February 3 News!


Hard to believe we’re about to kick off our 2018 training season, but our first training day is just 3 weeks away.  There have been several developments since our annual meeting Jan. 6, including new Spring Test dates, new information on our Feb training day and info about a training clinic run by a nationally renowned trainer. So please read all the way through this email and let me know if you have any questions.

  • Membership dues are now due. We held the line at $40 for an individual or family – please remit your dues prior to March 31. Due to insurance requirements, you need to be paid up before you participate in the Feb or March training days. The membership form is here. Note that Scott Waggy is our new treasurer. His address is on the form and he’s waiting to hear from you!
  • Due to a scheduling conflict, our Spring Test dates have been changed to June 1, 2 and 3. Another group beat us to CPW for a permit for our traditional dates. Testing Director Sara Heesacker reports the Spring Test is already almost full, so if you plan on testing in June, get your application in ASAP.
  • As a result, our June training day will be pushed 2 weeks to June 16.
  • Our first training day is Feb. 24, indoors at the Spicer Arena in Eaton. The cost will be $20, and the focus will be on obedience – which is the foundation of any good hunting dog. Look for a Signup Genius invite in your email inbox soon. We will start early, work through the morning, break for lunch, and then have time for you to continue training in the afternoon. The Board will also be discussing several items during lunch.
  • At the Feb. training day, Alan Davison, the owner of Dogs Unlimited, veteran bird hunter, field trialer, and champion gun dog owner, will be coming by before lunch with a selection of gear that you may need to buy if you don’t have it already. If you’re not familiar with Dogs Unlimited, they are a major national gun dog supply online retailer located right here in Hudson. Alan is great – he’s happy to give advice about different brands of gear he carries and you can even pop in and shop if you call ahead. It’s a great resource.
  • For those of you who attended our annual meeting, don’t forget to use the $15 gift certificate in your Dogs Unlimited catalog before Feb 15. If you want to save on shipping costs, you can place an order online, then email Alan with your order number and he will bring your goods to Spicer Arena on Feb 24. You must email him though.
  • Exciting news: Testing Director Brian Thoman is in contact with Clyde Vetter, the top NAVHDA GSP breeder and trainer, about coming to Colorado to host a training clinic sometime this spring. If you follow NAVHDA, you probably have heard about Clyde or Sharp Shooter’s Kennel. Clyde is not cheap – and so the fee will likely be around $200, with a max of 30 participants. But everyone who has been to one of Clyde’s clinics says they’re worth every penny. UT handlers especially – if your goal is a Prize I, you want to be there. Look for a Signup Genius invite soon.
  • We may also offer a one-day force-fetch clinic again with Tom Swezey of Indian Brook Kennel in Wellington. Tom is a top-flight trainer and a tremendous friend of the chapter. The dozen folks who participated last year found it to be super helpful. Email me here if you’re interested.

    Housekeeping items:

  • Our insurance is provided through NAVHDA International, and that means that we need you to be members in good standing of NAVHDA as well. Please update your NAVHDA membership, if you haven’t already. You can complete a quick online transaction here. (This is a longstanding requirement, but we’re going to enforce it this year.)
  • On a related note, from now on you will need to sign a waiver each and every time you train with us. I know, it’s going to be a pain at first, but NAVHDA requires it this year. So plan on checking in at the table by the trailer right away when you show up for training. And don’t forget to slap on a name tag too!
  • If you’re going to be shooting birds on Cobb Lake or Banner Lake SWA this year, remember you need a valid CPW small game hunting license. They go on sale for the coming year in March on-line or at any number of retailers.
  • New handlers: Please make sure you have the following gear: check cord, leash, your own bird bag, a crate or stake to secure your dog in the parking lot. It’s also important to have a first aid kit for your dog.

That’s a long list, so I’ll tie it off here.

As always, we thank you for your membership in RMC NAVHDA. Your participation in our community of handlers makes us strong.


