The Truth: Puppies to Winners with Bobby Merchant

Show Notes

On this episode of The Truth Josh sits down with good friend and long time houndsman Bobby Merchant.  Bobby is well known in coonhunting circles for his ability to raise and train coonhounds. Bobby raises and trains the same puppies that he competes with at the highest levels. 

Josh and Bobby come in after a little hunting to have great conversation about Bobby’s techniques and philosophies about training young coonhounds. We can all learn a thing or two from an every day working man that loves to take dogs from babies to the winners circle.  So sit back, relax and enjoy another fact filled episode of THE TRUTH, only on the Houndsman XP Podcast Network!

Show Transcript

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All right, ladies, gentlemen, welcome to the Truth on the Houseman XP Podcast Network. And today I'm lucky enough to be joined by my friend Mr. Bobby Merchant. I got him all tangled up in the cords right there. We just got done hunting. Bobby. We had pretty good, huh? Yeah. Tris. He treated a couple coons. Yeah.

Short and sweet. That's the way we like it. Yeah. But you come down, we're at. We're getting ready for the super hunt. I'm Bobby. Come down to Pleasure Hunt with me tonight. And we got done pleasure hunting and against his better judgment. I got him called in to sitting down here in front of the microphone.

Yeah. Just for the record, as long as you promised to edit out, edit all the stupid stuff out. We're good to go. . Your best be is to not say anything stupid. . But one of the reasons I wanna sit down with you and [00:02:00] of course we hunted Trixie tonight. you've had and are known for starting pups, and I get guys on here all the time that are winning world championships and they're national champions and all that stuff, but a lot of 'em aren't the best P men, to be honest.

And they know it too. It's not something like they're hiding it, but we get a lot of questions, pup training questions, how we do this, how we do that, and me and you have been. Tonight while we've been hunting, and of course we spoke before about some of the pups and I just wanted to touch on that.

But we can talk about a little bit of everything. But let's start with Trixie's one. She got one now. 30,000, no, right? 50, 50,000. Yeah. So you and Justin Caldwell on her together, right? And you started her as a baby pup? I bought. I, at that point I had never met Jed, but I was obviously aware.

Are you regretting it now? ? Somewhat. Be honest . That's right. This is the truth. So one, one day I just, we got a local Facebook page [00:03:00] here and there's a Trader pup on there. Four month old Trader Pub. And of course I'd wanted one, kinda, yeah. Thinking about Iowa. Here's one in my backyard.

So I call a friend Wesley Roscoe, who lived around the corner from that guy. And anyway, I went over there and looked at her and bought her and, here we are. Yeah. Six, six years later. Yeah. She's, I guess they are that old now. Yeah, they're, she's, she'll be six in April. They get old fast, don't they?

Yeah. The good ones do. Yeah. The sorry ones like duds. It seems like they just linger around forever. I'd like to have those first three years back. Yeah. Yeah. And we were talking about that those were good years. Yeah. It ain't like she's been a slouch here lately. I judged her down here just three weeks ago, and she looked good too, those three nights real good.

And was in it at the very end to get some good competition too. Yeah, she, the first three years of her life, she didn't need a break. She made her breaks and now she needs a break. Yeah. She needs a little luck. Koons need to be moving. , what? What was she like when you first got her home at four [00:04:00] months old?

Wild. Was she bad? Wild. Like how bad? So I'm a pretty clean freak. Eating. My kennels are always clean. Yeah. So every day I take those dogs out, put 'em on a chain, clean their kennel, put 'em up, whatever. Every day for four months, she'd turn over, flip over . Really just crazy. . To this day, she's still not real bright, but yeah, , I accuse her of having the thinly breeding, so

Yeah. It kind goes with the territory. Yeah. Look where she come from. You can't blame her. Goes with the territory. When you started Hunter, did you take her hunting immediately or did you give her a little bit to adjust her? No, I raised her up in six months or so, like I do, I started showing, Just a time or two, I will show a dog a cage Coon.

Yeah. I want the dogs that I start, I want 'em to know what, the smell of a coon. I want 'em to know what they're after. Yeah. I got friends who don't and they're frustrated when dogs trash. But anyway, there's no right or wrong way. It's just what I like to do. Yeah. So it's six months old.

I started showing her a cage coon just a few times [00:05:00] and then started taking her along. At nine months old, she was singled out. Yeah. Treating her on coons. . Did she those first night in the woods, did you turn loose with some dogs, I assume? Did she always go hunting pretty good? Yes. Yes. Yeah.

From the first night? Yep. Yep. And that's a lot from what I've seen of a lot of the trader dogs. She's outta Ralph, she's a grand pup to Trader. And Ralph could produced pretty well. We didn't breed him very much, but it seemed and Trixie never, Trixie, never seemed to do this. They start running a tree early.

