Thursday September 16, 2021

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Test 7 - Water Quad With 1 Retired Gun

Brought to you by Purina, Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada

Purina logo

Update: 3:42 pm
Its a bright sunny day with a cool temperature of 11C. Luckily Purina is sponsoring a hot breakfast for all of the contestants and workers. Thank you to our major sponsor Purina. For the 7th series water quad we are back at Gahonk Kennels, Headquarters. The test is being run in 2 ponds separated by a mowed dike. There is a touch of colour in the trees along the far side of the ponds. Fall is coming soon. From the line to the water’s edge the field is knee high uncut clover and hay mix. There are bushes and cattails all along both sides of both ponds. A drake mallard is thrown on the long left retired and all the other birds thrown are hen mallards. The order of the guns is clockwise from long left retired, centre left, centre right and the go bird is on land on the near shore to the right. The first 3 gun stations are all across the ponds to the far shore. Distances to the marks are; 307 yards to the long left retired, 255 yards to the centre left, 158 yards to the centre right and 122 yards to the go bird. In other words, the distance to the marks gets progressively shorter with each gun. For test dogs, the water was like glass, although we could feel a breeze coming straight down the ponds. For the most part, all the birds thrown this week have been thrown into heavy cover, so the dogs have to dig them out and don’t get the benefit of seeing the bird when they get to the area. This test is no different. The long left and centre left are thrown right to left down the shore. The centre right is thrown contrary, left to right and the go bird is thrown into the test from right to left.


To start the test, all of the gunners on the far shore are in the bright sun and the right hand go bird is in the shadows. It will be interesting to see how the lighting changes will affect the test later in the day.Male Test Dog Brady was up first. He had difficulty digging out the go bird that was thrown angle into high weeds and brush at the edge of an island of trees. There was no wind or much scent to help him with his hunt so Brady ended up being handed. For the centre right mark, Brady’s bird landed in a tree and had to be knocked down while he was retrieving the go bird. Brady swan to the gun station and put up an extensive hunt along the dike and into the trees before being handled and helped to the bird. For the centre left mark Brady swam to the gun station and hooked over to pick up the bird that landed behind a prominent log on the far shore. For the left long retired, Brady started out on a good line into the 2nd pond but faded right once he was into the water. He exited early on land between the long left and centre left gun stations and drove up hill. He put on a substantial hunt on the hill side on the wrong side of the holding blind before working his was down hill and deep of the gun station and then appeared to wind the bird because he came right into it on shore.
Next up is Ann Steer and Putzi. For the go bird on the right, Putzi fell off the hill and initiated her hunt along the island of trees to the left of the bird and worked her way to the point of cover and the bird. For the centre right mark, Putzi went under the arc and hunted along the dike and into the trees before working her way over to the bird. For the centre left mark, Putzi swam under the arc and looped over to get the bird behind the log. For the long left retired, Putzi started out on a good initial line into the second pond but faded right and landed between the long left and centre left gun stations, similar to Brady. She then drove up hill into a clearing behind the gun station and hunted out of sigt. Eventually she came down to the shore and retieved her bird from the cattails.
It is going to be a long test with each dog taking between 20-25 minutes. Doing about 3 dogs an hour, 32 dogs. Of the first 6 dogs, there was a pick up, 2 handles and 3 did it.
At 3:42 pm the judges called the test for the day. There are 12 more dogs to run tomorrow morning. As noted earlier, the lighting conditions changed significantly and the long left retired gunners were backlit and the dogs could not pick them out. The other gunners on the far shore were in shadows and the birds were barely visible in the black shadows. A good call by the judges.

Workers’ Party

The Workers’ Party is a chance for everyone to unwind and show appreciation to all of the volunteers that make these events possible. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was once again, Bill Kennedy. Homemade lasagna dinner was a hit with everyone. With COVID restrictions still in place, dinner was outside and thankfully the weather cooperated. Unfortunately that meant most of the festivities took place by candlelight and photos were not possible. However, we had reason to celebrate our oldest gunner Albert Gatrell who turns 90 tomorrow. Never too old. For the occasion we had a surprise birthday cake. Happy Birthday Albert!
One of the fundraisers that help defer costs of hosting a National is the Silent Auction. Thank you to all of our sponsors and individuals who donated items for the Silent Auction. So many choices for Christmas presents or just gifts to spoil ourselves.
Albert & Kathleen Gatrell