Grand American Coon Hunt and Show organizers expect a big crowd at this weekend’s event at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds.

“We are thinking it is going to be one of the biggest ones,” Grand American Board of Directors member Harry Ott said.

“It is looking like it is going to be one of the best Grand Americans we have had in a long time,” he said.

Tens of thousands are expected to come out to the 59th annual event, which is one of the largest field trials in the United States.

Almost 200 dogs were pre-entered to hunt as of Dec. 28, Grand American President David McKee said. Last year, 154 were pre-entered at the same time.

McKee noted the first night of the hunt last year saw 307 dogs entered.

“I expect it will be that many or more this year,” McKee said.

People are also reading…

The campground for the event has been full for several weeks – an unusual occurrence.

Ott said calls are being received from individuals who have never hunted before.

“You can sign up on the day of the hunt now,” Ott said.

The event, which is presented by American Cooner magazine, will kick off with a Coon Fest for early arrivals on Thursday beginning at noon. The event will feature food, country music, entertainment and door prizes.

Opening ceremonies will be Friday beginning at 10 a.m. in the Bates Building.

The Grand American features skilled hounds from all over the country. Dog/owner teams compete for various prizes.

The Grand American includes nightly competitive hunts in which coonhounds and their handlers earn points for treeing and identifying raccoons.

The raccoons are not killed or attacked in the hunt.

Handlers also get to show their dogs. There are two bench shows planned.

The event also provides visitors with an opportunity to buy and sell dogs and to visit about 120 vendors specializing in outdoor gear specifically designed for the coon hunter.

“There is a lot of variety,” McKee said. “There should be something for everyone hunting related out there.”

There will also be plenty of food, including sweet treats such as elephant ears and mini-donuts.

People who don’t hunt are welcome to attend. Dog lovers and those who love artwork will also find plenty to see.

The Grand American typically brings in about 25,000 to 30,000 visitors, according to the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.

McKee said while the UKC Autumn Oaks hunt in Indiana tends to attract slightly more dogs, the Grand American attracts more visitors.

While the event is oftentimes considered the Super Bowl of hunting as the largest independent coon hunt in the United States, it is more than a hunt, Ott said.

“It is like family event,” he said. “We have people come every year that don’t hunt, but they like to come out and meet the people they have met in years gone by.”

Participants are expected to attend from states such as Maryland, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama, New Jersey and Florida, according to the Grand American advanced entry list.

Dogs will be participating with names such as Hardluck Rooster, Tree Talking Moonlight Crook, Down South Dirty Girl, Cooncrazy Grace, Slow Talking Stella and Sloan’s Hissy Fit, to name a few.

The Grand American got its start in the 1960s when prominent coon hunters searched for a hunt in a warmer climate because snow prevented much winter hunting in the North.

A panel of national competition hunters was formed, including some hunters from The T&D Region.

One of its members, Jim Mathis of Denmark, met with the newly formed Orangeburg Coon Hunters Association’s president, Lynn Anderson, who agreed to have the initial hunt in Orangeburg.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; } #lee-rev-content h3 { font-family: inherit!important; font-weight: 700!important; border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color); text-indent: 7px; font-size: 24px!important; line-height: 24px; } #lee-rev-content .rc-provider { font-family: inherit!important; } #lee-rev-content h4 { line-height: 24px!important; font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important; margin-top: 10px!important; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #lee-rev-content h3 { font-size: 18px!important; line-height: 18px; } } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 0 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article, #pu-email-form-daily-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article h2 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } } .grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>