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The Hunt Goes On

Posted on Saturday 20th April 2024 08:32:33 PM

In the early 70s bird hunting was at its peak in Eastern North Carolina. I was a youngster still and loved to tag along on hunts with family and longed to have my own dogs. It was about this time that I attended my first bird dog field trial, a horseback event being held near my Uncle Henry’s farm. It was there that I first remember meeting Dr. W.C. Sanderson. He was there to compete as was his brother “Dute” Sanderson, a popular local professional dog trainer.

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Should We?

Posted on Friday 19th April 2024 07:57:19 PM

Hurricane Hattie had requalified with a third place in the last qualifier of the season. Should they enter her was the question occupying her owner, Sam Slade, and handler, Mack Bain. Both were ambivalent and unsure of their judgment on the issue.

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The Master

Posted on Thursday 18th April 2024 06:44:35 PM

One of my earliest memories is the smell of the Hoppes gun oil my dad would use on his Sweet 16 Browning after a bird hunt. He and my uncles would tell stories of 30 coveys a day, of the “ditch bank birds”, those bobs that would provide great sport by scattering out down a line, giving the gunners an easy opportunity. Tales of limits by lunchtime and perfectly broke pointers and setters kept my interest high. Like a puppy, I wanted desperately to go with the men on a real bird hunt but was deemed too immature.

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All my heroes are gone

Posted on Wednesday 17th April 2024 06:40:49 PM

As we climbed out of the old Chevy truck, my nostrils were bitten by the cold Kentucky morning. I always loved the way that the cold air pierced your lungs. Such an infusion of life. The cold wrapped around me, but the warmth of excitement invigorated my soul. I had read many times in the old Field and Stream magazines about the venture I was undertaking with my uncle. I had finally made it. I had gotten the invitation to stand over his prize possessions, an old Elhew pointer and a Lewellin setter.

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A Jam Up Hunt

Posted on Tuesday 16th April 2024 08:30:27 PM

It was going to be a good day. You could feel it. My son Steven and I were hunting for woodies on our favorite beaver pond. As we put our canoe in the water the temperature hovered around freezing as a light rain begin to drizzle on us. Perfect conditions for ducks!

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My Life As A Field Trial Reporter

Posted on Monday 15th April 2024 06:52:16 PM

From 1995 until 2022 I had two professions, lawyer and pointing dog field trial reporter. The first to earn money to pay creditors and afford to indulge in the second, pursued for the pleasure it brought me.

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The Long Journey Home

Posted on Sunday 14th April 2024 05:37:43 PM

Belle’s favorite pastime time lately, was to become perfectly still, and at the most opportune time snap and catch one of the deer flies that tormented her. That’s what her life had become. She hadn’t known freedom for a year now and her spirit was weak, waning, nearly broken. She had plenty to eat, that wasn’t a problem. Brown Man brought meat scraps to her, and he kept her water clean too. But her whole world lay within the radius of the chain she was shackled to. She had grown to accept the chain, but not willingly. After a while she learned it best to not dream of home and Randall. She rested solely in the fact that Pup was growing strong, and that Brown Man was not a cruel man.

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THE LONG JOURNEY HOME

Posted on Sunday 24th March 2024 09:12:56 AM

‘Why’, is a man question, not a dog question. Whether hate, or malice, or greed, or power, was someone’s motive for her circumstances mattered not to Belle. ‘What’ mattered to Belle. What could she do for her pup? ‘Who’ mattered also. Who could she trust, and who could she not trust? ‘Where’ mattered too. Where was she, and where was home? She sensed ‘When’ was important also, but she’d have to bide her time for now.

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The Long Journey Home

Posted on Sunday 25th February 2024 08:17:29 AM

It would have been different had Belle been at home. She would have found a safe warm spot near the hay loft. Randall would have looked in on her throughout the day, more than likely bringing her bits of leftover bacon and biscuits and making sure the pups had a clean place to be whelped. She was royalty at Bent Pine and didn’t kennel with the other dogs. She had the run of the plantation. Her favorite place to lie, be it summer or winter, was under the rail fence of the barn lot. There, she was shaded in the summer by huge spreading oak and beech trees. In the winter she was warmed by the sun shining through those same trees then leafless and unable to fend off the warm welcomed rays. She laid under the bottom rail that was positioned just right to offer a scratch to her long back whenever she chose to do so. It was perfect. The spot seemingly offered a respite, though actual work didn’t exist for Belle. Maybe she enjoyed the spot for reflection, that now, she had aplenty. From her favorite spot she could view anything approaching the main house, as well as view over a mile of cleared bottomland, a bottom that stretched eastward to the Black Warrior River and south for three miles farther than Belle could see from the rails even on a clear day.

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When January Comes

Posted on Friday 29th December 2023 05:41:57 PM

When January comes

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The Curmudgeons’ Christmas

Posted on Sunday 17th December 2023 11:23:42 AM

Ben and Sam had rituals at Christmas time. They centered on friends less well-to-do than they.

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NOT ALL SINNERS GO TO HELL

Posted on Sunday 22nd October 2023 06:31:31 PM

Harry was a close and cherished member of the Winterhawk Bird Dog Club. He ran dogs throughout the walking circuit in the 80’s, and was particularly known for running his favorite, Harry’s Gentle Ben. I’m pretty sure he got Ben as a pup from Delmar Smith, and Ben won in the best of competition. Winterhawk Bird Dog Club had some stout competition in those days, accounting for many championships at all levels of the field trial sport. On hunting trips Harry and Ben held their own too, and then some. This may all sound ho-hum until you know Ben was a Brittany Spaniel. Big, stout, and leggy, he’d run and hunt with the best of the pointers and setters back then.

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Zen and Sharing Space With Bears and Snakes

Posted on Sunday 15th October 2023 05:50:30 PM

While planning a trip to Montana a friend asked me if the possibility of running into a bear or snake was “over hyped or a real concern?” After some thought, my answer “both” wasn’t very helpful in easing his mind. But it is true - while the odds of an encounter go up exponentially in the country either dreaded species inhabits. The sheer volume of hunters, fishers, and hikers flooding the space makes the odds of you actually being the one who gets bitten or mauled impossibly low. Put another way, you have to play the lotto to win, but when was the last time you won the jackpot? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared, but common sense often goes out the window when we head west with our fears in tow.

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An End and a Beginning

Posted on Sunday 8th October 2023 07:59:09 PM

The economics of the business had always been fragile. For-the-public trainer-handlers

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One too many ( Fiction )

Posted on Monday 31st July 2023 12:26:25 PM

Billy Eanes was desperate for money. To pay gambling debts. Without the money he would be dead—and soon.

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