Born on a dairy farm in Staceyville, Maine in 1948, Mike wasn’t cut out to be a farmer. Dairy farming is tough, methodical work, especially in the North Country. Mike always seemed to be bucking against the system, though he worked very hard all through his childhood and teenage years. Mike’s father always told him, “There are other gears than just fifth.” Mike never liked farming, and some said he could get sloppy, but he did adhere to the internal value system that comes along with farm life. He possessed the self-motivated drive of an entrepreneur, high levels of integrity, a pioneer mentality towards problems, an extremely hard work ethic and he was exceptionally thorough. This was Mike’s start.

Mike Merry was a bigger-than-life character in the Northwoods of Maine. The thing behind the thing was his enthusiasm and drive for life and for whatever he was doing. According to those who knew him well, he lived life at a different frequency than his peers. The definition of mettle is exactly what Mike was. He dealt with life in a spirited and resilient way. Mike was a living legend until September 28, 2012 – the day he became simply a legend. He was known for his relentless pursuit in bear hunting with hounds, his highly skilled logging techniques, and his high-level musical talent in playing the drums.
Many confuse line breeding with in-breeding, and while that’s understandable, there is a big difference between the two. In-breeding is breeding dogs VERY closely within the same bloodlines –such as a mother or father to their pup, or brother to sister, etc.
There is something to be said for the simplicity of breeding the best dogs to the best dogs, regardless of breed. Thinking outside of the “pure breed” box is taboo to some bear hunters, but to many it’s something they’ve done for years. Bear hunters have always been interested in results. The bottom line for houndsman is treed bears. Speed, a cold nose for tough tracks, the right amount of grit to stay alive, but enough to pressure a mean bear to bay or tree are key issues. What is amazing about this legendary bear “hound” is that much of its breeding isn’t even hound.
Roy Stiles was nine years old when he first went coonhunting with Plott hounds. It’s during this magical time period in a child’s life that they are the most impressionable. These impressions often last a lifetime and help fashion future passions. Roy’s father planned to buy him a registered Plott puppy, but three years later tragedy would strike and change those plans. When Roy was 12 years old, his father was paralyzed in a tragic accident. Afterwards, the family struggled financially and Roy’s boyhood dreams of a Plott pup were crushed. However, a seemingly scripted destiny would unravel for Roy in few short years.