Thank You Sponsors

THANK YOU SPONSORS
By Liz Dice

TO OUR 2011 SPONSORS..THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

BANQUET

MEMBERS FOR YOUR NEXT PURCHASES, PLEASE SEE OUR SPONSORS TO GIVE THEM OUR THANKS!

Farm Bureau Insurance Tony Laird of Rushville
Farm Credit in Rushville
Miller Equipment of Greensburg
Smith Implement of Rushville
Crop Production Services of Rushville
Norris Seeds of Rushville
Terhune Propane of Milroy
Jackman's Animal Clinic of Milroy
Don Meyer Ford of Greensburg
Goodyear Tire of Greensburg
Milroy Shoes of Milroy
Troyers Country Store of Milroy
Schmidt Engine Service of Milroy
Morgan Farms of Milroy
National Kennel Club
Sport Dog
Gun Dog Supply
Scott's Wood of Lynn, IN
Ultra Advantage
Tree Dog Light (Jeff & Debbie Hovious)
Sportmix Dog Food
Kelley K- Light
Valley Creek
Blazer Lights
John's Gun and Tackle of North Vernon
Central Indiana Coonhunters
Stik Bows by Rich Emery and Don Dow
Kinker Handmade Knives
Tri-Tronics
Goose Creek Kennel (Donnie Huber)
Joe Vick (www.muleprints.com)
Kramer Kreations
Croplan Genetics Seed
Dow AgroScience
Dekalb Asgrow Brand seeds
Premier Ag LLC of Greensburg
BASF Chemical
American Cooner
Zepp’s Squallers (Mark Zepp)
Sand Creek Kennels (Tony Porter)
Rose Acre Farms
J & S, Inc
Farmland Conservation Club
Limberlost Coonhunters
John Combs
Frame’s Outdoors of Liberty
Island Ventilation Systems
Rush County Coonhunters
Jennifer Miller- Senior Sales Director Mary Kay Cosmetics (www.marykay.com/jennmiller)
Parke County Coonhunters
Wyatt Conservation & Coonhunters Club
Indiana State Line Coonhunters

THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT

2009 Youth Hunt

On January 3rd HTDA members teamed up with DNR officials to host the first annual Youth Squirrel Hunt at Crosley Fish and Wildlife area. Twenty three kids, both girls and boys hunted with 13 members of the HTDA and their squirrel dogs. Most of the youth hunters had some hunting experience, almost none of them had ever been hunting with squirrel dogs. They had a blast. 

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HTDA President Chris Powell was contacted by Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area assistant property manager Steve Mund to coordinate the event. Mund learned of the HTDA from local member Steve Reinholt. Reinholt saw an opportunity to get the HTDA involved with a worthy cause in his community. This is what the HTDA is all about; “ preserving our heritage”. One look at these faces and it is safe to say they will never forget this experience. 

As for the impression the HTDA made on the DNR, “This is beyond all expectations” Steve Mund stated. The HTDA coordinated hunters with dogs, paid for food and worked with Crosley staff to ensure that dogs had plenty of space for a safe hunt. 

Our Competition

competition

Four handlers and a judge stood silently, only katydids and the occasional whippoorwill broke the tranquility of the early morning hillside. The handlers nervously shuffled their feet on the forest floor as they repeatedly cupped their ears in the expectation of hearing that first bark. One of the handlers requested, “Can we tighten up a little”? “We can tighten up just as soon as we have something to tighten up toward, I have no idea where the dogs are”, came the response of the card carrier. Just then a roar was heard in a far off hollow, neither the judge nor the handlers could distinguish which dogs were and were not opening. Three handlers screamed their strike calls in succession, followed by the forth sheepishly contributing, “Strike me too I guess”. Within a split second the tree calls came in the same order and the same fervor, with the judge repeating each call. The scores were written down and as the card was folded away the cast headed toward the hounds with much anticipation and trepidation. None of the five men honestly knew for sure what they would find at or in the tree upon their arrival, all had just made a competitive gamble just as they did when they plunked down their hard earned money on the entry table. This ambiguity put some adrenalin in their bloodstreams and kicked their heart rates up a little as they prepared to witness the results. 

