Reflections

Coon Hunt One Of Many Golden Memories

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  My apologies to Jim Allen for breaking the continuity of a mention of Alice’s operation.  I’m still not a very good editor apparently.  It was good to hear that Alice is doing very well in rehab.  At this writing I haven’t heard the latest on Jesse Barnes’ condition.  

Sometimes I’ll be asked about a subject that I covered years ago and, as I said in the beginning of this column, I’ll refer back from time to time to one of them.  This week I thought I’d cover for lack of a better title, “Johnny Middleton and Robert Busby’s memorable coon hunt.” Johnny was manager of Newman-Gardner and Robert Busby’s dad was Cliff Busby that owned Busby Chevrolet.  

Robert was the Standard Oil distributor in Water Valley.  They were both avid coon hunters along with Joe and Warren Surrette and this particular time they went down in Tallahatchie County to hunt.

Johnny said that when they got to the house back in the woods, the people they were going to hunt with were drinking moonshine from a fruit jar and one was apparently further along than the others.  Of course he was the one that insisted on carrying the crosscut  saw.  They hadn’t progressed to chain saws at that time.  

They went down the bluff to the delta and turned the dogs loose.  Johnny said that they had finally taken the saw from the drunk after he had fallen several times and they were afraid he would injure himself.  The dogs finally struck a scent and the coon decided, instead of standing and fighting as they do sometime, to instead climb up a tall cypress.  After they notched the tree they started sawing down the cypress.  

The drunk walked around several times to the side that the tree would fall and they would have to drag him back.  Finally the tree fell but the coon didn’t come out.  They could see him when they shined the light and he was in a hole in the tree.  They got a long stick and started to poke him and the drunk walked up to where he was and told them he would catch him when they made him come out.  

Then they told him that the last thing he wanted was to be anywhere near that coon when he came out.  A full-sized coon can whip a couple of dogs in a fair fight, as they have a mouth full of sharp teeth and their claws are like razors.  

Finally the coon decided to come out and the drunk grabbed him and the coon grabbed the drunk.  They tried to hold the dogs ,but they got so excited that they broke loose and got into the fight.  In the darkness the dogs went totally by smell and the drunk already smelled like the coon and they were biting him as well as the coon.  

Finally Johnny said they were able to shine the light on them and they were able to pull the dogs away and kill the coon.  The drunk was in bad shape having been bitten and clawed by the coon as well as the dogs.  

They managed to get him back to his house and someone took him to the hospital in Charleston.  Some time later  he had nearly died.  Johnny and Robert both said that in all their years of coon hunting that was the most bizarre thing they had ever witnessed.  I know I shouldn’t, but every time I think about that event  I get amused and I’m probably the only one now that remembers the story.

I hope those of you that have heard it and the rest of you that haven’t will enjoy the trip down memory lane.  We’re getting ready to fly to Portland for Jamie and Nicole’s wedding on the 21st, but there will be a column that week.  

Again I want to remind all of you that your input is very much appreciated and has been the backbone over the years.  My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcglobal.net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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