They start early. They're easy, quick starters, and. , they hit a real bad law where they wanna stay on the ground too much from a year to two years. And that's usually when Finley gets good deals on him and buys you back . But Trixie never did really do that, did she? No, but I got to thinking even Justin and I got to talking a while, B back.

the first three years of her life. Those years were wet years. Yeah. And she never experienced a dry summer. Yeah. But like now, this past summer, it was worthless to take her hunting really. Not only did age catch up with her. Yeah. And she's [00:06:00] half sour, and don't like to haul and all the things that, that we know the older dogs.

Yeah. Some or most probably do. I don't know. Those first three years were a lot of fun. Yeah. When did you know you had something special? I, so the first time I met Jed, I went to the spring super steak, and I met him there. I went up to him and told him that I had a Ralph puppy that I thought, Was pretty special.

And at that time she was probably 10, 11 months old. Yeah. Getting close to a year old. But she was just, did Jet act like he believed you? No. . No, he blew me. He blew me off. . Jerk

I gotta tell you, this is the truth. And we talked about it a little bit tonight. Maybe Jed has simmered down a little bit in his older age. But I never thought that Jed would be a guy that I would enjoy being around, and I absolutely enjoy him. Now. Matter of fact, he sent me a puppy down here the other day that he and I and Justin are gonna be partners on.

Yeah. Yeah, I know . He, the first time I met [00:07:00] him, I don't know if you've heard this story or not. I wanted to strangle this guy. Yeah, of course. He was, he shows up 10 minutes later, he's gonna buy my dog, whether I liked it or not. I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that with him. And like he already owned the thing,

I said I don't need the money. I need the dog. And then next thing you know, 10 years later, we're best friends and we're hanging out. So I agree. He's in a acquired taste. , hey he was down here a bunch, this winter, I guess this fall. For the long story and all the different heights and he stayed and he come over and hunt with Justin and I a time or two and it was, it's always an adventure.

It is. Yeah, it is. I know. So Trixie was 10 months old then at Super Stakes. And would her the next year, would that be her first super stakes year? We never took her, never until she was a junior. Yeah. And she win. A lot of cast never doubled up. Clem took her the first year for me. Yeah. There a problem.

Ja, if Jason was here with us tonight, he would tell you he scored like six 50 or something [00:08:00] early round, and that's the first time he had ever hunted her. And he was probably a little confident and she left a tree or two or something lay around, yeah. What was she always tight on the ground?

Yeah. Tall tree type dog. Yeah. Two or three barks and trees. Yeah. Cuz I know some of them shocked, for instance, was wide open when he was younger. Bella was wide open when she was younger, bark quite a bit when she was younger, but as they got older they just shut all that off. Yeah. But Trixie never did that?

No. She was always pretty. What did you and Caldwell always own her? No. Sh Justin came, Justin and I have been friends for a lot of years. I remember when I was shooting horses on a ranch. , the first time I met Justin, he was working on that ranch and we've been friends since then. And Justin's.

On and off . Yep. Of course his work schedule's crazy. He'll be in Taiwan for a year and then Yeah, I called while back and he called me back two weeks later. He goes, oh, don't worry. I was in China. Yeah. . No, he during, it's funny, during Covid covid comes from China. Yep. And Caldwell [00:09:00] goes to China.

Yeah. right when it all started. So he's probably Who brought it back from Te or brought it back to Texas? Oh, that boy. . When did so how old was she when Caldwell bought into her, she was starting to win, quite a bit. And I'm never gonna go anywhere. Yeah. I'm staying around Leon County, yeah. This is just me. This is home. Yeah. I'm a homeboy. , he come to me and he wanted to put her in some hunt. So that's how that happened. Yeah. I know cuz I'd heard tell of her. Jet had told me about her and she's real nice. She's real nice and I never seen her go until the Lone Star 5,000 or the lone Star Shootout.

Shootout. Yeah. Yeah. And I judged her in that semi-final cast. Yeah. And I told Jed, I said, that's a pretty dang good dog. . Yeah. That was a lot of fun. And Neat about that ward and weed. I, I didn't, Justin hunted her, so I got it. I got it. A cast for that deal, for Chad, and semi-final.

I, I took weed to a place that he'd win. [00:10:00] He's won a ton outta the Rainbow Ranch. He's probably won more money outta that ranch than anybody. and ward. Ward walked with us and we had a lot of fun. Anyway. Yeah. We got the text that Justin had won. He had texted me that he'd won towards the end of that and them guys were just as happy for me as I was, yeah, no, and it's, that's the way it is at them. Bigger money events, it seems like 99% of 'em, them guys are rooting for everybody else, and they're there to, they're there to win, they're gonna beat your breaks off if they get a chance. Yeah. But Trix. When you started her and you seen you had something special, did you change the way that you did anything with her?

