2012 National Retriever Championship

September 16-22, 2012
Iron Bridge, Ontario


National logo



Host Clubs

Algoma Retriever Association and Northern Ontario Retriever Association
Field Trial Chairman: Tom Dalton
Field Trial Secretary: Linda Shlemkevich

Judges

Southern Ontario Zone: Bill Cumming
Western Zone: Daniel Shnitka
Central Zone: Ross Peden

 

 

Winner 2012 Canadian National Retriever Championship

NFTCH NAFTCH FC AFC Nightwings Marsh Leader
Owned and handled by Sherwin Scott

 



Finalists



 
No
Dog Name                                                              
Owner                                                
Handler                                 
13
NFTCH AFTCH Oakridgertvr Going All The Way
Lorraine Hare
Lorne Langevin
14
FTCH Riveroak Turn Me Loose
Bob & Dierdre Kozminski & Judy Wilson
Colin McNicol
27
Mjolnir's Amazing Grace
Peter & Judy Mottola
Charles Dygos
28
FC AFC FTCH AFTCH L and L Just A Gigolo
Howard Simson & Lise Langlois
Kevin Cheff
32
NAFTCH FC AFC Nightwings Marsh Leader
Sherwin N Scott
Sherwin Scott
41
She:Kon (Sago) Gahonk Dee Ogee
Jim Green
Jim Green
44
AFTCH FTCH L and L's Cowboy Up
Shirley Greener
Lorne Langevin
53
FTCH AFTCH Taylorlab's Countess
Laurent LeBlanc
Laurent LeBlanc
55
FTCH AFTCH Upon the Wings of an Answered Prayer
Bill & Micki Petrovish
Wm Petrovish
64
FTCH AFTCH Wynflat's GPS
Heather Stewart
Lorne Langevin
66
FTCH Revilo's At Full Tilt
Marcy Wright
Marcy Wright
 
FTCH Riveroak Turn Me Loose



NFTCH AFTCH Oakridgertvr Going All The Way


 
FC AFC FTCH AFTCH L and L Just A Gigolo



Mjolnir's Amazing Grace


 
She:Kon (Sago) Gahonk Dee Ogee



NAFTCH FC AFC Nightwings Marsh Leader


 
FTCH AFTCH Taylorlab's Countess



AFTCH FTCH L and L's Cowboy Up


 
FTCH AFTCH Wynflat's GPS



FTCH AFTCH Upon the Wings of an Answered Prayer


 
FTCH Revilo's At Full Tilt



 

Saturday September 15, 2012

Opening Banquet

T

Following an afternoon taking care of NRCC business at the Annual General Meeting, everyone was ready to party. Time to visit with old friends and make new ones. The banquet was held at the Lion's Club Hall in Iron Bridge, Ontario. Local businesses and the Municipality of Huron Shores opened their doors and were very supportive of the host clubs, Northern Ontario Retriever Association (NORA) and Algoma Retriever Association.
 
The Silent Auction tables were packed with donations from sponsors, local businesses and individuals. Grace Burmaster did an amazing job of satisfying the needs and/or wants of almost everyone. Major sponsors, Nestle-Purina, Avery Sporting Dogs, Tritronics, Zinger Winger, Thunder Equipment, Ducks Unlimited, Connie Swanson, and Winchester Ammunition, all contributed items for the Silent Auction. Their sponsorship is greatly appreciated and without their support our Nationals would be struggling.
 
Silent Auction Table



Shopping the Silent Auction Table


 
After the Head Table was piped in by Mark Trainer, Master of Ceremonies, Bruce Macdonald, "paid the piper". Bruce then welcomed the contestants to the 2012 Canadian National Retriever Championship and asked everyone to stand and join Gerry Burmaster in singing the American and Canadian National anthems, followed by a toast to the Office of the President of the United States and the Queen. Grace Burmaster offered grace before everyone sat down for a wonderful prime rib roast dinner.
 
