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Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: Coon hunting on the Fishing River

  • I had a buddy back in high school named Harley Ramey, and we put together a Halloween party in his mother’s basement one year, complete with bales of straw and other decorations, and then invited all of our friends to join us. His mama was so pleased that we had decided to do something constructive on Halloween night rather than going out and terrorizing the neighborhood.

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  • I had a buddy back in high school named Harley Ramey, and we put together a Halloween party in his mother’s basement one year, complete with bales of straw and other decorations, and then invited all of our friends to join us. His mama was so pleased that we had decided to do something constructive on Halloween night rather than going out and terrorizing the neighborhood.
    However, following graduation we went our separate ways and it was probably four or five years later before we ran into each other again. We had both gotten married in the meantime and Harley married a very pretty girl name Loraine. Loraine had a brother named Bill who lived up north of the river and he was an avid raccoon hunter. Harley had become his best hunting buddy and seemed to think I would really enjoy going out in the middle of the night coon hunting with them.
    Actually, I think they were just looking for someone to sell a bad coon dog to and I was the sucker. The dog was a blue tick named Wendy, and she was not exactly a good purchase on my part, because she never learned to hate those raccoons enough to go tree them in the middle of the night. If she ever jumped anything it was either an opossum or a rabbit. But I did enjoy going hunting with the boys.
    I remember one night we were hunting along the Fishing River in Clay County about half way between Liberty and Kearney. The dogs soon started running a raccoon up the holler and back down again barking like mad all the way up and back again, so we decided to sit down on some flat rocks on a hillside and wait for them to tree the ornery critter.
    The raccoons will run and run until they get tired and then scurry up a tree to rest for a while. Since the hound dogs can’t climb the trees, their bark changes considerably as they jump against the tree trunk as high as they can, so we would always know when the coons were treed.
    The hillside we were sitting on was rocky and so steep that it was almost like sitting in a chair, so we were sitting there talking about old girl friends or something of that nature. Suddenly, I got this really eerie feeling as if someone was watching me, you know what I mean? The feeling was coming from my right and just continued to get stronger and stronger until I couldn’t stand it any longer.
    I quickly turned and shined my big flashlight into the bush that I was sitting next too. There, not 3 feet from my face was an enormous hoot owl with big eyes sitting in the bush staring back at me. When my flash light nailed him in the face, he let out this really loud hoot and started flapping his wings, he was getting the heck out of Dodge!
    Page 2 of 2 - I don’t know which one of us it scared the most, I jumped straight up in the air and let out some kind of war hoop and scrambled right over the top of both Harley and Bill and we all three tumbled down the steep hillside bouncing off of the bushes and rocks. I would have probably taken off running, but it was a moonless night and I had lost my flashlight in the scramble, could hardly see my hand in front of my face.
    Once I got up enough nerve to climb back up the hill to find my flashlight, the dogs had done caught up with the coon and the fight was on.
    Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior, or school groups.
    To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to teddystillwell@yahoo.com or call him at 816-252-9909.
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