Wyeville teen's recipe for success is black and tan

Bobby Shaw makes sure, Terror, his American black and tan coonhound is camera ready. Also on display, some of the hardware Shaw has brought home with coonhounds other than Terror. Herald photo Bob Kliebenstein

Bobby Shaw knew there were plenty of trophies and plaques in the bedroom of his rural Wyeville home.

But the hardware rekindled a painful loss. Shaw is the son of Randy Shaw and Carol Antone. He was 11-years-old when his American black and tan coonhound, Rip, contracted and eventually died from Lyme's disease. His bedroom was filled with assorted awards he and Rip earned competing in youth hunts and shows in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Working with coonhounds was a pastime instilled since a toddler by his father.

Randy and Carol own Lemonweir River Kennels outside Wyeville. With a playful grin Randy concedes he was taken back when his son took such a liking to American black and tans.

Randy raises and breeds treeing Walker coonhounds for hunting and show. Black and tans are aptly named due to their coloring. Walker hounds have the traditional beagle color.

Long time friends from Illinois, David Gilman and Misty Yarrington, introduced Bobby to American black and tans. The younger Shaw, now 14, and ready to start his freshman year at Tomah High School, has been hooked since.

Bobby knew he was going to test Randy's Walker allegiance, "when I saw my first black and tan pup."

It took time for Bobby to mourn Rip's death. Randy said Rip was a physical specimen at approximately 120 pounds with tenacious hunting skills.

"I did not sleep my room for a while," Bobby said, knowing it was filled with memories.

But time gradually healed the void. Bobby is now adding new hardware with Terror, a three-year-old American black and tan male.

Shaw won overall show champion at a Wisconsin State Coon Hunters Association event June 20 at Brooklyn (WI) with a black and tan coonhound, Pan. Terror, Rip and Pan are half brothers.

Bobby admits Terror does not possess Rip's hunting prowess going as far to saying Terror "is a little lazy" in the woods. Randy concedes Terror likes the show stage.

Competition hunting and shows have father and son on the road. They have traveled to Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri (near the Oklahoma border).

Bobby has a circle of friends who share his enthusiasm for coon hunting, adding he is always looking to bring more into the fold.

"I knew I liked it when I had a good dog," Bobby said, adding it's a special sound with a group of coonhounds baying with their prey in a tree.

When raccoon season starts in mid-October it's a safe bet father and son will be in the woods as much as possible. In the offseason some coonhound owners like to keep their dogs in condition competing in a swim circuit.

Locally the Wilton Rod and Gun Club, located on Highway 71 between Kendall and Wilton, has a night during the summer where dogs can get some exercise.

Randy concedes the swim circuit is not as heavily traveled as years ago. But the clubs provide a modest-sized pond with a zip line from one side to the other. Dogs wait on one side of the pond. On the zip line either a live raccoon in a cage or a bag with a coon scent is pulled across the water.

From there dogs propel into the water. Winner is the first one to the other side of the pond.

Children can get involved with coonhounds at a young age, Randy added. They have to be 6-years-old to hunt with an adult and they can show at 5-years-old. The Wilton Rod and Gun Club are hosting a Youth Education Program Saturday, Aug. 14. Events include field trials, swim event for coonhounds, bench show and night hunt. Anyone interested in learning about the sport is invited to attend.

Randy extends thanks to Gilman and Yarrington for exposing Bobby to a different breed of coonhound. Right now Pan is with the couple in Illinois.

Randy also wanted to thank the following landowners who permit them to hunt on their land, Bob Sherwood, Gary Waege, Donny Reekie, Bonnie Hedding and Gene and Denise Baumgarten.

Also thanks to the Wilton Rod and Gun Club for their support, approximately 200 members strong, 90 of those lifetime members, he added.

The club recognized its 100th anniversary in 2020.

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