A celebration of the Old Glory Hound
6/18/2010 9:30:11 AM
This week out in Portland, Ind., folks are gathering to celebrate the annual AKC Black and Tan Days four-day event. The Black and Tan Coonhound is an American breed, descending from European hounds as all our hounds have and continuing to enjoy tremendous popularity today as hunters, show dogs and companions.
No other coonhound breed figures more prominently in the development of this nation than does the Black and Tan. Indeed the breedís history is as rich as the history of our country itself. Kentuckyís Simon Kenton who the Indians knew as ďThe man whoís gun is never empty,Ē and a contemporary and friend of Daniel Boone and General George Rogers Clark is said to have played an important role in the breedís development before the turn of the nineteenth century. Simon Shirk and Holmes B. Lingo are other prominent names in the breedís early development and are credited with developing the Old Glory strain of Black and Tan that endures to this day in the long-eared dogs we see in the AKC conformation rings.
Perhaps itís fitting that fanciers of the American Black and Tan Coonhound chose eastern Indiana as the site of Black and Tans Days this year. The breedís history is closely intertwined with that of Ohioís historic Darby Plains region to the east where Old Glory hounds accompanied the first European settlersí prairie schooners across the grasslands, their majestic voices echoing along Big Darby Creek at nightfall. Once the favorite hunting ground for Wyandot and Shawnee Indians, the area teemed with wildlife and provided the perfect proving ground for the breedís development as a houn that could trail, tree and capture furbearers for the table and the trading posts of the day.
Iíve always enjoyed the Black and Tan. My dad had a grade, black and tan-colored hound when I started grade school in 1952. He came out of the big river bottom country around Charleston, Missouri and was actually Black and Tan, Redbone and a quarter bird dog. We called him Sam and he was the dog my dad was hunting the night he struck a bear track on the Williams River in West Virginia and ruined my dadís coon hunting career. Bear hunting became his passion and the two Plotts that caught the bear that night became the foundation of the dogs he hunted and bred for more than fifty years. Sam died at an early age but he will always be special in that heís the first of the many coonhounds that have so richly filled my life since then.
Jerry Moll is out there enjoying the fellowship thatís a trademark of the Black and Tan crowd when they get together. Perhaps the promoters of this event scheduled it a little to soon after the big UKC Black and Tan Days held each year in May but those that are in Portland this weekend are enjoying a great facility ( the Treeing Walker association chose Portland as the scene of their 50th anniversary event that I was privileged to attend) and the hunting is about as good as you can find anywhere. Iím sure everyone out there is having a great time as I swelter in the heat and humidity of summer in the Carolinas. If you didnít make it out to Portland you can enjoy Jerryís reports coming out of Black and Tan Days on the Message Forum.
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