Master of Ceremonies



Paying the Piper


 
 
 
 
 
Singing the National Anthems



Grace with Grace


 
For anyone that knows Bruce Macdonald, NRCC Director from Alberta and Master of Ceremonies, it should come as no surprise that the formality of the event was interspersed with humour to lighten the mood. Bruce introduced the Head Table, from left to right; Bruce Macdonald, Greg MacInnis, Chief Marshall, Tom Dalton, Field Trial Chair, Ross Peden, Central Zone Judge, Daniel Shnitka, Western Zone Judge, Bill Cumming, Southern Ontario Zone Judge, Fred Benjaminson, National Retriever Club of Canada (NRCC) President, and Marg Murray, NRCC Secretary.
Head Table



 
Bruce thanked the sponsors, acknowledged the representatives that were present, and presented them with NRCC pins as tokens of our appreciation. Nestle-Purina our major dog food sponsor was represented by Lauralee Camilleri and Bill Kennedy, Avery Sporting Dog was represented by Kenny Trott, Winchester Ammunition and Tritronics/Garmin was represented by Steve Cuppy. Artist, Connie Swanson was also present. In addition, Bruce expressed our appreciation to the American handlers for their ongoing support of Canadian Nationals.
Purina Representative, Lauralee Camilleri



Fred Thanks Connie Swanson


 
Winchester Ammunition and Tritronics/Garmin Representative, Steve Cuppy chats with Donald Martin



 
Next, Tom Dalton, Field Trial Chair welcomed the contestants on behalf of the host clubs and thanked the landowners, local businesses, the town of Iron Bridge and the Municipality of Huron Shores. Mayor, Gil Reeves came up to say a few words of welcome.
Field Trial Chair, Tom Dalton



Mayor Gil Reeves and Kevin Cheff


 
When a National or National Amateur is hosted in Ontario, the Charlie Howard Award is presented to a Field Trialer or Trialers that have made significant contributions over the years to the Field Trial game. This year the award was presented to husband and wife team, David and Jane Thompson. Dennis Voigt, last year’s recipient presented the the award on behalf of Di Howard. Dave and Jane have been the driving force behind hosting 3 Nationals and have stepped up again to host the 2013 Canadian National Retriever Championship in Brighton Ontario.
Dave, Jane and Dennis



Dave and Jane Thompson


 
Fred Benjaminson, President of the NRCC, presented the outgoing Directors with NRCC pins, introduced the current and new Directors who were present, and then presented the Judges, Ross Peden, Daniel Shnitka and Bill Cumming with NRCC pins. Bill Kennedy, incoming President, came forward to present Fred with an NRCC pin as outgoing President and to thank him for his hard work and dedication to the game. Bill then put on his other hat to present the judges with gifts donated by Purina, who pays for the judges travel expenses as well.
 
Ross Peden spoke on behalf of the judges and acknowledged the beautiful grounds and hard work by the setup and grounds crews. Chief Marshall, Greg MacInnis and Assistant Marshall, Howard Simson did a great job working with the judges and the setup crew, to ensure a successful National. Greg read the judges’ intructions and announced that Test 1 and 2 would be a Land Double with a retired gun followed by a land blind by invitation only.
Ross Speaks for the Judges



Chief Marshall, Greg MacInnis


 
Once the judges had departed for the night, auctioneer, Dave Thompson got the Calcutta underway. With 74 dogs to auction off, it took a while for each handler to come forward to receive their Purina/Avery Sporting Dog handlers package, presented by Bill Kennedy, which included a numbered Handler’s hat donated by Avery, a Handler’s jacket donated by Purina, a coupon for a large bag of Purina Pro Plan and numerous Purina goodies. NRCC Directors presented pins to each handler. By 10:15 pm the starting dog for the first test was drawn, gog number 67, Springwaters Amber of Crosshare.
 

Sunday September 16, 2012

Tests 1 and 2 - Land Double With a Retired Gun and a Land Blind

Contestants awoke to a crisp Fall morning with clear skies and a heavy frost on the ground. After the long hot summer most experienced, cool weather was a welcome relief. The setup crew was out in the field well before sunrise. Elk could be heard bugling nearby and a large bull elk with his herd was observed by contestants on their way to the test site. Test 1 & 2 was run in a hay field with rolling hills and heavy cover in a gully winding through the test.
 
