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Raccoon Hunting Questions

The purpose of this page is to ask technical questions about raccoon hunting.  Certain questions will be posted for discussion or input.  Example: where to find a certain hunting product.  Questions are sometimes answered by raccoon hunting veteran, Bob Rakow (see Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond ) and his son, Dr. Tom C. Rakow .  If you have a question, thought, or response to another question or thought, please fill out the form and click submit.

(Bob Rakow went to be with the Lord 8/22/98.)
We now have four pages!!  Make sure you read all four!!
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I have a redbone pup that will strike and run his own coon with or without other dogs, but will not stick on the tree.  What can I do to get him to stick?

Tom  Something that is helpful to keeping a dog on tree is being nearby when the treeing takes place.  However, as you probably know, this is easier said than done!  You might try putting a small bell on the dog's collar in order to know which way the dog is headed.  (e.g. When the dog heads out of a cornfield for the woods, get ready.)  This doesn't seem to hinder the hunting and is especially helpful on windy nights in noisy cornfields when it's hard to know if your dog is nearby.  Also, once the dog has treed, spend a significant amount of time encouraging the dog to keep barking.  Although you may want to hurry on for the next run, this should help reinforce your dog to keep treeing until you arrive on the scene.

David  Hey, how are all you coon hunters doing?  I've got a question about keeping your dog on the tree.  See my English pup has been running her own since she was 6-months-old, but she won't stay on the tree and I was wondering if you could tell me how to get her to stay on the tree.  Thanks.

Tom  Sounds like your dog is off to a great start.  I would suggest the bell on her collar (see response to T.J.).  This might help you get to the tree quicker.  Of course, using an older "sound" dog could be key to keeping your dog on the tree.  However, if yoiu do use another older dog in these highly formative years, make sure that such a hound is not prone to chasing something other than raccoon.  Also, if you run your dog with one that likes to "hog the tree" (e.g. aggressively prevents other dogs from getting close to the tree where the raccoon is), you could actually do more harm than good as far as treeing is concerned.

Little Red Rooster  I had a good Walker hound who got into a fight with a coon one night last year.  The coon tore the dog's jaw up pretty bad so I took him to the vet.  Surgery was required and afterwards the dog began to lose interest in treeing and to tree immediately despite there was no coon in the tree.  Do you think the surgery was to blame???  The dog did have to be unconscious for the surgery.

Tom  I would tend to think that your dog's temporarily being soured on raccoon due to this negative experience is just that - temporary.  While it may be that your dog suffered some sort of neurological damage (ask a veterinarian), you may just need to be a little more patient.  Although I don't know how often or long this premature treeing has taken place, it should be pointed out that even the most experienced coonhound will "tap a tree."  This seems to happen when a raccoon starts up a treee and then comes back down before going back up another tree.  Or due to more than one raccoon, etc.  A raccoon hunter can sometimes further complicate or confuse the dogs by shining lights and rushing to the tree before the dog has settled down to treeing.  The best thing to do is be quiet and patient until the dog is thoroughly convinced that this is the correct tree.

Rob  This is a great website for the inexperienced and experienced alike!  I wish I would have known of something like this whenever I started out.  Keep up the good work!  I have one question: can you give me some addresses to other coonhunting websites?  I am having problems locating them.  Thanks!

Rock Dove Publications  What are your favorite sites?  Please submit them.  We reserve the right to reject any site and the sites we do include do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rock Dove Publications.

Danimal  I have a bluetick pup and was wondering if she could be trained to hunt game other than raccoons?

Tom  Your bluetick can certainly be trained for hunting other game.  The reason a hound is normally used for hunting raccoon is due to the nose that a hound usually has.  A bluetick or another kind of hound can learn - or rather is prone to have what it takes to pick up certain practices or traits that are required for certain tasks.  For example, a Golden Retriever normally likes to retrieve, a German Shorthaired Pointer is prone to point, etc.  However, certain types of game will be easier or more efficient to hunt with a bluetick than will other types of game (e.g a fox as opposed to a pheasant).

walker  You hear about that coon hunt in Ohio last weekend?  If so, the dog that won - "Annie" - used to be my uncle's dog.  He sold it for $3,500 plus 5 other coon dogs!  If you have heard of her, do you think she's any good?

Tom  I'm not familiar with the dog.  However, the price placed on a dog involves a lot of variables.  Some of these variables include: a dog's performance in regulated hunts, age of a dog, previous performance of those in the dog's line, offspring's performance, reputation of owner, price of hides, part of the country where the dog is from, markings on the dog, breed of dog, availability of breed, etc.

Matt  Hi, I am 15 years old and wanting to start coon hunting on my own.  I used to hunt with my uncle whenever I went to Ohio, but I can only get in there every so often.  And maybe only once a year when coon are in season.  Living only an hour away from Brown County, Indiana.  If you have never been there, go....  I will have my license in September and I was wondering if I still had time to train a pup or should I do what one of my buddies did and buy an older dog.  If you think I should buy an older one, then at what age should the dog be?  My friend's dog is 6.  I personally don't have time to train a dog right now, but I really want to start hunting.  Also what would be a good .22 for hunting.  I have a Ruger 10x .22, but it gets heavy when I'm carrying it, a coon, and dogs.  What would you suggest?  Thanks!

