Crappie Fishermen Save 38 Dogs from Drowning in Mississippi’s Grenada Lake

The dogs were at least a mile offshore and struggling to tread water by the time the anglers arrived
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Two fishermen with a boatload of hunting dogs.
The fishermen rounded up 27 dogs in the first load and then went back out for the other 11. Photo via Facebook

A group of fishermen are being celebrated on social media for rescuing a boatload of hunting dogs from Grenada Lake earlier this month. Technically speaking, it was more than one boatload, since all 38 hounds wouldn’t fit in the fishing guide’s bass boat. They had to make a few trips to haul the dogs back to shore, where they were all reunited with their owners.

The group included Bob Gist of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and his friend, Brad Carlilse of Covington, Tennessee. The two met in Memphis on June 8 and headed to North Mississippi, where they booked a trip with local fishing guide Jordan Chrestman on Grenada Lake, a sprawling reservoir that’s known for producing trophy crappie.  

Gist told reporters with Action 5 News that they hadn’t been on the lake for long when they noticed a mass of dogs swimming near the middle of it. Chrestman drove his boat over to find dozens of hounds swimming in circles. Each dog wore an e-collar and had a number painted on its side, and the fishermen later learned that the hounds had been participating in a fox hunt in Grenada. The pack chased after a deer that ran into the lake. Gist said the dogs were at least a mile from shore, and he guessed they’d been treading water for at least 45 minutes to an hour.

A boat with three fishermen and 27 fox hounds.
Each of the hunting dogs was wearing an e-collar and had a number painted on its side.

Photo via Facebook

“[Brad] and I were just lucky enough to be in a boat with a guide that knew we needed to act, so we did,” Gist explained in a Facebook post. “We all pulled dogs from the water and Jordan managed [the] recovery like he had done it before. He is the hero here.”

Gist said that they scooped up 27 dogs in the first load and then ran them back to shore, where a few of their owners were waiting. The fishermen then made two more trips and eventually got all 38 of the fox hounds back on dry land. Gist also told a local news outlet in Jonesboro that some of the owners tried to pay them for saving the dogs. He said they turned down the money and were just happy to be in the right place at the right time.

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“By the time they got to the exhausted dogs, they could barely swim,” according to one Facebook post hailing the fishermen. “Bob told me they grabbed the last four dogs as they were sinking under water.”