Hunter, dogs example of true partnership

Published 8:27 am Friday, February 18, 2011

Bob Edwards of Franklin stands in his trophy room. Edwards received the silver bowl after his English pointer, Spike, won the Tri-City Pointer Setter Club field trials three years in a row. -- Bob Rudzik | Tidewater News

Edwards works with his dog, Sue.

I have run some columns regarding irresponsible behavior in regards to caring for our hunting partners, our canine friends. The following story is about Bob Edwards, who is a clear representative of most of us who cherish our hunting partners.

Edwards started training pointers and setters in the late 1950s with a Gordon Setter named Blacky.

A nearly 43-year Union Camp employee who retired in 1993 as maintenance foreman, Edwards and his dogs have won more than 150 field trial awards. It is a team sport that requires dedication from both the handler and the dog, as well as a passion for the hunt.

In 1981, the Franklin-area man and his English setter, Nick, won their first trophy in field trials. In 1996, an English pointer by the name of Spike took his first of three in a row at the Tri-City Pointer Setter Club. Edwards and Spike took the Silver Bowl home for good in 1998.

Spike has since passed, but the bowl sits as a crowning memory in Edwards’ trophy room.

Edwards and friend Red Halsey of Virginia Beach, acquired the offspring of Guard Rail and Additions Go Boy, which are still recognized as a champion blood line.

Edwards is still training pointers and setters on his 70 acres in Southampton County. He has seven dogs that are living the life they love and being very well cared for.

The Quail Doctor, Doc for short, is Edwards’ retired 14-year-old setter. Doc is blind and deaf.

Among the dogs is the Quail Doctor, Doc for short, who is a retired 14-year-old setter; he is blind and deaf. Edwards received the dog from the late Junious Pulley Jr. of Courtland. Doc spends his retirement in luxury with a heat lamp for warmth, good food and time with Edwards, who wouldn’t have it any other way.

Patch, a 10-year-old pointer, is semiretired. He is going blind but still loves to hunt, and since sight is not everything that it’s about, Edwards still takes him out. Patch can still lock onto a bird, but his owner is becoming more concerned about the dog running into something that might hurt him, so Patch’s hunting time is drawing to a close and retirement is coming soon. I’m quite confident that Patch will not be without when that time comes.

The field trial clubs in the area are gone, so Edwards and his partners head to South Carolina and Ahoskie, N.C., in addition to shooting preserves in Carrsville and Edenton, N.C., but neither participates in the trials.

I believe Edwards is a true gentleman and a good representative of most dog handlers. Yes, there are a few bad apples, but most of the time, if you really look, you will find good ones. Here is one quiet man who should be recognized by all who find the bad apples because this time, you have found a good one.

Until next week, get outside and enjoy. It will do you some good.