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Bill Allen


Excerpts from: Experience Teaches…

Instead of trying to second think the judges, just go hunting.

Clyde Morton never in his life said he “had to work some dogs.”

He said: “We’ll hunt at about 7:30 in the morning” or “Let’s go hunting a little later — say about three this evenin’.”


Clyde Morton and 1956 National Championship winner, Palamonium 

* * * * *

So as Ches Harris. Mr. Ed Farrior and Cap’n John Gates all said at one time or another: “First rule — take care of your dog, and worry about the horse, the judge and the gallery gossip when you’re dead tired in bed at the motel.”


Cheslie Harris


Ed Farrior


Cap’n John Gates

* * * * *  

And Tommy Davis taught me what it is to be young and proud of his work to the depth that he did not worry about appearances, or what this person or that person said about his dog knocking birds, or being involved in a very critical situation.

“You know, Mister Bill,” “I know who is judging when I come and reportin’. I know you can see as good as anybody. I don’t expect anyone to see it the way I see it, especially because I’m usually closer out there. I just get ’em as ready as I can and do the best I can and that is all anyone can do, right?”

Now that is class, isn’t it, and Knightoe (dog) reflects it, too, every step he takes.


Tommy Davis, 2019 U S Chicken Championship, South Dakota

* * * * *

Going back, you could ride in the Georgia or Virginia Amateur and watch Vernon Wimbrow and Dr. Alvin Nitchman run their dogs and learn as much as you might in the average prairie summer.

I am surely not the only one besides Alvin, Ernie Newman and Sandy Shore who remembers the time Vernon walked all the way out waist deep in a Waynesboro pond so he could walk back toward old Frank’s face and flush a covey of quail right into his eyes and jaws.

“Whatthehell you do that for,” whined Alvin in his inimitable way. (I mean we were all young except Vernon in those days.)

“Because I knew that was the only way I’d ever flush those web-footed illegitimates,” Vernon responded with his chubby smile. “I had to take a chance with ole Frank and let them flutter in his face…”

So, it’s better to take that kind of chance and have a find that wins you first place over 43 of the best amateur dogs that ever lived (they were great open dogs in those days too) than to chase the birds off into the swamp.


Dr. Alvin Nitchman

* * * * *

This past year, a great old dog was pointing at a strip feed over at Hinton’s plantation (Sedgefields) and as we rode up, he turned around, looked straight up at his handler and did a rectangular survey, stopping less than fifty feet from where he was originally standing, but facing the opposite direction. The handler coolly walked over and flushed birds from, I mean, directly under the dog’s chin.

“My Lord,” a fellow who has judged several times said, “he wasn’t blinking. He was stopping them.”

Amen, brother, and I’ve seen Haberdasher do it at Waynesboro and at Quitman many, many times when another dog would have either just gone on or gotten into the birds. There was never a dog except mabe his daddy, Fast Delivery, Warhoop Jake or The Texas Ranger which could do that so right. Leave out the exceptions. Haberdasher was what my old market hunting quail ‘perfesser’ from the banks of the Chattahoochee used to call a “Natchel Ringer.”


The Haberdasher


Fast Delivery

* * * * *

The classiest thing I ever learned was from Jimmy Hinton. The way he goes to a field trial that he is not judging or hosting. He brings his dog, and sometimes he brings Benjamin (Man) Rand and a horse. Sometimes not.

I have been honored to scout for Hinton when he brought no help.

But the class thing is that when he picks up his dog, he gets his gear packed, his canine comfortable, and shakes hands with everyone and goes home. That’s something I’m gonna do a lot more of.


Jimmy Hinton


‘Man’ Rand

* * * * *

So tomorrow, maybe again, or on some other tomorrow, we will learn again, and again. Let’s hope we never stop…

The entire piece “Experience Teaches…” appeared in the 1975 American Field Christmas issue.  

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ABOUT STRIDEAWAY

Strideaway is an online publication founded in 2008. We are dedicated to promoting the great sport of American pointing dog field trials, in particular American Field sanctioned trials for pointers and setters. Our objective is to present the voices and ideas of experienced trainers, handlers, breeders and other knowledgeable participants and enthusiasts from the past to the present — amateurs and professionals alike. Whether All-Age or Shooting Dog, Horseback or Walking Trials, we place particular emphasis on wild bird field trials and the dogs that compete in them. We present richly illustrated articles and stories, podcast interviews and other types of media on a regular basis with the hope of providing an ever expanding, searchable archive of information relevant to pointing dog field trials.Read article

This website is dedicated to our ever faithful friend and Strideaway contributor, Bill Allen, whose book The Unforgettables and Other True Fables we published in 2010.

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