Tom  There is certainly still time to start training a pup.  However, it is important to remember from the onset that it normally takes years to develop a mature coon dog.  A simulated hunt can actually be done in the convenience of your front yard (see Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond excerpt).  As with many things, you often get what you pay for.  If you buy an older dog, you will want to ask a lot of questions regarding why the dog is being sold.  It may be that you are buying someone else's problems.  You could buy a "started" dog (a young dog that has started to run raccoon).  In either case I would suggest you go on an actual run before pulling out your billfold or checkbook.  In Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond (the booklet) we have a short, but important, segment about equipment and why we normally recommend a .22 caliberrifle be used (as opposed to a pistol).

Andy Petersen Walker Pro  I am thinking about getting a two-month-old walker pup.  Should I get a male or a female, does it matter?  How would I go about to train it?  Please give me all the information you have to know about WALKER coonhounds.

Tom  We have found there are certain advantages and disadvantages in using a female.  Not always, but generally a female is less apt to range out as far as a male.  From our experience, females generally work very well in training younger dogs.  Of course, every dog is different.  A disadvantage in hunting with a female (unless, of course, your dog has been spayed) is that her coming into heat may interfere a degree with your hunting.

BJ Smith  I wrote a few days ago asking about my dog.  You wrote that I should spend a signifcant amount of time in training.  I am a young hunter and don't really have any experience in coonhound training.  Just the other day I put him on a coon in a roll cage, he absulty tore that poor boys cage up trying to get to that coon. Other than the roll cage I really don't know any training go abouts, and their isn't any good coonhounds around to pratice monkey see monkey do!  Help me, how else can I go about training by dog so I can start putting a little fur in my fur shed?

Tom  Thanks for your e-mail.  I talked to Bob (my dad) and he suggested one thing you could do is go to a fur dealer and buy a hide and use it for dragging.  He also said from the response of your dog - in time you shouldn't have much problem getting your dog going.  I would suggest that you could also order some raccoon scent from a hunting magazine and make a drag line.  I've used this to help assist in the training.  Or, you could go to your local sporting goods store and probably find some raccoon scent.  I've used this as a cover scent for bowhunting.  Try the deer hunting department of Wal Mart, K-Mart, etc.

Mark  We just got an 8-week old bluetick and plan to hunt.   Is there anything we should be doing at this time to get her ready?  What are the first steps we should take and how do we gauge her progress?  Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Rod  I have a walker pup.  She is about 6-7 weeks old when I started training her.  I'm not sure how to start.  I don't have any other dog to run her with.  I plan to use a coon skin but I'm not sure how to get her to go after it.  I don't know if I should let her play with it or chew on it or what - and also how early should I start to train her?

GREAT WHITE COON HUNTER   Hi, I own a 6 mo. walker coon hound and I need a book on teaching or training a hound to track, tree, and fight a coon.  I subscribed to Full Cry but there isn't a lot on training hounds.  I'm 14 years and love the thrill and sport of coon hunting.  It's now my third year of coon hunting and thanks a lot and good hunting.

Keith  I have a Black & Tan pup ( 6 weeks ) and what would be the best way to train a dog to tree a coon.

Bandit  I am 17 years old, I have a one year old black and tan coon hound.   I had two hounds at one time,but one got parvo and passed on not to long after I had gotten them as pups.  I need to start traing my one hound that I have left.  How would I go along doing so?

Allen  I have a 16 mo. old female out of wipeout zeb and hillbilly bonnie.  She has treed 12 coons on her own but she doesn't open much on track.  Is there anything I can do?

Coonhuntin Crazy  Great page!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm a thirteen year old coonhunter. Just today I went and looked at my first coonhound a WALKER!!!! He was only three weeks old, but when I picked him up he let out a long howl.  When he gets older how should I start him?  I don't have another dog to help.

Mason Booth  I'm new to coon hunting and just bought a championship-bred red tick. She is 11-mos old and when I take her hunting she doesn't do much.  Should I be worried about how she is going to perform.  Also, do I need to be worried about showing her too much affection?  Will this make her soft and not want to hunt? Thank you for your time and response.

Kelly  Hi, I have a 2yr old walker male that I puchased as a first coon-dog.  I had not hunted coon prior to getting the dog, so I am learning from him as much as he is learning from me.  He is dead-silent when on track, but absolutely goes out of his mind when treed.  When I get to the tree, I have been getting down on the ground and praising him, and also encouraging him to bark.  He has a very distinctive bawl when treed (loud, high-pitch, then fades out with about 3 'quivers').  I have taken pictures of him 12+ feet up a vertical tree, hanging on and barking his brains out - so he appears interested in coon.  My problem is that he is a very shallow hunter until he hits a fresh track (he appears to have a very 'hot' nose).  I don't think he has gone more than 300 yards out.  Once dropped, he may go out, but will be back at the rig within 10-15 minutes - every time.  I can tell him 'git-the-coon' and he will go back out for another 10-15min, but then is right back again.  I would like to get him to hunt deeper,  since he is more often than not only about 100-150 yards away.  Also, he is very protective of me, will hunt like crazy when just  me and the dog, but will not leave me alone with strangers.  I have had to get after him more than once for barking at my friends.  Thanks for your help - sorry I'm so 'windy,' but I am really excited about this coon-hunting!!!  Also, you have a great page here - please keep up the great work!

