American Cooner National Plott Hound Association News
Howdy, folks. I hope you and yours are well. Come on into camp, get comfortable and let’s talk Plott dogs!
It’s hard to believe it is June already, I can’t recall a milder winter or a hotter spring, and the weather here continues to get stranger by the day. Snow in the mountains last week, hail storms and cool weather the rest of the week, 80 degrees and sunny yesterday, cool and cloudy with more thunder storms today. It reminds me of what an old-timer once told me – “If you don’t like the weather here, just stick around for about 15 minutes, because it is sure to change.” That has certainly been the case recently.
Before getting on with other topics, I am saddened to begin the column with some bad news. Plott hound legend, Mr. Gene White of Knoxville, Tennessee, passed away on April 18, 2012 after a long illness. Mr. White was survived by his beloved wife Helen and daughter Jean, as well as two step children, and literally hundreds of friends and admirers in the Plott dog world. He was 76 years old.
Mr. White leaves a legacy among modern day Plott hunters and breeders that will likely never be surpassed. His White Hollow Plott Kennels have sold dogs around the world and deservedly share the reputation as being some of the premier big game Plotts ever known –and they have continued that reputation for over half a century!
There are too many illustrious White Hollow Plott dogs to list them all, but a few deserve special mention. And for those of you not familiar with Mr. White, these dogs should give you an idea of just how important he was – and still is – to modern day Plott history.
White Hollow Little Junior was one of his most famous dogs. Mr. White hunted Junior all across North America – from the Gulf of Mexico to deep into Canada, and as far west as Washington state, and as far south and east as the Dismal and Okefenokee Swamps. Little Junior had over 300 bears killed over him, and countless more that were treed and released.
Little Junior’s incredible lineage provides at least a partial explanation of his success. Everette Weems’ Plott’s John,, Clyde Bounds’ Black River Bolly, Kermit Allison’s Bear Creek Duke, as well as Mr.White’s own superb White Hollow Junior –among others—were just a few of the famous dogs that Little Junior descended from.
Another of his fine dogs was White Hollow Clyde, who Mr. White purchased from Bob Young. Like Little Junior, Clyde’s pedigree reads like a who’s who of Plott dogs –Everette Weems’ Plott’s Dan, Leroy Haug’s Swampland Star, Clyde Bounds’ Black River Bolly, Steve Mohr’s Ursus Rowdy, and a host of Cascade dogs –including Cascade Big Timber – are just a few iconic names behind this great hound.
Clyde treed or caught 33 hogs and 7 bears in less than six months in 1979. During the course of his career Clyde ran in front of such iconic hunters as Willis Butolph, George Ricks, Bob Young, James Brown, Ray Brown, Ron West, Ronnie Creasman, Arza Scott, Mike Beamis and Dick Freeman – most of who also hunted behind Little Junior.
And Mr. White was no slouch as a hunter himself. All of the above listed hunters –and many others –praised White for his hunting skills and his ability to run with his dogs to be among the first to the bear tree or hog bay. I talked with several hard-core Haywood County, N.C. bear hunters who often hunted with Mr. White in the rugged area along the Tennessee-North Carolina state lines known as “12 Mile.” They said that Mr. White was one of the toughest hunters they had ever been in the woods with –and these boys are not quick to praise anyone, so this is about the highest compliment a man could expect.
Not only was Mr. White a great hunter and dog breeder, but he also played an integral part in helping Oliver Smith III get the Cascade line firmly established on the east coast. Doyle DeMoss of course, is credited with starting the Cascade Plotts in Washington State, where they were famous by the early 1960s. Mr. Smith later bought Big Timber from DeMoss and combined the Cascade line with his already established pack that he had previously obtained from Hack Smithdeal. The end result was some of the finest Plott dogs the world has ever seen.
Mr. White and Mr. Smith hunted together often and regularly traded and bred dogs together, which led to the Cascade bloodlines being introduced to the White Hollow Kennels. It was also about this time that another of Mr. White’s close friends and hunting buddies –Berry Tarlton – made a dog trade that helped firmly establish two other renowned Plott lines –Tarlton’s Houston Valley Plotts and Homan and Steve Fielder’s Bear Pen Plotts.
Tarlton traded his Jap gyp to Mr. White who intended to use Jap for a brood dog. Tarlton later got a pup of his own from Mr White that was out of Jap. That pup was named Tarlton’s Roberta and she became the foundation of the Houston Valley line that is still producing top Plott bear dogs a half a century later.
Roberta was later bred to Cascade Big Timber –this litter produced Tarlton’s Big John and Bear Pen Plotts Bronco –both renowned bear dogs. Bronco was owned by former NPHA president Steve Fielder and his father, the late Homan Fielder. Bear Pen Bronco is now in the NPHA Hall of Fame.
I could go on and one –but my point is this: The dogs that came out of Gene White’s White Hollow Kennels are enough to secure his place of honor in Plott hound history. And just those contributions alone are more impressive than those of many better known breeders who will remain unnamed.
But when you factor that legacy in with Mr. White’s incredible hunting record, and the contributions he made to other illustrious Plott kennels such as the Houston Valley and Bear Pen lines –among many others – it is easy to see why he should be remembered and recognized as one of the great modern Plott legends of all-time.
Ironically, I mentioned last month that I missed Mr. White at Breed Days this year, and that I enjoyed talking with him when he was there last year. Little did I know that he would never return and that his name can now be added to the list of other legends that we have lost recently — such as Frank Methven and Lawrence Porterfield.
And just as I said last month, the good Lord broke the mold when he made men like that. No one will ever replace them. May they all rest in peace and may we all fondly remember them for what they did to perpetuate the Plott breed. We are forever in their debt.
But as sad as Mr. White’s passing is, we can take some solace in the fact that his “buddy,” his beloved daughter Jean will carry on his White Hollow Plott Kennels. I am sure he would be proud of that. Please keep the White family in your thoughts and prayers.
Let’s move on now to other NPHA news. I mentioned in our column last month that we’d have the results from the 27th Annual North Carolina NPHA Plott Sectional put on by the WNC Houndsman Association Inc. in Asheville N.C. on March 30-31, 2012. Thanks to Gary Cox and Gerald Chandler for sending the results to me.
By all accounts it was, as usual, a splendid event, greatly enjoyed by all in attendance. Space limitations restrict me from listing and including photos of the top five winners in every category – but rest assured that all of the winners and their photos will be included in the upcoming NPHA yearbook. But in the meantime, here are a few of the results:
— Saturday Bench Show Grand Champion Female, Best Plott in UKC Show, Best Plott All Plott Show: GR CH Melrose Mountain Jezebel Jett, owned and handled by Clint, Veronica and Owen Pace.
— Saturday Bench Show Champion of Champions: CH PR Black Rock Ivy, owned and handled by Henry Keefer.
— Saturday Bench Show and Friday and Saturday UKC Nite Hunt winner, and Grand Champion Winner & Best Opposite Sex UKC Show Grand Nite Champion Winner both Friday and Saturday, and High Scoring Plott Overall: CH GR NT CH PR Cody’s & Smith’s Carolina Scout, owned and handled by Robbie and Tiffany Cody.
— 1st Place One Dog Bear Bay: Anderson’s Windy Gap Butch, owned and handled by Lawrence Anderson.
— 1st Place Three Dog Bear Bay: Pete, Blue and Rebel, owned by Mike Cole and Kenny Shelton.
— Saturday Bench Show, Best Opposite Sex All-Plott Show: PR Jenkins Carolina J Bullet, owned and handled by James Jenkins.
— Saturday Bench Show and Bear Field Trial JR Class Male Winner and Bear Field Trial Line Heat Winner: PR Allison’s Bear Creek Amos, owned and handled by Amanda and Hunter Edwards.
— Saturday Bench Show, SR Male Class, Breed UKC Show: PR S7W Plott Sam, owned by Cassie Wallin and Kenny Shelton, handled by Gene Wallin.
— UKC Field Trial Line Heat Winner: PR Allison’s Bear Creek Emma, owned by Bryan and Hayden Edwards, and handled by Hunter Edwards.
— UKC Field Trial Winner and Bear Field Trial Winner: PR Chip’s Nabek Sis, owned and handled by Charles Moore.
— 1st Place Bear Treeing Contest: PR Carolina J Bullet, owned and handled by James Jenkins.
— 1st Place Coon Roll Cage: Allison’s Bear Creek Cricket, Owner Marion and Kaye Allison, handled by Hunter Edwards.
— 1st Line Winner, Bear Field Trial: Toby, owned and handled by Katie Croom.
It should be duly noted that all big game competition events were not UKC or NPHA sanctioned events and were held on a separate site sponsored and coordinated by the Mount Mitchell Hunting Club.
The NPHA Big Game Nationals were held in Hickory Grove, SC on April 20 and 21. The weather and location were both perfect and it was great not only seeing the events, but talking with friends such as Gene and Ann Walker, Kenny Shelton, Richard Hope, Paul Wagner, Steve Bradley, Marion and Kaye Allison, Katie Croom, Mike Bertrand, Les and Bill Daniel, Mike Mehaffey, Roy Clark, Moke Anderson, Steve Fielder, Johnny Gibson, Kevin Lundholm, Chip Moore, Gary Cox, Mike Cole, Scrubby and Delana Rogers, Gerald Chandler, and too many other folks to mention them all.
But I’d like to make additional special mention of two couples that attended the Nationals – Mr. and Mrs. Homer Pace and Mr. and Mrs. Dan Long. I had heard of Mr. Pace for years, but had never formally met the Pace’s until last year when they attended a program that I was doing in Rosman, N.C. I really enjoyed talking with them then, and it was truly a pleasure to get to spend some quality time with them at the Nationals.
It was also nice to see Mr. and Mrs. Dan Long again. I had talked with Dan—as I almost always do – at Breed Days this year, but his wife was unable to attend Breed Days due to a serious illness. She was greatly missed, as I always enjoy visiting with her as well.
I am happy to report that Mrs. Long is now recovering nicely and was a pleasant addition to the crowd at the Nationals. During her recuperation, Mrs. Long has been doing some beautiful paintings of wildlife scenes including a stunning painting of some Plott dogs baying a big bear. She had it framed and on display at the officers tent.
These two couples, as well as many other dynamic husband and wife teams such as Marion and Kaye Allison, Gene and Ann Walker, Scrubby and Delana Rogers – and too many others to list them all here – are truly the backbone of the NPHA. Like the old saying goes, behind every successful man is a good woman – and that is certainly often the case in the Plott dog world. Again, it was great seeing all these folks — and many others – at the Nationals. Club officers are to be commended for doing a great job in putting this event together.
All winners and photos of same will be included in the NPHA yearbook, but in the meantime here are some of the NPHA Big Game National winners:
— 1st Place Open 1 Dog Bear Bay: Sam, owned and handled by Carroll Allen.
— 1st Place Open 3 Dog Bear Bay: Smoke and Red, owned and handled by Dave Williams, Blue, owned and handled by Chad Rhyne.
— 1st Place All-Plott 3 Dog Bear Bay: Butch and Ruger owned and handled by Lawrence Anderson, Sam, owned and handled by Carroll Allen.
— 1st Line and First tree in Bear Field Trial: Clyde, owned and handled by Logan Chambers.
— 1st Place Bear Treeing Contest: Misty, owned and handled by Gene Walker.
— 1st Place One Dog Open Hog Bay: Betty, owned and handled by Logan, Jessica and Bryson Chambers.
— 1st Place 2 Dog Open Hog Bay: May and Dusty, owned and handled by Tony and Iszick Wynn.
— 1st Place Youth One Dog Bear Bay: Boss Man, owned and handled by Brandon and Hayden Hooper.
— 1st Place Open One Dog Bear Bay: Boss Man, owned and handled by Brandon Hooper.
— 1st Place All-Plott 3 Dog Bear Bay: Pete Pete, Blue and Dusty, owned and handled by Kenny Shelton and Iszick Wynn.
— 1st Place 2 Dog Hog Bay: Dusty and May, owned by Kenny Shelton, handled by Iszick Wynn.
— 1st Place 1 Dog Open Hog Bay: Buck, owned and handled by Mike Cole.
— 1st Place 3 Dog Open Bear Bay: Sam, Cash and Martha, owned and handled by Carroll Allen and Nick Redmond.
— 1st Line, 1st Tree Bear Field Trial: Maggie, owned and handled by Dickie McCall.
