Upcoming NAVHDA International and RMC Meetings

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

  1. 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
  2. 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


  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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!

Theo Stein

2018 Fall Test Results

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:

2018 Fall Test Results

Here are photos from the 3 test days:

Day 1 Natural Ability Test

Day 2 Natural Ability Test

Day 3 Utility Test

To order prints or framed prints of the NAVHDA Fall Test photos, contact photographer Mark Lance at mark@riverlightimages.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

4×6 $4.00
5×7 $6.00
8×10 $8.00
11×14 $20.00
16×20 $35.00
16×24 $35.00
20×24 $40.00
20×30 $55.00

Framed Prints

4×6 $52.00
5×7 $57.00
8×10 $69.00
11×14 $94.00
16×20 $187.00
16×24 $187.00
20×24 $205.00
20×30 $233.00

Brody on retrieve

Delle on point

Thank you!

Sara Heesacker

RMC NAVHDA Director of Testing

August 11 Training Day

RMC NAVHDA August 11th Training Day


Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area – Wellington, Colorado

Email contact: craig.mclaughlin5@gmail.com

Agenda: 7:30 – 12:00: ALL DOGS AND HANDLERS! (with afternoon for individual training)

Lulu and Brian working on steady at blind.

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):

  1. Pheasant Tracks
  2. Chukar Field Work
  3. 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):

  1. Heeling, Remain by Blind and Steady by Blind Sequences
  2. Duck Search
  3. 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 rmc.navhda@gmail.com
  • Training Director, Craig McLaughlin atcraig.mclaughlin5@gmail.com
  • Bird Steward, Jake Heesacker atblackhollowgamebirds@gmail.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.


June 2018 Tests

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:

2018 Spring Test Results

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!

Sarah Grace Imagery

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.


Thanks again!”

In the meantime, check out the photos of the May training day in Our Dogs.

Clyde Vetter professional training clinic June 23 & 24

The board of RMC is excited to host a very special training clinic June 23 & 24 with Clyde Vetter, one of the country’s most highly respected NAVHDA trainers. Clyde and his wife Marilyn own Sharp Shooter’s Kennel. They’re very active in NAVHDA: Both are Senior judges, Invitational judges…Clyde has passed 28 Invitational dogs and handled hundreds of other dogs to a Prize I in NAVHDA tests. Nuff said.

This will be an interactive clinic. Clyde covers all aspects of training from puppy to Invitational skills, but most of the agenda is oriented to advanced handling skills, especially force fetch, obedience & cooperation, and advanced handling.

Clyde likes to work with a variety of dogs at different training levels to demonstrate different training techniques, so don’t be surprised if he asks to borrow your hunting buddy for a demonstration.

Preference for signup will be given to NAVHDA International members. Early signup was offered to RMC members – we have about 14 slots left.  The cost is $200 for RMC members, $250 for non-members. Send checks to our treasurer Scott Waggy at 11469 King Way, Westminster CO 80031.

This is a two-day clinic – plan to spend a very full, very productive weekend learning handling skills from one of the country’s best!


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