Travis Heater  I have a question about dog breeding.  About how long does it take for a Bluetick Coonhound  to have pups?   I also have another question.  When you breed a dog how long should you wait before you you breed a dog.

Padgett  My hound is a young 3-year-old male Walker that is a first strike, 99% trash free, wide hunter (too wide sometimes), great attitude, loves to run Mr. Ring Tail, and is a joy to work in the woods of Oklahoma.  This hound is quick, 75% of his coon is caught on the ground, and will be treed before any other hound that I have hunted with gets on a track.  But here is my problem, even if my hound is hunted alone or with a cast of hounds he will only tree for about 5-10 min.  Then before I can get to the tree he will move down the creek and tree another coon.  Hunted Sat. 6/27/98 this dog treed 6 coon in 2 1/2 miles, but never stayed on the tree for more than 5 min.  My old hound hit every tree behind the 3 year old and we seen eyes in every tree.  How do I get this 3 year old to stay put till I get into the tree.

Ted  I have a 9 month old bluetick which is extremely shy.  Could you tell me what I could do to make him less shy?

Tom  We would encourage you to spend as much time with your dog as possible.  If you have a hard time getting your dog to come, you might try tying a long rope (e.g. 50 ft.) onto the dog and taking the dog to an open area.  The dog should be taught to realize that it cannot get away from you.  Verbally praise the dog and reel the rope back in when you call.  Win the dog's trust.  With age the dog should work allright hunting - but will probably always remain a one person dog (you).  An advantage to having a dog like this is that it is harder for someone to steal your dog in the woods.  Hope this helps!

Billy  I hunt central Florida and I'm looking for a coon hunting club in my area.  If anyone knows a number or address, please respond.  GOOD HUNTING

Tom  The following listing should help you.
Florida Everglades Regional Dog Hunters Association
P.O. Box 221652
West Palm Beach, Florida
Telephone 561-683-2517
Contact: Laurie Goddard
We would like to hear from anyone in our area. The club is made up of deer, hog, coon and bird hunters. We hold UKC and NKC night hunts every month. Our club is 105
members and growing.

Todd's Black and Tans  I have a five-year-old black and tan he is really good.  Would it be good to work my 7-month-old black and tans?  I have ran them together and they will tree, but not a lot.  Should I have a tracking collar?  I have a prowler light - is it good?  By the way, I am 16 and won first place two weekends ago at Morrow County coon hunters club.

Tom  Teaching your dogs some basic obedience (to "Kennel up", etc.) will prove to be invaluable once you get them out in the field.  If you don't have another dog to help get your dogs started, a  "Simulated Hunt" using a hide (e.g. road kill) or scent trail is a good way to begin.  Short runs can be conducted in the convenience of your back yard.  You might want to work with one dog at a time to begin with.  You will generally be able to build a relationship with a dog better if you are "one on one."  The dog will be less likely to be distracted.  Squirrel hunting is also a good way to help get your dog started treeing as a form of preparation.  Our booklet, Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond, spells out some of these steps in more detail as well as how to get your dog treeing.


Tom  We have found that a coon dog (even if they begin treeing at a young age) should be considered a pup until 2-2 & 1/2 yrs. of age.  Part of this has to do with the inconsistency.  At two years your dog will begin moving into maturity.  In order to avoid souring your dog at the tree by the behavior of an aggressive dog (tree hog) you might want to hunt him alone - at least for awhile.

Tim  My question is about a female thats just under two years old. She is an english hound.  Her sire is a dual grand (u.k.c) and the mother only need two more wins to finish. The problem is that she leaves the tree.  She trees for about 5 min. and then she leaves.  If she is hunting with other dogs. If she trees by her self she will locate then not bark for some time then locate. And we hunt in u.k.c. night hunts.  Those two things reallyhurt my scores.  My hunting buddy says if I start to shoot some coon down to her, she will get more sure of herself. Because when she does tree she trees real hard but leaves. Any help will be helpful.  This is my first year of hunting.  Thank you.

David  Can you please give me information regarding a piece of  coon hunting equipment called a "bump cap" (protective headgear)?

George  Hi, I just bought a new eight-month-old Black and Tan.  And I did hunt with my friend on private property.  But now it seems he doesn't want to hunt with me because he thinks I'm tryng to out-do him by buying a higher-class dog.  But my puppy still needs his dog's help by getting him to tree and trail right.  Is there any tips to geting him to trail and tree without another dog?  Please Help THANKS

Tom  If you haven't done so - look at where we have an excerpt from Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond regarding conducting a "simulated hunt."
Hope this helps!

Mark  I have a 9-month-old bluetick female.  She doesn't bark on the trail.  How can I get her to bark on the trail?  Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Dan  In an ICHA hunt, when you strike your dog, how much time does he have to open back up?

Mike  I have a 2-year-old beagle.  He looks like he's on a scent, but if I'm not up there with him, he comes back.  I tree or try to tree coons by a small crick, there's lots of coons but he just doesn't want to run all the time.  Yesterday he treed one coon in the woods by my deer blind.  My question is can and how can I train my dog?

