As I was going up on a farm in Southern Indiana my Grandfather was always telling us stories of his childhood and young adult life. I would like to tell you of one such story.
Farm work was from sunrise to sundown almost everyday during the spring and summer. But after harvest, things would slow considerably. During the slow times, the farmers in the area gathered together at night to hunt Fox and Raccoon with their hunting dogs. These dogs were specially trained to hunt either Fox or Raccoon. My Grandfather had eight dogs for just such occasions. He owned four Fox dogs and four Raccoon dogs. In this county a farmer’s dogs gained bragging rights for their owners, the better the dogs the more bragging rights went to their owner, which definitely raised an individual’s status in the county.
My Grandfather had four, of what were considered some of the best Raccoon treeing dogs in the county. When these dogs started their treed howling, it was a guarantee that there was a Raccoon treed. One night when the farmers were sitting around the fire drinking moonshine, my Grandfather heard his dogs treed howl. He jumped up, grabbed his shotgun and with his younger cousin in tow, headed toward the sound of his dogs howling.
With 20 minutes of trudging through brush and briars, they finally came upon the dogs that had run a Raccoon into a hollow tree log on the ground. My Grandfather took out his flashlight to see exactly where the Raccoon was in the log. When he shined his light into the hollow log two red eyes were looking back at him, accompanied by a loud hissing noise. A smile came over my Grandfather’s face. He then turned to his cousin “Little Simp” and said, You go around to the other end of the log. I will keep the light in the Raccoon’s eyes. When I say NOW you grab the Raccoon by the tail and pull him out of the log. The dogs will do the rest.”
Little Simp then moved to the other end of the log kneeling down ready to act on my Grandfather’s command. My Grandfather along with shining the light in the Raccoon’s eyes, he also started prodded it with a stick, causing the Raccoon to move backwards to avoid the prodding. When my Grandfather thought the Raccoon had been backed up far enough for Little Simp to grab its tail. He shouted, “NOW, Little Simp grab his tail and jerk him out of there.”
Little Simp thrusted his arm into the log, finding the tail and with a strong grip pulled the Raccoon out of the log. When the animal was cleared from the log, it was discovered it was not a Raccoon. It was a Skunk. A big PISSED-OFF skunk. My Grandfather and Little Simp on their knees, had no chance to escape the spray of the Skunk. The Skunk did not hold back, giving my Grandfather and Little Simp a good dosing. So much so that they were finding it hard to breathe. They stubbled to a nearby creek where they washed their face and eyes. Finally getting a point where they could see and breathe with less effort, they stated home. The dogs beat them back to the house.
My Grandmother when she smelled the two of them relegated them to sleeping with the dogs for the next week.
My Grandfather sold the dogs.
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