Test 1 was a land double with the long right hand gun retired and a huge swing to the left for the short go bird. The distance to the long gun was 260 yards and 90 yards to the left mark. For the left mark, a hen duck was thrown right to left downhill into heavy cover. For the right mark, a drake mallard was thrown left to right, tight angled back, downhill into mixed cover. A gully of dense cover was on line for most of the way to retired gun bird. A few spruce trees were placed along the ridge to the left of the line to the retired gun station and were easily be mistaken for a holding blind for the retired gun.
 
Test 2 was a 169 yard land blind run from the same mat, by invitation. The blind was right of the line to the retired gun. The line angled through heavy cover and broke left into a cut hay field. A hen pheasant was used on the blind, which was hot. For the uninitiated, this meant that the bird was on the ground for the blind when the dog ran the marks. When the test dogs ran, there was hardly any breeze so having the bird down at the blind didn't seem to affect them.
 
Honorary Test Dog was FTCH AFTCH Pilkington's Casper of Mt. Granite, owned and handled by Gerry Burmaster. Gerry is a member of the Algoma Retriever Association and is Equipment Chair for this National.
 
Female Test Dog was AFTCH TML's Light the Lamp (Almo), owned and handled by Bill Kennedy, newly elected President of the National Retriever Club. Almo did a good job on both marks and had a good initial line on the blind before breaking hard right in the cover. Bill kept Almo tight to line, had a few whistles and came up with the blind.
 
Male Test Dog was Rough and Rowdy Redneck, owned by Donald and Dona Martin and handled by Donald. Rowdy started out well with an excellent go bird. He ran into difficulty on the retired gun, hunting short, and had to be handled to the bird. Rowdy showed the handlers the hazards on the land blind as well. He stayed in the cover longer than required and couldn't be seen to handle until he was deep and to the right.
 



 



 
As predicted the wind picked up around noon. For a while it seemed to change direction for every dog but eventually developed into a steady breeze from left to right across the test. Once there was more scent and wind, dogs had less difficulty with the retired gun mark. For the most part, the dogs did the work but the judges got answers on all three birds.
 
Judges on a Short Break



Marshalls Keeping the Test Rolling


 
Gallery Shots





 
Callbacks: 70 dogs were called back to the 3rd series. Dogs not called back to the 3rd series are: 2, 6, 49, 52.
 

Monday September 17, 2012

Test 3 - Water Triple with 2 Retired Guns and an Honour

The morning started out slightly overcast, which was a good thing with the long retired gun station due East of the running line. Once again, there was virtually no wind to begin the day. Lots of geese were trying to land in the wheat fields nearby. The temperature 13C, was much warmer than the day before, with no frost. Test 3 was a Water Triple with the centre and left guns retired. The order of the guns was short right visible thrown first, long centre retired thrown second and the left retired mark thrown last. Distances to the marks were: 125 yards to the right hand bird, 270 yards to the centre mark and 195 yards to the left hand mark. Hen mallards were thrown for the two outside marks and a drake mallard was thrown for the centre mark. A hay field surrounded a wide creek that meandered through the test, with lots of points and channels to influence the dog's line to the marks. The right hand bird was thrown right to left from shore onto an island with high cover. Both retired guns were thrown left to right and angled back. Throws were excellent and the poppers supplied by Winchester Ammunition were consistent, loud, and no misfires. Exactly what we need for good mechanics.
 
When male test dog, Rowdy ran, only the long centre gun retired. Rowdy did an good job on all three marks. The judges changed the test for female test dog Almo. They retired the centre and left hand guns. The order of the guns remained the same, although Almo chose to pick up the right hand bird first. She avoided the water on the way out and had a quick hunt on land before crossing over to the island to pick up the bird. Almo was the first of many dogs to take that route. Many never made it to the island and were picked up. Almo retrieved the left retired bird second and did a good job. For the long retired mark, Almo initiated her hunt to the left of the holding blind before hunting up the bird. This proved to be the line many dogs took for the long centre mark.
 
The start was delayed to allow the sun to get higher and improve visibility. By the time the first dog was called to line, the long retired mark was still extremely hard to see.
 



