This year’s Handler’s Clinic with Phil Swain is almost upon us. There is one spot left and still time to reserve it. A Handler’s Clinic will take you through each testing event and give you a judge’s-eye view of what they look for in every aspect. If you want to really understand what they want dogs doing in Natural Ability and Utility tests, this is your opportunity.
The next training day is approaching. We have requested spring weather, but be prepared for anything. Please register here if you have not already done so.
Also, note a couple of changes to the registration form. First, only 2 chukar will be needed for the field training portion of the Utility program. If you already registered, you can still login and change your bird order accordingly.
Second, a third training level has been added. ‘First-year Utility’ is for trainers that tested Natural Ability last year, and are just starting their Utility training. Additional sessions will be added to introduce these trainers to more advanced yard-work drills.
The next training day is March 9th. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so before March 7. The sign up page is under the Events tab on the home page. Click HERE to go directly to the signup page. Be prepared for any kind of weather, training day will happen whatever the weather brings.
Remember, if you are a Utility trainer and want to participate in the field excercises, you will have to purchase at least 3 chukar. If you want to buy more for your own use, add them to the 3 you will be buying for the formal field training. Be sure to bring your own bird bag and transport cage for birds you buy for your own use.
Each year, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA holds an annual meeting to select its board, establish test dates, set chapter dues and identify special training clinics for the coming year.
This year, we are holding our meeting at the Johnstown Scheels on Sunday Jan. 13 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. After, we’ll gather at a nearby restaurant (TBD- suggestions welcome) for a social hour. Please save the date and look for a Signup Genius link shortly.
Each annual meeting is important for the Chapter, but this year more so than most because there will be significant turnover on the board of directors. While all positions are elected every year, the chapter needs to select a new slate of these key positions: president, vice president, training director, test secretary and treasurer.
We are fortunate to have had core chapter members step forward to put their names up for nomination for three of these roles: president, vice president and training director. We are reaching out to you to help us fill two others: treasurer and test secretary.
The chapter has never had a lot of money, so we work hard to be fiscally responsible. For treasurer, we’re looking for someone with experience managing books who will maintain a sharp eye on our accounts. The treasurer receives all incoming funds (including membership, test fees, and training clinic fees), pays all bills (our insurance, judge’s bills, permits, etc), maintains the chapter checking account and CD, and provides a treasurer’s report at all meetings. Scott Waggy has done a superb job filling that role for us. Scott and his wife recently welcomed their first child and he is understandably looking to focus on his family this year. Scott has lined out a system for managing the accounts and said he will be happy to work with the new treasurer. This year we will be able to accept membership and clinic fees through our website, which will reduce the workload somewhat.
Sara Heesacker has been tremendous as our Test Secretary this year, taking over for Phil Goodwin seamlessly as we expanded to two three-day tests. With Craig McLaughlin stepping back after many years as Training Director, Sara has expressed interest in running for that role. Test Secretary is a critical and essential role for the chapter. It entails a fairly clear-cut set of pre-test prep and post-test reporting responsibilities and requires a detail-oriented person who hits deadlines. Sara has created a Test Secretary manual that lines out all responsibilities and timelines for this important position and has said she’s happy to work with a new secretary to make sure there’s a smooth transition.
The strength of any organization is in the next generation, and we are very fortunate to have a deep pool to draw from. It has been a great privilege to lead the chapter this past four years, to watch it grow and see a new core of experienced handlers and leaders emerge.
In addition to the board roles, the chapter is always in need of volunteers to help staff tests, training clinics and especially training days.
If you and your dog have benefited from our chapter programs and would like to give back to the community which has helped you progress in your training program, please consider volunteering this year in preparation for stepping into a leadership role in 2020.Hope you’re still out there enjoying your hunting season, and we look forward to seeing you on Jan 13.
Hello fellow RMCers!
I hope you’re having an active hunting season. This is what we train for all year. Rocco and Isa got some excellent ground time up in North Dakota with Craig’s Scarecrow pack and his friend Keith. Birds were pretty thin and thanks to some horrible shooting, my dogs probably got more work than they could have…
Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about 2019 – so I’m sharing this set of Chapter motions, which will be discussed and voted on at the NAVHDA 50th Annual Meeting Jan 24-27 in Minneapolis. Each chapter has the opportunity to appoint a delegate and record our vote; Craig has graciously volunteered. (If you’re planning to go, please let me know.)
