest way to navigate through it when I saw her cut some fresh tracks. She stopped on a dime, buried her nose, snorted and came back to me. As I neared the shadows cast by my light I recognized her memory of the last time she tried to take a deer track. Good girl.

We eased out through the timber and made our way down to the branch. Misty came and went and once again I saw her cut a track, this time she chirped a few times out of excitement and started to take it, then once again turned around and came back without being told. Fresh rabbit tracks, good girl misty. We hunted the branch back around and misty disappeared, I caught a glimpse of her winding as she topped a saddle and crossed over the knoll. I cut my light off to listen and watch the Garmin. I saw her straight line 82 yards then start circling. Buzz buzz Misty Treed, but she was still silent.

Then like a siren in the night there it was, a locate, another, then chop chop chopping on heavens door. Garmin, now you can call her treed. As I eased in to her, I saw the tracks, coon. The only problem I saw was misty was leaving tracks in one direction; and Ricky was leaving them going the other way. Oops, I thought to myself as I flipped on the red light and to my surprise there sat a coon on the outside of a hollow maple? Confused I retraced the steps and it appeared as if we got lucky and caught this one red hot. The snow told the story which I interpreted as this coon must have just climbed down to head to water, as misty was topping the saddle, because he just made a wide U Turn and returned right back where he came from, right where misty said.

Good girl misty. I petted her up, leashed her up, and walked her 100 yards off the tree and was planning to hunt back to the truck. She attempted to go back to the tree but a simple ďMisty hereĒ was enough to convince her to move on to another. We didnít get lucky twice tonight, but it was still a successful night out. She passed on the wrong game twice, and located the right game, still a little concerned about her lack of mouth on the track, but am still optimistic that will change. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-11-2022 02:26 PM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 20

We set out again tonight, but we were running a little later. The sun had long set and the moon had made an appearance. The moonlight and the snow made a light almost unnecessary. We hunted a long narrow ridge that starts at my house and squeezes its way through several neighboring farms. Hunting a full 24 hours after then snow really makes a difference on the amount of tracks. Misty hunted out well and passed on several trash tracks right off the bat. We got into and area where turkeys had scratched, deer had fed, and either a pair of small dogs, or a coyote couple had hunted through. They Turkey scratches got Mistyís attention and drew several chirps and a nice bawl of excitement out of her before I toned her and we moved on.

Much to my surprise we didnít cut a coon track our entire way out the ridge, so on our way back to the house I dropped off the ridge and got us closer to the creek. Bingo, misty struck on the creek bank and started to work a track. She side-hilled around headed back towards the house with only a few chirps along the way. She went 365 yards and buzz buzz Garmin called it before she did. After some circling and checking herself, she locked down. I made my way to her to see her blowing the top out of a hollow maple once again.

There were tracks coming and going several times from this tree, and I did cut her track on the creek to see that her and Ricky were pointed the same direction, but no coon was seen. I elected not to pet her, because I was not 100% certain she was right. No doubt there was plenty of coon scent on the tree, and Iím confident that she had him, but couldnít be certain. I chose not to show praise, or disappointment towards her just because of the uncertainty. I led her 100 yards and cut her again, as per usual she tried to go back, I called her but this time it wasnít enough. She went back and locked down again and still uncertain about the situation I chose to walk back and lead her off again instead of toning her. I led her back to the house and we called it a night.

She showed some interest in some trash tonight, but also proved that she does know what weíre after. She did emit a few sounds on the track tonight so that still has me optimistic that she will learn to talk more on track. I like the fact that she will check and double check before she locks down, and she has no issue on the tree. I also admire her determination to stay treed when she commits, but we still have a long way to go and only time will tell. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-11-2022 02:50 PM
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5thgearwide
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 21

The snow has melted and it has gotten cold. Theyíre calling for single digits in the next couple nights. We set out right at dark tonight in hopes that we could cut a track made by a coon in the fading daylight. We hunted a rougher area tonight where nobody likes to hunt, but is usually out of the wind and is still holding grapes.