Theo Stein
Dogs with Altitude


RMC sets test and training dates, elects board for 2018 – updated

About 35 versatile hunting dog lovers turned out for the 2018 RMC NAVHDA annual meeting, held Sunday Jan. 7 at the Blue Moon Brewery in Denver. At the meeting, the Chapter elected the 2018 slate of Officers and Directors, established test and training dates and amended Chapter by-laws and standing rules.

Here’s a brief summary of :

Test dates for 2018 were established.

Spring Test – June 1, 2 and 3
Fall Test – August 17, 18, 19

Test registration applications may now be submitted to the Testing Director. Fees remain unchanged from 2018.
Tests are held at the Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area in Wellington, CO

Training Days
The following training dates were approved.

February 24 – Indoor training day, Spicer Arena, Eaton, CO.
March 10 – Cobb Lake SWA
April 7 – Cobb Lake SWA
May 5 – Cobb Lake SWA
June 2 – Cobb Lake SWA
August 11 – Cobb Lake SWA

Participants in training days must be members of the RMC.
The Board opted to keep membership fees remain $40 for another year.
Training day signups will once again be managed through the Signup Genius app.

Board of Directors
Chapter members in attendance elected the 2018 Board of Directors at the annual meeting.


President – Theo Stein
Vice President – Dan Sprague
Treasurer – Scott Waggy
Secretary – Allen Kidd


Director of Testing – Sara Heesacker
Director of Training – Craig McLaughlin
Director of Judging – Brian Thoman
Director of Promotions and Fundraising – Denton Shaffer

Appointed positions

Bird Steward – Jake Heesacker
CPW Liaison – Craig McLaughlin
Webmaster – Steve Roberts.

The Board abolished the position of Newsletter Editor. To maintain an odd number of Officers and Directors, the Board established the position of Member at Large, who will serve as an Officer. Members will elect someone to fill that position at the 2019 annual meeting,

In other business, the Board resolved three motions related to the NAVHDA International annual meeting:

  • A motion to reimburse the registration fee for the Chapter’s delegate to attend the annual NAVHDA International annual meeting was approved
  • The Board voted to support a motion by the Central Minnesota Chapter to include the French Brittany as a recognized breed in the NAVHDA registry.
  • It voted to not support the Central Oregon Chapter’s motion to establish an annual Far West Invitational in a west coast state.

Several motions related to the Chapter’s by-laws and standing rules were also approved.
Revisions of these documents will soon be posted to the Chapter website.

Submitted respectfully

Theo Stein

You’re invited! RMC Annual Meeting – Jan. 7, 2018

The 2018 training season is right around the corner!

Dear RMC members

Hard to believe another hunting season is drawing to a close – with the start of our training year hot on its heels. Your chapter will be holding its annual meeting on Jan. 7 at the Blue Moon Brewery, located at 3750 Chestnut Place, Denver – just a couple of miles from the intersection of I-25 and I-70.


As usual, at our business meeting we will set test dates, training dates and elect board members. After that, we’re doing something new – a presentation from Dr. Brianna Harris of Jasper Animal Hospital on care for your hunting dog. Bri will cover common injuries – and less common ailments that might need urgent attention. We’ll also have a selection of pet vet kits, in case you don’t have one, for you to consider. Then we’ll wrap up with a little social time – for us to hang out, brag about our dogs and get psyched for the coming year.

We need your help!


We know how talented our members are – now we need your help. This year we have some particularly pressing needs to fill vacancies on your chapter board.

  • Treasurer – Sara Heesacker has offered to take over from Phil Goodwin as Testing Director. Phil has done a magnificent job performing the most important role on the board. During his tenure, we have grown dramatically and added new training events, so having Sara as treasurer was an incredible blessing. Now we desperately need someone who can succeed Sara and competently manage our books.
  • Training Director – After many years of stalwart support, Craig McLaughlin will be stepping back in 2018. Craig will still be active, but just can’t commit to the responsibilities of running 6 training days this year. If you are an experienced trainer and can help us manage our training days, we would love for you put your name in the ring.
  • Promotions and fundraising – There’s good stuff out there that can really help our chapter better serve your training needs. We need a charming self-starter who can help us find and take advantage of opportunities that we’re missing out on.
  • Secretary – Every organization needs a scribe to take notes at meetings and record votes. Is that something you can do for us?

