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Photo credit: SearcySports Photography

Mr. Autrey brings out the finest in the dogs he trains. He's successfully trained and handled many dogs to the highest levels hunting retrievers can attain. GRHRCH UH Missy's Cajun Dakota MH, owned and trained by Mr. Autrey, continues to hold records in the field, including the most Grand Hunt passes (13) ever achieved in HRC.

What brought Mr. Autrey to his forte with hunting retrievers?

"In 1987, after a bout with throat cancer, they removed my voice. My old dog would only look at me funny when I tried to talk to him in my new voice. In 1988, I watched Bob Region in a field, working a dog with a whistle, and decided I could do that routine. With a new pup, and some help from the members of Central Louisiana Retriever Club, a new chapter was opened in our lives... the life of a dog trainer.

Gerri and I owned a heating and air conditioning business, so my training was done in the evenings. Missy was not a high bred dog, off two hunting dogs from Catahoula Lake. She ran her first Grand test in Dallas, TX in 1990. We went out in the 2nd series on a water blind, but the bug had bitten me.

Grand Hunting Retriever Champion Missy Hollowdale Autrey went on to pass 5 Grand hunt tests, and I retired her at 9-1/2 years old as she had lost her hearing. Along the way to passing 5 Grand hunt tests, I had a lot of help. My first seminar was with Danny Farmer and Judy Aycock in 1989. To this day, Danny still laughs about the first time he heard me give a dog a BACK cast at 100 yards. I started training dogs for family and friends, taking up to 3 dogs at a time. This helped pay for the "fun" between Missy and myself.

The first time I worked a dog with a collar was with Joel Soprano, standing at my shoulder, and telling me what to do and when to do it. After that when Missy developed a popping problem, Bob Willett re-force trained and collar conditioned her for me. Bob said it was the only dog that he ever conditioned with a force program that was already a Grand Hunting Retriever Champion when he did the work. We attended the Jim and Phyllis Dobbs seminar twice, watched all the tapes of Michael Lardy, and worked with different people along the way. Ernie Istre carried Grand Hunting Retriever Champion "Cody" Master Hunter through a force program, Joel Soprano with GRHRCH "Hussy", and David Ferguson with GRHRCH Jezebel. It wasn't until 1999, the year before I retired, that I started performing the force work, since I now had ample time to do so myself."

We know, from witness accounts of watching Mr. Autrey and his dogs over the course of the years, how the story has progressed. A devout combination of hard work and fidelity to these fine animals sets Bill Autrey apart from the rest - in any hunting environment or venue of retriever testing. You can see in performance: the desire and enthusiasm of an Autrey trained retriever.

Mr. Autrey's abilities, talents, and esteem have been captured and recognized by local, regional, and national media for many years:

  • Bob Tompkins, of The Town Talk, in March of 2005, penned his article "Tales from the Crossroads: The Dog Whisper"

  • Hunting Retriever Magazine published in their August/September 2004 issue "A Tribute", by Ronnie Prudhomme (owner of GRHRCH UH Dakota's Cajun Roux MH "Roux" and a student of Mr. Autrey's).

  • "Maybe?" This tribute offered by Justin Tackett (of WaterDog TV and the Super Retriever Series) commemorates Mr. Autrey's GRHRCH UH Missy's Cajun Dakota MH ("Cody").


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