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Musking is important

Raccoon is a mystery meat to most game cooks. Much of it has to do with the mumbo jumbo associated with removing the musk glands from the animal.

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March 15 at 8:00 am
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How to cook raccoon

George Ricks has many talents, but he said coon cooking is not at the top of the list.

For that, he turned to friend Al Travis, who he met in college when they both majored in biology.

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March 15 at 8:00 am
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The coon dog man

The people in the little hamlet of Tangipahoa call George Ricks “The Dog Man.” Everywhere he goes, Claire Bell, his retired-from-hunting treeing walker hound, rides with him. 

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March 15 at 8:00 am
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Why freeze hides?

George Ricks freezes most of his hides during the winter hunting season, saving them to tan during the summer when the weather is better.

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March 15 at 8:00 am
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11 steps to tan hides

George Ricks doesn’t end his coon-hunting experience when the dogs are put away. He continues by tanning the hides.

“Tanning gives me a chance to get closer to wildlife,” Ricks explained. “I get satisfaction from not wasting any part of the animal. When I was a kid, I was interested in trapping. I wanted to learn tanning, but instead sold my furs (untanned) to a buyer. I started tanning hides two years ago. I went on the internet and found a lot of versions of tanning.

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March 01 at 7:00 am
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How to skin a coon

George Ricks skins his coons by the open-case method, which produces a flat hide, split down the belly.

Fur buyers, he noted, only purchase closed-case skinned coons. With this method, the animal is cut from one rear leg ankle to the anus, and from there out to the ankle of the other leg. The hide is then pulled off from the rear of the animal toward its front, like a person removing a T-shirt. 

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March 01 at 7:00 am
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What's the best coonhounds?

Although he now calls himself a “pleasure hunter,” George Ricks is something of an expert on coonhounds.

He participated in competition coon hunting for 10 years and also judged competitive events.

“It got to be too much, with all my other irons in the fire,” Ricks admitted.

He said that there are six dog breeds in coon-hunting circles: treeing walkers, blueticks, black and tans, Plotts, American English and redbones.

“There are good coonhounds in all breeds, but my preference is for treeing walkers,” Ricks said. “They hunt harder, they are faster and I like their looks.

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March 01 at 7:00 am
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Ringtail round-up — Top coon-hunting tactics

A half-hour before midnight, I threw a look over my shoulder to see if I was dragging a certain piece of my anatomy behind me. 

George Ricks was putting a whuppin’ on me. The 57-year-old iron man was making me feel every bit of my 70 years — and he only speeded up when the hounds started yodeling “treed.”

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March 01 at 7:00 am
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