Humans are very competitive and challenge driven by nature and hunters are even more so that way, in my opinion. Even the introverted hunter who escapes to the woods and fields for solitude is competing with his chosen quarry and with Old Mother Nature herself. We as Houndsmen add in another dimension of complexity with our thinking, living and breathing canine companions. Our Treedogs compete with one another in terms of supremacy, speed, accuracy, endurance and many other aspects of the chase regardless if they are cast with others on a pleasure hunt or in Nite Hunt competition. The competitive spirit in our hounds is an extension of ourselves as we attempt to bond into a cohesive team. This solid team effort is required to thoroughly enjoy the pleasure hunting experience or to succeed in reaching significant achievement in the Nite Hunt competition arena. 

Unfortunately in this day and age we as sportsmen are given no choice but to compete with the evolutionary changes within our modern society. The cities and suburbs of yesteryear are being vacated in favor of the “little piece of heaven in the country” idea and the suburbanites are coming out in droves. These urban raised folks don’t really understand hunting and/or hounds and most don’t really have a desire to. Not that these are bad people, they just don’t understand and are thus fearful of such things as lights shining and hounds baying in the darkness of night. Due to this urban sprawl of both residential and commercial property buyouts, the available private hunting grounds large enough to cast hounds are few and far between. Farm land and timber ranges have been chopped up and sectioned off to the point that county plat books have become indecipherable. The public lands managed at the federal and state levels are vast and accessible in some states while sparse and heavily restricted in other states, such as Indiana. Over the last decade this lack of available hunting territory has created a booming market for hunting leases with the price per acre skyrocketing year after year. All of these issues have combined to create a huge deficiency in hunting ground with many types of hunters competing for the same piece of property to hunt on. 

On another front there are many well funded anti-hunting organizations waging war with us on a daily basis. Simply put, their goals include eliminating our rights to hunt, to own and breed dogs and to keep and bear our firearms. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance estimates over $300 million dollars will have been raised by the top anti-hunting groups in 2007. You can check out these details on the web at http://www.ussportsmen.org/. The five largest of these groups from a monetary standpoint include the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Fund for Animals and the Friends of Animals, Inc. Not to sound as an alarmist, but we as Tree Dog Enthusiasts are dramatically outnumbered and significantly out funded. To put this into perspective, how easy do you think it would be to organize and motivate the nation’s Tree Dog Enthusiasts to the point we could raise $1 million dollars in a single year? Wouldn’t that be a phenomenal effort toward competing against the antis? Yes, absolutely it certainly would, but we would still be a mere $299 million dollars behind them! Think about that! 

Regrettably there are also a few misguided “sporting groups” in every state that would like to eliminate our rights to free cast these hounds. I know it seems unthinkable, but either by way of cloudy perceptions, irrational emotionalism or borderline fanaticism these groups want to end or at the very least heavily restrict our sport. It seems they desire to divide the hunting sports by classes and elevate theirs up on a pedestal as righteous and principled while characterizing our hound sports as unrefined or even unethical. The lucrative commercialization of equipment for these higher and mightier hunting sports in dedicated magazines and on the many cable hunting programs has contributed to this elitist philosophy as well. A large percentage of the “hunters’ with this frightening attitude only pursue one type of game, so they rationalize that they are doing THE right thing, so everything else must be wrong. Contrary to this mindset, most hound people I know hunt and trap many different species of game animals in and outside of their own state and look at other sportsmen in a much more positive light. This entire hunter against hunter movement makes no good, logical sense and therein lies the dilemma; it is extremely difficult to discuss facts and logic with those harboring fanatical viewpoints. 

Yes, the competition out there in the woods for two hours on any given weekend is tough and sometimes our competitive natures get the best of us. Other times it seems the handlers step back and let the hounds do all of the talking and it beco0mes much more enjoyable. Either way when defeated, as strong willed Houndsmen we seem to bounce right back with same dog readjusted or a new one we think is better. We as Tree Dog Enthusiasts are a hearty group, we tend to roll with the punches and keep getting back up no matter what the odds. This “new” competition is something we are all going to need to learn to compete with and win. We must organize and fight the antis on every front with all brothers and sisters within the hunting community. We have the right to hunt, to breed our dogs of choice and to keep and bear arms, let’s keep it that way. We need to educate the non-hunting public, especially landowners about what we do and why we do it to eliminate fear and misunderstanding. We must invite members from other hunting organizations to come with us and our hounds, to learn about the joys of our sport. Our state legislators and DNR officials need to hear from us, we have been silent way too long. This new year, please join and participate in your state’s Houndsmen organization. There is strength in numbers and we as tax payers and voters must let it be known we expect our Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren and Great, Great Grandchildren to be following these Tree Dogs for many years to come. Never take NO for an answer! 

“Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up.”- Nancy Lopez 

2007 HTDA Year in Review

Wow! December 2007 is upon us already. December means a lot of different things to different people. At our house we still have three kids under age ten so we all know what that means…Christmas! Christmas at our house is as much a Birthday Party for Jesus as it is Santa Claus and toys. I was very proud of my kids when they came and asked my wife and I if they could bake a birthday cake for Jesus instead of cookies for Santa. Do you think I could go ahead and eat a piece of cake on Christmas Eve? Naahh, I don’t want to risk it. I hope all of our members are enjoying a great Christmas Season. 

December also means the close of the first year of business for the HTDA. I thought I would just take a few lines and review our work for 2007 and let you all know what we have been up to. 

In 2007 much of our time has been spent getting items in order so we could be up and running for business. These items include writing Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, meeting with attorneys and appropriate fillings with the Secretary of State’s Office. In order to become a recognized corporation there is a lot of red tape to cut through. With the help of Larry Meeks and PKC we were able to get through this with their help of employing Scopeletis Garvin, Light and Hanson Attorneys at Law. Thanks Larry. The top work of these attorneys made the legal work much smoother but still required several meeting in Indianapolis of the Board of Directors for reviews and approval. This process took up most of the first half of the year. 

During the same time the HTDA took on the challenge of attempting to seek changes in the current coonhound running seasons. There were a couple of reasons that we decided to take on this issue. One was that we felt as members of the HTDA you deserved an equal opportunity to exercise your dogs as any other sporting breed in Indiana enjoys. We met with the DNR to determine the feasibility of accomplishing this goal. We left the meeting feeling confident that this would be an easy task and should meet very little resistance. Upon leaving the meeting we felt that this would be a quick and easy victory for tree dog enthusiasts in our State so we proceeded. What has happened since then has been far from easy or quick. I would categorize it as a lesson in “Politics 101”. Our easy homerun was met with stiff opposition from a few people who say they represent deer hunters and trappers. They used what influence they had to block the proposal at every meeting we attended. They were also able to sway the support of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Glen Salmon. 

What ultimately happened is it came down to this: the Division of Fish and Wildlife set up a meeting for a compromise between the Indiana Bow Hunters Association, The Indiana Deer Hunters Association, Indiana trappers Association, The National Fur Takers Assoc of Indiana and the Hoosier Tree Dog Alliance. The meeting was set for December 1st. There appeared to be no compromise between these groups up to the 28th of November. However in the eleventh hour I was able to make contact with my long time friend Gene Hopkins, President of the Bow Hunters Assoc. Gene and I talked about this issue as reasonable sportsmen with legitimate concerns regarding our respective sports. We hammered out a compromise. The coonhunter would be able to run his dog from February 1st until October 22nd. We agreed to accept their support, which gave us more than half of our requested days and we would respect their opportunity to bow hunt through the deer rut uninterrupted. The president of the Indiana Deer Hunters Association supported this compromise and we had three of the five groups involved in agreement. What happened next was unbelievable. 

The “spokesman” for the Indiana Deer Hunters Association, Doug Allman, went on record saying that their president did not have the authority to enter into the agreement. He, in essence, left his own Organization president hanging out to dry. The trappers stated that they would only support the running season proposal if we publicly stated that we would support them on several trapping issues. I in turn told them that the HTDA would not be held up for ransom and cancelled the meeting. To say the least it left us feeling gutted. Jerry had spent hours upon hours working on this issue, attending meetings, talking on the phone, writing emails etc. I had done the same only to walk away, back at where we started - running season restrictions. 

In retrospect, we made some egregious errors. What began as a quick effort to do something great for the membership should have been preluded with more groundwork. We should have spent a little more time getting to know the players and the rules before jumping in the game. 

We still aren’t dead in the water. We are going to do what we should have done to begin with and that is petition the Natural Resources Commission for a change. We also gained some valuable allies. The Law Enforcement Division has been unwavering on their support. Running coonhounds has no law enforcement impact. Major Steve Hunter spent a lot of time keeping me informed of current news. Lt Col Sam Purvis and I talked extensively on the phone. Both helped us learn the ropes when dealing with rule change proposals. We have found out that the Indiana Bow Hunters Association is also a great ally. We are making plans to join forces to create a united front of all sportsmen in Indiana. 

The next issue I would address is the fact that all new organizations have some growing pains. Ours came in the form of getting our issues politiced away because we went about accomplishing our goal in the wrong manner. That won’t happen again. 

