Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 28

Bugles by Midnight
W
HY I ever let my brother Ernie talk me into it, I’ll never know. Maybe it was because we were too old to be stupid and too young to know better. Or maybe the whole idea seemed too intriguing to let pass without a try. One thing is for certain, 67 years ago we were still young and full of vinegar. Now Ernie’s gone, and all that’s left is the memory of that long-ago coon hunt. I was home on leave from the Pacific, and in earlier letters from home Ernie had mentioned his black-andtan coonhound that he called Sox. It seems that Ernie had been introduced to coon hunting by one of the old-timers of the neighborhood, and had taken to it like a duck to water. After a few times of running around in the dark, and climbing up one side of the Buckhorn and down the other into Goose Hollow, trying to keep within hearing distance of the hound, Ernie had decided he needed a hound of his own, a hound that, as he put it, had a good voice. The black-and-tan pup had grown fast, and at nine months was a good-size dog that, when on a leash, would pull you in any direction you didn’t want to go. “Why don’t you just let him go?” I asked. “Can’t do that,” Ernie replied. “He’d take the first track he hit, and I want that to be a coon, not a rabbit, deer or fox.” In the darkness, I nodded like I understood, and then kept my mouth shut while we followed an old cow path toward the foot of the Buckhorn and across the end of a 20-acre cornfield. I had seen some dark nights on the Pacific when on lookout duty on the sky deck, but there I wasn’t plunging headlong into a thornapple bush, stepping into a woodchuck hole or getting tangled in a barbed wire fence that suddenly reached out of the darkness to grasp at my clothing in a dozen different places. The night was pitch black with the smell of rain in the air, and as we kept stumbling along, I wondered what a hound dog’s voice had to do with coon hunting. “Why don’t you use the flashlight?” I asked. We were working our way along the far end of the cornfield now, Sox straining at the leash and his tail whipping back and forth and his nose snuffing at the cornstalks as though he might find a coon climbing one of them. I was trying to follow along behind Ernie without tripping headlong in the darkness. Ernie noticed my plight. “Your eyes will get used to the darkness,” he said. “We’ll save the light until we get a raccoon treed.” Again, I shut my mouth, and it was just then that Sox lunged against the leash and let out a deep-throated bellow that shook the cornstalks and rumbled the whole length of the upper Sheshequin Valley. One bellow followed the next, a rolling succession of bugle notes that aboard a ship would have called all

artwork by marie-girio brummett
28	 GAME	 NEWS

By Paul A. Matthews



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 1
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 28
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover4
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