ballhoot v, hence vbl n ballhooting [Cf scallyhoot v] chiefly sAppalachians
1 In logging: to roll or slide logs down a steep slope; hence n ballhooter one who does this.
1905 Home Mission Mth. 20.27 nwNC, Sharp axes soon cut the chestnuts, oaks and poplars, and strong hands “ballhooted” (the process of rolling or sliding logs from the steep mountain sides) them into a deep hollow where the logging began. 1913 Kephart Highlanders 195 wNC, I have had a drunken “ball-hooter” (log-roller) from the lumber camps fire five shots around my head as a feu-de-joie. 1929 WV Review 7.1.28, Anyone who has frequented logging operations has heard . . ball-hootin’ logs. . . shooting logs down over a steep incline to a lower level. 1930 DN 6.86 cWV, Ballhoot. 1956 AmSp 31.149 nwCA, Ball Hooting. . . Rolling logs free down an incline. 1966 DARE Tape NC31, And that word was ball-hooting. [FW:] Ball-hooting? [Inf:] Ball-hooting logs. [FW:] How did they do that? [Inf:] Well, the tree was sawed down and sawed up into log links, and then you took a cant hook and turned it over to where it would go down the hill of its own momentum, just come down the hill. 1975 Appalachian Jrl. 2.149 wNC, I recorded my words where I heard them, whether on the front porch listening to a man tell of his days as a ball-hooter (lumberjack) in West Virginia or around a new kitchen table. 1991 Weals Last Train 26 eTN (as of early 20th cent), The sons worked some at what Walter remembers as the hardest job in the woods—ballhooting. When a tree was cut on a very steep slope, they would peel the logs and nose them, round one end so that once a log was started sliding it would “ballhoot” to the foot of the slope by its own momentum.
2 To slide or tumble precipitously downhill; hence adj ballhooting rapid, headlong.
1919 Life & Labor 9.291 wNC, Then came the logging— . . learning to use a cross-cut saw, and after felling the tree, cut it into correct lengths, to “knot and nose” each piece, and then with peeveys or cant-hooks coax each hulking log to the slide, where it would “ballhoot” to the road. 1948 Wellman in Gettysburg Times (PA) 6 July 6/3, [Serialized novel:] As she came to the corner, she was already driving at her usual ball-hooting clip. 1991 [see 1 above]. 2005 Williams Gratitude 16 wNC (as of 1940s), If you was to trip and fall . . next thing you knowed you’d be a-ballhootin’ down the mountain, and might not ever be seen no more. 2012 Benson I’m Not Dead np NC, The admitting nurse . . . sized me up. . . “So, didja ball hoot?” “Ball what?” “Tract’r accid’nt?” “How can you tell?” . . “How many times y’flipt?” she asked. “I think it was two. And a half.” “Yer a lucky man. Usually the next words ya hear after ‘He flipt the tractor’ are, ‘and the funeral is. . .’ ”