2007 had several highlights for tree dog enthusiasts. We established several sponsor clubs. This helps us form a united front in the tree dog world. We have a solid foundation of corporate sponsors who believe in our cause. Let’s face it Indiana is a great place to hunt and the people selling us supplies and register our dogs want to help us stay ahead game. We have expanded our membership in one year to nearly one hundred and fifty members. WE are happy about this but are in no way satisfied. We want every tree dog owner to be a member of the HTDA. The HTDA hosted the 2007 AKC World Championship and it was huge fundraiser for us. We made friends from across America with this event. The HTDA will also host an awesome banquet for our members and guests. Please take a few minutes and look at the fliers you will be receiving in the mail. This will be a spectacular event that will be like no other event held for the sport of hunting with tree dogs. Top auction items and door prizes will be complimented with a great meal and top speakers. Come and join us. 

We as officers and directors of the HTDA know that tree dog enthusiasts are extremely hungry for a great organization. We are working hard to get that organization established. Something that I would ask is that everyone please be patient. If one takes into consideration the work that has had to be done with legal matters of getting set up, planning banquets and negotiating DNR politics I feel we have accomplished a lot. We have a house to build, one that will stand united for many generations. It is a house that has to be built one brick at a time. From where I sit it is well under construction if not under roof. We are only limited by the participation that we get from our members. Please get involved. I know communications have been slow from our end. We promise to improve on that. Please fell free to get involved. If you have an issue or an idea for our organization let me, or one of the officers or directors know. We are here to serve you. 

In closing I would just like to say from all of the officers and directors that it has been a pleasure serving the membership of the HTDA. We have great plans for 2008 and hope to see you in February at the 1st Annual HTDA banquet in Greenwood Indiana at Jonathon Byrd Banquet facility. 

Building Bridges-Mending Fences

bridge

It was that very special time of year, early November in Indiana. The leaves had long since turned and were absent from nearly all the trees by now, scattered to the wind they blanketed the forest floor as well as many of the creek banks and farm fields. Farmers had been fortunate this fall with dry weather and that beautiful harvest moon on the clear nights bringing us several early white frosts. The golden brown soybean fields had all vanished to barren farm ground and the remaining cornfields left standing were few and far between. Our raccoon season had just opened two days ago on Saturday and I felt very fortunate to take the entire family out on opening night. We stopped and bought snacks and drinks for the night out while on our way to a farm I’ve been hunting since I was just a young boy. We turned the dogs out and as we sat there on the majestic oak ridge listening and soaking up the night air it seemed as if the deadlines and stresses of the daily grind were long gone and we were in another world all to ourselves. By 11:00 or so the moon was up bright and the kids were cold and worn out, so we loaded up and headed back toward home. We had treed several raccoon, walked a few miles, ate a lot of snacks and had a great time laughing and cutting up. While driving back home I reflected upon how fortunate we were to have this great Hoosier outdoors to enjoy, the beautiful night, these lovable hounds and most importantly to be able to share it all with our children on this peaceful November night. 

On Sunday evening after dinner, homework and bedtime I headed our once again, just me and a young female. It was a still, cloudless night with millions of bright stars and a huge moon lighting the sky. The kind of fall night where there is not a sound in the woods but maybe a faint trickling of water in the creek and a house dog barking several miles away. When you venture out on these clear nights you know Jack Frost is not far behind you. Beautiful yes, but not exactly the kind of night you would pick to work a young dog, but I was enjoying the gorgeous night and the time spent with the young hound even if I did need to keep my expectations low. We covered a lot of ground that evening, made some bad trees, caught a possum and even treed a few coon. For her age and experience I was content with the performance and had her back home in the kennel by 1:00. 

Today was Monday and our local club had a one hour event scheduled and it was my turn for the hunt director duties. I loaded the three year old gyp and as I pointed the old Toyota east we stopped one more time just to make sure my old rain jacket was behind the seat where it was supposed to be. The weather was changing dramatically from the last two days, no more clear and no more calm. A cold front was coming through and with it lots of wind and rain, there would be no frost tonight, that’s for sure. We only had a few casts at the club and I was happy to see we had some good guys and good dogs in our bunch. We managed to tree a few coons, but she lost all my good points by grabbing a couple of leaf-less, coon-less trees. We all congratulated the winner and were on our way back to the club to fill out reports and pay the cast winners. I was more than a little anxious awaiting the rest of the cast to return, wanting to spend some quality training time with my hound before the night got too old. For whatever reason she was having accuracy problems on windy, rainy nights and I wanted to get back out there to see if we could start down some kind of road to recovery. 

