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Lion Dogs Can Also Trail a 'Coon'

According to reports from Encampment, four coon dogs entered by Vern Phillips in a Coon Dog Field Trial Sunday afternoon at Sedalia, Colo., won every race in which they entered and placed first, second and third in the finals.

The dogs are owned by Mr. Phillips and Len Walker of Saratoga. Two of the dogs, Trump and Dolly, are one-year-olds, and the two others, Ace and Lady, are older. It is said Dolly failed to place owing to illness, probably due to the trip and change of altitude.

Preparations for the coon dog race are made by dragging coon scent across creeks and meadows and through timber and then, at the end of the trail, by placing a live coon in a cage in a tree. The dogs are then loosened and are judged by the first dog “over the line” and the first and second dogs to “bark treed.”

The race was the first in which the Phillips-Walker dogs have been entered, but they are experienced, having been used extensively in the Encampment and Saratoga areas in hunting lions, bobcats and raccoons.

The above article was taken from the hometown newspaper dated June 23, 1955.

During the 1950s-60s “Coon Dog Field Trials” or races were held throughout the Rocky Mountain area with several staged in the Upper North Platte River Valley. The national finals were usually held in Missouri, where Phillips also competed and earned a national reputation for his dogs.

As an area big game hunter, guide and outfitter Phillips captured many mountain lions and bobcats with hounds.—DP