Coon hunting with hounds

Dude the Cross Eyed Plott

written by Mary Lou McKIllip

Maynard Cook bought me from Weldon Barton because he said , "I ,Dude, was cross-eyed and he couldn’t tell which way I was looking".

This was not because I couldn’t hunt coons with the best of the hounds. My darn looks had nothing to do with me treeing that coon, it was all in my nose as any red -blooded coon hunter would be swift to tell you.

One night when the moon was up I led off, I figured those darn Plotts wouldn’t let me down, but heck they laid down and wouldn’t move a muscle. Maynard came stalking up the trail and found the dawgs lying there .I heard him mutter under his breath, they can’t tell which way this crossed eyed plot was going to lead them. Well I be darn if this was the pot under my paws, I’d might as well head for the truck, then when I did the darn plotts headed for the truck too.

Maynard must been reading my mind he loaded up the plots along side of me. Boy, if I didn’t get some plotts hides when I got in that truck. I whipped about three right off and the fourth named Blue hollered, hold on Dude it’s not you, we were tired from the nights before and we fooled old Maynard.

I settled down in the back of the rattle trap of a truck and began to think, "Blue, you and the other sorry plotts has got me in trouble, that darn Maynard thinks it is me because of my cross eyes that you darn sillies can’t follow me through dark woods.Well hell, you can’t even see my eyes after dark and beside I always go the way my head is turned. I guess I’ll be sold to some other stupid coon hunter who thinks my cross eyes has something to do with my performance of treeing that darn coon."

"Now hold on Dude, your way of thinking might not be with ever coon hunter, they are smart and now don’t put the coon hunters down son.," echoed Blue "I guess your right, I’m so put out with my cross eyes that sometimes I even think of running off and never treeing a coon again."

"Where in the heck would you go Dude? We’ve got to get together and talk this thing over and we will never pull this trick again, even if we are tired to the bone."

"Well, I can’t let my hang ups reflect on you good plotts, you’re the best coon dawgs I ever hunted with."

When Maynard pulled the rattle trap of a truck in the back yard, Wanda his wife came out with some dish water and threw it square dabbed in Maynard’s face, claiming she never heard the truck drive up, where in the heck was her ears? Probably stuffed full of cotton. This really ticked off Maynard and he went to saying words us old coon dawgs hadn’t heard, she heard him and ran inside and slammed the door in his face. This did tick him off he hollered woman you get back out here now.

Wanda stuck her head out the door and said," go hunt your coon, you cussing husband you."

Maynard kicked something hard and it was me, my tail was sore for weeks. I’d liked to bite his leg ,but I was afraid as mad as he was he would have shot me on the spot.

This was the last straw with Maynard and him belittling me because my eyes were crossed, I struck out for a life away from my buddies.

Blue hollered, "wait Dude I want to go with you, this cussing is getting on my dawgs nerves too".

Well low and behold the other three dawgs lit out after us. I knew this would never do and I agreed to stay on if they followed me and treed coons like they were supposed to do.

We all went in the lot that night without supper, but not for long Wanda had made us some hot cornbread and lots of it too. She felt sorry for us and we felt sorry she was married to that sorry Maynard.

Time rocked on and the plotts hung close to my side while I led them to the hunt and boy did we ever tree coons. Maynard was getting old and couldn’t keep up with us young dawgs like he once could;. this way we got to stop, wait and rest awhile until he climbed the ridge where we were about to tree that old coon.. About that time a herd of deer and a wild buck snorting around gored Blue in his side and sent him down the ridge. We hurried down to check on Blue and when Maynard finally got to the spot he carried old blue back to the truck. He tied a toe sack around old Blue’s middle to help stop the blood.

Blue raised up and said , "Dude, it’s been good hunting coons with you."

I came unglued and said," Now not one more word that your are fixing to check out, I can’t loose my right paws your the reason I have been so go at hunting and treeing these varmints.:"

Maynard asked, "did you hear someone talking?". Like us old dawgs would tell him if we did, he’d never know it was US’s. He took us old dawgs back to the truck and away we went making ninety to get Blue some medical attention. Old Frederick Jones the Vet. lived in the upstairs of his practice which was once an old barn fixed up.. Maynard beat on the door and finally got Frederick up and he sewed up old Blue’s belly and put some ointment on the wound; in three weeks old Blue was fine as frog hair.

Well things were fine until Maynard pulled one of his fits and started kicking butts, but you can bet when he started fussing I was long gone from the reach of his foot. We had no more problems finding and treeing coons for the old fellow.

One day he just up and died on us all , we were in the back yard and all a once he slumped down to the ground .Wanda saw this and was by his side when he died. They buried him with all the praises a coon hunter likes to get. It was a sad day around the place without Maynard, Wanda keep us and let us out to hunt on our own. She was good to feed us and keep our water buckets full.

One day a fine shinny new truck drove up in the yard and a man got out, I could tell he was a coon hunter right off the bat.

Old Blue said, "Who do you reckon this it?"

"I bet he is a coon hunter, he was looking us all over."

"You don’t think Wanda would sell us do you Dude?"

"I guess she would if the price was right , you know good coon dawgs don’t come cheap."

Well it turns out I hit the nail on the head after they exchanged hello’s.

The man said, "Mrs. Cook, I heard that you had some coon dawgs and good one at that, what will you take for them?"

Wanda said , " you won’t get them cheap."

The man replied," I‘ll give you five hundred dollar apiece for them."

Wanda shocked he was willing to pay for good dawgs, said I’ll tell you what; you can have them for six hundred dollars apiece."

The man Jeter Hamby pulled out the cash while she went to get the papers on us. Lord this was fast, but we had no say in the matter.

He came up to me and grinned saying, " This one has cross eyes and I sure wanted to bite his leg I formed a dislike for him immediately until Blue had a serious talk with me, he told me all of us could be together with Jeter. I still didn’t trust him, but we all hoped into the back of a new Ford truck and rode to Alabama which was a fur piece from Kentucky.

When we got there we were greeted by some cousins who hunted coons in the swamps of Alabama. Jeter was an old bachelor, but had fine pens for us and good dawg houses to lodge in. We had a big creek that run by his farm where we got fresh water each day and could come and go as we pleased, .but Jeter had a big chain link fence around two acres of his fifty acre farm.

Blue came around and said," Dude, "we sure lucked up and I wonder which one of us will he want to lead the pack."

"Well Blue ." I have always led the pack and I will lead all of you still, "Sounds good to all us old dawgs who joined in the conversation."

Jeter came up to me and patted my head saying," well Dude you crossed eyed plott Maynard’s widow told me you led the pack, so I guess we will let you lead them."

I still was peeved with his remarks, but soon learned to like the old champ a lot, Jeter was good to us all. He never had a missus to mistreat nor did he fly off the handle like Maynard,. but one thing bothered me, this swamp hunting in a turf we had to get used to.

We soon found our way around the swamps and then started to earn out keep. Jeter would brag to his cousins and they would go into town to drink and brag about us too. This old coon hunting cross eyed dawg soon adjusted to other’s comments. I was the talk around town, about my cross eyes that proved I Dude was the best coon hunting Plott Dawg in Alabama. Soon them Coon’s got wise and packed up and left the swamps!

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