Mack & Darlene Cullins
My first experience with hounds was around 1968, I was 8 yrs. old. My uncle talked a lot at family gatherings about coonhuntin and an old Bluetick hound his daddy had when he was growing up. He was a good story teller and he got me to wanting to go coonhuntin. My dad never hunted so I wasn't exposed to guns or dogs except stock dogs as we lived on a small farm and my grandfather milked cows. I spent the week with my cousin that summer and my uncle took us what he called bobcat hunting one night. He had an old bluetick hound running around the place and we struck out at dark walking from his house. He lived way back in the sticks. It was a dark night and our two celled flashlight didn't offer much light so we stuck close to my uncle, even stepped on his heals a few times. While we were walking through the woods he kept telling us stories of past hunts and also tall tales of bobcat sightings around his house. After walking for what seemed like hours but was probably only about thirty minutes the old dog finally struck a track about fifty yards out in front of us. My uncle swore it was a bobcat and for us to be very still and quiet or the cat might attack us. The dog turned and whatever he was running came pretty close to us and when my uncle hollored "There he is!" and shot his gun. We took off running in the direction of the house scared to death. It's a wonder we didn't get lost but luckily we saw the porch light in the distance and headed for it. We almost tore the front door down gettin in the house. Scared my aunt to death and she wasn't to happy with my uncle either. I'm sure now that the dog was running a rabbit but at the time I was positive it was a man eating bobcat! I don't know what happened to me that night but after that I was obsessed with hounds and hunting. My grandfather owned a long barrel 12 gauge single shot shotgun and I confiscated it. It was big as I was. For the next 2-3 years I toted it around and shot every bird, rabbit, and squirrel I came in contact with. I got a single barrel 20 gage for christmas when I was 12, it was much lighter to carry and cheaper to shoot. My dad would buy me a few shells at a time at the store down the road from our house. Back then you could buy shells one at a time if you wanted to. I didn't get my own dogs untill I was 16. My mother bought me a pair of Red and white beagle pups for my birthday. I had just read the book "Where the red fern grows" so I named them Dan and Ann. I haven't been without a hound since. While all my buddies were going to the movies or partying on the weekends I was always out running my dogs. Although beagles were my first love I've also owned Coonhounds, Birddogs, Foxhounds, Squirrel dogs, and a bloodhound. I got my first AKC registered beagles in the early 1980's. One day I saw an ad in a field and stream magazine for a beagle magazine called "Hounds and Hunting" so I subscribed. I saw a beautiful red and white male for stud on the cover of H & H one month. His name was Valley Views Checkers. He was owned by Charles Estes of "FC Bluerock Hobo" fame and he lived just outside of Nashville, TN. I took my best female and bred to him for $50. In his pedigree he had a mixture of Backyard gundogs and brace trial dogs. From this cross I got a lemon and white female named Dry Creek Sandy. She would become my foundation female. She's still my all time favorite dog. She was an outstanding jump and track dog and she never ran off game. Although my focus is primarily on hunting rabbits and just enjoying good dog work I try to breed dogs that look good, hunt good and can also be competitive in field trials. I like an intelligent dog that hunts for me and will adjust speed according to scent conditions. I expect my dogs to account for every rabbit they run. The speed of my dogs would probably be comparable to AKC SPO trial dogs.