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About Gundog Central

Jeff Davis
Posted 11/02/2007

So what's is Gundog Central and how'd it get started?

Up until 2005, I'd never personally owned a dog, but I've always been interested in Bird Dogs, especially the Pointers (English Pointer). It just so happens that Garry Surratt of Pinehill Kennels, who sells English Pointers, lived about 7 miles from my house. I called him up one day and asked if he'd be willing to let me redo his web site in exchange for a puppy. Garry had no idea who I was ... so of course he said "No". I decided to go by Pinehill Kennels anyway to see what he had available, while there I bought a male puppy from him. Garry didn't know it at the time, but as a new dog owner, I was about to be his worst nightmare, especially since I lived so close. I called Garry about everything, the puppy wouldn't eat, he didn't want to play, I didn't know what medicine to give him. To Garry's credit each time I called him, he'd say "Jeff, this is what you need to do" and each time he was right. I named my new puppy "Scout", I took him to work with me, I let him stay inside the house at night, he pretty much went everywhere I did. I started training Scout with commands like "Here", "Sit", "Kennel" and a few other commands. Scout was a quick learner and before long he was performing many of these commands on cue.

During this time Garry had finally decided to let me work on his website, so I put something together for him. He asked me to bring it by his house one morning to show him what I had done and to bring Scout with me, that we would put him on some live birds to see what he'd do. We worked several young dogs that morning, including Scout and he didn't disappoint. Garry was impressed with how well Scout handled in the field. Scout and I would go on to run in some local NSTRA field trials and could have qualified for a regional event if only I had been a better shot!

Eventually I bought a whole litter from Pinehill, with the hopes of training them to be just like Scout. I quickly found out training 9 dogs was going to be a lot more work than I had anticipated. I started selling most of them for less then I paid for them. I know that one of the puppies went on to win a few trial events, two of them became guide dogs and I've seen several others from the litter priced online for over $2000.00!

So, what does any of this have to do with Gundog Central? Lots. After doing the website for Pinehill Kennels, Garry was telling everyone how much he liked it, I ended up doing several others for different kennels. Each time I created a new web site, I'd get a referral for another site to do. Each time, it'd make the next website incrementally better than the last.

I was still buying dogs from Pinehill Kennels at the time, mainly with the intent to start the dogs, then resell them. I was listing them back on Garry's website to sell. As I started getting dogs form different kennels, I really didn't feel comfortable listing them on Garry's website any longer, I felt like I might be taking some business away from him. I didn't want to create my own personal kennel website either, because I didn't handle enough dogs and it was still just a hobby for me. I needed a place to advertise the dogs I was buying, promote the kennel software I had written and give back to the kennels that had help me out along the way. I took the original website I had written for Pinehill Kennels and added a membership database to it and Gundog Central was pretty much born with Scout's silhouette making up the logo.

I may have been a new dog owner when I started Gundog Central, but I'd actually spent a lifetime around dogs. My father is a life-long coon hunter and we always had hounds around the house. Being an Air Force family, we traveled around a lot, but one thing that was constant was coonhounds and coon hunting. Dad was a quintessential dog trader, he used to take me to those Dog Trade Days, where we'd sell coon pelts and look at dogs. I remember going coon hunting at a very young age, small enough that dad would carry me around on his shoulders. I had one of those big, cheap, yellow push buttons hand-held lights that had the big square 6-volt battery concealed inside. I wouldn't have survived the cold nights without dad's old time metal hand warmer in the felt case to keep my hands warm.

Dad used to have two of the largest male Treeing Walkers coon dogs I ever remember ever seeing. They were aptly named Thunder & Lighting, the head on Thunder was massive. One night, while we were stationed in Missouri, Dad decided he wanted to go hunting, so we loaded up Thunder & Lighting and hit the back roads. It was snowing pretty good out and the snow was already ankle deep on me. We turned the dogs loose and in no time, they treed one of those big Missouri coons. We shot that coon out and decided to turn the dogs loose again and they checked out. Again, they treed, but this time much, much further away. I don't remember who carried the gun and who carried the large, dead coon, but I'm guessing the later job was mine. We finally got to the dogs and they had another, even larger coon treed. We shot that coon out and attempted the trek back to the truck, taking turns carrying two very large dead coons and leading two herculean dogs that didn't want to leave, in over a foot of snow. It seemed like miles back to the truck, my feet were frozen, and my arms were numb from carrying coons and leading dogs, but we eventually made it. Dad swears that was the moment he broke me from coon hunting. It might explain the reason why I have a website dedicated to bird dogs and not a coon dogs.

I had actually been planning a coon dog related version of Gundog Central for years and in 2011 decided to launch a sister site to Gundog Central, called Hounddog Central. I dedicated that site to my dad and his lifelong pursuit of that perfect hound. That site featured coon dogs, beagles, fiest and curs, all dogs he had at one time or another. I ran the site separate from Gundog Central for 9 years but maintaining both sites separately meant that time I spent on one, was time that wasn't being spent on the other ... so 2020, I decided to combine them into the site you see today.

I hope you enjoy my site.

Jeff Davis
Gundog Central

My dogs

Just a few of the dogs I've owned over the years

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