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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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
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.
HiFive Kennels in Beulah, MI, turns out some great looking English Pointers. Check out this short video to see one of them. It’s a young male named Chet. Notice how dynamic he is and how easily he handles. Also notice that he’s not wearing an e-collar.