Tom  What you are experiencing with your dog is quite typical for a two-year-old.  Your dog treeing is an excellent sign.  However, it takes a lot oftime (really several years) to end upwith a good coon dog (presupposing the dog has real hunting potential).   Try to keep hitting those areas where there are a lot of coon (e.g. sweetcorn patches, perhaps abandoned barns,creeks next to cornfields, etc.).  Youwould probably find our booklet quite helpful and well worth the $14.95 postage paid.  See

Sattle   I have a Black Lab that tree squirrels and coons, but it stays 10-15 ft from me.  Is that because of the breed or am I just training it wrong?  Thanks!

Teacher  I am a student and reading Where the Red Fern Grows.  I wanted to know the top five dogs for coon hunting.

Tom  The answer to your question would probably depend on who you ask, in that many raccoon hunters believe that their breed of dog is the best.  Each breed of dog used for coon hunting has positive traits.  In fact, dogs that are not normally considered to be the type used for hunting racoons (e.g. shepherds, terriers, collies, etc.) can sometimes become fine dogs.  However, having said all of that - the kinds of dogs normally recognized as good breeds are:  Black & Tan, Bluetick (and Redtick), Curs, Redbone, and Walkers.

Teacher   How much does a coon skin cost?  I am a student who is reading Where the Red Fern Grows.  This topic interests me!

Tom  Thank you for your interest.  This depends upon a number of things such as: the size of the raccoon hide (long vs. small which depends upon the age of the raccoon and what part of the country you are hunting can also determine hide size), how prime the hide is (e.g. in Minnesota or Wisconsin, the hide of a raccoon is normally thicker and more developed in late November than in the middle of October), what type of demand there is for raccoon hides (e.g. if people think raccoon hunting is bad, then some people will be less likely to buy the hide), how many people are hunting raccoon (e.g. if  there are fewer hides available and plenty of buyers, the price for hides will be greater), how well the hide was skinned and handled (e.g. if the hide was cut or torn in the skinning process, etc.), and many other reasons.  I can remember when the price of a raccoon (what the hunter received) averaged about $3 each.  I can also remember that theaverage price we received when selling hides about 20 years ago was around $35.00 each.  You could contact a fur dealer to see what the price will probably be this year.  Some were getting around $12.00 per hide last year.  However, another factor that determines the price you receive is who you sell your hides to.  If you are wanting to buy a hide already tanned, it will cost more.  Most taxidermists (those who mount raccoon, deer, etc.) send the hides to a tannery.

Teacher   This is a student and I am reading Where the Red Fern Grows and I was wondering if coon hunting is really like the book.  And how did you get interested in coon hunting.

Tom  It has been a long time since I read the book (but I will plan on watching the movie with my family this next week).  However, I think your question is a good one.  I will tell  you that a number of months ago I watched a movie named "Shiloh" - that was terrible.  It is not at all what raccoon hunting is like.  They also make the raccoon hunter to be a very evil person.  You probably already know more about raccoon hunting than the people who made that movie.  My dad, Bob Rakow, who went to be with the Lord in August of 1998 (about two months ago) got me interested in raccoon hunting.  Sometimes I  went with my dad because I wanted to be with him - more than wanting to hunt raccoon.  However, it is beautiful to be under the stars on a clear crisp fall night.  And, hearing the dogs run and wondering if  they will be able to tree the raccoon before it gets to the den (e.g. hollow tree, rock crevice) is exciting.  My dad did not learn to hunt raccoon from his dad.  His dad (my grandfather and grandmother) were both deaf and mute (they could not hear or talk as most people do).  They used sign language.  Because of this my grandfather could not raccoon hunt because at night you can not see where the dog is treeing - you need to hear the dog treeing.  My dad said he learned from his brothers and some neighbors.

Teacher   I am a student at a Middle School and I am wondering has any of your dogs got into a coon and hound fight. Because my class and I are reading Where The Red Fern Grows and in the book there are some fights that happen so I am wondering if any of your dogs get hurt?  Also I have a dog that is mixed half beagle half hunter so could she hunt coons since we have coons under our deck?

Tom  Yes, hounds and raccoon frequently get into fights.  This usually happens when the dog(s) catches up with the raccoon before it gets to the den or can climb up a tree.  We never had a dog injured real seriously - but it can happen.  Often a dog will get its ears or nose bitten.  It is especially scary when a dog and coon are fighting in a river.  Raccoons are excellent swimmers and (although I have never actually known a person's dog that was drowned by a raccoon) I have heard of dogs being drowned.  The water is splashing - the dogs are barking - the lights are reflecting.....   Sometimes a fight takes place when a raccoon bails out of a tree before the hunter can get there.  The fight can be a dangerous time for the dog.  I know a young man (a relative by marriage) who was told not to take his dad's good coon dog hunting while he was gone.  However, he took the dog out.  The dog caught a coon on the ground and when the young man went to shoot it - the dog lunged ahead and he accidently killed his dad's dog.   He did not enjoy telling his dad what happened.  One time when our dogs were in a fight - a raccoon came at me. The coon was going to try and climb up me! (It evidently thought I was a tree.)  I tried to run - and fell down on my knees.  I expected the raccoon to climb right up my back - but it didn't happen.

Beagle Boy  Has anyone out there have much success hunting coons with beagles?  I have a terrier mix who loves the smell of coon and chases them if he sees 'em, he is six months old, and his name is Mack. The one thing I can't get him to do is put his nose to the ground, and follow the trail.  Anyone have some ideas? No one around has an old hound to train him with.   'preciate it, thanks.