Sure enough, when we finished up at the club the rain and wind had not let up at all, setting the stage for the much needed training. I finally released my hound around 12:30 heading north on the property of a local farmer just a few miles from my home. Instead of going where she was supposed to, she looped around to the west, then south crossing the road onto the property of another area farmer. Although she didn’t go where I had originally sent her and intended to hunt, I wasn’t too concerned since I had a good relationship and permission from both landowners. As I followed behind her walking west down the county road she worked a track south through a standing cornfield, a creek and up on to a hardwood ridge. Although normally music to my ears, I was somewhat disheartened upon hearing that big bawl locate and more so as she went into her steady high pitched chop. Unfortunately, she seemed to be directly across the road from a state police officer’s house, a good ¾ of a mile from where I was standing. You see I was out here to coon hunt, to train my dog, not to disturb him or anyone else. I knew my hound was not close enough to the officer’s residence for it to be a problem, but I could hear his yard dogs making a good bit of racket due to her being treed just across the road less than a quarter mile away from his house. Yes, I had permission to be where she was and where I was, but I also knew from past experience this officer would hassle me if given the slightest opportunity. 

I hesitated for just a moment wondering if I should walk back to the truck and drive around, or should I go ahead and walk straight through to avoid any potential disturbance my vehicle may cause. Deciding to just get over there ASAP, I walked the length of the un-harvested cornfield with my hands up in front of my face to keep the wet leaves off. The night was pitch black and the wind and rain was not letting up a bit as I sloshed through that muddy field. In order to approach the tree I had to scale several very steep, muddy banks and work through a substantial amount of underbrush. The tree was a very large red oak with some remaining leaves so I shined first with my red lens, squalling as I walked around the tree. After the first trip without finding eyeballs, I plugged in the spotlight and shortly thereafter found the coon in an upper fork. I had no intention of shooting the raccoon, wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible, but I just had to know if she had it or not. I felt much better about the whole ordeal now since the coon was spotted as I reached down to leash her and give her an atta-girl before heading back down the bank. 

While standing back up I noticed a bright light flash in front of me and I looked around the tree to find someone approaching quickly through the underbrush. Identifying himself as a state police officer, he stepped forward out of the darkness in plain clothes displaying his badge. He then asked for my hunting license, which I pulled out and handed to him. He seemed to be incredibly upset and wanted to know what I was doing and indicated that my hound had disturbed him and his family. I explained what I was doing and apologized for bothering him and detailed where we had started out and that I had no intention of being anywhere near his house. He remained very loud and abrupt asking if I had permission to be there. I said I did and he reprimanded me by saying he thought I was lying, but would check out my story and be writing a ticket if it was untrue. I said that I understood and reminded him that he had checked me on this same farm several times over the last few years, each time I had permission and each time I was in lawful pursuit of game. 

At this point the officer became much more upset and yelled, “OK, NOW YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE”! I asked him what he meant by that. He said he was going to walk me back to his house to write a ticket. I asked what the ticket would be for; he did not answer as we proceeded through the thick underbrush out across the county road and on to his driveway. The ticket he wrote cited a violation of “Hunting Without Consent”, to which I felt strongly would be dismissed outright since I did in fact have permission to be there. When the officer handed me the ticket he asked very sarcastically, “Do you have anything else to say now?” I simply said no as I did not want to argue the point knowing I was in the right. I turned, walked down the road back to my truck and went on home, extremely aggravated with the night’s events. 

The next morning I got up early and went to visit the landowner to make sure everything was all right as far as my permission to hunt on his land was concerned. He said yes, and that everything was fine with him. I asked him for written permission to avoid future problems, which he willingly gave me. The landowner then explained to me that the officer had already phoned him that morning asking about my hunting privileges. According to him, when the officer found out that I did in fact have permission, he seemed very upset and said, “Well if I can’t get Mr. Moll for hunting without consent, I do intend to get him for something because he copped an attitude with me last night”. The landowner explained to the officer that he knew me and my family and had never had any concerns about me whatsoever, but this information seemed to have no affect on the officer’s state of mind. 