We dropped off a steep ridge with our transportation to our back and I was already reminding myself of the houndsmans law, whatever ridge you go downÖ. You must eventually come back up. We dropped 800 feet in 400 yards but we got down into the grapes that lined the branch. Misty threw her head into the wind let out a confident raspy bawl and headed into the breeze. The next time I caught a glimpse she had her nose on the ground and her tail in the air. She worked the track very slowly, and didnít talk very much at all.

After only moving about 200 yards in almost twenty minutes I was about to call her off and move on but then she let out a locate. I sat patiently as she circled, circled, and then moved on. She exited the area she had been in, at a lot faster pace than when she got there. I flipped my red light on out of curiosity and in the vicinity of where she located there was a possum sitting up in a grape vine.

Uncertain as to whether she was right, she knew she was wrong, or what was going on I watched the Garmin and listened. After about another 10 minutes she was showing treed 240 yards away in a steep feeder holler to my left, so I eased a little closer. As I entered the mouth of this holler I could hear her blowing the top out. To give you a representation of how friendly the terrain is when I got 38 yards below her, I still had a 200 foot ascent to be standing by her side. I arrived out of breath to see her on a mighty hollow poplar that seemed to reach into the overcast night sky.

I climbed even further up the hillside to get eye level with a big hole but still was unable to locate a coon. I repeated the same process from the other night, leashed her up and led her away, we side hilled back towards the truck and I Cut her loose again. After staying with me for a brief period of time she played the wind and topped the ridge that I was slowly working up. She struck on top and straight lined 400 yards and started circling. She committed quicker than normal on this tree and locked down.

She sounded good as she was singing her song high atop the ridge. I arrived to a hickory tree and low and behold a trash panda sat in the first fork. I petted her up extra good and she really had the fire in her eyes. I believe if she could talk she would have told me she had one in the last tree too, but I donít believe in praising a dog unless I am absolutely certain. I praised her for awhile, watched and listened for awhile, and procrastinated our climb out of there.

We made it back to the truck, got loaded up, and headed home. Misty is piecing it together, I feel like she definitely has an understanding of what I want from her, but still has room to improve in how she leaves, hunts, and moves a track while telling me whatís going on. She understands the tree style, and whatís supposed to be in the tree though so weíll keep taking baby steps. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-11-2022 03:41 PM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 22

We took a few nights off due to the wind, the single digits, more snow, thawing temperatures with rain, some chores I needed to get caught up on, and now itís getting cold again. We hit the woods right at dark and I took misty to where I had seen 3 young coons scurrying up the wood line while rolling out a bale for the cattle about 30 minutes before. I cut her at the fields edge as the sun was getting low and she over ran the last place I had seen the coons.

She hunted into the timber a couple hundred yards then made a big loop and came back to where I cut her and she struck. She put her nose to the ground and started grubbing. I would estimate we were about 45 minutes behind the coons when she struck which in the bear dog world is a red hot track, but she sure treated this track as if it were a day old. I watched her work and lose and push it and lose and grub some more.

I understand that a coon leaves a lot less scent than a bear. I also spend a lot of time studying the effects that ground moisture, ground temp, air temp, barometric pressure, wind, sun, and shade to name a few play in scenting conditions. I still couldnít help but constantly think that I have 4, 7 month old pups that I started on bear that I feel would be burning this track down on the chain just several hundred yards away. I fought the urge to go collar one of them and see just what they would do for several reasons. I want to attempt to keep those pups straight on bear, and if misty is going to stay here, sheís going to HAVE to be able to take her tracks as they come.

After moving the track on out and the Garmin calling her treed she located, then moved on. Just like the other night I walked to the vicinity and shined with the red light. I located 2 of the kitten coons sitting up as I heard misty locate and this time lock down 120 yards further. I got to her and she had the third coon on the outside of a small red oak. I praised her up and left the young coons to leave tracks another day. As I sat and watched her tree for awhile and had to remind myself that dogs are just like people, they learn and mature at different paces and just because I have some younger that are getting me more excited than misty is; doesnít mean I donít owe her the time to prove to me sheís worth the effort.

