Clyde, a one-of-a-kind bird dog

Traveling around the world for sporting assignments for about 30 years has let me meet a lot of characters. Many of my favorites have been dogs.

Clyde the bird dog, left, with his friend, Brad Stout.

Clyde is indeed a character.

Clyde’s a German wire-haired pointer that hunts with Brad  Stout. I’m not sure anybody owns a dog like Clyde. It’s more like a partnership.

Brad said Clyde was just a young dog when some local farmer called and said he had a bird dog he needed to place. “He told me where he was at and that if I didn’t want him he was probably just going to shoot the dog because he didn’t want him,” Stout said. “I really didn’t need another dog, or want another dog, but once I saw him I just loaded him in the front seat of my truck. I don’ t think he’d done that before because he was all over me on the way home.”

Clyde is not a little dog. He’s the biggest wirehair I’ve ever seen, by far, and dwarfs my 85-pound Lab.

But it didn’t take Stout long to realize he’d rescued a danged-fine pheasant dog from death. For many years they teamed-up to guide hunters at Ringneck Ranch, a pheasant hunting operation in north-central Kansas.

Back “in the day” Clyde was quite the dog in-charge, making more than his share of points and retrieves.

Clyde looks on as a guest takes a shot at a rooster pheasant he pointed last weekend.

By the time I met Clyde last weekend he was far more laid-back. “He’ll hunt for a while, find a bird or two and then he’ll just follow in behind me and let the other dogs hunt,” Stout said. “He used to be the first dog to a bird when it was shot but now he just kind of watches. It’s like he knows he’s in semi-retirement and he’ll let the young guys do all of that work.”

Sure enough, Clyde spent much of our two days together following Stout. Then, without our noticing him leaving, we’d look up and he’d be pointing some bird the other dogs had missed. His points aren’t stylish…no lifted paw, no low crouch, no curved body. He just stands there, with his nose giving you a very “he’s right there” indication.

There was always a bird there when we walked in on Clyde’s points and he always was again behind Stout within a few seconds.

My favorite part? When Stout and a client gathered at the back of his flat-bed pick-up for a photo with the client’s camera. Clyde was instantly between the two men.

“He’s kind of a ham,” Stout said as he petted his old friend. “He’s had his picture taken so much at the end of a hunt he knows what he’s supposed to do and where he’s supposed to sit. I think he kind of likes the attention.”