Sport: The Hunting Fool

Riding easily behind far-ranging dogs in a mellow Alabama quail meadow, the mixed gallery of millionaires in fancy dress and farmers in ripped dungarees seemed remarkably lenient. No one winced when a dog, quivering at the smell of quail, froze into a sloppy point or broke before his handler's signal.

Such textbook faults would have been fatal at the National Field Trial Championships for bird dogs, a test that encourages professional handlers and emphasizes flawless technique.* The annual National Shooting Dog Championship is different—a competition among dogs that earn their keep by hunting,...

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