She used her nose and her brain tonight and showed determination to push past a tree where she knew there was scent, and follow the track till it wasnít on the ground anymore. She still is a little too tight mouthed on the track for me, and seems slow on the track, but like I said I owe her the time to prove herself. She should pick up speed with experience, and hopefully get more vocal as she does. So until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-11-2022 04:10 PM
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DL NH
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Registered: Jan 2016
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Posts: 452

I really enjoy reading this thread. You write well which makes for an interesting story as well as drawing the reader into it with sufficient details that enable a hound manís imagination to practically be along side you on the hunt. That my friend is a gift not everyone has. When I was a kid I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of some old timers in the far northern reaches of eastern VT that hunted, trapped and fished as a means of putting food on the table and added supplementary income for the family as well. I would listen for hours! Itís better than TV!

Youíre a true story teller! Perhaps one day youíll compile it in a book of sorts! If for no one else, perhaps for your familyís next generation of hunters/hound handlers that will hopefully carry on the tradition. Weíre becoming fewer all the time!

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Old Post 01-11-2022 05:55 PM
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Dave Richards
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Registered: Apr 2015
Location: church hill tn
Posts: 5271

quote:
Originally posted by DL NH
I really enjoy reading this thread. You write well which makes for an interesting story as well as drawing the reader into it with sufficient details that enable a hound manís imagination to practically be along side you on the hunt. That my friend is a gift not everyone has. When I was a kid I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of some old timers in the far northern reaches of eastern VT that hunted, trapped and fished as a means of putting food on the table and added supplementary income for the family as well. I would listen for hours! Itís better than TV!

Youíre a true story teller! Perhaps one day youíll compile it in a book of sorts! If for no one else, perhaps for your familyís next generation of hunters/hound handlers that will hopefully carry on the tradition. Weíre becoming fewer all the time!



Dan, I agree 100 percent with you. I enjoy reading these post as they are captivating and as you stated told with ability that lets a veteran hunter imagine themself being along for the hunt. I definitely would buy a book he wrote. Dave

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Old Post 01-11-2022 08:30 PM
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ringtail
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Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2718

quote:
Originally posted by Dave Richards
I definitely would buy a book he wrote. Dave


I would too. I really enjoy his stories. When check in on the board I go straight to off topics to see if Brad made a post, then I come over here to see if there is new Start to Finish post.

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Old Post 01-12-2022 12:31 AM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

I appreciate the kind words, the thought has crossed my mind to write a book several times and maybe thatís a project I will pursue in the future but I have yet to find the time. I have attempted to document some of my hunts to share on YouTube, but that also involves a lot more time than I realized. I really believe that itís a good way to educate those that are misinformed about hound hunting, and could possibly bring new people to the sport; but it does take a lot of time and effort.

Night 23

Weíve been shuffling some cattle around this evening and I had intentions of hunting so I loaded misty up in the truck when we made our last load for the evening and dropped my truck at my dads farm. Misty and myself then hitched a ride with grandpa and an empty stock trailer back to his farm and we hunted the mile and a half back towards my truck. I can say thatís the first time I have transported a hound by cattle trailer.

The skies were clear, the moon was bright, and the air was cold and still. We exited our 20 foot taxi and eased into the rolling oak timber. I unsnapped misty and she dove into a wet weather branch and started working a track. I feel confident that she was working a coon track for several reasons, I regularly see them cross through there, and she was very intent yet wasnít saying a word. She worked this track down to another branch, across and up the knoll; and was about to cross the hard top when I toned her off.

She returned directly and we eased on through the timber. I noticed she is a little on the sensitive side as she stood on my feet for quite some time after being toned. I donít really prefer to tone a young dog off the correct game, but I would rather do that than pick them up off the double yellow line. It may have confused her for the night but I feel confident that she wonít think twice about it next time.

We hunted through a big block of timber, crossed a pasture where we were warned from a distance that we werenít welcome by several donkey. We hunted down through a small patch that fed into a steady stream bordered by a big block of pines. By the time we got to this stream misty was finally hunting again. She showed a lot of interest in a track left on the bank so I patiently stood and listened as her nose went to work. The ice along the edge of the water informed us that it was cold, but not as cold as it could be; as the entire branch wasnít froze over.