The First Annual Plottfest was held in Maggie Valley, N.C. on the same weekend as the Big Game Nationals. But despite the conflicting dates, the event got off to a great start with concerts, arts and crafts, the WCU Plott Exhibit, and plenty of good food and great fellowship. Best of all, all the proceeds went to Haywood County Head Start program.
Several Plott family members were in attendance, such as Shane Plott, his wife Carolyn, and their children Tyler and Jessie, as well as Johnny Plott, his son Monte along with Monte’s wife and son. My wife Janice, our son Jacob and I were also there enjoying the festival.
Shane brought along his pretty Pocahontas Plott hound, Caty, NPHA stalwart and master bear hunter Mike Mehaffey came by late in the day and had several of his fine Laurel Mountain Plotts on display for the crowd—beautiful dogs! Mike is such a great guy and truly a wonderful advocate for the Plott breed. And another real nice local family –whose name now escapes me –also had their nice Plott dogs there for the crowd to see.
It was good to visit with my good friend Rick Jenkins, his lovely wife Tomi, and his brother Randy — what great people! And Rick is a die hard Plott man for sure. He has some nice Plotts from the Cascade line and just obtained a really fine Crockett gyp. I always enjoy spending time with Rick.
The promoters of Plottfest have assured me that they want to grow this event and work with members of the local and national Plott dog community to involve us more in the future. They would like to have a bench show, a kid’s show, and maybe a night hunt if clubs will assist and sanction it.
I don’t mean to get on my soap box here, but folks, we really need to get behind this event. It is a wonderful chance to get our good names out in front of the general public to better represent us, our sport and our dogs.
This is a very unique opportunity – and one that we must take advantage of. And best of all, it is in the cradle of Plott dog history with scores of famous landmarks – such as the State and Blue Ridge Parkway Historical Markers, the homes of Von, John, Mont, Amos, Robert and Hub Plott all nearby – not to mention, fantastic restaurants, shopping, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and many fun tourist attractions. This could be a family vacation and a superb Plott dog event. But it is up to us to make it happen.
Don’t get me wrong, our NPHA and APA events are great – and we need to fight to keep them going. But when we are together at those events we are literally preaching to the choir as like minded individuals. But here, we have a great opportunity to not only enjoy our usual fellowship among our family and friends, but more importantly we have the chance to expose and educate the general public as to who we really are and what we really stand for.
The promoters intend to start planning for the 2013 event in early May, and they are asking us to set the best date that won’t conflict with any of our events, and a date that will allow us to attend and support the event in large numbers. I implore the officers of both the NPHA and APA to contact me as soon as possible to get this done. If we miss out on this opportunity we have no one to blame but ourselves.
And I don’t mean to be rude, but please don’t waste my time or yours telling me why we should not do this –I know we can not have any big game competitions there, and I am NOT suggesting that we even try. That would be stupid. But we can do a lot of other positive things and best of all, be in total control of how we are portrayed. We don’t get many chances like this anymore, so I hope we don’t blow it. Again, I sincerely hope you will get behind this event. I usually tend to keep most personal opinions to myself, but this is just too important to ignore. Thanks for listening.
Now, on to the mail bag. As I have said many times before, I want this to be your column, so please keep those cards, letters, emails and calls coming. I still work a full time job, but I always do my best to respond to each of them, and make mention of them in the columns, so please send me your feedback, event results, opinions or anything else pertaining to the Plott dog world that you’d like to discuss.
Despite the efforts of Irv Corbin and other dedicated California Plott people, it looks like we can add California to the growing list of states that are outlawing hunting with dogs. We nevertheless want to thank Irv and many others for their efforts in fighting the passing of this law and for keeping us updated on their efforts.
Mike Mehaffery reports that all North Carolina bear hunters are asked to meet in Raleigh NC on May 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM to meet with the state wildlife commission to discuss their plans of considering the adoption of a black bear management plan. Obviously this meeting date will have passed before you read this, but it is just a reminder that we need to stand together and fight for our rights. Please keep an eye out for further updates and attend any future meetings that you can to support our North Carolina hunters.
