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Great Performances

Great Performances ~ Smart Wins 1969 National Open Pheasant SD Championship

Smart, Dr. A. H. Nitchman’s Pointer, Wins Title Brilliantly

SMART, four-year-old white and liver pointer dog, proved not only well named but a true scion of champion parents when he delivered an inspirational, errorless hour to capture the 1969 National Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship. Smart owned and handled by Dr. Alvin H. Nitchman of Cranberry, N.J., was credited with six pheasant finds and he backed his bracemate in scintillating heat that many declared the greatest ever witness in this classic ringneck shooting dog event. It was no new experience for Dr. Nitchman, who has piloted the winner of this stake many times previously —five to be exact— but likely he was as thrilled as all observers at the outstanding excellence of Smart’s flawless performance. Smart made his bid about midway in the stake and albeit some fine efforts were made before and after his appearance, it was nevertheless anti-climatic because of the brilliance of the Nitchman pointer’s sparkling rendition.


Only three times in the thirteen runnings of the stake have professional trainers handle the winner. Five times amateur Robert G. Wehle has won — thrice with Elhew Jungle and twice with Elhew Huckleberry. Now simon-pure Dr. A. H. Nitchman has equaled Bob Wehle’s mark, for he won the stake four times with Potato Patch Sue and now with Smart, a son of Sue…

What does this prove? Only that Alvin Nitchman and Bob Wehle are gifted trainers and have devoted the study, time and work essential to the development of these top pheasant dog performers.

Smart, the new champion was bred to fulfill this destiny. A mating to Elhew Jungle and Potato Patch Sue in 1962 had produced notable winners including Strawberry Fly, but in August of ’65 Sue was bred to Elhew Sundown, a classy son of Jungle. There were two male puppies whelped on October 20, 1965 — Smart and his winning brother Ch. Elhew Summer Tan, which also ran in this event. Smart, of course, was a late whelp for Derby competition, but when he ran in this stake a year ago the vast potentialities of the dog were remarked and fulfillment came to pass this season. A lot of toil and a lot of thinking, a lot of love, and a whale of a lot of persistence went into the development of this attractive pointer. No matter the disappointments or unexpected setbacks experienced along the way, this glorious triumph, among others, must be a source of gratification to the dedicated Jerseyite and to his devoted spouse Matilda, his number 1 assistant and ace scout.

Smart’s brilliant hour was graced with six separate pieces of clean pheasant work. He handled his opportunities with remarkable skill while patterning in a manner that would be hard to improve. He gave ready response to his handler, yet exercised initiative impressively, and displayed a poise in every situation that reflected confidence in his abilities to cope with any scent problem. Under the conditions which prevailed and with pheasants abundant, one appreciates  the hazards of avoiding a semblance of a mistake, but Smart came through with an errorless hour, though one is not unmindful of his handler’s constant alertness. The hypercritical might find a slight blemish here or there, yet would concede the diamond-like quality of the exhibition. In the account of the running there is a detailed description of his work.

Lightfoot Lou—Smart.—They went away swiftly at 9:17. They were ambitious, Lou reportedly getting a tough break along roadway on three pheasants, then electing to go whither she pleased. Smart was patterning impressively. The dog was searching with marked intelligence and completing casts purposely and forwardly. His pleasing handling response did not affect his initiative or independence. Lou got off to the left side and it was some time before she was in hand; she struck game scent, but did not work it out impressively, a bird eventually. Meanwhile Smart was making his presence felt. At the quarter hour he feathered in down corn stalks ahead, styled up and Dr. Nitchman, diagnosing the situation, ran up the peasant in front promptly. At Potter Road, Smart scored a second time; he pointed prettily, then brief wiggle to his uplifted tail, but it stiffened and a weak-flying cock was produced here, all eminently satisfactory. Dr. Nitchman shrewdly walked Smart beyond where this bird had pitched. At 9:42 at a clump of apple trees where the Nitchman dogs invariably connect, tradition was served for Smart pointed loftily, then a waver to his tail as the bird evidently moved, but he stiffened and the handler sprinted well to the side along this brushline to cause a leggy ringneck to fly. After culvert crossing, Lou was back in front at 9:47. At 9:50 opposite acid plant in goldenrod, Smart pointed, tail tip high over his back; he had a cock pheasant perfectly located and a second arose to the left front of the dog. Lou pointed well forward to the right; Smart was requested in to back; he did not immediately see Lou, worked about, then before Nitchman could direct attention to the setter, she moved up a rod or more; Smart bounded in at this juncture, then as the setter reestablished just ahead of him, he halted alongside. the ringneck flew from far side of brush line, both dogs steady for the shot. Lou, diminutive, was hard to see in the weeds, was in motion when Smart first caught sight of her, so only the hypercritical would fault the dog for getting alongside, yet there was the wish that he had oriented himself to what was transpiring a bit more quickly. Smart made a fine cast  beyond marsh and  along willow ditch was seen pointing; again that quiver to the tail as the ringneck evidently moved out of the scent cone, but the pheasant was flushed readily. In the Patterson pocket, Lou pointed; Smart coming into the air, backed readily at proper distance. The ringneck flush from roadside terminal of the cover, unseen by Barkley (Lou’s handler), but the judges instructed him to shoot., the dogs steady.  In the waning moments of the hour, Smart pointed intensely and loftily at wooded clump bordering Patterson Road and a half dozen pheasants were flushed from the cover immediately ahead of the dog. It was his sixth find and he concluded the hour with strength to spare. Lou made a tentative point along  brushline near time, but proceeded. Smart’s performance had the gallery abuzz; veteran observers opined it was one of the finest hours in the history of this stake.


Potato Patch Sue

Baldwinsville, N.Y., October 1
Judges: Paul J. Treadaway and Harry H. Townshend
Winner. Elhew Sundown—Potato Patch Sue. Dr. A. H. Nitchman, owner and handler



Running Dog


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