British Field Trial at Duckhill - 11 April [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: British Field Trial at Duckhill - 11 April

03-23-2009, 11:36 AM
British Field Trial at DuckHill – April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008 we will conduct a British Field Trial at Duck Hill Kennels. This will be a one-day, 12-dog event run under British Kennel Club rules. The judges will be Robin Watson, an “A Panel” judge and noted gundog trainer from England, and Bill Gibson, an experienced American gundog trainer, who has run in retriever competitions in the UK. Also judging will be Chris Atkinson of RTF fame, and Jeff Swackhammer, a knowledgeble lab breeder from Indiana.

All retrieves will be of shot flyers. Birds will be pheasants, pigeons, and ducks.
Entry fee will be $50 to cover cost of birds.

We will have a practice trial on Friday April 10. Anyone is welcome to attend and and participate in the practice. It will be an opportunity to get familiar with the rules, and you will be allowed to correct your dog. Pigeons will be shot at $3.00 per bird.

Entries will be accepted until March 24.

On March 25 at 2:00 pm we will have a drawing. All are invited to attend the drawing if they wish. The first 12 applicants drawn will be the competing dogs. We will draw 2 reserves in case of cancellations. Those applicants who are not drawn will be refunded their entry fee. Send entries (with check payable to DuckHill Kennels) to:

Robert Milner
Duckhill Kennels
350 Bailey Morrison Dr
Somerville TN 38068

We will have a dinner the night of the 11th and talk about setting up a British Lab Breeders Association to promote British Labs and the good qualities thereof. We will also discuss setting up a circuit of British Field Trials.

On Sunday the 12th we will have a seminar on the mechanics and judging of British style Field Trials.

All are encouraged to attend and/or to enter their dogs. In general terms you can expect that steadiness, manners, delivery to hand will be strenuously tested. Expect to handle your dog in a walkup line with up to 6 dogs in line as well. Expect to work in a line and honor with up to 6 dogs on line in the pass shooting.

The tests will be of two categories; (1)walk-up in a line with birds being flushed and shot. (2) