This weekend: New England Bird Dog Club’s annual field trial…

The view from the field trial area
View from New England Bird Dog Club’s field trial area

The New England Bird Dog Club’s 2018 field trial is this weekend in Dummer, NH. If you want to see some great hunting dogs do their thing, you’re should make time to attend. This is a low-key, released-quail trial and a great way to spend a send a day and meet other people into gundogs. The trial is held in northern NH, about 25 minutes from Berlin.

The Gun Dog stake on Sunday is great for anyone who has a bird dog and would like to see them compete. Dogs have to hold points, but they don’t have to be steady to wing & shot.

New England Bird Dog Club's 2018 Field Trial
New England Bird Dog Club’s 2018 Field Trial

I don’t care about no stinkin’ ribbons. Until I think we might win one…

Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial, Stark, NH
Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial, Stark, NH

Only one thing sucks more than planted quail: cold, wet, planted quail.

In the best conditions, planted quail prefer running to flushing. When these birds are cold and wet, they’re as likely to fly as a frog or groundhog.

And cold, wet planted quail, plus a handful of well-trained bird dogs, is what Lexi and I faced off against at the Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial.

This trial ran from April 27-29. We were in Sunday’s Amateur Shooting Dog stake. It was a cold, cloudy day. Rain shifted back-and-forth from drizzling to pouring.

 

Lexi was in the third brace (there were only 4 in the entire stake). She had a great run, stayed in the pocket the whole time, handled perfectly, and, as you can see in the videos, the didn’t let those lousy quail throw her off her game (or make her break point). By the time we finished the course, I thought for sure we would be taking home a yellow ribbon.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. While I was disappointed, Lexi didn’t mind. She just had fun chasing birds.

Old Hemlock Setters: The Legacy of George Bird Evans

 

Speck, by George Bird Evans
Speck, by George Bird Evans

George Bird Evans is one the patron saints of upland hunter. A prolific artist and writer, George wrote a number of classic books about grouse hunting and, along with his wife Kay, created the famous Old Hemlock line of English Setters.

Today, George & Kay’s home and legacy is preserved by the Old Hemlock Foundation, creators of this video: Old Hemlock Setters: The Legacy of George Bird Evans

And check out this blog post to learn more about Evans and his famous Fox & Purdey shotguns.

Meet Shawn Kinkelaar. His bird dogs are better than yours.

 

Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer
Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer

Shawn Kinkelaar is one of the top bird-dog handlers & trainers in the U.S. He started field trialling in the 1980s, and today he’s one of just two people who have won 100+ Open Horseback Championships–the World Series + Superbowl + Stanley Cup of bird-dog competitions.

He has also won more National Dog of the Year Awards than any other trainer, as well as three English Setter National awards and three National Handler of the Year awards.

For the past 25 years, Shawn has spent his summers training in North Dakota. This year, a local news crew caught up with him and produced this video.

In the video below, you can get a taste for what it’s like training in ND in the summer: Horses, bird dogs, and the space to run both. I’m envious.

No ribbons, but still a great time…

New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial
New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial

Field Trials are great places to see other dogs and meet other dog folks. The New England Bird Dog Club held their August field trial a few weeks ago and plenty of both were there.

I ran Lexi and Sky, but we didn’t have any luck.

Lexi ran twice, but on her first try she broke on the flush. On her second run, she failed to honor. Those offenses got her disqualified.

Sky ran well and found a bunch of birds. Unfortunately, other dogs dig a better job overall than – so no ribbons for her.

Waiting their turn
Waiting their turn
As handsome as it gets
As handsome as it gets
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
My rig, waiting to go
My rig, waiting to go
Pointer power
Pointer power
Best part of the day
Best part of the day
Now that's noble
Now that’s noble
Resting after his run
Resting after his run
Cool-down station on the course
Cool-down station on the course
The view from the field trial area
The view from the field trial area
Out of the way!
Out of the way!

Good Sat for Lexi at Setter Club Field Trial….

Lexi and I headed down to Cape Cod on Sat to check out the Setter Club of New England’s spring field trial. I entered Lexi in two stakes: the Amateur Derby and Gundog. She took 3rd in both. Here are some pics from the day.

Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 Field Trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 Field Trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Lexi took 3rd place, Amateur Derby, Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Lexi took 3rd place, Amateur Derby, Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial

An interview with Ferrell Miller, legendary pointer trainer & breeder…

Paul Fuller of Bird Dogs Afield just posted this great interview with legendary pointer breeder and field trialer Ferrell Miller. If you’re into bird dogs, you should make time to watch the whole thing.

And if you don’t know much about Pointers, this short video is a nice introduction to the breed. It also features Ferrell Miller, and is worth watching just to see Mr Miller in the field working his dogs.

Ferrell Miller and CH Miller's Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/
Ferrell Miller and CH Miller’s Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/

Lexi’s awesome summer finishes with a big win …

Lexi, back home again with me.
Lexi, back home again, and right back in my lap.

I’m not a big fan of the summer. Heat and humidity are my Kryptonites, so by the middle of June I’ve had enough of  it. Lexi was up at  Wild Apple Kennel in Dummer, NH, from end of May to last week. Her absence made the summer feel even longer. I work from home, and it was a lonely home without her. But enough of my bitchin’.

Here’s the good part:

At the New England Bird Dog Club’s Labor Day Weekend Trial, Lexi won Sunday’s Open Restricted Derby Competition. I’m super proud of her – – and very thankful for the great job that trainer Craig Doherty did with her.

This was Lexi’s third time in a field trial. Her first time was on August 29, and her second was on the Saturday before her win. So she’s 1 for 3. Not bad.

So am I psyched for October? You bet. It’s going to be an awesome fall. More to come on that.

