stories from anahauc: john & nixon #gunnerdogs | gunner flyway series
08-15-223 mins read
3
Like all the best stories, this one has a dog. Meet John Dunaway and his dog Nixon, locals who have the in on where to find the most coveted meal around these parts: duck.
Dog Stories
Hunting Stories

Words by John Dunaway | As Told by GUNNER

Anahuac is the third Flyway Series release from GUNNER, which features limited-edition colors that draw inspiration from iconic destinations and honey holes within the four North American flyways. Limited quantities available. A portion of Anahuac-edition products proceeds will be donated to Ducks Unlimited Texas chapter.

John Dunaway – friend of GUNNER and frequent flier in Anahuac – is a merchant mariner by trade, guiding cargo ships through the ins and outs of the Houston Ship Channel. When he's not aboard ships, you can find him outside with his family and his dog Nixon.

We picked Nixon when he was around eight weeks old, the last yellow male of a litter that we had no idea about, but something just told me to go with that gut feeling. When he had just barely hit twelve weeks old, my dad and I took him hunting with our two other dogs, just to let him sit in the layout with me and take it all in. We shot this gadwall on the edge of the banks and my dad was like, “Man, let him out.” So Nixon comes out of the layout, runs along the bank, picks up the bird, and just drags it back since he's so tiny. Completely covered in mud, running on pure instinct, he was calm as can be so I put him back in the layout for the next volley. He was just so chill from the get-go – we were like man, this dog has got it. That day, my dad went, “Look at that little toot.” So we nicknamed him LT and he’s gone by the nickname ever since, right along with his actual name. My grandmother would later say, “He's the only dog I’ve ever known that was never a puppy.” 

The most memorable early hunt with Nixon was getting him out to Anahuac the following year to hunt at Oyster Bayou Hunting Club. He was still pretty young – just 14 months old – with an HR title and a few actual hunts under his belt, so I felt pretty confident he could handle the morning. Everyone at the Club told me, “Look, you can bring your dog, but if he doesn’t pick up the birds, you better bring your waders and you’re gonna go get them.” I showed up with nothing more than ankle boots on.

We were hunting in Jimmy’s pond, a pothole with thick grass all around it, but plenty of open water to give a dog all of the marsh challenges. Cripple a bird or send one long into the grass means that dog has some work ahead of them, especially if you don’t cast him in the right spot out of the gate.  He was doing well, but we put two long birds in the grass across the pond, so Nixon got over there, working and working, but he just couldn’t find them. I was feeling kind of bummed at the end of the hunt because I thought he’d get everything in a clean sweep, which isn’t easy even for a veteran dog. We finally called the hunt, loaded in the boat, and dumped him on that shoreline to cut the casting out and let him use his nose, which proved up to the challenge. LT found both of those birds and he saved me from getting into that water without my waders.

When we got back to the barn, people were like, “I heard you almost needed to bring some waders,” in good fashion as we mess with each other. And I almost did, but in the end Nixon pulled his weight as he has continued to do through the years. That was a proud moment right there. 

Nixon earned his stamp of approval for future hunts at the Club, a place he has gone on to retrieve thousands of birds. That's no sea story. While I was still living on ships for months at a time, he’d live at the club, hunting nearly every day of the season with those guys. It's such a family that we gladly let him stay until I returned.  These days he’s the old man of the group as new generations of puppies have joined and old pals have departed us.

For more stories like these about Anahuac, go here.

Giving Back

For every Anahuac-edition Kennel or Food Crate that our GUNNER customers purchase, we will be giving a portion of proceeds back to the DU Texas chapter. In addition, when customers choose to donate $1 at checkout to the organization, GUNNER will equally match that donation in honor of the customer's gift.

Want to shop the Anahuac drop before everyone else? Sign up for our SMS messages to get early access. Our last Flyway collection sold out in hours– you don’t want to miss this.

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