Cisco  I wondering if anyone has ever hunted with American Pitbull Terriers.  I have one that can run any trail that i lay for her. She gets along with other dogs.  Would I train her like other dogs? Would she be more apt to catch the coon instead of treeing it?  Would there be any disadvantages to her catching the coon?  Any help you could give would be great.

Chip  Do you recemend take more than one coon form a tree, or take one and leave the others for "seed."


Tom  You would find the information regarding a Simulated Hunt helpful.  Check our site
to find this page.  Of course the easiest way to train a dog to tree is by running the dog with a seasoned coon hound.  Our Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond booklet which sells for $14.95 (about the cost of a dinner at McDonalds) has some helpful information on

Kevin  I have a 1-year-old Walker male that I'm trying to train.  I've been taking him out with my uncle and his 4-year-old gyp. My uncle's dog is a good one, she gives a good locate, and sits down on the tree and trees hard!!  In other words she's a 5 minute or 5 hour dog, however long it takes you to get to the tree!! But here's my problem, we hike the dogs down to the woods, or field and my uncle's gyp hits the ground running, my dogfollows for a while, sometimes until she hits a track, but then he will turn and come back to me and hang around until she trees! Then when we walk to the tree, he will start sniffing the tree and start messing with my uncle's dog!! He shows no interest in what's up the tree!!! What can I do to change this???? Thanks

Tom  I doubt if there is much you can do - or would even want to do.  Your dog is simply exhibiting the traits of a pup.  In fact, it would not be surprising for your dog to be behaving the same way even if it was a two-year old.  It sounds like you are training your dog with good one.  And, in time, your Walker will follow through on the run.  In the mean time I would encourage you to be patient.

Tommy  Can a original coonhunter tree a coon every time he goes hunting?  I hunt 3 days out of the week and usually tree a coon every night, but no one seems to believe me. I would really appreciate the response.

Tom  My dad (Bob Rakow) probably averaged around three a night including late in the season when it gets more difficult (Note: in late November and early December it normally becomes difficult in northern states.)  The degree of success depends on a number of things such as:  Your dog's ability - and maturity, availability of good hunting areas, amount of hunting preasure by other raccoon hunters, and the time which the hunter actually spends hunting.

Jarrod  I have a year old redbone female. I have hunted her with older dogs, but she won't go with them.  She will stay gone with them for about three or four minutes and she will come back to me.  She will stay with me until we hear the dogs tree.  She will take off and stay gone for about seven minutes and come back to me.  We'll hear the dogs barking and again she will take off and come back to me.  Once we get to the tree, she will take off and put her front feet on the tree and bark a little.  That was when we treed a few weeks ago.  We kicked the coon out and she chased it and fought it.  We could hear her barking during that time.  She was the first to come back and she was scratched up on her face.  Everytime I hunt with other dogs she does that.  When I hunt her by herself she will take off and hunt and won't come back until she is done hunting that area.  I thought she would know the scent but she hasnt ever treed or trailed.  I have drug coon tails and hung it up in a tree.  She will get on trail for a minute or two and then got off of it and go run around.  This lady gave her to me and she has been apayed to.  My friends think she might be to attached to me kind of like a house dog.  I am 15 yrs. old and really want a good dog.  I just bought me a walker dog that is 1 yr. and 2 mths. old.  I am happy with him he is a good dog but still young.  Should I give up on the redbone and give her back and get another one or should be patient.  Your advice would be appreciated.   Thankyou!!!!!!

Michael  I started to teach my dog to tree cats for a beginning so he would know howto do it. He treed three cats and is getting better at my commands.  My friend told me to do that and it worked, but I don't know if he will tree coons.  Can you help me?

Tom  The one problem with training your dog to tree cats - is that your dog will sometimes tree cats instead of raccoon!  Currently there are about 60 million cats in the  U.S.A.  Unfortunately many cats (even house cats) when let out will naturally begin hunting in areas where your dog will be hunting raccoon.  You will find our page that talks about Simulated Hunting to be helpful.  Of course, if you find someone with a coon dog that is already running and treeing who will let you go along, this would help greatly.  Our booklet, Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond, covers important aspects and tips on treeing.  It is well worth the $14.95 (about the cost of a dinner at McDonalds) and will help you with
other aspects of raccoon hunting.

Brett  I've got a two year old walker.  He's a pretty good dog he will trail and tree a coon, but when I get to the tree he stops barking and takes off after another coon any advice on what to do?

Tom  It sounds like your dog is coming along fine.  Even an old dog that gets into a litter will often do this.  You might need to praise your dog much more at the tree - and after you have harvested the raccoon.  Help the dog to understand that the run is completed - only after the raccoon is harvested.  Basically I would encourage you to make the mouthing of the coon  a time where your dog gets an incredible amout of praise.  Then when it's time to go back to the hunt - let the dog know by saying something like "OK - that's enough.  Go get another one!  And then tell the dog "No!" when it trys to mouth the raccoon again.  The second thing you might want to do is put a small bell on your dog's collar so you can more easily keep track of the dog.  If he is nearby coax him back to the tree.  Hold him if you need (not in a negative fashion) and praise him as you try to get him to bark.  Again, teaching your dog to bark on command will especially prove helpful at this time.  If you haven't ordered our book - you will find it helpful as you try to finish out your dog's training.

