News from the Tennessee Valley News

Ronnie Thomas

At 20, Kyle Jones is an accomplished coon hunter. He and his partner Buddy have won several awards.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
At 20, Kyle Jones is an accomplished coon hunter. He and his partner Buddy have won several awards.

In Papaw’s footsteps
Grandfather would be proud of Kyle and Buddy

ODEN RIDGE — The family logging business sometimes falls into Kyle Jones’ coon-hunting path.

The Oden Ridge man, a 2006 graduate of Falkville High School, and Buddy, his champion treeing walker, were primed for the Autumn Oaks Coon Dog Hunt on Aug. 31 in Richmond, Ind.

Instead, that weekend he and Rabe Jones, his dad and business partner, will select cut property in Toney, where they’ll harvest trees at least 14 inches in diameter.

Kyle’s late grandfather would understand. Silas Andrew “Papaw” Jones helped initiate his grandson into the business and into the sport.

“He was such an influence,” said Kyle, 20. “I cut down my first tree with him when I was about 15. He and Dad took me on my first coon hunt when I was 3, into a rough hollow near the house called Devil’s Cellar. Papaw also got Buddy for me.”

The dog was 10 months old when its owner and one of Kyle’s uncles, Red Gilliam, brought him from Kingsport, Tenn., to hunt at Lacey’s Spring.

“I knew then that Buddy was special, and I just had to have him,” Kyle said. “Papaw gave him $100 and Dad pitched in his treeing walker, Preacher, who mostly chased deer.”

Kyle said he could feel Papaw’s spirit when he took Buddy, now 6, into woods at Albany, Ga., in January for the United Kennel Club Winter Classic Nite Hunt. Kyle, then 19, became the youngest handler ever to win the event as Buddy tracked and barked his way to Grand Nite Champion over 800 other dogs. He treed five coons during the two-hour hunt.

The trophies and prizes filled Kyle’s pickup. In addition to three trophies the UKC presented, Budweiser gave a trophy for Grand Champion Winner valued at $1,500. Kyle also collected $5,000 worth of hunting supplies, including dog boxes, coon-hunting lights, a tracking system and shock collar, 24 caps and 400 pounds of dog food.

Magazine feature

Coonhound Bloodlines featured Kyle and Buddy on the cover of its March issue.

“Albany is my favorite place to hunt because they have a lot of coons,” Kyle said. “But there’s nothing like hunting at home. We have all these good places around here, too, and you come home and go to bed.”

The family coon hunting ties for the Jones boys will continue. Rabe’s favorite dog, Sambo, 4, is one of Buddy’s sons. Father and son also are hunting a female, Little Terror, 5, they co-own. In 2008 at Albany, Kyle will hunt Buddy and Rabe will handle Little Terror.

“You can’t hunt against your own dog,” Kyle said. “If Little Terror wins, I’ll have two dogs in the record books. Papaw would really like that.”

He will cherish always an outing on the last night of his grandfather’s life.

They coon-hunted together on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. The next day, Feb. 20, 2004, Silas Jones, 82, and his wife, Mildred, 79, died in a traffic accident in front of the former Lurleen B. Wallace Developmental Center. Their passenger and Kyle’s aunt, Lila Jones, died 12 days later.

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Ronnie Thomas Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer

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