OL’ Shag part 2

Last week I told you about my new coon dogs, Joe and Shag. That fall after I traded for those two dogs I couldn’t wait to take them coon hunting.

By J.A. Bolton Storyteller

By J.A. Bolton

A lot of my friends enjoyed coon hunting especially an older gentleman by the named of Jack Melton. Mr. Jack had hunted a lot when he was younger and knew a lot about dogs. His health wasn’t so good anymore, so when the dog treed deep in the woods, Jack stayed by the truck and hollowed us out. You know a good hunter never gets lost, but sometimes a loud truck horn can get you in the bed a whole lot sooner that night.

Well I loaded up the two dogs one cold night, picked up the rest of the guys, and headed down Highway 220 to an old logging road that led to a small creek. We stopped right at the creek and started putting on our hunting gear.. When we got ready, I turned OL Shag and Joe out. Five minutes later they were on a hot track. Those dogs ran that animal for a few minutes, all of a sudden the animal went to the right, running right towards Highway 220.

I told the boys we needed to get over to the four lane before my two dogs got run over. We jumped in the truck and high tailed it over to the four lane highway. When we got there trucks and cars were just flying up and down the road. We got out to listen for my dogs and we could faintly hear them. We shined our lights all up into the trees. I reckon them folks riding by thought a U.F.O. was in the trees. Well we determined that my dogs had treed in a pipe under the road. We heard some growling way back in the pipe.” I said, “well we are just going to have to stay here till they come out cause I don’t want my dogs run over.”

Won’t long we heard them dogs a barking and coming out of that there pipe. We turned out our lights so the animal would come out but what came out of that pipe first won’t no coon!!! It was a polecat, or what some people call a skunk. That skunk sprayed us all good plus the dogs. It took us a week to get that smell off, but you can bet your bottom dollar them dogs didn’t mess with no more skunks.

OL’ Shag turned out to be what some hunters call a combination dog. He’d tree coons in the nighttime and run rabbits in the daytime. Come January, I decided to take him rabbit hunting. I asked some young friends of mine if they knew a place we could go run some rabbits. They said that they knew of a place right across Pee Dee River on 145. We loaded OL’ Shag up and headed across the river. When we got to the place, it was a big cutover field with lots of briars and high weeds.

Everything looked like a great place for rabbits except there was a C.S.X. track on the bottom side of the field. I asked my young friends, “ how often does the trains come though here?” They said, “early in the morning and late at night.” Against my better judgment, I turned OL’ Shag loose. Won’t five minutes he had a rabbit going. I don’t like to shoot rabbits, so I let Shag run the rabbit for several rounds. Shag was gaining on the rabbit but the rabbit caught another gear and headed right down toward them railroad tracks. Just then I heard “choo choo , choo choo” from way up the track.

That freight train must have been running late cause the engineer had the hammer down. I hollowed to the boys to run on down there and stop the dog. I tried to get down there but I couldn’t move that fast. I made it to a hill, and could see what was happening. I saw the rabbit jump right in front of the train and to this day I don’t know if he made it across or not. The train went on by as I made my way down to the track. There beside the tracks lay my little dog. He was dead!!! I asked the boys what happen, that I didn’t see that train run over him. This is what they said, OL’ Shag was running that rabbit so fast that when he stopped for the train, the hair from his tail ran up around his neck and choked him to death. Well folks that what happened and I was some sort of sad. I brought Shag home and buried him under some special stones.

The years have gone by since this happen. But when the boys get around the campfires and start telling their tales, OL’ Shag’s name is always brought up. They tell how he like to run and roam. You know a man is lucky to have owned a dog like Shag. I don’t know for sure, but if there is a dog heaven, OL’ Shag is running them rabbits and treeing them coons. Goodbye old pal!!!




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