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History

Bird dogs run deep in our blood. Our family has been training bird dogs for almost 100 years. Dutch Epperson began the tradition of training dogs when he started working with field trailer and trainer, Chess Harris in Big Cabin, Oklahoma in the early 1900's. Dutch trained and handled Spunky Creek Boy, a Field Trail Hall of Fame member back in the 1930s. Dutch later taught his son-in-law Delmar Smith how to train and Delmar went on to become a well recognized trainer with a successful field trial career and is a Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame member.

When Dutch Epperson introduced him to the new world of bird dogs Delmar realized that he had a passion and quite a knack for training dogs. After marrying Dutch’s pretty young daughter, Delmar moved to Edmond, Ok and started his bird dog training. He began field trialing dogs and making Brittany champions. He upset the pointer/setter duopoly that had existed in field trials for decades. Some of the champion field trial dogs that he handled include: Towsey, Holiday Britt, Way-Kan Jill, Bazooka’s Brandy, Pacolet Cheyenne Star, and Brandy’s Bullet. He was inducted in to the Field Trial Hall of Fame in 2000.

Delmar began providing guides to South Texas hunting operations in 1979. Some of the guides that he hired to help on the hunts included his two sons (Rick & Tom Smith), his brother (Ronnie Smith Sr.) and his nephew (Ronnie Smith Jr.). At times the guiding operation has had over 100 dogs in the string. Park Cities Quail recently recognized Delmar's lifetime achievements in the field by honoring him with the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award.

Delmars’ son, Tom Smith, still guides on the King Ranch today. After developing a record breaking field career Rick Smith ran the hunting operation on the Mariposa and 6666 Ranches for many years until he relocated to Virginia and to begin focusing on conducting seminars and breeding top quality Brittany bird dogs. 

Since beginning to guide for his uncle on the King Ranch in 1981, Ronnie has guided on many notable Texas ranches, including the 6666 Ranch, the Mariposa Ranch, the Kennedy Ranch, the Jones Ranch, and the Matador Ranch. He has guided dignitaries such as President George H. Bush, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State James H. Baker, and astronaut Gene Cernan, as well as many others. Ronnie appreciates the fact that the love of land and wildlife can bring together people from all walks of life.  

The performance of every dog on a hunt matters dearly to Ronnie. His life has centered around training and continually developing a specific training format that works across the country and will all pointing and flushing breeds. Ronnie started training dogs with his father, Ronnie Smith Sr. at the homeplace in Big Cabin, Ok. After Ronnie’s father’s untimely death in 1982, Ronnie Jr took over Ronnie Smith Kennels and began to build it in to what it is today, a facility that annually receives dogs for training from across the US and Canada.

Ronnie and his cousin, Rick Smith, continue to give training seminars and continually improve on the training methods Delmar first developed. Their modifications to the system have developed it in to an even more natural way to train and maintained the system as a top training method in the country today. 

When the Texas quail hunting season closes each February, Ronnie begins to travel the country giving dog training seminars. Ronnie conducts training seminars from the east coast to the west coast each year. He has also traveled internationally giving seminars in countries such as New Zealand and Canada.

Each spring finds Ronnie starting a new class of bird dogs at his facility in Oklahoma. He and his wife, Susanna Love, train around 60 dogs a year from across the nation. Coinciding with their dog training classes, Ronnie and Susanna accept 1-3 apprentices each year to train in the Silent Command System. Once recognized as Certified Huntsmith Trainers, these apprentices often go on to develop their own training facility, compete in field trials, and guide hunts. Many of the Huntsmith Certified Trainers spend time guiding for Ronnie and Susanna. 

The Smiths have been featured in many publications such as Pointing Dog Journal, Gun Dog, Outdoor Life, Shooting Sportsman, Field and Stream, and Covey Rise. Ronnie is a frequent guest on the Big Billy Kinder Outdoors radio show. They were featured in the book Texas Quail Rigs by A. Lokey which showcased the unique quail rigs found on hunting operations across Texas. In 2015 Ronnie and Susanna were recognized by Garden and Gun magazine by being included in their selection of Five of the South's Best Gundog Trainers. They travel across the country to present at events such as the annual Pheasants Forever Convention.

The Smiths’ background in guiding hunts, training dogs, and teaching people comes together in Texas pastures to create a memorable wild quail hunt. Ronnie, a 2nd generation bird dog trainer, and Susanna, a fifth generation rancher, have an unique understanding of hunting in Texas. They are proud to offer their services to Texas quail hunters.