Wild-eyed coonhounds track the moonlit terrain of Central Texas, their masters trampling after them through a maze of briar and brush in search of their elusive nocturnal prey: the raccoon. The masked varmints have few natural predators but the farmers who once hunted them for the supplemental income their pelts brought. Raccoons are hunted now mainly for sport.
To explore the Southern forests, mist-filled pastures and small-town community halls where coon hunting survives is to venture into the world of boyhood wonder where magic and myth collide. Impassable creeks become Grand Canyons. Thick brush does battle with determined bodies. All the while, the wails and moans of frothing beasts keyed to a scent guide the senses toward the night’s target.
This photo was taken during a competition hunt near Jewett on March 5, 2009.
See more work by Dallas-based photographer Brandon Thibodeaux at brandonthibodeaux.com.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Seeking Texas-based documentary photography that captures the strangest state. Please send inquiries to [email protected].