Mountains of East Tennessee
I along with my wonderful wife and children, live and hunt in what is in my opinion,one of the most beautiful and yet rugged places in these United States. We don’t have the raccoon population that a lot of other places have, so having a hound on the end of our leash that is exceptional in certain necessary traits is a must have.Ask anyone what they believe makes a good coon hound, and with out a doubt you will get a different answer every time.The only true fact in defining a great coon dog, is that it is more of a matter of personal preference than a simple black and white rule.
My name is Roger Wilson and I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. I started hunting grade dogs (half this and half of that) on the Cane River in between the town of Burnsville,NC and Erwin,TN when I was about 12 years old. The preacher of our community church gave me a ride to Mars Hill North Carolina and even went in half with me on my very first coon hound, a Red Bone properly named Red that cost $150. Our agreement was that I pay him his half back if I ever sold the dog.Red treed coons but only struck tracks that were red hot (his tracks probably only averaged 50-75 yards long) and he would not hunt further than 50 yards from where you were standing. I walked a lot of miles trying to get that dog on a track hot enough for him to work and went home several nights tired and frustrated.I paid the preacher his half of the $150 six years later when my dogs where sold and I left home to attend college.
Today and several years since ole Red, we breed for dogs that operate a little different than the way my first coon hound did.Over the years we have become very hard to please.It’s not a matter of just treeing raccoons but how they tree that raccoon. We look for certain traits in a dog that will make a coon hunt in these rugged mountains somewhat of a successful mission. I say somewhat successful because some nights if nothing is moving, we may have to do some serious walking in some rugged terrain to get a dog off a treed ring tail.At Cane River Track Dog Kennels we do not buy coon dogs, we do not buy coon dog puppies, we do not breed to the hot new advertised stud that just won the World Hunt. Simply put we are hunters and breeders…… and we breed generation after generation after generation of cold nosed, head up, track driving accurate coon hounds.
THERE MUST BE BALANCE. A frustrated coon hunter once told me several years ago that there were a third of dogs that track too much, a third that tree too much and a third that cant do either. More simply put, most dogs of today are exceptional in one or possibly two areas(mostly in treeing and running hot tracks) but are drastically deficient in all other areas.A great coon dog is well balanced and talented in ALL areas.To most people this should sound very familiar. Think about the hound you are currently hunting.If we would honestly examine ourselves and what is on the end of our leash, we would find that most have dogs much like the ones mentioned above. They may do one or two things very well, but they don’t have all the necessary traits to do the job the right way on a consistent basis. We have always believed in breeding for TRAITS and never on pedigrees and titles. You simply can not look at names on a pedigree to plan breedings and determine how a dog will turn out or what traits will be thrown yet 95% of today’s crosses are chosen using this method. To have any degree of success with determining the outcome of your litter you must use individuals that posses the traits that are important to you. As well, those individuals must be born of parents and grand parents that also had those same traits. Find a litter of pups for sale today and call up the owner and ask them if they have ever hunted with the sire or the dam of the pups they are selling and it will scare you how many have not providing they answer your question honestly.The only way to know that the sire or dam that you are planning on breeding or buying a pup from possesses the traits that you like and to know that their parents and grandparents also had those traits, is to have at least once owned or hunted with all of those individuals.We here at Cane River Track Dog Kennels have bred, raised, trained and hunted every dog in our breeding stocks pedigree. Generation after generation after generation.
WHAT TRAITS DO WE BREED FOR? To me a dog must be hunting desperately hard and fast and must hunt out an entire area, not in just a linear fashion. Desire would have to be the number one trait on our list. You simply cannot make or train a dog to hunt. It has to be bred in them, and its either there or its not. There is nothing more embarrassing on a coon hunt with your buddies than having your dog sit at your feet all night once the leash is unsnapped. The next top item on our trait priority list is a cold nose. The dog must have a cold nose and consistently smell tracks before the average hound.In my opinion many hunters do not know what a cold nose is. Many think that a dog that is opening in the same spot for two hours has an extremely cold nose and nothing could be further from the truth. A cold nosed track dog must move/drift these tracks out with speed and authority, opening just here and there with a loud clear bawl. It must finish each and every track it opens on, locate the correct tree quickly with a long bawl locate, with a distinct change over to a quick chop. The dog must do all these things independently of what other dogs in the area are doing and hold its tree if pressured. Accuracy would be the other top of the list trait we feel is extremely important along with desire,nose and track speed, but believe it is often a by product of having a strong desire and a great nose.If a dog can do all these things mentioned and do them well with consistency, you will tree raccoons often no matter what the other dogs in your group are doing, as well as, do it any where you turn it loose. I found over several years ago that certain strains of the Walker breed brought certain traits to the table and I used those strains as the foundation of my breeding program. Our breeding system is called GENETIC OPTIMIZATION and is a system that is highly effective in improving the lines generation after generation. It is the only way that you can get consistency in your litters and capture the desirable traits that we are all looking for.
In the beginning or breeding program we basically combined the traits and genetics of extremely line bred hounds from three Treeing Walkers…….House’s Clint, Brookshier’s Uncle Lee, and one of the very best females that I had ever followed ,Cane River Cry Babe. Simple fact, most of the pedigrees of today’s hounds are mixed with a little bit of everything and no consistent or repeatable traits year to year can be found. Joe House and Steve Brookshier for the most part kept their lines tight and undiluted. Although their lines may have not had all the traits that I desire in a coon hound, they had many that you could depend on to show up generation after generation with consistency. House’s Clint put lots of hunt, huge bawl mouths, and to some extent nose when crossed with the right females. Line bred Steve Brookshier bred hounds proved to produce extremely independent hounds with exceptional noses that could really run a track. The Stylish Harry on Nite Heat females (Cane River Cry Babe)produced really quick tree locators with a ton of intelligence(I seriously think some cur dogs were mixed in with these dogs years ago)and when mixed with the right dosage can help put the brakes on at just the right spot when crossed on really strong track dogs. Cane River Cry Babe had an unmatched ability to locate the right tree. In all my years of coon hunting I have never seen a hound that was as accurate. She really passed this trait on to her pups. Her ability to pass on that accuracy along with the hunting and tracking abilities of the House and Brookshier hounds really complimented each other well and my breeding program over the past several years has really profited from their contributions. It took us several attempts, failures and years to but together the right combinations to consistently reproduce the kind of hound that has all of the traits that I have mentioned above and I hope that everyone can profit from those failures and years of trial and error. We sell our dogs as young started dogs usually close to 1 year old. We have a time tested,tried and true STARTING METHOD for getting what has been bred into them generation after generation to really come out at an early age. We feel like keeping the pups environment exactly the same up until one year old is the only way that we can evaluate the genetics on their own. As well we can make sure that our product is exactly what is expected so that our customers will be completely satisfied. Come to East TN anytime and go for a hunt with our hounds and thank you for viewing our site.Please sign in to our Contact Us page and check the boxes at bottom to receive news and updates to our Kennels.