Brett  I would like to know how much a good female bluetick with a good blood line is going to sell for.  How do you break a dog from barking all night?

Tom  As far as the cost for a good Bluetick - that really depends.  However, generally you can pick up a registered Bluetick pup for around $150-200 (of course you can pay less - or  much more and have about the same degree of hunting ability).  If you're primary desire for your dog is to wind up being a good hunter - I would suggest you purchase a dog from someone who has a reputation for having good, sound coon dogs.  They may not have dogs which have participated in competitions and won ribbons, or trophys - but will probably have dogs that have what it takes to tree coon.  However, regardless of the dog you get - training is really a major key.  You can have a dog with an impressive pedigree - but if it's not trained properly - you won't end up with  a good coon dog.  When you do purchase a dog with proven parents you increase your odds of ending up with a quality dog.  You could ckeck in the back of a magazine like Full Cry and see if there is a dealer in your area.  As far as preventing your dog from barking all night I am assuming that your dog is howling when it shouldn't be.  One way you can curb this is by purchasing a nylon muzzle at a store that carries pet supplies.  This type of muzzle allows the dog to be able to drink and eat if it needs - but makes it uncomfortable for it to bite, howl or bark much.  Don't leave the muzzle on for an xtended period of time (e.g. all night, or all day when you are not around).  Condition the dog by helping the dog to realize that the behavior you want to curb is a lot of unnecessary barking.  This is best done by catching the dog in the act (barking when you have told it to be quiet).  For example, tell the dog to be quiet - and then the next time it barks (e.g. 30 seconds later!) tell the dog "No!" and then procceed to go to the kennel or where the dog is tied and put the muzzle on and leave it on (e.g. an hour or two).  This will need to be repeated over a number of days.  And from time to time months or even years later.  Basically your dog will need to connect with the fact that when you say "Quiet" - you mean it!  You also  need to convey to the dog that it is not barking you are opposed to - but really unnecessary barking.  The best way to do this is by teaching the dog to bark on command (see our Raccoon Hunting Questions page).  There are times (e.g. when you conduct a Simulated Hunt) that you can actually encourage and praise your dog for barking.  If you haven't purchased Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond - I would encourage you to do so.  This is especially true if you are purchasing a dog or in the process of training one.

Brett  I really appreciate your advice and I like your web site.  Thanks!

Josh  What would be the best kind of dog to train for hunting raccoons?

Tom  That's a good question - and the answer can be debated.  As far a particular breed goes I won't tell you which breed.  Even within a breed - in fact within the same litter - I believe a key is to pick a dog you can work with( e.g. shy, aggresive, hyper, etc.).  Much of this comes with experience.  With  a hound type traditionally used for hunting raccoons (e.g. Black & Tan, Bluetick, Cur, Redbone, Walker, etc.)  the dog you pick will probably have innate abilities for trailing and treeing.

Josh  Thanks.  But do you know when coon season opens???

Tom  This depends on the state in which you live.  I would suggest that you get a copy of your state's hunting regulations, or you can probably find a Department of Natural Resources site on the web that will have the dates.  In some parts of the country you can hunt year round (although coon will be in their dens where the winters get cold).  In others - you can only hunt for 2-3 months in the fall.

Travis  We are looking for information on simple methods for preserving coon skins. Can you help?

Tom  If you are talking about immediately after the raccoon has been harvested:  You can stretch the skin - or freeze the hide.  This is done by skinning, then let the hide drain (an hour or two), and roll up - fur out beginning at the head - with the tail being on the outside.  Place the hide in a bag(s) and put in a freezer being careful not to contaminate any food.  If you are referring to tanning - or preserving the hide for long term use you would be able to find a product by contacting taxidermy supply houses (found in the advertising section of most hunting magazines).

Bob  I'm 16 and I just started coon hunting this year.  I have done a lot of different kinds of hunting and I have realized that coon hunting is my favorite yet.  I was thinking about buying a dog and I don't have a
single clue what kind to get.  Would a beagle be good?  I would like to know some medium sized dogs that would be effective.  Please give me some suggestions, anything would help.  Also, a friend of mine has a couple of dogs that he takes coon hunting.  They are good if the coon falls out of the tree, but I've never seen them tree a coon.  One is a mutt and I'm not sure what the other is.  (It isn't any type of coonhound)  If I did get a dog, would these be good dogs to run him with?  Please answer my questions
the best you can and E-mail me back.  Thank you for all your help.

Tom  I would suggest that if you are serious about coon hunting that you lean towards hounds (e.g. Blueticks, Black & Tan, Redbone, Walker, etc.).  Beagles are great for rabbits, but you might even consider a terrier/hound cross as opposed to a beagle for raccoon.  With the little you have told me about your friend's dogs - I would not recommend that you run your dog (that you may get) with them.  It's doubtful that these dogs have been conditioned to run only raccoon.  If they bounced into a deer - you could spoil a dog wity great potential.  Also, before you jump into coon hunting you need to really realize that there is a lot involved.  To end up with a good dog may take literally years of training.  It takes a great deal of patience.  I would strongly recomend that you purchase our booklet Raccoon Hunting
Basics and Beyond before you buy or select a dog.  Also, study some of the other questions and answers on our site.

I raise Raccoons and sell them. If interested, please e-mail.

