I do some cottontails with the dog but I haven't been on a coon hunt in years. Coon pelts are not paying well up here. I used to have a trap line with my brother but I don't set much anymore. The prices were(are) rock bottom. I will still set depending on what is paying the best for each year. Last year beavers were strong so I trapped a few of them.
My dog is getting old now so I will soon retire her and am not sure if I'll replace her yet. Seeing another dog going hunting would break her heart.
It's been a year this past Feb since I went rabbit hunting with dogs. We used to have a good pack.
It's been even longer probably 2-3 years since I've been on a coon hunt.The last one I went on was a classic that I will never forget. It started great we turned out the dogs and within 30 min they had treed, problem was they treed in a hollowed out tree. We were about to pull of when I decided to try something I had heard the old timers talk about. We found a hole about the size of a basketball in the bottom and began to dig out the rotten leaves and wood when we finished you could see the coon about half way up inside the tree we stuffed leaves in the hole and set them on fire. We kept feeding leaves into the tree and eventually smoked him out of a hole in a broken off limb. He shot out like a cannon ball. The dogs trailed him another 1/2 mile to the creek. When the coon ran into a hole in the creek bank the dogs didn't hesitate a minute to go in after him. My Dad and I jumped into the creek that we thought was ankle deep but had swollen to knee deep. We could hear the dogs and coon in the bank(it was a bever den) eventually the dogs emerged with the coon.
That was the best coon hunt of my life. My buddy mark was the one who own the dogs, less than a week after that one of the hounds fell while chasing a coon over a blowdown and broke her back. After that he got transfered to Moblie, Al and we haven't been able to hunt since.
One of the most important components of deciphering a new hunting area is distinguishing between the summer and winter ranges for the game that you plan to pursue. Without knowing this you cannot make reliable assumptions about where the game will be come opening day. Knowing these areas will allow you to take the current weather (as well as the past couple weeks) and apply that to the landscape and make an educated guess as to where you might find that big buck or bull.
There are a couple ways...