By Chad Love
Last year at about this time I wrote a Field Notes blog post on the coolest man in the world. I had no plans to make it an annual award, but that was before I finally got the chance to meet legendary dog trainer Delmar Smith at the Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic this past weekend.
I sat in on a lot of cool seminars, met a lot of cool people, saw a lot of cool dogs, and discovered a few cool new products (all of which I'll write about in future blogs), but for sheer, unadulterated cool, nothing could top listening to and meeting the undisputed dean of American bird dog trainers.
How cool is Delmar Smith? Chuck Norris showed up at one of his seminars, and Delmar had him force-broke and steady to shot by the end of the day. He's so cool the folks at NPR ask him to be on their game shows (No really, they did. Listen to the podcast. It's a gem. Delmar absolutely kills it...)
The man is just plain cool, and, at 86, is folksier, wiser, and wittier than just about anyone else out there, at any age. Here's what the late, great Field & Stream gun dogs editor Bill Tarrant had to say about Smith in the introduction to their book Best Way To Train Your Gundog: The Delmar Smith Method: "Delmar Smith's the most distinctive man I ever met. I'd know his hide if it were hanging in a tanning yard. He belongs to neither this second nor this speck of universe. Like truth, he's a simple, eternal force."
I got the chance to ask Delmar a few quick questions in a break between his seminar schedule, and it was a special treat to get a few minutes in the presence of legend.
Out of all the dogs you've owned, trained and competed with, is there one that stands out above all the others?
"I've got to say there really isn't one dog that I can point to. There are going be some dogs that just seem to have something others don't, find birds where others can't, dogs that just seem to make birds, but I've had so many great dogs over the years that I can't pick a favorite. It's like asking me to pick my favorite kid. I don’t have one. I love 'em all equally."
You still live in Edmond, Oklahoma, and even though that area has grown up around you, do you ever get the chance to get out and go quail hunting?
Read the rest of the Field and Stream article