Jason  If you hunt two blueticks together which is the best combination:  two female, two males ,or male and female?  Does it do anything if you keep your coondog in the house?  When they're a pup where are you supposed to keep them when they're still young?  When is the next coonhunting event close to P.A. and where is it?

Tom  This depends on the temperament of the dogs.  However, generally a male and female work better together.  Check with the appropriate government office, or request a copy of that state's hunting regulations.

Fred  I have an odd shaped bone,that I have had for years,and have been told that it is from a male raccoon's (you know what). Could you verify such? Thanks.

Tom  There is a strange site on the web that addresses this issue.  It is located at the following URL

Fred  I appreciate your efforts to help, and I finally found my answers.  Thought you might find the answers interesting. Try  Thanks again, and good luck.

Tree Rattler  Should I hunt a dog if he is missing toes?

John  I have been hunting for a long time for coon and I have a 3-year-old running walker dog and I was trying to train him for coon hunting and I was wondering if it is just impossible to train him because he is so old. Also I was wondering what all types of dogs would be good for coon hunting.  Thanks!

Dennis  Hi. I am an 18 year old coonhunter from the western part of the mountains of North Carolina.  My Papaw has taken me huntin with him ever since I was old enough to carry a wheat light.  But now he is way to old to hunt plus he is in bad health.  Now that it's my brothers and I, it is left up to us to carry on the tradition.  So I have a few questions to ask.  Recently we got a registerd treeing walker given to us.  He comes out of a great bloodline of pure bred walkers.  I started to take him in the woods now.  He seems to have good sense.  But yet he seems shy and is slow about hunting a trail.  How could I break him of that slowness and shyness?  Another question Id like to ask is do you know of any good pups for sale or to be given away?  Id like to have an older dog if possible because my walker pup is really young.  Thank you for you for the time.

Tom  I would encourage you to love the dog in order to help with the shyness.  The benefits to having a dog that is shy of everyone except the person or family that hunts the dog is that it will be more difficult for someone to "pick" the dog up.  The best hound that we ever had was too friendly for comfort (in my opinion it was a female named Queenie - Bob had a different favorite - the  Bluetick that ended up with three legs named Andy in the picture).   I was always concerned someone would steal her because she
would warm up to just about anybody.  An older (sound dog) can help great deal in the training process.
However, I again want to point out that an older dog needs to be straight before it can be helpful.  Usually a dog like this is hard to find because if the dog was a good hunter - and is now old - the owner will have a hard time giving the dog up for a reasonable price.  If you find a "great deal" - make sure you try the dog out before purchasing.
P.S. I will bet your "Papaw" will enjoy hearing your coon stories.  You might even tape record a good run.  I knew of one old timer that would listen on a Walkie Talkie from the vehicle.  However, make sure you check game laws before you do the latter.  In some states it may be considered illegal.

Jared I've been hunting with my dad for about three years but now just starting to hunting on my own. I just got a Walker pup named Bubba. I've been taking him out every night but he just doesn't want to bark at the coon. If you could give me any tips on how to help me train my dog I would be much obliged. Thanks.

ROL  I have been looking for a address for either black swamp kennels located in Ohio around Bowling Green or southern sound kennels.  I purchased a treeing walker from black swamp kennels a few years ago and I am interested in buying a new dog. I don't seem to be having any luck finding the addresses and I was wondering if you could help. Thank you!

Duke  How do I keep my dog from running deer? I am not a coon hunter per say but I do take my dog into the woods with me and have lost him a couple of times because he started running deer.

Tom  This is a habit that is quite difficult to break once a dog gets started.  Of course, all dogs have a natural hunting trait built in, but perhaps another primary reason for this has to do with the long-standing tradition of using dogs for hunting various members of the deer family (e.g. Stags in Europe, and of course Whitetails during the frontier times - and in certain parts of the country today).  A key to breaking this sometimes dangerous behavior (which at least in certain states can result in "Lead Poisoning") is to catch the dog early on - especially in an initial act.  This is done by getting between the deer and the dog while the dog is in hot pursuit.  Then - be firm with the dog.  You kind of need to head them off at the pass.  Some hunters find it necessary to use a shock collar to curb this behavior. The story of the "Prodigal  Pooch" is a true story about a dog that became useless due to this problem.

Jason  Hi, my name is Jason and I dont have a dog but I could really use some advice on how I could track a coon myself.

Doug  I have been coon hunting with dogs for twenty years and have noticed that each year it becomes harder to find a buyer for the 50 to 100 pelts that I manage to harvest each year. The first ten years I hunted in Iowa with out much difficulty selling my furs. Now I live in Northwest Arkansas and find it very difficult to find a buyer. If you know of any raw fur buyers in this area I would very much appreciate their business name, phone number,and address. THANK YOU

Josh  I've got a plott hound that's from a female dog that was Purina dog of the year her name is Hachet Mountain Spider from Castlewood VA.  My dog is doing great and so is his brother. I was wondering if his father is a good dog. Hachet Mountain Ben?

Mike  I own 2 dogs. An American Bulldog (2yrs) and a German Shepherd (10 mos). I would like to know how would I train the to hunt raccoon? Also, how would I get them to bark when they have one treed?

Wendy  My dog is half hound and half collie, would it be a good hound?  Or should I get a bluetick or something?

