As we walked endless miles of mesquite, ragweed and every kind of freakin thorn imaginable, my mind began to wander a bit. I started seeing in my mind's eye the past canine greats and rascals I have been fortunate enough to follow behind. Forty-two years ago my uncle introduced me to Gentleman Bob after a morning duck in the Arkansas Delta. His dog was a black and white pointer named Paladin's Punk. We took two limits of birds in about two hours. I'm pretty sure I got a few, but my uncle was a National Champion skeet and trap shooter and filled both of our limits pretty quickly. PP pointed and retrieved every bird that afternoon. That was a feat considering the shotgun stock that was busted on him the week before. Discipline was tough and limits easier to come by in those days. The next few years were pretty foggy (high school, college and such) but I remember a pointer my father had named Jake the Slider. Jake was a red and white ugly dog that liked to point and slide. He would have been a great pheasant dog! The next truly great dog belonged to my friend Deano. His dog's name was Mike. Deano and Mike had the same personality with the same shit-eating grin and they were both death on a bobwhite. The only problem I had is Deano had about five Mikes and you never new which one you would get. My first exposure to the setter world came with my friend Bart. Bart had the great fortune of hunting his father's dog, Suzy. One trip to an island on the Arkansas river was all the convincing I needed to become a setter man. Suzy not only was a great bird finder, but she acted like you were hunting as a team and she was happy you were along with her. My first good dog was Pat, a Llewellyn I bought in a parking deck in Little Rock. She found birds in numbers and you really didn't notice how many she did find until the day was over and you added them up.
The rascals I hunted with were just as memorable. The first was Buck Wiley, a setter that my buddy, Ray and I hunted. Bucky Wiley always wanted to look at you when he attempted to point or fake backing another dog. By far my favorite was a big red and white setter named Skeeter. Birds always seemed to come up on Skeeter and he always looked surprised when it happened! We now hunt with two that fall into this category, Bobby and Homer, but they have a long way to go to top Skeeter. My Grandfather had a Gordon setter named Gordon, of course. Gordon was the best looking dog in the world until he went hunting. He then turned into a homing pigeon when you turned him loose. If he ran into a bird on the way home he would point it until you found him. You always made sure that you were ready to go home when you let him go.
|Heir apperent, Jack The Dog|