 
Handlers watching Test Dog



Male Test Dog Rowdy


 
Judges and Setup Crew Before Test 3



Judge Daniel Shnitka’s Test Drawing


 
Alternate Test 3 Drawing



 
Rain held off for the morning, but started up around noon. Even in the pouring rain, the test went on. When the island bird missed it's mark, the gunner had to paddle out in a canoe to retriever the duck. One gunner managed to flip the canoe and take a swim. He was pretty cold by the time his shift was over. The water temperature was 16C ... not warm. Later in the afternoon, a thunder cell moved in, so the gunners were brought in. Once the heavy rain, thunder, and lightning subsided, the test resumed. The test was called with 6 dogs left to run.  

Tuesday September 18, 2012

Test 3 - Continued

What a difference a day made. The thunderstorms from the day before, brought in a cold front. The temperature dropped to 6C with a strong 25km wind out of the North. The water level came up 2" and the water temperature dropped to 10C.
 
Only the female test dog Almo ran and did a good job on all three marks. When the first running dog was called to line, the cloud cover had moved out and the dogs had a hard time picking out the long retired gun station.
 
Dog work was variable, with the judges getting answers on all three birds. The white birch trees deep of the two retired guns attracted some dogs, the water re-entries were factors and some dogs had difficulty with the island bird. All and all it was a good challenging test.
 
Working Girls, Martha, Linda, Lizzie



Judges Staying Cool


 
Callbacks: 68 dogs were called back to the 4th series. Dogs not called back 36, 57.
 

Test 4 - Water Blind with a Scented Point

What a difference a day made. The thunderstorms from the day before, brought in a cold front. The temperature dropped to 6C with a strong 25km wind out of the North. The water level came up 2" and the water temperature dropped to 10C.
 
Only the female test dog Almo ran and did a good job on all three marks. When the first running dog was called to line, the cloud cover had moved out and the dogs had a hard time picking out the long retired gun station.
 
Dog work was variable, with the judges getting answers on all three birds. The white birch trees deep of the two retired guns attracted some dogs, the water re-entries were factors and some dogs had difficulty with the island bird. All and all it was a good challenging test.
 



Female Test Dog Almo with Bill



Almo and Bill Practicing for Remote Send


 
 
 
Handlers Receiving Last Minute Instructions from Howard Before the Test Dog
 



 
With the water blind running through the middle of Test 3, it made more sense to add the line to the water blind and reuse the Test 3 drawing. This gave a better idea of the factors lingering from the previous test.
 



 
Gallery All Bundled Up
 



 
Callbacks: 57 dogs were called back to the 5th series. Dogs not called back, 12, 20, 23, 25, 33, 54, 60, 61, 62, 63, 70.
 

Workers’s Party

After a long cold day braving the elements, everyone was thankful to get out of the wind and sit down to a hot meal. The Workers’ Party gives the host clubs the opportunity to show their appreciation to the volunteers, without whom we wouldn’t have Nationals. There are the workers seen every day, and there are those working just as hard behind the scenes. People forget all of the work that goes into preparing for a National, in addition to the daily routine of moving equipment and setting up the tests. Workers at this National were outstanding with everyone pitching in to get the job done. More and more it’s becoming impossible for one club to host a National without the help and support of friends, family, and fellow field trialers. Both the NORA and Algoma clubs have few members, so outside help from across Ontario was called up.
 
Tom Dalton, FT Chair and Purina Rep, Bill Kennedy were on hand to present Purina goody bags and dog food to all of the workers. Gun Captain, Jane Thompson did a great job lining up gunners and throwers for each shift. Contestants were only too willing to help out.
 
A huge money maker for the National was the Silent Auction with donations from our sponsors, Purina, Tritronics, Avery Sporting Dog, Winchester, Zinger Winger, and Thunder Equipment, as well as individuals, local businesses and artisans. Grace Burmaster filled the Silent Auction tables with something for everyone. At the end of the evening, the Silent Auction was closed and the highest bidders went home with their treasures.
 
