Coon hunt returns to Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coon hunt returns to Albany

January 26, 2007

Albany - - Some of the world's best trained dogs are showing off their skills in Albany. Of course, they don't come here alone. More than a thousand people are in town for the United Kennel Club's Annual Coon Dog Hunt.  

Move aside wanna-be's. Only the strong survive here.

"She's just a young puppy so I'm real proud of her," says Danielle Boone.

She came from Alabama with her blue tick hound. They've been training for this day.

"We spend probably about 30 minutes to an hour everyday practicing on the bench like you saw, practicing gating the dogs, we hunt her at night to get her in shape and I also walk her on a treadmill to get her in shape."

She won best breed in her category, a possible indicator she'll be ready to hunt coons come competition time.

Trainers are getting their hounds ready.

"You take dogs and group them in groups of four and they'll go out to some land that they have permission to hunt on and they'll cast the dogs into the woods," says Chris Butts of Deep South Coon Hunters. 

Dogs will search for the scent of a raccoon. Once found, they'll chase them up a tree and bark. It's up to the owners to recognize the sound.

"It's similar to where somebody might go watch a bird dog in a quail hunt but the difference about this is you have to listen to that dog and have to know their bark. It's just a little bit different. You don't get to watch the dog bark but you get to listen to him."

This isn't just about hunting though. Maybe you're in the market for a new dog. You can come to the fairgrounds and possibly find a good deal.

"When you tell a child stop, you mean stop. You got to let him know that. Same thing about a dog," says Walker Marshall.

He enjoys coming out each year from Augusta to offer his hounds for sale. They range from cute and cuddly to big and brave. He offers the number one tip for breeding a dog properly.

"You got to let him know you love him," Marshall says.

For the love of the sport, hundreds of hunters are gearing up for a weekend of fun - as they compete for prizes and bragging rights that all boil down to the sound of their dog's bark.

The event wraps up Saturday.

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