As far as, this is a dog that could win a lot of money versus just another good coon dog. I wasn't smart enough. I've full of hounds my whole life, but the competition deals only about the last 12 years probably. Yeah. She taught me a lot about what I, what it, what I needed, what it takes.

Yeah. To [00:11:00] win, and obviously there's a lot of room for improvement there. And yeah, we're all looking for the next one, but no, I didn't do anything different. I just hunted her. Yeah. What about, what'd you have before Trixie? Probably the best dog that I had at that point. It was a little dog named.

Justin Hunt, a dog named Boomer. , I don't you remember that dog? Not, I think so. Yeah. He was, man, he was a wild, crazy blowout of the world kind of dog. But whenever you got to him he had a coon, yeah. So he was a dog. Noah owned the dog. Noah Powell owned the dog. , Justin Hunt the dog.

And we bred a jet tour and re was a puppy out of that dog. And she was a real nice hound. And matter of fact, I think if I had a dog, cuz she. Hunter's, track dog, anytime you wanted it, yep. And never, six was never gonna get her. If I had her now knowing now, if I knew that back then, she probably could have won a lot of money.

What how'd you even get started in the Hounds at all? Just, I grew up with the boy and his dad had red bones. Yeah. And I'm surprised that didn't break you. At that time we [00:12:00] were kids, and Johnny Patella, you've seen at the Long Star for a hundred years, he's one of the founders.

Yep. When we were kids, he'd take us, and back then we just, it was just driving, see a creek or something on the side road you used to pull over and hunt, . So Johnny was really Mr. Lee and my friend Butch and Johnny was probably responsible for this mess that. Did you, did your dad or grandpa or uncles or anybody?

No. No. My dad tell the stories of coon dogs that they had when they were kids, but no, my dad never took me because East Texas is, and we've talked about that. We beat that horse to death on this podcast. It's such a unique place as far as the amount of Hounds, men, how many good hounds when there are.

And cuz you look right around here, there's you and Caldwell and Joe and Cole and Clam and I'm gonna throw Chance Lynch in there and Chris Collins and all these guys that, have wanted a really high level at a lot of different areas and they're all just right here. Yeah. It's a there's a lot of good enhancement around here.

And speaking of Chris, we've been talking about puppies all [00:13:00] night. Chris is that guy. Yeah. He's always hunting his. Starting his pups and does a really good job with him. Yeah. What Jed's gonna hear that and he'd be like, I told you to turn your phone off. You always gripe at me, so I'm gonna hit this on silence.

Jed's busy right now. Yeah, I'm sure he is. He needs to be hunting one of them dogs. I gotta go down and win a truck and I ain't got time to hunt one of them. My, my truck is full when I come down here. I got the truck post port hunt I gotta get ready for. But what a. . How'd you learn how to start the pups?

Was it just an instinct thing? As you've been around dogs as you got older and you seen what worked? Or did you have any tutelage? I'll tell you, I grew up in the racehorse business. Yeah. And my father-in-law was probably as good a hand as there was with young horses. His specialty was two year old fraternity horses.

Yeah. And of course, I grew up before he'd become my father-in-law, obviously I worked for him as a kid, and. It's interesting, a lot of the, a lot of the things that I learned from those horses, [00:14:00] prepping horses, pointing horses for particular races, really I still do that right now. Like when I'm going towards a big hunt with Trixie, I Hunter and Justin comes in and takes her to the hunts.

But, I use some of those same methods that I learned early on in life, fooling with those horses, and they translate right along to these dogs. What's an example of that? Just, in my opinion, this is just my opinion. These hounds men, listeners may think I'm an idiot, but I don't think you can keep a dog at his.

For long periods of time. No, I agree. So what I like to do is let a dog after a big hunt, let 'em have a little time off. Yeah. And then build 'em back up and try to get 'em to peak whenever that hunt's gonna be. And the good thing about these hunts is we know when they're gonna be. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's not like going to an open hunt. I think I'm gonna run down here this weekend and hunt here. Yeah. We know when the date's gonna be. So I, I try to, as far as, vitamins and different things, I try to get that dog to be peaked at that particular time. Physically. Yeah.

Physically, yeah. That makes sense. I never really have thought about the question you, I told you tonight how much I hate [00:15:00] horses. Yeah. Man, men, mentally I can't, that dog that I that I have, there's no mental, and you're, if you figure out the mentally part, let me know all. When you're an idiot, you're an idiot.

So it, it is what she is. That is interesting. And I never really thought of it like that. Cause what we do a lot of times is, and you're right, dogs are streaky. They're so streaky. Especially now that, you look down here, it was dry all summer and it's miserable hot down here, and how are you gonna get a dog ready for an event like that?

What our theory is let's just keep hunting them the minute they get hot. Let's find a hunt to go to, I don't know if it's right or wrong, but I just hunt all summer. I just keep hunting, and Sure. You get frustrated. It was bad. Hot and dry here ain't rain forever, it would've probably been smart to lay up.