The board will be voting on these at our annual meeting ( TBD in Jan), and we’d really like to hear your thoughts on these motions.
Following is a summary of the motions, read the full text on the Resources tab:
Proposed changes to Testing rules
- Require a 4 in search for a Utility Prize 1. Field search would be weighted the same as duck search. Submitted by Potomac, Keystone, Missouri & Oklahoma chapters
- Hold a public drawing/lottery the evening before the Invitational for field brace mate selection. The technology or software of choice for this drawing can be that of the NAVHDA office. Invitational handlers and the public shall be allowed to attend. An evening drawing will eliminate the perceived notion of handlers training together prior to the event. (It is unclear from the language whether the draw would precede each day, or be conducted the night prior to the first run day.)
Submitted by Potomac, Missouri & Chesapeake chapters
- NAVHDA should commission new training book of current and best training practices, inclusive of the use of new training tools and techniques, authored by NAVHDA member subject matter experts. (Potomac chapter)
- 4. NAVHDA should disclose a copy of the new insurance policy. Additionally, NAVHDA will put together a plan to allow chapters to opt out of NAVHDA’s policy or being required to pay premium, provided proof of insurance listing NAVHDA International as an additional insured is provided annually. (Wisconsin chapter)
- 5. Every NAVHDA member should receive a free NAVHDA decal each year on renewal. (Northern Michigan chapter)
Also – stay tuned for news about RMC’s annual meeting. We’re expecting a pretty major turnover on the board, so we really want to see you there so you can vote on your new Chapter leadership. Please think about whether you ( or someone you know) would make a good candidate for one of the board positions.
To learn more about board positions, please visit our website at RMC-NAVHDA.com
Thanks and safe hunting!
Hello Rocky Mountain NAVHDA,
I would like to thank everyone who helped make the 2018 Fall Test an incredible success. It was wonderful to see so many new members (and prospective members) coming out to learn about the inner workings of a NAVHDA test. I also want to extend a huge thank you to all the members who were at each and every day of the test making sure the weekend went off without a hitch. The judges complemented daily that we run our tests like a well oiled machine and it took the whole team to make such a statement possible.
Thank you to Allen Kidd, Andrew Leslie, David Shickle, Dustyn Turk, Jake Heesacker, Jimmy Warren, Joe Moles, Jon Roberts, John Harris, Kaytlyn and Makenzie Heesacker, Mark Lance, Mark Sheedlo, Mike Autrey, Mike Weinberg, Pete Palmer, Scott Waggy, Seth Gallagher, Sheryl Thies Dierenfield, Steve Roberts, Suzanne Flachier, Theo Stein, Tim Griffin, William Tierney.
Also thank you to our judges Robert T. Swezey, Brian Thoman, Jim Carpenter, Mark Whalen and our apprentice Charles Coulter for their time and expertise evaluating the dogs that were run over the three day weekend.
I would also like to congratulate all the chapter members who ran dogs in the test. It was nice to see so many handlers taking their dogs out to be evaluated.
Here are the results:
Here are photos from the 3 test days:
To order prints or framed prints of the NAVHDA Fall Test photos, contact photographer Mark Lance at email@example.com or 720.258.5820. Prints are archival quality. Prints ship to your home in 3 days. There is a wide selection of frame styles and colors available. Framed prints include print, foam board backing, white matting, and non-glare glass. A nominal shipping charge is added to your total.
Mark is donating all proceeds from the sale of prints back to the chapter to help fund training and testing equipment.
Print Price List
RMC NAVHDA Director of Testing
RMC NAVHDA August 11th Training Day
LAST TRAINING DAY FOR 2018!
Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area – Wellington, Colorado
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda: 7:30 – 12:00: ALL DOGS AND HANDLERS! (with afternoon for individual training)
The day’s events will focus on obedience and skills to prepare for the winter waterfowl season – be prepared to get wet with your dog and to have fun! Most of the training exercises are going to be designed around developing your dogs into reliable water-fowling partners.
For the August training day, any bird work in the field or Utility duck searches will be conducted as independent training by individual members. These exercises will not be incorporated into the exercises that are set up in the formal training regimen for the day. There will be chukar and ducks available for purchase for individual work. There will be designated areas where handlers can work on these other areas. Please plan on talking with other handlers in attendance at the training day to find help planting birds, gunners for Utility field work, plant ducks from the kayak and work together as you set up your training plan for these exercises.