Checking Out the Tables



Digging In


 
Relaxing With Friends



Little Helpers


 
Special Swimmer’s Award to Mark Laberge



 

Wednesday September 19, 2012

Test 5 - Land Quad With 2 Retired Guns and an Honour

The morning started clear with a hard frost and -2C, delaying the test while the ground fog cleared, the white fields melted and the sun got higher in the sky so all guns are visible. Test 5 was a Land Quad with an Honour. The order of the guns was centre right first, then left, followed by centre left, and then the right. The left hand mark was a hen mallard, the long left centre mark was a drake mallard, the right centre mark was a rooster pheasant and the right go bird was a hen pheasant. Both right hand marks were thrown right to left and both left hand marks were thrown left to right. When the first 2 test dogs ran, the 2 centre marks were retired and the left gun station was visible. For the third test dog, the 2 left gun stations retired and the centre right gunners remained visible. That is the test the judges went with. The test was run in the same hay field as Tests 3 and 4 but not in the same area. A shallow bare ditch ran across the test with lots of hay bales and mounds in the field to influence the lines to the birds. The right hand go bird was thrown angled back into cover, the centre right bird was a flat throw that landed behind a mound, in cover. Both the centre left and left hand marks were thrown angled back into cover. Distances to the marks were; 230 yards to the left mark, 310 yards to the left centre mark, 155 yards to the right centre mark, and 150 to the right hand go bird.
 
After a delay getting started, the first test dog, Almo was called to line. Frost was still on the ground and there was no wind. The report from the guns seemed to echo all around the field. Almo had a short hunt under the arch before coming up with the go bird. Bill sent Almo for the short right retired mark second. She had a long hunt on the wrong side of the gun station, before going out of sight along the ditch headed to the left hand mark, which for her had the gunners visible. She had to be handled back to the right centre retired gun. Almo did an excellent job on the left hand mark and after a wide line to the wrong side of the long centre right retired gun.
 
The male test dog was FTCH AFTCH Pekisko's Round Midnight (Dexter) owned by Dave & Darlene Broomhead and handled by Dave. For Dexter, white ribbon was tied to the long retired bird to improve visibility. Dexter was sent for the go bird first and had an extensive hunt before coming up with the bird. He took out the left hand mark, second and did a good job. Next, Dexter picked up the right centre mark and did a good job. For the long left centre retired gun, Dexter took a wide line to the right, corrected onto the bird and did a good job.
 
A third test dog, Baypoint's Hit and Miss (Striker), owned and handled by Lorraine Hare was called to line. For Striker, the left gun station retired and the right centre gunners remained visible. Striker was sent for the right hand go bird first and had a long hunt. Next Striker had a short hunt around the gun station for the right centre mark. For his third bird, Striker picked up the long centre retired mark clean. When he was sent for the left hand retired mark, he went deep and turned around at the treeline to come back into the mark. At that time the gunners were not wrapped. This was remedied before the first running dog.
 



 



 
Handlers Surveying the Test



Lunch Wagon


 
Lise Langois & Linda Shlemkevich Lining Up Dogs



Jill Chalmers & Pete Ferin Keeping the Holding Blinds Full


 
Next Flight of Gunners



Gunners Heading Out


 
Sleeping on the Job



 
Work by the test dogs was indicative of the work done by the running dogs. As the test progressed, a wind came up that kept switching. For some dogs it was from right to left and for others it is more downwind. A few dogs that wrong sided the left or centre left retired guns appeared to wind the bird, where others got past the marks and hunted deep at the tree line. Later in the test, after the rain, the hen pheasant go bird, was very difficult for dogs to come up with. Another test with answers on all the birds and no freebies.
 
Callbacks: 42 dogs are called back to the 6th series which is scheduled to be water marks.1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 53, 55, 58, 59, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 73, 74.
 