Yeah. But I ain't real smart. I just, I like to hunt. Yeah. I don't sit around the house real well. I'm a little bit a d so [00:16:00] sketchy, , The boys, they always accuse me of being on the high-speed chicken feed, but there's nothing that could be further from the truth. But I'm a little high strung, that's good though, if you wanna keep a dog in shape. I don't know. Sometimes, we just keep grinding and I don't know that we make progress, but whatever. What about do you have a program that you use when you're just starting a pup? Do you have. because, I do the same thing anymore with just about every pup I start I do too.

Yeah. Everything's pretty much same kind of time. Obviously some start slower than others and as long as I'm seeing some of the things that I like, yeah. Right or wrong, as long as there's some of the things that I like and like I'm thinking about the end goal, can. Dog get to where I want to get.

And like I told you earlier tonight, I don't know how many puppies I've started since Trixie was a one year old. Yeah. At least 10 to 12. Yeah. And I don't, there's not one of 'em at my house, yeah. And some of 'em were decent dogs, right? Like I sold some of 'em for [00:17:00] decent money, but yeah, they're just dogs.

That didn't suit me. I. I, a dog's gonna have to be like my personality. He's gonna have to get involved pretty quick. or he ain't staying, what you said that now that Trixie's in the hunts and you're seeing what it takes to win, and she showed you that and so I assume the bar's been raised Yeah.

Since her too. Yeah. And that's gonna affect, the amount of pups that you keep. Is that a good thing? You I think it is. If you wanna win and we want winners. Yeah. . I like the guy handling the dog. You know what I'm saying? I think Justin does a great job.

No, Justin does a good job. He got mad at me a couple times a couple weeks ago, but other than that, . Yeah, he I asked him other night, I guess you hunted, you judge him three nights. I'm like, you get struck for more than a quarter. Ah, damn, Josh. He knows her.

No, he did, I think he did strike for 51 time and it pretty sure there was two dogs that sounded a lot alike. I don't think it was her, but it wasn't enough to minus. But you'd look at that [00:18:00] and Trixie's done all this wedding. And did you have anything before Trixie that maybe had those traits and you just didn't realize, what you had at the time?

Yeah, I didn't. It was, you remember? Let me think a minute though. I can't remember the name of the show. The, anyway the point of the story of the guy that was, he was rehabbing bad horses, and the gal come up to him, she said I heard you help people with horse problems. He said, no, I help horses with people problems, and most of the, and still, I still make a lot of mistakes.

Yeah. I get a little heavy handed at times, but,

I don't know. There's no right to me, there's just no right or wrong way. Yeah. Josh every dog's different too. Yeah. And you ask about the other dog. Sure. The re dog was probably, yeah. Probably could have been a big winner. She's not a better coon dog than Trixie, but she was an automatic strike dog.

Yeah. So you could [00:19:00] get struck pretty good. Was she good about being alone too? Did she like to be in her crowd, or she would gather up with him a little bit and she's one of those that she'd, get part of yours and all hers, and even now, I think we talked about that a little bit tonight too.

Yeah. My mind's changing on that and, I want a dog to be by himself just because I'm a little slow. Yeah. So it makes a little easier for me to make those calls. I am not sure of the way country's shrinking. Hunts are shorter. I don't know. It might not be a bad idea to have one that might party a little bit.

No, and I agree and we've lost some hunts here lately because the dog didn't want to get treated in a crowd outta the truck. And Mrs. Even if they're not first, they're missing in on seventy five hundred, a hundred twenty five points right there, and you end up losing that cast by a quarter when it's all over said and done with.

I don't like winning that way, but I've won a lot of cast with Yeah, the reed dog. She would dang sure go in and get a quarter of your tree, yeah. She'd tree her own too. She didn't need any help but back then, I [00:20:00] didn't know. Yeah. About doing the things that you could help a dog. Solve some of that, yeah. And sometimes I think we get to solving too many problems at once with these dogs and we're ended up creating more too. That's, that goes without saying, yeah. I remember when I, Trixie was pretty young and she had a little bit of an issue of listening. Yeah. And I never forget Tate Travis Tate, he told me, he said, man, leave her alone.

But I wouldn't. Yeah. And I didn't. I also found myself at a point about a year ago where I had her so sour. She hated me. She hated hunting. Yeah. She hated everything. Yeah. So now Justin will take her, he'll dump her on a hog. Yeah. Just run something to have fun, so them trader dogs love them hogs.

They all do. I ain't seen one that didn't yet. We got plenty of 'em here. Yeah, that's a fact. So one thing I did want to ask, when you got this new pup off your head. One thing about being a good pup man is you never have a hard time finding another pup when you're ready. Yeah. How many people will [00:21:00] give them to you Because they know that they're gonna get a fair shake.