As always, we welcome nominations for all other board positions as well – including president and vice president. The strength of any organization is in the next generation, so we are always looking to nurture our next leaders. In 2019, this chapter will need to find a new president. It’s been an extraordinary privilege to watch the chapter grow, but it’s time for someone new to run the show. If you have leadership skills and are thinking about helping the members who have helped you progress in your training program, please consider volunteering this year in preparation for stepping into a leadership role in 2019.

One more thing – our chapter has been unable to take advantage of the generosity of numerous members because we are not yet registered as a 501c3 non-profit with the state. If you’re an attorney or have done this before and can help us through this process, we would be extraordinarily grateful.

So please mark your calendars for January 7 – and look for a Signup Genius invitation. Come join us for some important business, learn about keeping your dog healthy and enjoy the companionship of your chapter members.

And if you have questions, please email me: rmc.navhda@gmail.com

With gratitude

Theo Stein
President, RMC NAVHDA





2018 NAVHDA International Meeting Update

Hello RMC members

Hunting season is now in full swing and I hope you and your hunting partner are out there working on the skills we practiced during our training days.

I wanted to make sure you were aware of two petitions that have been accepted for discussion and a vote at the NAVHDA International annual meeting, Jan 18-21 in Las Vegas.

The first calls for the recognition of the French Brittany ( or Epagnuel Francais) as a registered NAVHDA breed separate and distinct from the American Brittany. This petition has been advanced by the Minnesota Chapter – a lengthy powerpoint and a written rationale explaining the petition are posted here. There’s some fascinating historical information in these documents – I encourage you to read them.

The second calls for the establishment of a “Far West Invitational“, to be held in addition to the annual Invitational in the Midwest. Advanced by the Central Oregon Chapter, this would be a smaller event than the big show.

Your board will be voting on these petitions and authorizing our delegate to the meeting, Brian Thoman, to register the vote on behalf of the chapter. But we want to hear from you first.

Please submit your comments here by Thanksgiving so the Board has time to convene and vote.

And speaking of the Board convening, we’re currently looking to build a program for the RMC annual meeting that will include a presentation by a veterinarian about caring for your hunting dog and common injuries you may see in the field, and a social ( not sure if it will be catered or pot luck).

If you’d like to help organize, please contact our vice president Dan Sprague.


Theo Stein
RMC President

RMC 2017 Fall Test Results

Here are the results of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Spring Test, held August 18-20 at Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area in Wellington, CO. Our thanks to the handlers who presented their dogs, the judges who assessed their performance – and our volunteer corps, who are the heart of our chapter.

