Southern Comfort

| January 26, 2012 | 0 Comments
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We Miss you Timber! thumbnail
Nice Hunt! thumbnail
Southern Sunrise thumbnail
A Proud Gundog thumbnail
Another Great Day At Bufflehead Point! thumbnail
Catching Some Rays! thumbnail
A Great End To A Great Tradition! thumbnail
Timber the black labrador -
Jason Rhoads and Timbers Legend Of Creekdale -
Southern Sunrise -
Deutsch Drahthaar -
HR GCH CH SoftMaple’s Dark Star JH CDX WCQ UWC CGC -
HRCH Mallards Point Cool Hand Luke -
Southern Duck Boat's 2012 Southern Tradition Hunt -

Jason Rhoad's hunting partner, Timber. Timber crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the Summer of 2011.

Jason Rhoads and Timbers Legend Of Creekdale - "Creek" after another successful hunt.

Sunrise over the south. Looks like a great day for a hunt!

Chase, a Deutsch Drahthaar, is striking a pose with the spoils from the days hunt.

Buck Buchanan and his Curly-Coated Retriever "Gabby" aka HR GCH CH SoftMaple’s Dark Star JH CDX WCQ UWC CGC

Eric West and Cool Hand Luke aka HRCH Mallards Point Cool Hand Luke taking a break from the action.

What a great bunch of guys to hunt with! Thanks to Jason Rhoads and Southern Duck Boats!

About The Author

Brent Warren, Mike Perley, Jim Green, and Creek after a southern tradition!

Brent Warren is a sales and marketing executive with Ebsco Industries in Birmingham, Alabama. He is an avid waterfowl hunter, fisherman, and bluegrass musician.

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The South has no shortage of traditions, and this is a story of one started by my good friend, hunting partner, and owner of Southern Duck Boats, Jason Rhoads. I first met Jason when I was invited to attend his wild game supper — an annual event where hunters bring their harvest from the season to share with one another. That has become a great tradition in its own right, but that’s another story. I also met Timber, Jason’s Black Lab at the suppers. He was big, solid, and smart as a whip. When I witnessed the most incredible dog trick of all…opening a cooler and retrieving a frosty beverage for his owner, I knew I was watching greatness. Timber was just as amazing in the field, and I’m proud to say I had the privilege of hunting behind him. After a long life, Timber died in the summer of 2011, but his legacy continues, and this story is dedicated to him.

Fast forward to January, 2012, and the 12th Annual Southern Duck Boats “Southern Tradition Hunt”. We met in Jackson, Mississippi, for three days of hunting the Ross Barnett Reservoir. This huge body of water boasts dozens of varieties of ducks including Mallards, Northern Shoveler’s, Buffleheads, Canvasbacks, Teal, Wood-ducks, Pintails, and more. Who could ask for more? On the first day, we met at the ramp around 4:30 a.m. There were six boats, 15 men, and four dogs — including Jason’s 9-month-old yellow lab, and Timber’s successor, Timbers Legend of Creekdale “Creek.”

After a long, bitter cold boat ride, we made our way to our designated spots and began our work of setting out decoys, covering the boats, and getting nestled into the shadow grass as daylight approached. It didn’t take long for the action to begin as two Shoveler’s tucked and dove into our spread. Two shots and two ducks later, Creek had marked them and made perfect retrieves. As he proudly carried his prize back to Jason, he was met with enthusiastic praise and “good boy” from his new fans. The birds continued to fly all morning, and we all had lots of shooting opportunities.

Later that morning, we picked up and met at “Bufflehead Point.” The great thing about Buffleheads is they fly all day and aren’t easily spooked like other species. We set out some long lines of decoys and got to visit with one another. That’s when I met Chase, a Deutsch Drahthaar. He belonged to Richard Shell and had an uncanny resemblance to his owner (or vice-versa). Both sporting a salt and pepper goatee, dog and owner seemed perfect for each other. Richard explained that the most notable thing is they are a versatile dog. “They are very good blood-trackers, strong pointers, and loud on fur rabbits and deer.” He continued, “They are also very good retrievers and have a lot of prey drive.” If you are interested in learning more about Chase, contact Richard at

Next I met Gabby, a 6 ½-year-old female Curly-Coated Retriever. She was sitting motionless next to her owner, Buck Buchanan, eyes fixed on our decoys. I had never seen a dog like that and asked Buck what breed she was. Buck was eager to talk about her and told me she is as successful in the show ring as in the field, “She is a true ‘all-rounder’ that has multiple field titles as well as many, many show wins including the Award of Excellence at The Eukanuba AKC National Championship event in December 2011.” What I liked about her the most in the field was her never-ending drive to hunt — no matter what the conditions. Gabby’s full registered name is HR GCH CH SoftMaple’s Dark Star JH CDX WCQ UWC CGC. Those are all show, field, and obedience titles. If you are interested in learning more about Gabby or this breed, contact Buck at

The next day I had the pleasure of hunting with Eric West and his dog, Luke. His full name is HRCH Mallards Point Cool Hand Luke, and he is a yellow Labrador Retriever. He got his Hunting Retriever Champion title at 18 months. Eric said, “I can’t express how important drive is in a hunting retriever!” Drive is one thing Cool Hand Luke had no shortage of! As we all know a cripple bufflehead can be hell on a retriever especially for a young dog. Swimming for 10 to 20 minutes trying to catch a crippled diver is not something you can imitate in training, so it can overwhelm the most experienced of waterfowl dogs. The highlight of the trip was when we got to watch Luke go after a cripple and hang in there and dive under the water to come out with the bird. It was especially memorable to have a crowd there to watch and here the hoots and applause after a nice retrieve. It’s obvious Eric has spent a lot time with Luke. He knows what type of work it takes to get a retriever to their full potential and what an awesome experience it is to hunt over a well-trained retriever. For more information about Luke, contact Eric at

We ended the weekend with over 50 ducks and seven species. We made some good friends, shared some great moments, and I have to hand it to Jason, Eric, Buck, and Richard because I’ve never hunted with four dogs watching and marking the same birds with absolutely no problems! I guess they just knew we were all on the same team and that Timber was watching.

Here’s to traditions!


Category : Hunting

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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