As the frosted leaves crunched under the weight of her paws I listened to the excitement in the speed of her nose going and the pace of her footwork. As she crossed the branch back and forth going away from me each time you could hear the cracking and crushing of the ice. It seemed as if whatever left the track ran on the ice and weighed a lot less than misty. She worked and worked this track without ever making a peep, she finally took it off the branch and up into the pines where she hit a lose that she never could pick up.

I shined the pines in the vicinity of the lose with the red light, but never could locate eyes. For the duration of the time I was there I never saw her looking up or checking trees, she had her nose down the entire time. I gave her ample opportunity to pick up her lose and put a tree on the end of it but she made it obvious that just wasnít happening with this track.

We hunted our way back to a ridge above the branch, skirted a clearcut from 20 years ago, hunted through one more block of mature timber, and then arrived at the truck empty handed. She came and went through the rest of our hunt but still stayed a little closer than usual. I have no doubt that there just arenít too many critters moving in the cold conditions we have at the moment but you never know till ya go. I feel confident that misty fooled with 2 of the correct tracks tonight, the first just being in a bad spot, and the second one I have several theories. Iím leaning more towards her taking the track backwards, but if I give her the benefit of the doubt I would say the track was better around the water and just got worse further away from the moisture and Iíve seen several dogs have trouble trailing in the pines. Iíve also seen dogs trail through pines like they were looking at it but thatís beside the point.

She still seems to be on the right track, but I am slowly losing faith that she will be open mouth on track. Time will tell and weíre willing to put in the time. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-12-2022 01:56 AM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 24

The western sky appeared to be on fire yesterday evening as they daylight surrendered to darkness. With a high of nearly 50 degrees, I believe that made it the warmest day weíve had in a couple weeks. I was running behind schedule but my hunting buddy and his pair of hounds agreed to wait on me and misty.

We arrived to some fairly familiar hunting ground as it was the first place misty showed interest in a live coon, almost a year ago. We hunted up a holler headed towards a pond that sat at the base of the mountain. We laughed as one of the dogs went for a slip and slide on a patch of ice in the abandoned farm road; and made sure to remind each other on our way back of the particular spot; so we didnít give the hounds an opportunity for laughter.

We went without a strike for a good amount of time as the dogs came and went, Misty checking in more frequently than the others. When we got to the pond we stopped to listen to the decaying leaves crunching under the dogs weight until they hunted out of hearing. I flipped my light on and we had a brief conversation about how the pond used to look compared to its overgrown, and under maintained state that itís in now. I canít help but think that I was born 50 years late when I come across similar locations.

The crisp still night was one of the prettiest weíve had in awhile, not too hot; yet not too cold. We made our way up the ridge and hit an old logging road that skirted the foot of the mountain through the timber and connected some farm fields. At one point I looked at the Garmin to see misty 450 yards, this is an improvement in her hunting distance.

As we heard the dogs coming in the leaves we eased on forward as they crossed the logging road within sight with all 3 dogs running with their heads up. They dropped in the holler to our right and it sounded like a bear bay! All 3 dogs struck, and were pouring it to it as they turned up out of the holler and started straight away from us. We looked at each other and I made the comment that Iíve yet to hear misty talk this much on a coon track.

They went straight away following the contour lines out the base of the mountain about 500 yards then just shut up. We were making predictions as to whether they would catch Ol Ricky on the ground, but the answer was obviously no as all three dogs returned. The possibilities are endless but Iím leaning towards a bobcat race that gave them the slip, but who knows as I may just have to chalk it up as a ghost.

We continued on and just as we were nearing our point to turn around we heard misty and the veteran hound driving a track down the holler like a freight train. I made another remark how Iíd never heard misty talk this much on track in a single night period. Just as I finished saying it the Garmin said treed, then there they were. One, two, three locates from Misty then chopping a mile a minute. We made our way into the tree to see an old den that has been used by coons for quite some time.

I got a few good pictures of misty then we headed back towards the truck. Misty returned to the tree once after I unsnapped her but before I could decide whether I should tone her or go get her she returned to my side and stayed with me till the other young dog struck and started trailing again. We listened as misty and the other prospect worked a track away from, then back towards the den tree.

