Jefferson County
Illinois


The Prairie Historian

 
Prairie Historian Excerpts
from 18 years of quarterly Bulletins

 
Published by
THE PRAIRIE HISTORIANS
WALTONVILLE, ILLINOIS 62894

 
  THE BIG OTTER HUNT OF 1924
    The only otter known to be found in 
Jefferson County was killed in Elk Prairie 
Township by Jim Loman and his brother 
Homer. It weighed 42 pounds. It was quite 
a sly animal and it took some doing to out-
smart it. 
    It's tracks were first seen near the 
Abner Cemetery, south and west of Nason. 
The timber used for piling for the Nason 
Mine was shipped in from the northern part 
of the United States on railroad flatcars. 
Since Abner Cemetery is near to the mine it 
was finally decided that the otter must have 
come in on one of the railroad cars and when 
the cars were stopped at the mine it jumped 
to the ground and took off. 
    One morning "Red" Roberts was near 
the Abner Cemetery with his dogs, going on a 
hunting trip and the dogs followed the tracks 
of this otter. They chased it to Lost Knob 
Pond and then chased it south to Ackley 
Pond. About one mile south of Ackley 
Pond the otter ran into Little Awkward 
Creek and went west of the Big Muddy 
River. It had made many tracks here on 
the bank so "Red" stopped to check them 
very closely trying to decide what kind of an 
animal it was.  The tracks looked very much 
like goose tracks. He then went to the home 
of Sam Reynolds and told him about those 
odd animal tracks he had just seen. Some of 
the neighborhood men went to look at the 
tracks and they finally all decided it was the 
tracks of an otter. 
   After much chasing and much slyness 
on the part of the otter, Jim Loman finally 
caught it with his two old hound dogs, Rowd 
and Rattler.  It took a while though before 
the dogs treed it in a big drift above Little 
Awkward Creek on Big Muddy River. The 
river was frozen over solid, but farther on 
down there was an air hole through the ice, 
and the otter discovered this. It would leave 
the drift and go to the air hole, and the dogs 
would find it and bark, and then the otter 
would dive under the ice and race back to 
the drift.   He could dive under the ice faster 
than the dogs could run on top of the ice. 
The otter did this stunt many times. Finally 
Homer Loman, brother of Jim, saw it leave 
the air hole and move in beside a big log 
in the drift.   The dogs found it,  but once 
again it dived under the ice and  ran  back 
to the air hole.  Homer said, "now I know 
just what that otter is  up to and  how he's 
doing all of this". Next time the otter swam 
back to the drift Homer was waiting for it and 
shot  it  with  his  shotgun.  It was wounded, 
but went on into the drift,  but some blood 
came up to the top of the water, so they 
followed the trail of blood into the drift 
and the two dogs caught the otter. This was 
the first, last, and only otter hunting spree 
ever known in Elk Prairie Township. 
 
*Note from submitter:
Jim Loman is my grandfather. My dad, who would 
have been three years old at the time, told me he 
remembered his dad and uncle Homer, walking 
toward the house from the creek with the otter slung 
over grandpa's shoulder. Dad said that while they were 
still a ways from the house, he remembered his mom 
saying that it looked like his dad had shot a bear.

Submitted by: Robert W. Loman
rwlmn@aol.com





 

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