The connection of the uplands transcends generations.
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I met Dr. Emerson Cochran not so long ago at a recent chiropractic treatment clinic after noticing his eyes light up at the start of our conversation about pointers and bobwhite quail hunting. How we started the conversation much of it I do not recall, but as many folks may attest, the connection between two gentleman bobwhite quail hunters from the South is no coincidence.
Dr. Cochran invited me to his home shortly after our conversation and what I found was an entire exhibition and survey of his life and history growing up training and hunting over Pointers and Labrador Retrievers. Dr. Cochran is a quail man to the core, in addition to possessing a passion for duck hunting around the country. So often do we hear about the stories of old men and their bird dogs, but seldom are we able to sit and enjoy an auditory and visual experience simultaneously with someone as wise as studied as Dr. Cochran.
The ways of learning and knowing bird dogs has changed significantly since the first half of the 1900s, and Dr. Cochran gives us a detailed look into his personal recollections and evolution as a dog man and quail enthusiast. Times and techniques have changed a great deal, but passion for these birds in the South remains deeply rooted in the seats of our souls as Southern wing shooters and dog lovers.
In addition to being invited to Dr. Cochran’s home, I was gifted a number of cherished items from his pursuits, two of them being a bobwhite mount from his native Elijay, Ga and a special brass belt buckle of the staunch relief of a Pointer from one of his field trials so many years ago. It is always a cherished moment when an elder gives the time of day to talk about his memories, and those memories should always be documented for generations of new hunters to reflect on. Capturing the narratives of Georgia dog men has been my personal journey throughout this podcast and I pray that many more of elders within the community are seen and heard for years to come.
Thank you Dr. And Mrs. Cochran for sharing your stories and opening your home. That my friends, is the epitome of Southern hospitality.
Durrell Smith is a 28 year old Georgia native, visual artist, wing shooter, and dog handler. While creating compelling ink and watercolor illustrations based on his field experiences and hunting dogs, he also runs a podcast called The Gun Dog Notebook, which can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. Aside from hunting upland game and waterfowl, he participates in Hunt Tests with his Labrador Retriever. As a first generation hunter, Durrell seeks to learn and contribute to the community by connecting with visionaries and veterans within the bird dog community who are willing to share stories and knowledge about the various breeds, creating a bridge to welcome new and novice dog handlers to the gun dog community.