Possum Hunting Back in the Day

Possum Hunting ESKnives
Possum Hunting Back in the Day

Back in the day, in Alabama, before our modern day ways of entertainment, people in the South participated in the sport of possum hunting. It was usually a family affair that included the children and neighbor children with Dads and Granddads.

As it has been passed down to me, possum hunting was not very hard to learn. Mostly walking through the woods following a couple of dogs waiting for the dogs to “tree” a possum. The most important part of possum hunting was the sense of community, the coming together and having a good time. The possum was the catalyst, the reason behind it all. Once the possum was treed you could see the possum with lights. Sometimes it took a while to catch up with the dogs.

Some hunters would bring the possums back home, skin them and cook them up. My family still talks about baked possum and sweet potatoes even though it has been a few generations since anyone in my family ate a possum. It was lean times back then and any extra meat helped the family from going hungry.

When the dogs found their possum it was easy to find them. You just followed the barking because they would raise a ruckus. When you got to the tree, you had to try and get the possum out of the tree. My Granddad told me there were two ways to get a possum out of a tree. The way was to try and throw rocks and pieces of wood at the possum and try to knock him out of the tree. If that didn’t work they would have to climb the tree and physically push the possum out of the tree. Much of the time the Possum would "sull up", that is they would roll up in a ball and play dead. They were not generally aggressive. But every once in a while there would be an angry possum. There were great tales of family members trying to get that possum out of the tree with them not falling out of the tree. Sometimes the possum won and sometimes the hunter won. Possums have alot of teeth.

The hunters always brought with them a "gunny sack" which was usually a canvas sack for carrying possums home. When the possum had made it to the ground another hunter would pick them up by the tail and put him in a gunny sack. They would round up the dogs and go looking for more. There were times that possum hunting was lean and they would walk for several hours and come home empty handed.

Back when my Granddad was a boy there was not much entertainment like today. My Grandad was born at the turn of the century. The turn of the 20th century not the 21st century. There was no TV, Radio, internet or cell phones. People had to depend on themselves for entertainment. Families did more together. In my family Possum hunting was a great time and provided much entertainment. Possum hunting brought the family together created life time bonds. There was fun to be had with it. Maybe, if people would go possum hunting now instead of watching the TV, obsessing about Facebook or texting their friends they would be better off and have a lot more fun. But thinking about it…. I doubt it. DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE TEETH……

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Posted by ES Team on 29 November, 2014 history, hunting | 0 comments
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