I eased in to them to see if they were going to tree in the same spot again but I was able to watch as they were grubbing a track on the adjacent ridge. They were nose down tails up giving good mouth but had hit a lose they couldnít pick up. I watched as misty started checking trees when she no longer smelled it on the ground but never did commit, which I admire.

After awhile I coaxed the dogs on and we made our way back to the truck. My buddy reminded me of the ice patch shortly before we got to it and we were able to reach the truck on our feet. Misty made a few steps in the right direction tonight, I especially enjoyed hearing her talk while on the track. She has no problems rolling up on the tree with a few raspy locates then chopping it down; but I would like to see her continue to hunt out harder and give more mouth on the ground. Time will tell. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-13-2022 01:03 PM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 25

We got a late start last night, but we headed to a new patch of woods anyway. I just gained permission on a neighboring farm so I loaded Misty up in the UTV and we set out to find a coon. I had to flip the frosted windshield down due to the frigid air as I eased up the road. I had never stepped foot on this farm until tonight and only had an idea of how to hunt it from looking at OnX.

There are 2 decent patches of timber that parallel each other on the opposite edges of the perimeter fence. They both run the length of the farm and are connected at the western edge by a nice creek bottom thatís riddled with fruit trees and green briars. We parked at the creek and I cut Misty into the dark and we eased down stream into the woods.

She didnít hunt out as deep as she had the night before with company, which is what I was afraid of but she did hunt. Whenever she would check back in I would move a little deeper and let her hunt some more. I heard her nose go to work and watched the Garmin as she appeared to have struck a track, but once again wasnít talking. I leaned up against a mature white pine and listened for her to tell a story. Finally at 240 yards she let out a few chirps, hooked to her right then started running right back to me.

What happened next was something I doubt I will ever witness again. I could hear her coming through the leaves but something sounded off about the rhythm of her footsteps but she was coming straight at me nonetheless. About the time I started to realize that I now heard a second set of feet coming that were chasing the first I was able to pick the coon out dodging shadows in the moonlight at about 20 yards.

I flipped my light on about the time I realized I was leaned up against home plate and it startled the bandit and he grabbed a hardwood 10 feet in front of me and proceeded to climb. Hot on his heels was misty and Iím sure she was a little confused to see me standing at the tree before her, but after a brief check she located and rolled up on the tree. As I backed up to get a video I was in disbelief as this hardwood, that I just witnessed a coon climb with my own eyes, was slick. No way around it, he had vanished. I flipped the red light on and squalled and got him to peek from the neighboring pine tree once to confirm that I in fact wasnít crazy, but still canít quite figure out which limb he leaped from to make the transition because there wasnít a convenient set of stairs so to speak.

I backed up and let her tree awhile and praised her up and kicked myself for not recording when I heard the footsteps coming but I guess it still worked out. We hunted the rest of the patch out without any more action or noise. I did watch from a distance as misty hunted right past a bedded down buck, never paying him any mind and he returned the favor. I would call the night a success, still plenty of room for improvement but hopefully that will come with experience. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-14-2022 01:20 PM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 26

We had a short but sweet session this evening. As I was pulling in the driveway this evening I saw a lone bandit scurrying into the woods. I stoked the fire, grabbed my light, the Garmin, a collar, and unsnapped misty. I didnít walk her straight to the track, instead we took the long way around and I stopped and the creek and waited.

She had been bouncing around and looping out until I stopped, thatís when she stopped. So I waited as the overcast night sky was settling in and the moonlight was doing its best to peek through. After a few minutes of her standing under my feet she couldnít take it anymore and she ventured out. I set her up for success all she had to do was meet me halfway and after a delay she did. She went about 180 yards and started chirping and getting excited about it. She worked the track in the right direction and didnít take too long to settle in on a nice red oak.

Baaawwwwllllll baaawwwlllll baaaawwwwlllll chopchopchopchopchopchop there he is Misty says. 5 seconds with the red light was all it took from 50 yards out to see two red eyes staring down at us. Good girl misty. I pet her up and let her tree and really get excited about it. Sheís shaping up to be a nice little tree dog I just hope that her mouth on track, and desire to hunt will improve with experience.

