A Good Dog

A good dog may be better than a flashy one.

A flashy dog is certainly fun, but a good dog may end up being far more useful. While most of us want to have great dogs, the reality is that a good dog will still take you to plenty of trees.
The Appalachian Mountain range is an iconic and historic place to hunt black bear using hounds. It was the first region of the country to use European hound stock for big game. It also holds some of North America’s best bear habitat. Roy Clark, 69, is a native Tennessean and has been running bears with hounds since he was a child. His father, Hugh L., and grandfather, Charlie, started hunting in the 1940s with Plott hounds they got from Plott breeder, Charles Gantte. From these original dogs, a strain called Clark’s Laurel Mountain Plotts emerged over the last 60-plus years. The rabbit hole of history and tradition goes deep when you’re in Tennessee bear hunting with hounds.
Bear hunters in the Appalachian Mountains hunt for themselves, their dogs and for the joy of sharing their hunts with good friends. And not to say that local notoriety isn’t shed on men with reputations of “being tough in the mountains.” There was a time when bear hunters were known as men of renown in their communities, and in some regions they still are today. And I think it would be a stretch to say that these bear hunters don’t like that, but it’s not why they do it. Or it’s at least not why Mr. Eldridge hunted. I like these kinds of places and people.
-Clay Newcomb-