FRIDAY  8/18
Test Call Name Registered Name Breed Sex Points Prize Handler
NA Harley Dierenfields Testament 2 Harley Brown Take em Down GR M 112 I Jack Taylor
NA ZZ Aux Lake ZZ Can’t Top This GR F 45 NP Kim Jones
NA Rammstein Persigo Rammstein GS M 112 I Mike Clarke
NA Jo De Jae’s Maggie Mae GR F 112 I Chad Dare
NA Abe North Iowa’s Abraxos PP M 112 I Jeff Schmitt
NA Laska Laske Cobailey Saathoff GR F 112 I Jeff Saathoff
NA Bob Silvershot’s Oklahoma Ghost WM M 110 I Chris Roberts
NA Scotch Silverpoints Gunpower Rye WM M 112 I Brad Cunningham
NA Finn Foothills Finn PP M 112 I Mark Laurnen
Judges for Friday
Senior Judge: R. Tom Swezy Judge 2: Dan Wittman
Judge 1: Scott Wilkey Apprentice: Richard Sears
Saturday 8/19
Test Call Name Registered Name Breed Sex  Points Prize Handler
UT Roxie Wyowires’ Foxy Roxie GW M 146 III Terry Uhrich
NA Otto Shore Thing’s Mountain Hope PP M 102 II Blake Bienemann
NA Grissy Bluestem Lady Griselda GR F 110 I Jim Arnold
NA Aisha Atma Aisha vom Sylwann Forest at WyoWires GW F 110 I Terry Uhrich
NA Magni Herz und Seele’s Magni LM F 100 III Danny Sprague
NA Sirius Aux Lake Y Sirius Boogers GR M 90 NP George Ort
NA Lady Von Windswepts Bearded Lady GW F 102 II Brenton Howland
Test Call Name Registered Name Breed Sex  Points Prize Handler
UT Chase Pineridge’s Ace of Spades PP M 146 NP Mike Autrey
UT Madi Madison Montana Gripfest GR F 150 NP Andy Leslie
UT Elsa Outlanders Noble Reflecstion GS F 160 NP Sara Heesacker
UT Cecil Bone Points Uno GW M 181 III Ben Oakleaf
Judges for Saturday and Sunday
Senior Judge: Karin Krautz Judge 2: Craig McLaughlin
Judge 1: Dan Wittman Apprentice: Richard Sears

Update: Proposed changes to CPW training regs

Following up on this week’s post: Here’s some additional information about the intent and meaning of the language in the proposed changes to Chapter 8 of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations involving hunting dog training.

Like you, I was concerned about how the intent to exclude “exercise and conditioning” from the definition of training would affect us. So I called Tom Kroening, Deputy Regional Manager for the Northeast Region ( and my last supervisor while I was working at CPW).

To recap – the proposed language reads:

“Training means the act of a person instructing a hunting dog to follow scent, point, flush, retrieve “and respond to related commands to improve the dog’s performance in hunting wildlife or for field trials.” ( emphasis mine)

CPW has long struggled to manage non-hunting dog use of some state wildlife areas. In 2011, the then-Division of Wildlife wrestled with excessive use of two Loveland state wildlife areas by dog walkers. It was a messy public process and generated a lot of ill-will by non-hunters who had come to view these wildlife properties – bought with hunting license fees – as their local parks. So this is not a new issue for Colorado’s wildlife managers.

Tom said the language for this proposed revision to the regs was selected with our needs in mind. It allows handlers to train their dogs to be responsive in the field – which is a necessary skill for a finished hunting dog. The key, he said, is the regs would allow training  a dog to respond to … commands to improve the dog’s performance in hunting wildlife or for field trials.”

In practice, what that means is a handler needs to be commanding his or her dog while it is in the field.

I specifically asked Tom how District Wildlife Managers and Wildlife Techs would apply the language to the training we do for cooperation while hunting – and specifically to encourage a dog to actively and productively search while remaining in range of the gun. Tom said so long as a handler is commanding the dog, such as with voice, whistle or collar, they are within the scope of “training” as contemplated by the proposed revision.

Tom added that CPW recognizes that young dogs may not actually respond to commands. The test for law enforcement will be whether the handler is actively commanding the dog or using other training techniques to establish cooperation.

Bottom line – If you’re just letting your dog run around, uncontrolled, not caring where it goes or how far out it goes, allowing it to chase wildlife without attempting to call it off,  then you may not be within the scope of “training.”

So don’t do that. Bring a whistle, fit your dog with an e-collar, use them to keep your dog in sight while you teach it that the two of you are a team and it needs to pay attention to you and respond to your commands.

We’re lucky to have state properties where we can train our dogs. In some other states, chapters spend thousands of dollars every year to lease training grounds.

It’s pretty clear to me that the intent of the language is to permit the training activities that we use to train our versatile hunting dogs. The key is to be controlling your dog in the field. Which is what you should be doing anyway.

As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
Email them to rmc.navhda@gmail.com.


Theo Stein

CPW proposing changes to dog training regs

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proposing to change regulations involving dog training. These changes will be discussed at the September Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in Steamboat and would be finalized at the Commission meeting in Yuma in November.