And that's not common. We don't, everyone says, why your pups are so high, why your pups are so high? I'm like if I found a good pup, man, it would be a lot cheaper. And matter of fact, it'd be free. Yeah. So what. What are you looking for in them baby pups? You get an 8, 9, 10 week old puppy.

What are some of the traits that you have to have and that you can recognize immediately? And what are some that are an absolute no-go? Timid, I'm out. Yeah. And I'm not saying some of the dogs won't make it in some people's world, but I had a good friend in New Mexico, a horse. At the racetrack.

Jodi Roberts' name, his daddy's name was Dole Roberts. He win a million third Red Horse races. He's dead and gone now. Was a great man, great horse trainer, but he never made the upper echelon. But I asked him one day, I said, what is the difference? And a class horse and a good horse? He said, A class horse can take the training.

A good horse can't. Yeah, a [00:22:00] cheap horse can't take it. A dog in my world has to be able to take a little bit of training and I'm not gonna whip on one a lot. I want 'em to operate, yeah. The way I want 'em to operate. What about traits? You gotta have the hustle. Yeah. The number one hustle.

Like I, I got a sister to Bonnie right now, Justin. And I do, yeah. That she's real accurate. She is just flies through the country, but she stays on the ground forever. And that's one trait that I don't like. She's young and hopefully she grow out of that. But I know that breeding, so I'm not sure it's

She will, she may be like that forever. You never know. But Bonnie can light scoreboard and scoreboard up sometimes and yeah, I've seen her stay on the ground a little bit too long. Every now and then there's my healer bar something Bo. Okay, shout up. I'll tell you my first, I met Zach.

During the shootout. Yeah, I guided that cast Strickland with Apollo. , Chad Dulan was hunting Chris's ring dog. And then [00:23:00] Wyatt Moan had the Hawk dog. Yeah. And Bonnie. Yep. And Bonnie probably should have won that cast at night. She just got outta here and she got outta here and yeah.

Now Bonnie's a good dog. I've seen Bonnie just treat the fire outta Koons. And I've seen Bonnie when you really needed to make a tree one. like the night Kurt got in the finals of the truck hunt, the pro port truck hunt. Bonnie was right there, neck and neck with him all night. Him and white. . But at the end of that cast, the wind was blowing real hard and he had to cut to be able to hear her again.

He had to cut her right at Whitey. Yeah. And she wasn't having any other, yeah, no, I'm going the other way. No. She turned around, went straight behind us and out of pocket. So I like that trade about this puppy. She wants to be by herself. Yeah. She hustles good. She don't make a lot of trees yet. She's 18 months old.

Yeah. 16, 18 months old. But when she does make 'em, they're got raccoons in, so Yeah. Do you think she's gonna come out of that and make more trees? Man, I don't know. I'm hoping so. Cuz I really like her. Yeah. And that's a good thing because if I don't like 'em, they don't stay so. She'll stay a while.

It's one thing, [00:24:00] it's just like this little pup, huh? Tonight I like her. I've liked her since she was, and I don't keep female. . But at six, seven weeks old, when I'm watching that litter and I see how bold she is and how gamey she is and all this stuff, and I liked her looks and her mouth of course too, but just when you like one, you're gonna give it that extra shake.

Yeah. And I think you and I had this discussion that too, Jed sent me a , how are you with him that day I met you out there at Woody's. . He unloads this dog. He weighed about a hundred pounds. Yeah. Big s slobber, man. Hammerhead. No handle. Yeah. When I really do to raise my pups. Like I said, I got Trixie when she was four months old.

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Like right now at my house, I got a legs puppy outta Billy Shearer's female. Yeah. And then I got a Mason Semen puppy out of Tom Francis's female. Yeah. And I like both of them puppies. You start learning them things around the yard, little things that they do that you like or you might not like.

But I like both them puppies, so if I like 'em, they got a chance. Yeah. At least they'll get hunted. What about. Letting him run loose. I do. Yeah. You a big proponent of that. Yeah. Like the dog Jed sent down, boy, that works for me. I pay him to, yeah. Just I told him, don't even pay any attention.

Just let it run, dear. I don't care what it does. I just want to do something, yeah. And report back as that. It's doing pretty good. Good. Yeah. But I do, when I listen to, Podcast that you did with him, it sounds like that's the ideal deal with them dogs like I, I can't just let 'em run.

Yeah. Loose forever like [00:27:00] that. The dog that Jed sent me, the puppy that Jed sent me it is running loose like that. But even at my house, they get loose quite a bit. Yeah. Because I know I'm. Yeah, I want 'em to run loose cuz it takes so much little things out. You keep a dog in a pen, you keep it in the yard.