I waited two weeks and stopped in at the County Courthouse to check on the status of this citation. I assumed when the written permission from the landowner was produced, the pending charge for hunting without consent would be dropped. The clerk’s office informed me that this particular ticket had never been turned in by the officer, but that I should check at the prosecutor’s office to be sure. The prosecutor’s office also said they had not received the specific ticket I showed them, but they did receive another citation and handed me a copy. This baffled me because I had no knowledge of a second ticket and looking at the date, it seemed odd that it was not even written until this past Wednesday, a full eight days following our encounter. I also did not understand this “new charge” of hunting without a light because I had at least one continuous light burning the entire time hunting that night. While shining the tree I may have had two or three lights on simultaneously. Also the officer had made no mention of a light problem whatsoever during the initial encounter two weeks prior. 

Was it possible that the officer did not see my light as he flashed his light on me due to my being through the thick underbrush, or standing on the opposite side of the big oak tree and/or bending over to either leash or pet my dog? Or was this simply an irate person using his position to get revenge against a law abiding citizen? Based upon what he said to the landowner, it seemed to be the latter. But why in the world would anyone be so irate and whacked out about a legal Coonhunter’s dog treeing a coon on someone else’s property where they had permission to be? How could this possibly drive someone to trump up a fictitious charge about an innocent person? All of these questions puzzled the heck out of me, but I had no answers and really did want to try and understand. 

As time went on I became more informed about the officer’s convictions and motivations. I learned he was an avid and sometimes fanatical deer hunter. In recent years he had run off several types of sportsmen hunting raccoon, squirrel, rabbit and deer. These hunters were on properties adjacent to his few acres and as far as I know all had permission to be where they were. The night of our encounter was just five short days before the Indiana Deer Gun Season began and he must have thought I was chasing off the Bambi he had been stalking for months. No wonder he awoke so easily, there were probably visions of big antlers dancing in his head. I also heard of him making many negative and disrespectful comments about Hoosier Houndsmen and their dogs to the point I’m sure he sees no redeeming value in either. 

As you can imagine I was finally able to get these newly fabricated charges against me dismissed, but it did cost me several hundred dollars that I didn’t have to spend on such foolishness. The officer may have known the charges would be dismissed or he may have assumed I would just pay the fines. Either way, he knew the negative publicity and financial jeopardy was my problem alone and would not affect him in the least. He was at no risk whatsoever in his endeavor to scare me away from a neighbor’s land by what ever means he decided to employ via the advantages of his profession. The facts that I was in the right and was 100% legal in all respects meant absolutely nothing to him, nothing at all! 

All of these events and information could have easily caused me to place the entire blame on this officer, but in reality I’ve heard many similar stories from other Houndsmen over the years. As time soothed my initial feelings, I’ve spent more time pondering why. The scenario I’ve described and hearing of these other similar incidents have caused me to ask many more questions about myself and fellow Hoosier Houndsmen. Think about this; it is one thing for the anti-hunting groups to prey on us Sportsmen, but another thing entirely when other hunters are treating us in this manner, we have a major image problem. What have we done so wrong or what are we not doing right that anyone could possibly have that low opinion of us? Have we not communicated the positive attributes of our sport and its effects or lack thereof on other hunting sports? Have we not demonstrated an atmosphere of respect and appreciation for landowners allowing us the privilege of hunting on their private ground? Have we not taken the time to communicate our respect and appreciation of our state’s Department of Natural Resources and the steps they take to preserve our hunting heritage? How often have we contributed to the negative impressions others have about Houndsmen and how often have we gone out of our way to boost the credibility and image of our group in the public eye? 

What can we do? The first thing is to join and support your state’s tree dog organization, such as the Hoosier Tree Dog Alliance. Ask what your organization is doing to promote and elevate the image of the Houndsman in your state and community. Find out what is being done to educate other sportsmen about how hunting with hounds does or does not impinge on their sport. If there is not enough being done, volunteer to get things rolling to build solid bridges and to mend torn fences. Make contact with your local conservation officer, if he has not been exposed to Tree Dogs, educate him about our sport and invite him to go hunting. Talk to local deer, fox, rabbit and bird hunting groups and explain how our hounds will not hider them in their pursuit of game and offer to show them in the woods. Make yourself known to the head of your DNR and ask to be involved in discussions that may affect our sport. Offer to take 4-H and FFA groups coon hunting and ask teachers and/or leaders to come along. Don’t be afraid to let everyone know the positive impact the Coonhound sport has on the nation’s economy and what our hobby does in support of worthwhile charities, such as; raising over three million dollars for the Decatur County World’s Largest Coonhunt, Benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Winston Churchill succinctly summarizes the impact of sitting on the sidelines: “Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, or how to say it and he is reputed strong only because he has remained silent.”