Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 3, 2013

Student places third in world coon hunting championship

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — Elijah Miller didn’t pick from the plethora of popular pastimes for seventh-graders.

Texting and video games just aren’t quite enough excitement for Miller.

Throw in a hound and some raccoons, and you have Miller’s attention.

Miller, a student at Boyd County Middle School, earned third place in the Professional Kennel Club’s Youth World Coon Hunting Championship on Oct. 26 in Salem, Ill.

With the achievement comes a hefty reward. Miller earned $1,000 cash and a $1,000 college scholarship. The 12-year-old placed behind Dalton Major, of Oklahoma, and Paxton Lee from Arkansas. Their ages are 17 and 18, respectively.

“He was really excited, it was really a close race,” said Scott Miller, Elijah’s father.

Raccoon hunting is performed at night using specifically trained dogs and crucial coon hunting lights. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, both clever and mischievous. They’re challenging to hunt because of their agility and intelligence.

Elijah hunted with a dog known as “Hard Knockin Stylish Knot,” owned by Robbie Fuller of Russell.

According to Scott, Elijah and his coon hound could’ve easily finished in first if they hadn’t encountered a hang-up on the final portion of the course.

“It was the last tree, and he couldn’t find his coon,” said Scott Miller. “It was really a jam-packed hour of competition.”

The Millers returned to the Catlettsburg area, where Scott is originally from, about a year ago. They had resided in Cullman, Ala.

Elijah began competitive coon hunting two years ago. He also competes in cross country for Boyd County’s varsity team.

To qualify for preliminary national rounds, one must accumulate $100 in winnings throughout the competition year, which is Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

There were approximately 75 adolescents and canines at the start of the three-round event. Participants included those from all over the United States.

For more information about the kennel club and its events, visit prohound.com.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.