I'm fixing to turn that one loose into the highway. But you keep it in a pen, you keep it in the yard and little things. Crossing fences, crossing creeks, little stuff like that, they don't know none of that. Yeah. And so I am a proponent of letting 'em run loose, but also I get a lot of. Yeah. And that's, it's always something you can fix, but I like to I open my puppy pin at night when they're babies and then I put 'em back in the morning and I'll do that quite a bit. Jeremy's got the big running pin. I'll let 'em loose out there for a little bit, but I like to be with them when they're loose. Yeah. I don't know. I don't mind 'em being a little trashy.

Yeah. Start, those dogs will usually do something. , it's the ones that don't wanna do anything, that not gonna be around very long. Bogan [00:28:00] hush. Speaking of not being around very long, anybody wanna buy a red healer? ? I may have one for sale. , he's in the creek next to us and bugging us about something.

But no puppy training. Because you look at him, he's sitting here right next to us bird dogs retrievers, all that stuff. You we're looking at him the whole time. A hound is the hardest, especially, and I'm not, I don't know, I don't have enough experience with the big game hounds, but a dog that's meant to just track and tree raccoons has got to be one of the most difficult things in the world to train.

To this day, it still fascinates me. Yeah. When I was 13 I think was the first time I'd ever went coon up with a dog. And at 13 years old, it fascinated me that a dog could smell where a coon put his foot and figure out what tree he went to. Yeah. It's just, and to this day, I'm 54 years old now. and it still I haven't never gotten tired of that.

Yeah. One of the reasons that you like to train PS is cuz your love of the sport, obviously. And you, we were [00:29:00] talking tonight as we was walking out and I pointed at that little female, I said, there's what I like. , that's what I like messing with. Sure. Going and competing at these hunts is fun.

Going to cover 'em, going to do podcasts like we're doing right now. All that stuff's cool, but there's nothing like raising a baby puppy from a ween pup to tree and cot and to see 'em start to get it, and when the light goes on. Yeah. Yes. I wish that light would go on faster sometimes.

Sure we do. You. And you and I we know that we quit a lot of 'em too soon. That . I don't know. I gotta see . I gotta see quite a bit, pretty quick. Yeah. We talked about that. 12, 14 months old. I better be seeing quite a bit. Yeah. Or they're not gonna be around very long. Do you want them?

because I told you, I said, look, if they run if, cuz I, we you're like me. We start our pups early. Yeah. You know that female's just turned six months old. She's in the woods. I was really excited about how she was a little gamey and she didn't like a coon and she was good and she didn't go hunting as good as I thought she might.

But I'm not too disappointed about that. When you watch 'em grow [00:30:00] up and you watch 'em do all that stuff, there's a little something extra special about taking that dog to a hunt too. Sure. Sure. It's not like when Jed just hands me the keys to rain or scent or something like that, that's fun too.

But it's not like doing it with your own pup. It's just rewarding. Yeah. That's there's something, an inside of a man. primitive, maybe. Is that the right word? It's something wired in us. Yeah. We're obviously, we're not real smart, right? No. We're walking around in the dark

Our wires are crossed is what they are. . We spend our free, we choose to spend our free time walking around in the dark. Like we're real bright, right? Yeah, exactly. But I don't know. It's rewarding. It's some kind of payback. I don't know. It's just a, I've always been a pretty simple person, it don't take a lot to please me. I don't take a lot outta life. I don't need a lot. A little few more. Better dogs might not be a bad deal, but , hey, we're looking for 'em. We're trying to get there. Hey, why Coonhounds? Why not bird dogs or stock dogs or I think if we had quail in our country, when I grew up, when I was a little boy in this country, we had quail, my daddy had English pointers.

Yeah. [00:31:00] And it was a lot of fun. Yeah. But they're, the quail are gone from this country. Yeah. Fire ants, predators, hogs. And I just, , urbanization. It's a lot of the, a lot of rural, even here, it's getting harder and harder. Yeah. Hunting C'S getting harder and harder. I don't know. I love a hound.

I love to listen to a hound, you and I talked about tonight, , the worst thing about the trader dogs, they're boring to hunt. Trixie bores me to death. Yeah, sure. Shoot trees a lot of coons, but. two barks on a tree and that's it. Yeah. No, I like to hear a, I love that pup. You know that wi that wipe out pup shoe.

Yeah. She's fun to listen to, yeah. Yeah. I know sometimes a little too much listening to, but I know Trixie's First Tree, she gave what, 10, 12 ground barks. Yeah. But Na Koon that she treed. What was she, three quarters when she finally got treated? That wasn't one that she both off her. No, but you told me, you're like, you know what Justin's been saying?

She was given a little more ground mouth that night at that cast, and I thought, it dawned on me. Then I'm like that's a little too much groundout than you're used to . Yeah. Then dogs are pretty tight. No, she's tight. Yeah, she's tight, but No, it's [00:32:00] not, and she's a prototypical. Trader dog. She's got the big mouth, the big locate.