Thursday September 20, 2012

Test 6 - Water Triple with 2 Retired Guns

It rained most of the night but stopped in time for the start of the day. The day started at 11C and it didn't get warmer. Conditions were variable for each dog. The wind started from the SW for the test dogs and switched around out of the South at 21km. The natural pond had lots of dead wood, stumps, islands, and clumps of marsh grass to put the dogs off line on the way to the birds. Across the back of the pond, the leaves were changing on the maples, making for a spectacular scene. Test 6 was a water triple with the centre and right hand guns retired. All three birds were thrown from right to left, with the line to the long mark very close to the backside of the left hand visible guns. A line of islands across the middle of the pond, to the right and opposite the visible gun station, proved to be problematic for some dogs after the drag back scent built up. The order of the guns was centre, right, then left gun. The left hand gun was 152 yards, the centre gun was 196 yards and the right hand gun was 132 yards. Hen mallards were thrown to islands for the 2 outside marks and a drake mallard was thrown along the back shore into cattails for the centre.
 



 
Female test dog Almo did an excellent job on the left hand go bird. For the right hand retired mark, Almo made a bee-line to the holding blind and then hooked over and picked up the bird. On the long centre mark, Almo took a wide line to the right of the holding blind. When she reached the far shore, she turned left, crossed in front of the retired gun station and had a short hunt to the bird. Before male test dog Dexter ran, the judges added some decoys in the middle of the pond, in line with the long retired gun station. Dexter hunted short on one island before working his way back to the second island for the go bird. The line Dexter took to the right retired gun, was heavy slogging through marsh grass clumps, to the right of the holding blind. As he approached, he gradually corrected his way out to the bird. For the long centre retired mark, Dexter had a good initial line but turned right at the islands opposite the visible gun station and initiated his hunt. He had to be handled back to the bird. Many dogs had to be handled as the drag back scent got stronger. Dogs that took a wide line to the bird were generally more successful by avoiding the scent on the islands.
 
By the time the first dog was called to line we had sun and we had rain. The only constant was the wind, but not always in the same direction. As would be expected, some dogs did well and some did not. Occasionally a light rain fell and we lost our sunny periods. The test took about 20 minutes per dog and went into the next day, with 14 dogs left to run.
 



 
Lining Up Gunners



Action Shot of Judge Ross Peden with Howard Simson


 
Handlers Watching Test Dog



Dexter & Dave


 
Judges Before Starting Test 6

 

 

Friday September 21, 2012

Test 6 - Continued

The next morning, it poured rain while the gunners were being ferried out to their stations but by the time the guns went off, the skies had cleared and a light ground fog had settled over the test. There was no wind to start the test and the temperature was 7C. The day before there were only 2 bird changes and the gunners were out for hours. A huge thank you to all who went out. Gunners that braved the elements for 5-6 hours each: Donald Martin, David Thompson, Trevor Dickens, John Mairs, Judy Wilson, Connie Swanson, Jim Ralph, Chris Mason, Rich Deeds, Heather Stewart, Marilyn & Neil Hunter. To finish, a few more volunteers headed out for the long haul. They were, Dennis Voigt, Bill Kennedy, Andy Carlson, Dave Broomhead, Lizzie Rogers, and Marg Murray. THANK YOU!
 
Once the test got underway, for the most part it was sunny and quite nice, before showers moved in. The dogs seemed to have more problems coming up with the right hand retired gun on the second day, and less of a problem with the long centre retired. There were a few pickups, a number of handles and some good work.
 
Callbacks: 29 dogs were called back to the the 7th series. Dogs called back are: 4, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 37, 38, 41, 43, 44, 46, 47, 51, 53, 55, 59, 64, 66, 68, 69, 73. Dogs not called back: 1, 3, 5, 7, 34, 35, 39, 45, 48, 50, 58, 65, 74.

Test 7 - Water Blind with a Poison Bird

Test 7 was a 267 yard water blind with a poison bird thrown right to left onto a point along the right hand shore. The gunners sat 142 yards from line. The test was run from a bald rock and once the dog was in the water, handlers could move up onto a road behind to handle. When the dogs came to line, they looked out into big water. The line to the blind started downhill through uncut hay and then over a dike. Dogs had to pass a point on which a poison bird was thrown and then catch the end of a long grassy spit that ran along the left side of most of the blind. The bird was planted on an island.
 
