“Hunter Bunter”–Our Dog that Hunted and Played Baseball

Another of my father’s taraddidles.  He used this one with kids visiting our house or at church.

Bet you would like to hear a story about a very special dog. We have always had a dog or two around the house.  You probably remember Laddie, Happy, Plenty, and Nuttin?  He would raise his eyebrows and say, “You remember what they looked like, don’t you?”  God only knew if they even existed.

One of our dogs while living in Denver.

One of our dogs while living in Denver.

Well, I had another dog long before you started coming around here.  His name was Hunter Bunter.  He was a hunting dog and a ball player.  He just showed up at our house one day—a tall chubby black lab.  Sweetest dog I had ever seen.  When you say smart—that dog was unbelievably brilliant.  He was brighter than some of the kids that get in trouble with the law.

The amazing thing about Hunter Bunter is he knew how to hunt.   I found his skill by pure accident.  One day I decided to go squirrel hunting, grabbed my single shot Remington rifle and piled into the pickup.  The dog was barking and turning in circles, jumping up and down with excitement.  When I opened the pickup door he leaped in without an invitation, as if he really wanted to take a ride.  So, I thought—“Should I throw him out or let him go?”  He was so happy sitting in the truck.  He was smiling real big and I couldn’t bring myself to give him the boot.  So I decided to take him along.

When we got to the timber, he jumped to the ground and took off in a slow trot quickly disappearing.  I thought, “Well, guess he will find his way home.”  And I began to walk quietly listening for the sounds of movement of a squirrel on the ground or in the trees.  Before I could venture too far I heard Hunter Bunter barking loudly in the distance.  The tramp just continued his yap until I figured I should go find him.  When I finally found him, he sat on the ground looking up into a tree.  I walked around the tree looking for his find.  Low and behold, he had treed a squirrel.  I shot him and as soon as it fell to the ground, the dog retrieved it and brought it to me.  I petted and praised the pup.  And he took off again.  Within 15 minutes I heard him barking again.  I spent the morning following my partner.  He did the work and I did the shooting.  Returned home that day with six squirrels.  You couldn’t believe the flavor of those squirrel dumplings.  You ever eaten squirrel dumplings?  Well, you need to have your mom cook some up.  You go right home and tell her I said that.

I’m just getting started with the stories about this dog.  That crazy dog caught me leaving the house one day with my 10-gauge shotgun to go rabbit hunting.  Again, he went bananas trying to get into the old pickup.  He obviously knew I was going hunting, so I took him along.  When we reached the timber, Hunter took off like a maniac.  I just stood around and before long I heard his familiar hunting howl.  I started to walk toward his racket, but the dog was moving, so I waited for him to settle in one place.  The dog was obviously coming closer and closer.  Finally, I saw him in the distance chasing a rabbit toward me.  Eventually, I learned that when I took my rifle the pup would hunt squirrels and when I carried a shotgun, he would hunt for a rabbit.

I began to tell my friends about the unique skill of Hunter Bunter and they would just laugh.  They thought I just liked to spin a tale.

Well, one day I decided to take the kids fishing.  When we came out of the garage with the fishing poles, he took off like the devil was after him, barking as he went toward the family garbage dump and returned with a can in his mouth, ran right by me and ran behind the farm barn.  Before long he began to bark as if trying to call me to what he had found.  I went around the barn and the dog had already filled the can with the fishing worms he had dug in the soft dirt at the edge of the barn.  Yep, that was quite a dog.  Don’t guess I will ever find another one quite like him.


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