Showsight Presents The Redbone Coonhound

SS1104 SIG 179 4/14/11 1:12 PM Page 186

History of the Redbone Coonhound By Christine Smith Redbone Coonhound

The history of the Redbone Coonhound is one that is not well documented. It’s a history that you would more likely hear about while sitting at the feet of your great-grandpa. Coon hunting was once a well known tradition that has seemed to have faded in this modernized world. However, there is a group still thriving, almost like a “Secret Society”. The great coon hunters from this soci- ety are who founded these f lashy, red-coated, hard hunting dogs we know as Redbones!

Birdsong. Birdsong also acquired a pack of hounds from Dr. Thomas Y. Henry. From these Scottish and Irish Foxhounds is what is to be believed the foundation stock of the modern day Redbone. W.B. Frisbee, a Redbone owner from the early to mid 1900’s, said….. “The Redbone Coonhound originated in the South in the slave days. They were used to catch runaway slaves and by the trustees to catch coon and opossum…. At that time they were a large, heavy

and Redbone strains of Col. Mile G. Harris of GA; could be the beginnings of the Redbone. The July hound was a product of hounds, Tickler and Lade, from Nimrod Gosnell of MD. Tickler was a red hound with white on his neck while Lade was a tan female of a medi- um size. Harris’ other hounds, Proctor and Redbone strain, where large red hounds with long ears hanging like win- dow curtains. After Col. Harris’ hearing and eyesight started to fail, he gave his pack of hounds to friends in Putnam Co., GA. The July hound eventually went to one of the friends, George L.F.

hound and were open trailers on the trail of game…. Had deep bawling voic- es, color was red with black saddles on backs, with red or tan heads and ears. And even then some were solid red.

Going back to before the Civil War, Redbones were already well established. To give an exact year is too hard. I believe that a lot of the old red dogs that

are noted in history and believed to be Bloodhounds, were actually Redbones. Stories tell that Davy Crockett even kept a Redbone for a companion at some point. After much research, here are some of my personal findings that came through putting pieces of the puzzle together… As the stories go, crossings with the Foxhound “July” and also the Proctor

When the slaves were freed and they were no longer needed…. (for that pur- pose)….they were crossed with the Irish hounds to get a lighter, faster hound…. So now they are good trim built hounds that have good cold noses and will range out for a great distance to find their game and will tree it and stay for hours until their owners find them and get the game or call them

186 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE • A PRIL 2011

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