The key changes appear to be:

  • You will need to be actively training your dog for hunting. “Exercising” and “conditioning” will not qualify as training. The language of the regulation does not specify whether training for “search” and “range” is covered.
  • Permits will be issued on an individual basis, though permit holders may train with up to 9 friends. “Subpermittees” are eliminated. If you will be releasing birds on your own, you’ll need to have your own permit.
  • The annual reporting requirement is dropped.

    I’ve posted below the letter from CPW outlining the proposed changes, and the actual language in Chapter 8 of state wildlife regs.

    While the changes may appear to be minor, it’s unfortunate CPW did not reach out to us or to any other dog club that I’ve spoken with in the past few months to notify us about potential changes to dog training rules, let alone solicit input.

    We will seek to get some clarity from CPW on the impact of these regulations. In order that the RMC chapter can best represent our shared interests, let’s please get information before we respond to CPW or the Commission, and we’ll take it from there.

    Thanks and stay tuned,

    Theo Stein
    Dogs with Altitude

    Chapter W-8 Letter


Call for volunteers

RMC members

RMC tests usually have a long wait list. So as you may have heard by now, the RMC Board decided this year to expand our fall test to 3 days – to give our members a better chance to test their hunting companion close to home. With our final training day now behind us, it’s time to get ready for our test.

Test days are Friday Aug 18, Sat Aug 19 and Sunday Aug 20 at Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area in Wellington.

Our chapter is known for hosting smooth-running tests, but these three days will test us, for a change. Friday is all Natural Ability. Saturday has a mix of NA and utility dogs, so we will need to set up and support the maximum number of test events. Sunday is all UT, so it will feature the maximum run time.

We need help setting up and packing up, bird planters, pheasant runners, someone to manage lunch for judges and volunteers and good-will ambassadors who can make sure handers’ questions get answered quickly. In short, we need your help.

For those who have volunteered before – please see if you can pitch in on at least one day. If you are testing with us in two weeks, please consider volunteering on days you are not running. If you have not volunteered before, here are several reasons to come out and help.

  • Volunteering gives you a great opportunity to watch other dogs and learn from other handlers.
  • You’ll hang out with experienced chapter members – and pick up valuable observations about dog behavior and tips on handling skills while you build friendships with fellow chapter members that you’ll be training with in the years to come.
  • By watching dogs in the field and later hearing their scores, you’ll better understand judging criteria.
  • Chapter events you’ve participated in have been run by volunteers. Pay it forward.

If you’ve volunteered before, please indicate your experience. Don’t worry if you haven’t volunteered before – you can learn on assignment!

Click on the Signup Genius link to help us give a bunch of handlers just like you a day they’ll always remember.


Thanks and hope to see you there!

Theo Stein
RMC President

A special thanks to our volunteers

Director of Testing Phil Goodwin waits with Milburn Markle and his Pudelpointer Levon before the NA water event.

Running a volunteer organization like the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA takes – you guessed it – volunteers who are willing to give their time and their energy to help others succeed in training the hunting dog and companion that will be with them for years in the field, and give them memories for a lifetime.

RMC NAVHDA’s tests are always full. We feel a responsibility to run NAVHDA tests that take the pressure off handlers and give their dogs the best chance to perform. And we could not do it without the selfless help of volunteers. So thank you Rick Huber, Dan Sprague, Jake & Sara Heesacker, Don Andrews, Michael Autrey, Ross Sibley, Andrew Hoezel, boatman Allen Kidd and Tom Swezey.

Judges prepare the drag event for Sunday’s UT handlers with the snowy Front Range foothills in the background.

A special thanks to:

  • Test Secretary Phil Goodwin, for doing all the hard work behind the scenes that make a test run smoothly,
  • Colin Hornbeck, for taking photos on Saturday and
  • Sheryl Dierenfield, for throwing down two absolutely scrumptious lunches for the judges and volunteers.

And a puppy picture, just because.

Ridiculously adorable German wirehaired pointer.