Sport, a 13-month-old bluetick coonhound, has no shortage of enthusiasm, which is what you want in a cooner. But when he was found by two squirrel hunters near Bean Station, Tenn. Monday morning, he was definitely in bushytail territory, some 40-feet above the ground and one scared hound.
It was the sound of a hound dog that’s treed its prey, a vocalization Stuart had heard dozens of times before.
What Stuart and his hunting partner, David Hall, didn’t realize is that blue tick coon hounds don’t bark any differently when they’re atop a tree than when they’re hounding a raccoon from below.
Stuart, a Morristown police officer, and Hall, a firefighter, were stunned to find the hound approximately 35 feet above ground — too frightened to move — in a poplar tree.
Stuart says the dog apparently reached the point of no return by scaling a dead, bark-less oak tree that had become hung on a poplar branch.
The steady rain that fell made scaling or descending along the tree, which was propped at a slope of about 75 degrees, impossible to contemplate for man or canine.
The dog that later came to be known as Sport probably couldn’t have had a more willing or capable rescuer.
Not only is Stuart a dog lover, he and Chad Mullins, a Hamblen County deputy, co-own Morristown Tree Service, so Stuart had the right tools for the job.
He called up Mullins, who arrived moments later with climbing spurs and a belt.