I continue to get a lot of support for my earlier comments about the breed standard and the buckskin color in particular — though many have asked that your names not be used. I continue to be somewhat perplexed as to how this many folks – like me – are supposedly in favor of putting the buckskin back in the NPHA and UKC breed standards, yet the vote to reinstate the buckskin failed. I must be missing something here. But that’s a topic for another day.
I got another nice letter from Orville Mansholt from out in Illinois. Mr. Orville writes that he continues to take young folks coon hunting and included a photo of some youngsters that he started in the sport. Mr. Orville writes that youth are the key to the future of our sport. I totally agree with him and commend him for his long time service to the breed. I hope he will send me that photo of the coon with a white blaze; I’d love to see it.
It was, as always, nice hearing from Duane Smith up in Vermont. His letters as usual, are entertaining and insightful. I never fail to learn something from him. His friendship and insight is greatly appreciated.
I have not talked with Mr. Hoke Rawlins lately, but I finally did get to talk with his friend Dr. Richard Guill, who lives not too far from me. Dr. Guill is a dedicated Treeing Walker man and a true pleasure to talk to. He is almost 80 years young, still hunts, keeps dogs and enjoys spending time and traveling with his lovely bride –I believe he said they had been married for about 60 years and still going strong. I look forward to visiting with him soon.
I enjoyed talking with Randy Roy of Fort Butler, Florida recently. He is a former high school football coach and avid bear and hog hunter. Randy runs Plott dogs out of the renowned Kamphouse line and has enjoyed great success with them. He also lives near, and is friends with Ellet Bias and Bobby Joe Houston — two legendary Florida Plott men.
Speaking of Floridians, it was great to hear from my buddy Rusty Gill. Rusty and his wife will celebrate their 25th anniversary this month. Congratulations to them both!
I have not heard from Mr. Bud Lyon recently and missed him at Breed days, but I hope he is well and I hope to talk with him soon.
Glad to hear from David Williams who was just nominated for the presidency of the APA. The APA could not have nominated a better candidate; he will do a great job. And it is always good to hear from Jess Howell, David Jerigan, Chris Crotts, David Blanton, Jason Pounders, and Logan Sorrells – all dedicated and hard hunting Plott men.
I have not recently talked with my good friend APA charter member and NPHA member John Jackson, but I plan to do so soon. I have a Taylor Crockett print that I think he will enjoy. Speaking of John, I wholeheartedly agree with his recent comments about the “mysterious” Jonathan Plott who some people still mistakenly claim brought the Plott dog to America and later to Haywood County N.C. Folks, John is correct, that is simply not true.
I first explained this myth in my first book Strike and Stay the Story of the Plott Hound back in 2007 and I have since written two other magazine articles further dispelling this rumor. And in my latest book –Colorful Characters of the Great Smoky Mountains – I explain my theory as to how this myth got started. It’s too lengthy to get into here, but suffice it to say, there was never anyone named Jonathan Plott that had anything to do with the origination or perpetuation of the Plott breed. Enough said.
However, the last time I checked, I believe that the NPHA still credits Jonathan Plott as breed founder on their website. I hope they will correct that in the near future.
I usually try and include a little Plott history in every column, but I think we pretty much already covered that in our brief tribute to Mr. Gene White. However, I will add a photo of Herbert “Hub” Plott of Maggie Valley, N.C., and his Plott hound Rattler. Rattler was supposedly a very aggressive dog and notorious for being fiercely loyal to Hub.
Hub was born in 1893 and died in 1973. He was the son of Robert Henry Plott –who was the last Confederate prisoner released in the Civil War – and the great grandson of Henry Plott who first brought the Plott dogs to Haywood County in about 1800.
I visited Hub and his wife Nannie often when I was boy and greatly enjoyed their company. My Uncle got his Plott dogs from Hub and they were some of the first that I ever remember as a child, until later seeing Von Plott’s dogs in the mid-1960s. I profiled Hub and the entire Maggie Valley Plott clan in my third book – Legendary Hunters of the Southern Highlands. I am happy to report that Hub’s grandson, Shane Plott, has joined me as one of the few Plott family members still raising Plott dogs.
I have rambled on long enough. As I said before, keep those comments coming –I want this to be your column. Until next time, may God richly bless you, your family and your dogs. Good hunting!
By Plott Bob