She don't use it much on the ground. She floated in there. She treated a couple coons. She looked pretty good. They're tricks. You didn't make no mistakes tonight. No. No. She's a nice house. Yeah. Especially pleasure hunting. She's a lot of fun. Yeah. Other than not parking lots.

She's a lot of fun. Yeah. She don't like to go to the hunts. She'd rather not ever go to another one. I can guarantee you that. Yeah. She don't like it. How do we, that's one of the myths that I, or one of the things that I just can't get figured out is how to bring these stale dogs back into how to keep 'em from getting stale.

I'd love to sit down with Casey Yeah. And hear how he does it. Yeah. Because he does it as well as anybody. Yeah. But when I think, when, like I said, I hadn't been around forever, but melt. Meltdown was afraid. Ruby. Ruby. Yeah. Meltdown. And Ruby, though I think Ruby, like Ruby don't get hardly pleasure hunting.

She's, there's some dogs that I think, and I think Meltdown was one of them that just thrive in a cast environment and enjoy that part of [00:33:00] it more than all the other stuff. I'm just trying, I'm just trying to think of dogs that careers were Yeah. Really peaked out for a long period of time. Yeah. We look at bone collectors one late in his career but there's not a.

There's most of them by the time they're five years old, six years old, they're starting to yeah. Fall off a little bit. And then especially the trader line is notorious for that. Other than the females, usually the females are okay. The males are all train wrecked by the time they're four.

I do, I have had that thought a lot lately. Is it a genetic thing? Yeah. That. I've listened a lot of your podcasts with Jed, visit with Jed a lot. Yeah. And a lot of them dogs, they burst on the sea and they do a lot of winning and then they're just done, I guess rain may be a little bit different.

Yeah. Rain sent Bella. I can, those are the three females right there, but as far as winning late in your career on the male side, there aren't any. Dempsey maybe could have done some damage a little later in his career, but he didn't get hauled much late. But, they're just, they get a little rough, they get a little stale, they get a little sour.

[00:34:00] And a lot of it is how Jed at that time, Jed would just pick one and ride it till it died and then jump on his backup horse , and that, that was just the way we'd done it back then. We had so many of them that could win at any point that we just ran through 'em on and, I'm not sure it's.

a good plan. Especially like looking back now on her. Yeah. I Mitch, him, he always asked me, oh, why, when you gonna take her? When you gonna take her? Yeah. Like they, all them guys come over and hunt with me, Joe, and that dog was treating lots of cans. Yeah. , lots of cans and. , my mindset was like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna protect her young.

Yes. And I'm gonna have all these years till she's seven years old to be really good. I made the same mistake with Khan. Just wasn't the case, yeah. I made that mistake with Khan. I made it with duds too. I've come to the conclusion now that from now on, the minute they get hot, I'm going to just take them everywhere they can go until they're not hot anymore and I'm gonna get a different one.

I mentioned my father-in-law earlier. . I didn't understand it when I was a kid, but his mental and he would [00:35:00] vocalize this. He's Hey, when they're running I'm gonna run 'em. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. If you could get 10 outs out of a good two-year-old, good, fat fraternity horse, that'd be a lot.

And I never wanted to run mine that many times. I wanted to protect him, yeah. Not him. He wanted to run 'em while they're running. Yep. Then do the surgeries, take the chips out, whatever he needed to do, and then hopefully they'd come back for his three year old. No, and see, I.

Con one-year-old could have won at any level. Con two year old could have won at any level. By three, he was starting to fall off by four, it was hit or miss. And by five years train wreck. Yeah. But I babied him as a one year old. I went just enough to get his 101. and I took him out to super steaks.

I get in the semifinals and lose there. And then I'm not taking him to a bunch of week long hunts or I'm not taking him to this and I don't take, I'm just gonna wait till he is three or four and good and mature. But then by the time I do that, he is blowing up already. Yeah. And I think of the money I could have won when he was hot and duds was the same way, live and learn.

Forget another young one. [00:36:00] Doing really good. May a hundred more, I don't know. Just see how it goes and I think some of 'em can just take it. Yeah. There's some that can just take it. What's funny is about the young dog the little sister Dani, and Justin took her off for first time and he's man, this dog acts like an old dog.

She hauls. It's just crazy how intelligent. That's the thing about that. That I've noticed. She is super intelligent, which N , not many hounds that I've had lately have been that way. . That's cause you've been hunting trader dogs. . Yeah. So she's super smart. You asked me earlier, do I think some of that stuff will get better in age?

I think it will, yeah. But time will tell. I guess if they, the way I see it, if a young dog that is not making a lot of trees, Really hates a coon and they're really hunting for coons. Eventually they start gambling a little bit. I think that's probably the route that dog's probably gonna take.

Yeah. And I think she will. Yeah. I see on some better tracks. She can move 'em a little better, but yeah I guess the end of the day, hopefully at some point she'll learn what she can tree and what she can't and just [00:37:00] quit messing with them bad tracks, yeah.

