Shadow Oak Bo Remembered by Tom Word

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I treasure many memories of Shadow Oak Bo, the first and clearest (I can watch it like a movie in mind’s eye today) at Coney Lake in the Lee County All-Age when Bo was a first year. I was riding with Luke Weaver in his pickup, following in the course path. Bo had a pretty find just ahead and we both said, “Wow, that’s a handsome setter.“ A couple minutes later he had another and got too close, bumping the bird. Luke stopped where we could watch Robin after judges and gallery moved on. Robin administered a stern correction with a rein to Bo’s chest, and an instant after, Bo, undaunted, was licking Robin’s hands, with tail wagging, happy as could be.

“ That setter may be tough enough,” Luke said, and I nodded agreement, as Robin fitted Bo in the roading harness.

After that I watched him perform each year at Chinquapin in the Florida Championship until his retirement. Each year he ran a strong race with good bird work. Bo was braced in the finals in 2015 with the winner, Utah’s Red Rock Express, handled by Rich Robertson , and both scored six finds in big sweeping races. Judges Gary Lester and Cecil Rester called that the best trial they had ever witnessed.

A moment from that trial etched in memory was a find by Bo near the end atop Lookout Ridge, when Robin asked him to relocate. It was windy and gallery riders were close. Relocation at Chinquapin is always difficult, for the wire grass is like a NASCAR track for the birds, which prefer to run for fear of hawks. Despite the pressure, Bo calmly circled wide atop the ridge and pinned the running single sixty yards from the original stand, with never a moment’s hesitation. He did the same repeatedly at the Ames Plantation, I observed watching Brad Harter’s Videos.

Winner of the National Championship in 2013 and 2014, he also won the Continental in 2010 and in all six Championships and six Runner-Up Championships. Bo restored belief by many in the setter as an all age dog. And belief by bird hunters and horseback shooting dog fans in an all-age setter as a sire of gun dogs and horseback shooting dogs. My son Scott has a Bo daughter that is the best bird dog (on grouse, woodcock and quail) we have owned in sixty years of setters. Rest in peace, Bo, you will not be forgot.

About the Author

Tom Word
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Tom Word is a lawyer who represents individuals about managing their assets and for amusement writes fiction and non-fiction about bird dogs and humans obsessed with them.


About the Artist

Ross B. Young
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A lifelong hunter and fisherman, Young knows the adrenaline rush of a covey rise, the smell of dawn as ducks cup into the decoys and the thrill of a trout rising to a well-placed fly. Personal experiences like these add authenticity to his paintings and invite the viewer to relive his/her own outdoor adventures.

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