It feels like the weather man is telling the truth as my broken bones from the past are predicting the weather with their aches. We called it a night after this tree and I got a load of wood in and stoked the fire. Last i heard theyíre saying a foot of snow starting late tomorrow night so i guess weíll see. Time will tell the tale on whether misty makes the cut or not, but at this point Iím still rooting for her. Until next time Yal stay tuned, and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-15-2022 01:12 AM
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Dave Richards
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Registered: Apr 2015
Location: church hill tn
Posts: 5271

Misty

She's working on making a coon dog. I do not train coon dogs, I buy mine, but reading your stories makes me sad in missing out on the learning process that dogs go through. Keep these stories coming. Dave

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Old Post 01-15-2022 01:29 AM
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DL NH
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Registered: Jan 2016
Location:
Posts: 452

I can honestly say that may be a once in a lifetime experience observing that coons shenanigans!

I can also say that I would likely be getting concerned about what appears to be the possibility of Misty being silent if she was my dog. I havenít owned a coon dog of my own now since 1993. I will always want an HONEST open mouth dog. I still go with my best friend. Weíve hunted together for over 37 years and we both run snowshoe hare with beagles.

If Misty were mine Iíd be keeping her for a while longer but definitely not for more than another season if she doesnít become an open trailing hound. For what I like in a hound a silent dog or really tight mouthed dog is an incomplete hound. I hate a track straddling babbling fool too!

My hope for you is that she comes to open more and more as she progresses. That being said, I always liked to see a young coon dog start treeing before running track. In my day of having coon hounds it seemed harder to find a natural tree dog. In my opinion itís always been hard to find a top hound in any breed regardless of what the game is your hunting. Yet, isnít that a large part of the mystique of raising and training hounds no matter the game youíre pursuing?

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Old Post 01-15-2022 02:52 AM
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5thgearwide
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Registered: Dec 2017
Location: VA
Posts: 105

Night 27

The weatherman was right for the first time in a long time, and we got the snow. It was hard to tell how much exactly for all the wind that arrived around the time the flakes stopped falling. I witnessed some drifts as deep as five feet, and some areas the remaining fall grass was protruding the white blanket.

Monday my mutts didnít even come out of their houses, and I didnít blame them as I doubt the coons were moving either. Tuesday the wind didnít cut us any slack so we opted out of hunting that night as well. Last night I was a little under the weather, and had to run some errands for a neighbor that isnít feeling well (and my pups tend to visit him first when they get adventurous) so we didnít hunt last night either.

Early this morning we got some rain that turned into flurries as the temperatures dropped throughout the day. By the time I got off work the temps were in the upper 20ís lower 30ís and having a young dog that needs to be in the woods, to the woods we went.

We hunted another new patch of timber, it was mostly mature hardwoods on a knoll overlooking a creek bottom. It was a small tract but to be completely honest Iím still a little low on energy so I didnít mind a short hunt. The previously thawed, compacted, and refrozen snow; really makes for loud fun walking.

We eased into the woods right after the sun went down, the blanket of snow seemed to glow in the darkness. Misty wasnít too ambitious at first but started to venture out as we gained elevation as we left the creek behind. By the time I topped the knoll misty was 180 yards in front of me and seemed to be working a track. I welcomed the opportunity to catch my breath as I listened to the echo of hound feet crunching through the night.

Misty chirped a few times as she worked the remaining scent and attempted to put an end on the track for almost 30 minutes. I cut her track but the particular area she was in at this point was froze hard enough that misty was barely leaving a track, so I couldnít confirm whether she was fooling with a coon or trash. After giving her ample time to straighten it out, or locate a tree I called her off and we moved on. We skirted the block of timber without anymore action, misty came and went throughout the remainder of our trek.

It was a relatively uneventful night, misty seemed to want to hunt even if the conditions werenít really in our favor. This time of year seems to be the toughest time to tree coon in this area, especially for a young dog. But ya never know till ya go so thatís what weíre gonna do. Until next time Yal stay tuned and keep em in the woods!

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Old Post 01-21-2022 02:00 AM
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