Sunday, May 6, 2012

Only in Alabama!

'Bama boys take their huntin' seriously! Their land is blessed with acres of forests and lakes filled with everything from wild turkeys to bass. But it seems, one of the "prized" catches are the ones that will "climb trees" for their escape . For this, you need a special dog, one not just trained in helping you hunt for them, but one that it's in his blood-line to sniff them out, even when they climb that tree, and then keep them there, barking & baying, while his master comes to catch/hunt his prey.

This special dog is called a "coon dog", and is revered here. So much so, they have their own cemetery - the only one in the US! It was established in 1937 when a mourning hunter, Key Underwood, wanted to lay his coon dog to rest, and honor him for all the years of faithful service and friendship they had shared. Soon after, other hunters joined Key in burying their coon dogs there as well. Thus, the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia started filling, with more that 250 dogs now. All types of head stones can be found, from high-end granite not unlike at a "human cemetery" to a plain rock or stick or grill. Each as individual as the hunter themselves, I'm sure. It's quite a site, I can tell you!

They have standards and requirements by which a dog will be allowed in. To quote:

"We have stipulations on this thing," says Larry Sanderson, Vice President of the Coon Dog Graveyard. "A dog can't run no deer, possum -- nothing like that. He's got to be a straight coon dog, and he's got to be full hound. Couldn't be a mixed up breed dog, a house dog."

They must meet these requirements:
  • The owner must claim their pet is an authentic coon dog.

  • A witness must declare the deceased is a coon dog.

  • A member of the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, Inc. must be allowed to view the coonhound and declare it as such.

  • If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

    ...kicking back in Alabama, Marie

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