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Heritage. Tradition.

John M. Olin and Winchester

He was born in the “River Bend” country of Southern Illinois where the Mississippi River runs east. John was the son of Franklin Olin, who established the Equitable Powder Company, which would later bear the family name, OLIN. It was here, almost 70 years ago, that John M. Olin took acres of farmland joined by timber and turned it into a wildlife oasis. He created an ideal place to raise and train the best Labradors that ever flushed a pheasant or retrieved a duck. He called it NILO, which consists of more than 600 acres dedicated to unsurpassed hunting, sport shooting and gun dogs. NILO was also Olin’s model of conservation. It was one of his most cherished crusades … educating sportsmen and state game management agencies across the country on wildlife preserves and the planning and planting of habitat that benefitted all types of wildlife. Over the years, stars, celebrities, avid outdoorsmen and legendary writers enjoyed Mr. Olin’s hospitality at NILO and it is still considered today, one of the most prestigious hunting and shooting preserves in the nation.

Legendary King Buck

NILO has been home to many great Labradors, but none compare to the still unsurpassed King Buck. He was born in 1948 in Iowa.  Buck was the last of his litter and was purchased by his original owner for a mere $50. The pup had a rough beginning, almost dying from distemper. Thankfully, loving care saved him, and his owner crowned him the name “King”. His reign started when he was only 18 months old. Competing in field trials, he steadily mounted the ranks. Opposing trainers begrudgingly noted his unearthly ability to “take a line”. One judge noted “if Buck had ‘taken a line’ to England, the Atlantic cable could have been laid along his course”.  Of the many skilled dogs at Nilo, John Olin was intent on making the King his very own. Many trainers felt Olin overvalued King Buck with his purchase price but Buck went on to win two consecutive National Field Trial Championships and legitimize his name. Beyond skill, it was heart that made him astonishing. In between wild duck hunts in flooded timber with his owner, Buck went on to complete a record 83 consecutive series finished at the nationals. In 1959, King Buck was immortalized by becoming the first and only dog ever to appear on the Federal Duck Stamp. King Buck’s statue stands outside NILO’s kennel, which is home to some 40 superbly trained labs, springers setters, and pointers, all with hearts of kings.

King Buck Statue