Coon Hunting

An excerpt from forth coming book:
Seneca Seasons: A Farm Boy Remembers
Coon Hunting
Raccoons came around the farm buildings at night. They were after anything we had, that tasted good to a raccoon, like young chickens, lambs, and piglets. These farm critters were all good meals for the “masked bandits”, as we called them. Besides, coons carried rabies, and if you got bit by a coon, or any animal that a rabid coon bit, you had instant death. And a painful one at that! That was the wisdom on the Scheckel farm. So the raccoons were no friend of the farmer, that we knew for sure!
We never saw a raccoon during the day. Dad said they only came out at night. The Berniers down the road had a raccoon in a cage for some time. Their nephews, Bob and Don Laskaski, found a baby coon out in the woods. They kept it in a wire cage that was normally used to raise rabbits. They fed it table scraps, the animal grew fast, got too fat, and died.
Several times Dad took Phillip, Bob and me coon hunting in the early 1950’s. One night was memorable and special. We took my dog Browser. Browser was a mutt, not a coon dog. But at least, he was a dog. And who knows, he might even tree a coon. Something about “teaching an old dog new tricks”.
We walked down the Oak Grove Ridge road, crossed the fence and started down into the summer cattle pasture that lead to Kettle Hollow. Dad carried the single shot rifle and a flashlight. Phillip and I each toted a kerosene lantern. We three boys thought we were on a trek, a safari, an adventure of a lifetime.
It was pitch dark, no moon, and we stumbled over projecting roots and rocks. Cattle and cows are creatures of habit and they will take the same path over and over. I marveled at the cow paths cut into the very steep hill pasture, something like those terraces seen in exotic far away countries. Cows could reach every blade of grass on the side hill using the paths they made about eight feet apart.
Browser, my faithful brown mutt, ran out ahead, occasionally coming back to greet his companions and masters. I sensed that Browser knew that we were on a special voyage. The flashlight picked up the surreal glare of the dog’s eye.
To be continued…..

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