Tom  It really depends on the dog - it's age - and how serious you are about training a dog to hunt raccoon..   However, a collie/hound cross can turn out to be an excellent coon dog.  The one thing to remember is that either way you are going to be investing a great deal of time in the training process.

Josh  How can you tell if the dogs are running a deer?

Tom  This is most recognizable when you are used to a dog running a raccoon trail.    However, you can generally recognize that a dog is on a deer (has jumped one) when the dog takes off barking in a pretty much straight line (e.g. out of a cornfield and across a pasture).  Normally, if the dog is running a deer by sight the dog will go until it loses the deer (e.g. 150-200 yds.) and then will stop - and return. Or it may take a run straight out a ridge - down a hill - and then angle across a valley - then stop.  Or, continue to do something similar and not return (e.g. Story of the Prodigal Pooch found in back of Raccoon Hunting
Basics and Beyond book and the Prodigal Pooch tract).  If your dog is actually on a hot coon (one it has come upon), the dog will often either catch the coon - or put it up a tree right away if the dog is extremely close to the coon.  That's why if your dog takes off running and barking in the fashion I've just mentioned - and then stop suddenly -you should be very suspicious.  If your dog is on a coon, it will go over logs, back and forth in a corn field, do some zig zagging, etc.  To stop this behavior it is key is to try and cut your dog off at the pass.  By this I mean get between the deer and the dog.  Never over-discipline a dog, but you must be firm.

Nick  Well first of all, I really love this sport.  This is my first year with my own dog.  I bought a red bone. She is the best thing I have ever spent $ on.  My question is when do you think it is too cold to hunt.  And when do you think I should breed her or should I just fix her?  Does it screw her up at all?

Tom  This depends on where you are located at (North, South, etc.), and how long the season runs where you live.  However, Bob (in WI) would hunt raccoon in the snow if there was a thaw (warm spell).  This is when the raccoon would be out.  Basically, if it warms up a little - then that is when you should
give it a try.  As far as raising pups - it can be a hassle if your dog comes in heat during the prime time of the raccoon hunting it can interrupt your hunt.  However, there are ways around this if you can identify when your dog comes in heat.  A female that was (in Tom's opinion) the best dog we ever had raised four or five litters. When she came in during the hunting season Bob would put some Vicks Vapor Rub on her hind quarters.  Don't put it on her private parts.  However, the Vicks prevented any problems.  We hunted her with males, I can't guarantee it will always work - but it did for us.  If you are going to have your dog bred - try to time it so that the pups have been weaned some time prior to the season.  This way you won't have to worry about your dog getting torn up underneath.

John  I have two Black & Tan pups 10 months old that I have been hunting with an older Walker dog. The pups have treeed ones on there on but still run trash. Do you think a braker collar is a good way to stop them from running trash.

Tom  It is really vital regarding this behavior to "nip it in the bud."  Many have found a shock collar helpful.  But again, this behavior has to be stopped as soon as possible.  It's always best if a hunter can identify when their dog is running trash the first time it happens.  Of course, some of this goes with knowing the behavior traits of other game - and how they travel - and knowing the dog.  In our booklet Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond we advise hunters to try and get
between the dog and the game - basically head them off.  Of course a dog should never be over disciplined - but you must be firm - for the dog's sake.  In many states a deer running dog risks
being shot.  Again, you have got to stop this behavior now or your dogs will never amount to much.
Furthermore, any other dogs that you may want to train in the future to replace them will risk being tainted by their behavior.

Lightning Jack Tom, I'm 15 years old and have a 16 month old Walker who trees coon great but I can never catch him when I am ready to leave.  He will just run from me when I'm ready to leave. I have got to
the point that I dont even want to go out anymore.  I have talked to other houndsmen about my problem but none of them work.  A guy told me to use a shock collar and whistle to him and if he doesn't come give a zap.  That works but, doesn't work when he doesn't have the shock collar on.  I don't have a clue what to do. Please HELP me.  Thanks alot!!

Tom  You're not the first one (nor will you be the last) to have this problem.  In our booklet Raccoon Hunting Basics and Beyond we state regarding the importance of basic obedience that, " Looking for or playing tag with your young dog in the dark when you're ready to go home or onto another hunting spot gets old quite quickly" (p.8).  I would suggest (although it would have been more effective when the dog was a pup) that you tie a long cord (e.g. 50 feet) on the dogs collar.  Take your dog out to an open field and
whenever you call - real the dog in.  Basically convey to the dog that wherever he goes you are still in
control.  When the dog comes, of course, praise him (positive reinforcement).  Because  your dog is older - this is not going to be a once - or twice episode.  Spend some time conveying to your dog that it needs to respond when you call.  It is not a game.  Call - pull on cord (reel the dog in) - then praise.  When the dog trys to go the other way say - NO!  Sometimes (when a dog is young) driving down a ridge or field road leaving the dog behind can help break them of this behavior.  Your dog won't want to be left behind.  Your dog should learn to "kennel up" on command.  You can also use some positive reinforcement (e.g. give dog a small dog bisquit when he 'kennels up" on command).


Tom  Raccoon do often take a dog on the road - that's why it's dangerous to hunt close to heavily traveled highways.  Many a good dog has been lost chasing a coon across the road.  Although dumping the dogs  into a cornfield right next to the road may be appealing, it's safer if you travel on foot away from the road.  Try hunting areas that are for the most part accessible only on foot.

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