Gene Hill is mostly known for his outdoor stories or “yarns” as they are called. By far my favorite writer, Hill always does an amazing job of not only colorfully telling a story, but truly putting the reader there with him. He often does this by using humor that just about any dog owner or hunter can relate to. Who doesn’t know about leaky waders while duck hunting or the “joys” of puppyhood when they chew your hunting boots? While most of his short stories make me laugh, his stories do a much better job of describing the connection between dog and hunter than I could ever dream of. We often say “words can’t describe it” to lazily explain monumental moments in our life or our obsession with certain hobbies, but I think Mr. Hill’s writings come the closest to describing how I feel about my dogs and taking them afield. This is by no means a complete "collection", but is just a small portion of some of his quotes. I've often been asked where I get my "instagram quotes" from and most often it's from Mr. Hill. I hope that by reading a few quotes here, you may be inspired to pick up one of his books. My second hope is that you relish these Gene Hill quotes as much as I have enjoyed reading them, sharing them, and most importantly, thinking back on those moments that his writings connect me to.
“A grown man walking in the rain with a sodden bird dog at his heel who can smile at you and say with the kind of conviction that brings the warmth out in the open ‘I’d rather be here, doing this, right now, than anything else in the world’ is the man who has discovered that the wealth of the world is not something that is bought and sold.” - Good News/ Bad News
“I think it was Robert Benchley who once remarked, ‘Every boy should have a dog. It teaches him to turn around three times before lying down.’ Brown dogs do a great deal more than that. They provide excuses for adventures, teach him how to whistle loud and clear, improve his throwing arm, and most important, instill in him the incredible responsibility that comes with being loved unquestioningly, totally, and irrevocably.” - Gene Hill, “Brown dog”
“I used to think, with pride overflowing, that my brown dog was mine. Now I know better. We never really own a brown dog as much as he owns us.” - Gene Hill, “Brown Dog”
“Where did our ten years go, my graying friend, my love? How unfairly fast the time has come when your body can’t obey your great, great heart. No matter Tip, we were young together and knew what life was all about. Let’s turn back now and build a fire and take a little nap.” - Gene Hill, “Idler of March”
“In brief, the Dog Man is not like ordinary sane men. He is a subspecies whose habitat, language, working patterns, familial relationships and drinking styles set him apart. Scientific studies have indicated that this condition is irreversible and that he tends to throw similarly minded offspring.” - Gene Hill, “The Dog Man”
“My advice on dog training is generally worth about what it costs, but here it is anyways. Don’t expect more from a dog than you’re willing to put into working him.” Gene Hill, “The Dog Man”
“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve called a bird dog off a near-point or given a retriever a bad line because I didn’t understand what was going on, I could buy a dog that is smart enough not to pay attention to me when I’m making an ass out of myself.” - Gene Hill, “The Dog Man”
“I can’t conceive of hunting without a dog. I just don’t enjoy a day in the field without seeing the fun that a dog has in working. If I have to choose between leaving the gun home or the dog, I’ll set out with the dog.” - Gene Hill, “The Dog Man”
“It seems a shame that a man and his dog so rarely get the time to spend together that they’d like-doing what they both like best. A man isn’t born to too many gunning seasons, and his dog is offered but a handful or so to spend with him before it’s time to say good-bye…leaving a photograph or so slipped in a favorite book and a memory of special days.” - Gene Hill, “Daisy”
“No one can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.”
Most of these quotes are from Tears & Laughter, A Hunter’s Fireside Book, or Good Time. Hill has authored plenty of other great books filled with outdoor yarns as well as plenty of articles published in past issues of Sports Afield, Field & Stream, and many others. I strongly recommend picking up a copy of A Hunter’s Fireside Book, since it’s readily available on Kindle or Apple Books. It’s a great way to pass the time when we can’t get out in the field with our own dogs.