BTW: Derby stakes are for dogs 6-24months of age and no more than 2 years of age. A “restricted” derby is for dogs that have not already placed in a derby stake.

Come watch them run: Cover Dog Field Trial in Rhode Island…

The 2015 Region #1 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship starts tomorrow, April 11, at the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter, RI. If you would like to see some great bird dogs, you should check it out.

Region #1 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship, 4/11/2015
Region #1 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship, 4/11/2015

 

Alabama Hosts U.S. Championship for Pointing Dogs…

Gary Lester, Alabama Hosts U.S. Championship for Pointing Dogs
Gary Lester, Alabama Hosts U.S. Championship for Pointing Dogs

This video features the U.S. Championship for Pointing Dogs was held at Alabama’s M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area on December 1-6, 2012. Even though it ‘s from a few years ago, it’s worth watching if you want to learn more about how field trails are put together are run. There’s some nice dog work in it, too.

Congrats to Miller’s Dialing In: The 2015 National Champion…

Miller's Dialing In. 2015 National Champion. Owned and handled by Gary Lester. Photo by Jamie Evans.
Miller’s Dialing In. 2015 National Champion. Owned and handled by Gary Lester. Photo by Jamie Evans.

The 116th running of the granddaddy of all field trial — the National Championship – started last month on Monday, February 9, 2015, at the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, TN. Forty eight dogs were nominated to run this year — seven setters and forty one pointers, and when the trial was over, one rose to the top: Miller’s Dialing In.

The National Championship for Bird Dogs was first run in 1869, and it has been held at the Ames Plantation since 1915.

See videos from the 2015 National Championship here.

See pics and videos of the 2015 National Champion Miller’s Dialing In here.

In this video you can see a beautiful double point with Touch’s Adams County and handler, Randy Anderson (R) and Raelyn’s Skyy backing as handler Andy Daugherty looks on. Watch those quail fly.

Touch's Adams County and handler, Randy Anderson (R) and Raelyn's Skyy backing as handler Andy Daugherty looks on
Touch’s Adams County and handler, Randy Anderson (R) and Raelyn’s Skyy backing as handler Andy Daugherty looks on

 

In this video, you can see Audubon Americus on his first find with handler, Rich Robertson. I think you can hear another handler “singing” to his dog in the background.

Audubon Americus on his first find with handler, Rich Robertson
Audubon Americus on his first find with handler, Rich Robertson

 

This one shows Caladen’s Rail Hawk on his second find with handler, Dr. Fred Corder. Again, watch those birds bust out of there.

Caladen's Rail Hawk on his second find with handler, Dr. Fred Corder
Caladen’s Rail Hawk on his second find with handler, Dr. Fred Corder

 

In this last one, you can see 2015 National Champion Dialing In on his second find in the Horseshoe. A big, healthy covey flushes above Dialing In and Gary.

Dialing In on his second find in the Horseshoe. A big, healthy covey flushes above Dialing In and Gary.
Dialing In on his second find in the Horseshoe. A big, healthy covey flushes above Dialing In and Gary.

Desert Dogs: Another great photo essay by Craig Koshyk…

Here’s another great photo essay by writer, photographer  Craig Koshyk. He’s the author of : Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continental, one of the best books around about pointing dogs. If you want to learn more about dogs like the ones you’ll see in his pics, be sure to check it out

Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA

Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA, by Craig Koshyk
Desert Dogs: In Idaho with the WPCGA, by Craig Koshyk

Prairie Dogs: A must-see photo essay by Craig Koshyk…

Craig Koshyk is the author of one of my favorite dog books: Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continental. He’s also a talented photographer, and, of course, a passionate upland hunter. His photo essay Prairie Dogs: Under the Broomhill Sky takes a look at the people, horses, and dogs that make the Broomhill Field Trials so special. The pictures are beautiful, so click through and give yourself a treat.

Prairie Dogs Under the Broomhill Sky, by Craig Koshyk
Prairie Dogs Under the Broomhill Sky, by Craig Koshyk

Awesome video: The 2013 Border International Field Trial Championship….

I’ve been to a bunch of field trials. Non of them have been like this one. This video was shot at the 2013 Border International Championship at Pennant, Sask. All I can say is that I would love to go.

The Border International 2013 Horseback Field Trial
The Border International 2013 Horseback Field Trial

Steady to wing AND shot: Why it matters….

In this video, HiFive Kennels’s Bruce Minard takes you through the process of steadying up a young pointer named Buck. Check it out. It cool to see how the dog progresses, and how Bruce gets the job done while building up the dog’s confidence and enthusiasm.

Shooting a grouse over a pointing dog is tough. Think about what it involves: Reading you dog’s body language, watching your footing, minding your shotgun barrels, searching out shooting lanes, checking the position hunters — and you’re doing all this while you’re expecting a football-sized bird to rocket out from anywhere at any time. THAT’s a lot to have on the brain.

When my mind is this occupied, the last thing I want to worry about is my dog. That’s why it’s important for a pointer to be steady to wing and shot. A dog that 100% steady stays put – through the shot and until I release her. Dogs that bust on the flush are furious to get to the game. During the chase it, their eyes and focus on the bird. They risk all sorts of harm: slamming into barbed wired fences, impaling themselves on busted sticks, and even getting shot. It’s darn disruptive to the shooter, too.

A new book from the author of Steady with Style….

Steady with Style is one of my favorite bird-dog blogs. Informed and well written, I always come away from it a bit more informed (and usually a bit chagrined by how ignorant I am). That’s why I’m excited to check out the author’s new book.

Steady with Style
Steady with Style

You can download a free PDF of it by clicking here: What’s the Point? A Collection of Bird Dog Writings by Martha Greenlee. The book is a collection of articles about dog training and field trialing, plus a piece called “Thoughts on Scent” and some helpful training tips. I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it.

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