Natural Ability Dogs:
We will set up pheasant tracks for dogs to track the scent of a pheasant with a dead pheasant at the end of the track for the puppy to retrieve and deliver to the handler. Natural Ability Handlers can also work in the field with chukar in preparation for the Fall test and the chapter bumper bucket will be available to get puppies excited about going into the water.
STATIONS (work at will in small groups):
- Pheasant Tracks
- Chukar Field Work
- Bumpers at the Water
Utility Preparatory and Utility Dogs:
Older dogs and their owners will begin practicing more advanced and precision based water work. We will introduce heeling, remaining by the blind, steady by the blind and water retrieve drills. The group will begin with drills that help build desire and promote the confidence needed to initiate drive for pursing waterfowl. Along the way we will discuss the advantages of training for a reliable retrieve on land and water, ensuring steadiness under the distraction of gunfire, and reliable recall.
STATIONS (work at will in small groups):
- Heeling, Remain by Blind and Steady by Blind Sequences
- Duck Search
- Chukar Field Work
Preparing for the Day:
The weather in August will likely be very warm and brutally sunny! Be prepared with sun guard, bug spray, lunch etc. A source of shade for you and your dog, and folding chairs will help make the day comfortable. Don’t forget snacks and plenty of water for both of you!
Bring plenty of water for your dog, along with whatever training gear you use. You’ll need a leash, check cord, e-collar, and whistle. The Chapter has some equipment available like retrieving bumpers, training table, blinds and decoys, heeling stakes, duck wingers, and bird launchers and bird bags. A crate or stake-out is recommended to keep your dog quiet and comfortable while waiting its turn in the field.
If you are planning on shooting in the field remember a 2018-2019 small game license is required!!!
Please comment with your bird order. Include quantity of Chukar, Ducks and any desire of Use of Pheasant. You must RSVP and order birds (ducks, chukar or pheasant) you will need by Thurday, August 9th!
We have a limited number of ducks available so priority will go to those testing Utility in the August test. After that we will prioritize off of who signs up for ducks first on the signup.
Also, all of the pheasants we currently have we are holding for the test in August. If we can find a few live pheasants for pheasant tracks we will do the $5 pheasant tracks. If we cannot acquire live pheasants for the track we will have a few dead pheasants for drags available and there will be no charge for use of pheasant.
Prices are as follows (Check payable to Black Hollow Gamebirds or Cash):
- Chukar: $12
- Use of Pheasant for Track: $5
- Duck: $16
If you plan to purchase birds at the training day, PLEASE REMEMBER A BIRD BAG OR CRATE to store your birds! We will be handing out birds at check in before the training day starts. From that point on, the birds are your responsibility! Use of Pheasant will be shared amongst all members paying for the pheasant track on the training day.
If you have questions regarding the training day, please contact one of the following:
- General Questions to email@example.com
- Training Director, Craig McLaughlin firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bird Steward, Jake Heesacker email@example.com
Date: 08/11/2018 (Sat.)Time: 7:30am – 3:00pm MDTLocation: COBB LAKE UNIT: From I-25 and HWY 14 exit, go 5 miles north on east service road to CR56- then 1.4 miles east.
Three days of tests, 20 NA dogs and 6 UT dogs were tested, thanks to Sara Heesacker for her organizational genius, Theo Stein for managing the weekend, Tracey Nelson, Brian Thoman, and Craig McLaughlin for giving their weekend to judge the tests, and all of the other volunteers for making this test so smooth.
The results of the test are here:
A fantastic set of photos by Mark Lance are here:
Sarah Anderson took beautiful photos on Sunday, and shares them below:
“First of all, it was an absolute pleasure being able to come shoot these photos with everyone! You all were so great to work with, and I learned so much more about these awesome hunting dogs. I hope to see you all again next time!
Now, here are some instructions that will help you navigate my site and download the photos.They are sized for internet use, so if you would like a high resolution copy of any of them for printing purposes, please email me directly and I can absolutely get those to you! Also, anyone can view, download, and share these to their heart’s content; I just ask that when you post them, you credit Sarah Grace Imagery by name or by linking my social media, and refrain from editing or altering the photos. The gallery will also expire on July 31st, 2018, so be sure to download your favorites right way! Finally, if you have any questions, please let me know!
To help keep these photos and my site safe and secure for you, in order to view and download the photos, you’ll be asked to put in an email address and the PIN below.
In the meantime, check out the photos of the May training day in Our Dogs.
Hello RMC NAVHDANs
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.
- 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.
Dogs with Altitude
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.