Yeah. Is that what she's doing most of the time? She's on the ground as a bad track. Yeah, I think so. . Did it get better when the weather got better? Yeah. After it was dry? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because last time I was down here before you guys got this rain here. Oh, even they were all bad dry.

Even at the long start this year it was still dry. Yeah. Yeah. It was still bad dry. Yeah. We're finally getting some rain now. You seen that tonight? Yeah. That's slow. Couldn't all get across it. Yeah. We about got west. Yeah. . So Bobby, what advice would you give? There's a guy out there that he's struggling with a pup or he just pawed a new pup, or he's wanting to get into it.

What advice would you give him as far as getting that thing to the finish line? Lord man, might not already take any advice from me, James . I guess patience in some ways and not patience in other ways. This is what I believe if they. and you expose 'em. I think at some point it'll come out.

Yeah. And if they don't have it , you can whip cuss Yeah. Until Jesus comes back and ain't, it ain't gonna matter. No. No. [00:38:00] So just, I think consistency is probably the most important thing that I've seen. Yeah. And what I do whether it's right or wrong, I think if you're consistent, I, I. Sometimes dogs overcome us.

Most of the times dog overcome us. It's just being consistent. Yeah. That's the number one factor I think in starting pups. And you touched on something too, that you wanna be patient but not too patient. And that's a fine line between going too far on a dog that's never gonna make it, versus, and it just takes experience, I think, to.

Cuz you just this little female out here that you got, you know that letter mate, sister to Bonnie. You seen something out of her. Yeah. And so some people have an eye for that early and some people it takes a long time to get that. Some people never get it. I have no doubt that.

I've quit a lot of 'em too soon. Yeah. I have no doubt. But I don't have any regrets about it. Yeah, because I'm a little a d, I'm a little high strung, and I kinda like my dogs to be a little bit that way too, [00:39:00] yeah. So I always said, and. I still don't, I can't think. I've never seen one that I didn't like at eight months old that I did like at eight years old.

Yeah. I never have, yeah. To this day when I'm around a pup and I say I don't really like that pup too much, and it goes on and five, six years down the road and then someone's still got it. Huh? I'm like, I still don't like that. Yeah, that's right. . I was gonna say something.

I probably shouldn't say I'm in the air, but , there's a lot of 'em that probably still shouldn't be here. You know what I mean? Yeah. Regardless. No, I agree. And surely shouldn't be reproducing. Yeah. So that's a fact. Anyway, but no, I appreciate you sitting down. Bobby, you got anything else to add? Man, I've had a lot of fun coming over here.

I've always wanted to come over here to camp. Yeah. I've wanted to come hunt over here. Yeah. And you told me to drop you a pin. I thought Bobby Shirley knows where a camp is. I've been next door, and Yeah, was coming over here with Jed the other day. He was here with his new Fanangle friends.

Yeah. A lot of 'em. And we didn't, he ended up coming over and hunting with Justin and I. Yeah. So I never been here. I know you trespassed here one time. Yeah, I trespass here [00:40:00] and Jed called me out on it. I was hunting the neighbor over here and we got over here on Kevin, so we text him. He said, sure, go get your dog.

And I got a text the next day. What are you doing on my property? ? I'll tell you what, Bobby, whether Jed likes it or not, you're welcome here. Anytime you wanna come hunt. I know Kevin wouldn't care either. I think Kevin would say that as well. Yep. And Jed would too. So we're all good. I'm renting the place this week, so you got permission this week anyway.

Them boys are gonna, the weather looks like it's shaping up Good. I think the hunt will go off real well for y'all. Yeah, we got the super hunt. This is gonna air, people are gonna hear this the night before the super hunt. If you're listening to this podcast, go to the Joy YouTube channel for Saturday night and you're gonna get to see three of the best dogs on the planet, yeah. Go get, I'm taking. Tomorrow called me today and I'm gonna take him. He's gonna drop his dog a couple times. Who's you pick for the Super Hunt man? I don't know. I really don't know. I'd like to, I'd like to watch it. I'm sure it's gonna be some coon trend going on. Yeah, I know. Echo got a sore foot out in South Carolina and he's been nursing that.

and I know Tyler [00:41:00] and Cheyenne are at each other's throats wanting to beat each other. They don't care. They said, I don't care if they get second, as long as the other one gets 30 . So it's gonna be a lot of fun. That's gonna air Monday night on the Joy YouTube channel. So you guys check that out, but good deal.

Yeah. No Bobby, I appreciate you sitting down. Yeah, thank you. Thanks for bringing a coon dog over for up. I enjoyed the hunt. Always do. And. I'm sure it won't be the last time. All right, good buddy. Thank you, Bobby. Yes, sir. Thank you. All right, ladies and gentlemen, that is the truth on the Houseman XP Podcast Network, and we appreciate you listening.