Almo was the only test dog. As she entered the water, she turned left, out of sight along the dike was picked up. On the resend she had multiple casts to get into the water and then had a decent blind. By the time the first dog came to line, the rain had stopped but the skies remained overcast. Some dogs had difficulty picking out the handler when the sun occasionally peeked out from behind the clouds. Seven dogs ran before the rain and lightning started up and the gunners were brought in.
 



 
Handlers Watching Test Dog



Before the Skies Opened


 



 
Early on, when there was very little wind, the dog work was better. Later, after a strong wind developed coming off the poison bird, a number of dogs couldn't resist the temptation. Dogs that made it past the poison bird, had to fight the wind to stay on line and required many whistles.
 
Callbacks: 23 dogs are called back to the 8th series. Dogs called back are: 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 26, 27, 28, 32, 38, 41, 43, 44, 46, 51, 53, 55, 59, 64, 66, 68, 69, 73. Dogs not called back: 4, 9, 18, 31, 37, 47.
 

Saturday September 22, 2012

Test 8 - Double Land Blind With A Poison Bird

Test 8 was a double land blind with a poison bird. The test was run in a natural field of blueberry shrubs, small spruce trees, surrounded by larger spruce trees, white birch and maples. Frost had already killed off the field ferns. The short left blind was 72 yards, downhill at the base of a small spruce tree. The long 225 yard blind was to the right of the short blind, between the short blind and the poison bird. The poison bird, a hen mallard, right to left towards the line to the long blind. Distance to the poison bird was 150 yards. There were patches of dead ferns and heavier cover on line to both blinds. With the rolling terrain, dogs were briefly out of sight deep of the poison bird. The short blind was a hen pheasant, and the long blind a rooster pheasant.
 
For the first test dog the gunners fired a dry shot. Almo did an excellent job on both blinds. For male test dog, The Springwaters Mister Y of Tamsu owned and handled by John Mairs, the poison bird was thrown. Mister had a few more whistles but did a good job on both blinds. For both test dogs there was no wind. With a hen pheasant on the downhill short blind, some dogs had difficulty coming up with the bird and the judges got lots of answers. Dogs had less problems with the long blind.
 



 
Handlers Watching Test Dog - Mister


 



 
Callbacks: 21 dogs were called back to the 9th series. Dogs called back are: 10, 13, 14, 15, 26, 27, 28, 32, 38, 41, 43, 44, 46, 51, 53, 55, 59, 64, 66, 68, 69. Dogs not called back: 8, 73.
 

Test 9 - Land Quad with 3 Retired Guns

Test 9 was a Land Quad with 3 retired guns. The order of the guns was from right to left around the clock. Only the left hand gunners remained visible. The left hand mark was the hen duck poison bird from the 8th series. The long left centre was a drake mallard, the short right centre was a rooster pheasant and the right hand mark was a hen mallard. All birds were thrown right to left except the long centre left which was thrown left to right. The running line was moved back and to the right of the 8th series running line, making the left hand throw a tight angle back. The long centre left bird was a big throw angled slightly back. There was a hill to the left and behind the gun station. The short right retired mark was thrown angled back and the right hand retired mark was thrown out from the tree line into the field, also angled back. The dog disappear briefly behind a ridge that ran to the right of the short retired gun, on the way to the right hand mark. The distance to the right hand mark was 210 yards, 175 yards to the short right centre mark, 295 to the long left centre mark and 180 yards to the left hand mark. The field was rolling hills with lots of cover changes. The wind was 25km NW making it a down wind test.
 



 
Almo was the first test dog to run. For Almo; the order of the guns was right, long centre left, left, and the go bird was centre right. The short centre right gunners and the left gun station were visible. Almo made the test look easy so the judges changed the retired gun stations and the order. When John and Mister ran, the order was right to left around the clock with the left gun station, the only visible gun. Mister had a good left hand bird, hunted short and right of the short right centre mark before working his was to the bird. When sent for the right hand mark he went back to the short right centre mark. He was brought back and resent and had to be handled. For the long centre left retired, Mister started out on a good line but hunted right and left of the holding blind before sorting it out. Many dogs had similar work to Mister.
 
