December Joy All-Star: John Strickland
John Strickland was 9 years old when he embarked on his passion for coonhunting. He joined his neighbor in this pursuit as no one in his family was involved in coonhunting back then. Intrigued by his neighbor’s nightly routine of preparing the dogs and heading into the woods, John persistently asked to accompany him. After numerous rejections, his neighbor relented and instructed him to meet at 8:30 in the evening. The first night, John arrived punctually, but his neighbor was absent. Undeterred, the following evening, he showed up at 8:15, just in time before his neighbor departed. Together, they ventured into the woods, trailing the neighbor’s hound as it ventured deeper into the forest, its baying echoing through the trees.
Midway, the neighbor had to retrieve something from the truck and asked John to handle the dog, to which he agreed. Guided by the hound’s baying, John finally found it treed, leashed it, and commenced the journey back to the truck with a small flashlight. Walking what felt like an eternity, he began to worry about being lost until suddenly emerged into a clearing where his neighbor stood beside the truck, waiting for him and the dog.
John’s new hobby quickly evolved into an impassioned pursuit. At just 12 years old, he started competing in nite hunts at the Richmond Hill UKC Coonhunters Club, often entering his father’s deer dogs into water races, night hunts, and bench shows. Eventually acquiring a running walker named Ronnie Sue more suited for competitions, John faced the challenge that Ronnie wouldn’t try. It wasn’t until he was 19 and acquired his first actual treeing walker coonhound that his prior experience began to pay dividends.
At 19, equipped with his first treeing walker coonhound, John clinched the Grand American, marking his inaugural major victory. This triumph ignited an unstoppable drive within him. He delved into more competitive hunts with PKC, UKC, and CHKC, frequently emerging victorious. Since his teenage Grand American win, John amassed an array of prestigious victories, including multiple high-earning hunts such as Pro Sport truck hunts, UKC and PKC World Championships, Pro Sport Integrity Series, Reserve National and Super Stakes, Dog of the Year (twice), Bluetick World Championship, and the Tournament of Champions for UKC.
John has established himself not just as a champion in the coolhunting realm but also as an exceptional dog handler.
For the past 3 years, he has fed his dogs Joy Dog Food, persuaded by his friend Josh Michaelis. Switching to Joy Dog Food brought noticeable improvements in his dogs’ coats, stamina, and overall health. John remains unwaveringly dedicated to Joy Dog Food, acknowledging its remarkable quality and unwavering support for the hunting community:
“I appreciate Joy Dog Food for not only making a great product for my dogs but for showing immense support to the hunting community.” – John Strickland