The Swamp Road Chronicles


"Coon Hunter"

Dear Swamp Road Chronicles,

 

I have a story for you and I swear it is a real story!! I live in Louisiana now, but I grew up around the corner from Swamp Road and almost right across the road from St. Jacob's Cemetery. I know the territory very well. I lived with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Doris. They had a son named Clayton. Clay and I were 5 days apart in age and we both liked the same things. Our favorite thing was to go hunting. Especially coon hunting.

 

Clay and I had 2 Bluetick Coonhounds who liked to hunt as much as we did. There is nothing in the world as pretty as the bugle of a Bluetick late at night as it tracks down those raccoons. At some point that coon with take to a tree to get out of the reach of the dogs. You can tell the coon is 'treed' just by the sounds the dogs make. When that happens, the dogs call out with a different voice, more excited, and more frantically.

 

Once the coon is treed, the hunter's task is to shine a light up into the tree and spot the coon so it can be shot. Coons can live to be 35 years old, and they get smart! Somehow, they know to cover their eyes with their hands when you shine a light on them. You see, their eyes reflect back the light and that reveals where they are. Sometimes, you can't spot them, but the dogs leave no doubt about the coon's whereabouts. In that case, somebody has got to climb up into the tree and kick the coon out, so the dogs can get to him. It's a dangerous deal. A coon is a dangerous animal, and they're strong, with long, sharp teeth and can weigh 30 pounds or more. A full-grown coon can kill a full-grown dog, so it's not safe for the dogs either.

 

Well, one night Clay and I were out past midnight and the dogs were tracking a coon along Pigeon Creek that flows right through the old Pigeon Swamp. We knew about Swamp Road Sally, but, we were armed with 12-gauge shotguns, large hunting knives, and 2 ferocious hounds, so we felt safe enough. The dogs came up on a huge old Swamp Oak and they started acting really weird. They would usually go to the base of the tree and try to climb up the trunk, and they would normally leap up as high as they could in hopes of reaching the coon, but not this time. They stopped about 20 feet from the base of that tree and whined and just sort of circled around each other. It was plain that something had changed their minds.

 

Clay and I were determined to get the coon, so, we went up to the tree and shined our lights up into the limbs.

At first, we couldn't spot anything and wondered if the coon had a hole he could hide in. Then, a face looked around from behind the trunk and it made my blood run ice-cold. I don't know what I was looking at, but it wasn't human. It didn't even look like a normal kind of animal. It looked like what I would imagine a ghoul to look like; you know, a thing that hangs out in cemeteries and eats human remains. It had yellow eyes and a smooth, grey-colored skin.

 

As we were trying to get a better look at it to try and figure out what is was, it growled and started to climb down the tree. Like I said, we were armed, but that thing looked so un-natural, that we were entirely un-nerved. (That's a polite way to say "scared s___less") We ran away from there so fast we nearly caught up with the dogs. I don't hunt at night anymore, though Clayton does, I have lost interest, I guess.

 

As submitted by Jay Lanieppe 5-12-2023

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