Generally, dogs had difficulty coming up with the short centre right retired gun. Many went deep to the long centre left and when resent for the short retired, wanted to go deep again and needed to be handled.
 



 
Callbacks: 11 Finalists were called back to the 10th series. 13, 14, 27, 28, 32, 41, 44, 53, 55, 64, 66.
 

Sunday September 23, 2012

Test 10 - Water Quad With 3 Retired Guns

When the setup crew arrived, the stars were out, a welcome reprieve from the rain and overcast mornings of the past week. The temperature was a cool 4C and once again, no wind for the test dogs. A mist caused by cool air over warm water, delayed the start. While waiting for the fog to clear, the contestants observed a cow moose crossing the road nearby the pond. Once the sun came up and the fog burned off, the spectacular Fall colours provided a backdrop to the test.
Test 10 was a water quad with 3 retired guns, in the same pond as the Test 7 water blind. The test was run from a hill to the right of the running line for the water blind, with the lines to all 4 marks crossing the line to the blind. The short visible go bird was thrown to an island along the spit that figured prominently in Test 7. Dogs that cheated along the shore on the way to retrieve the go bird, crossed over the point where the poison bird was thrown from Test 7. The order of the guns was the centre right, left, centre left and then the right hand go bird. All guns retired except the short right hand gunners on the spit. The gunners on the centre right were directly behind the gun station on the spit. The 2 right hand marks were a flowerpot with the short mark thrown left to right, out of the test, and the long mark thrown from right to left, into the test. Both left hand retired guns threw left to right. Birds for the right centre and left centre retired marks converged into a clearing with patches of heavy cover surrounding white birch and spruce trees. Both were drake mallards thrown into cover. The long centre right retired duck was taped to make it more visible against the trees. For the early dogs, the long centre right retired gunners were in the shade. Both outside marks were hen mallards.
 



 



 
After a fog delay, female test dog AFTCH TML's Light The Lamp, with owner/handler Bill Kennedy, was called to line. When the test dogs ran, the long right retired gun station was in the shadows. Almo retrieved the right hand go bird first. She ran the shore to the point where the poison bird from Test 7 was thrown and then jumped into the water and swam to the island bird. Bill chose to send Almo to the left retired gun second and did a good job. Next Bill sent Almo for the centre left retired and she had an excellent line to the bird. There are 2 spits that run through the test with the dog out of sight behind the second spit. Almo carried her line without squaring across either spit and came up with the bird after a tight hunt. For the long right centre bird, Almo took a line along the right hand shore before entering to cross the pond deep of the mark. She hunted one of the islands before Bill handled her to the bird.
 
The male test dog was AFTCH Tealcreek High Tyde Coot, owned by Dona and Donald Martin and handled by Donald. For Cooter, all of the birds thrown on the retired guns had white tape. The order of the guns remained the same. Cooter did a good job on the go bird. For the left hand retired gun, Cooter went left on the downside of the dike but corrected at the tree line and went directly to the gun station before hunting his way to the bird. Cooter was sent to the left centre retired gun third and had a good line to the second spit. He took a few turns on the spit in drag back scent before driving back to the bird. For the long right centre retired, Cooter went left of the line to the bird and made few turns deep and under the arch of the centre left retired before working his was to the proper gun station and sorting out the mark.
 
Cooter and Donald



Almo and Bill


 
By the time the first running dog was called to line, the wind had come up from the NW. No dogs had difficulty with the go bird. However, all of the other marks produced answers. For the left hand retired mark, some dogs hunted the middle of the field before working their way over to the point of cover where the gunners for the centre left mark hid. Some dogs had difficulty coming up with the centre left mark and ended up retrieving the centre right mark. When resent for the centre left bird, they had to be handled. With the 2 centre throws converging in the same clearing and thrown into cover, many dogs had difficulty determining which bird they had retrieved and were handled to one or the other bird. Test 10 gave every dog the opportunity to step up and win the National, but only a few rose to the occasion and did not handle.
 
Before adjourning to Headquarters to await the winner announcement, finalists were presented with Finalist Gifts generously donated by Ducks Unlimited Canada.
 
Gallery Braving the Cold



Handlers Watching Test Dogs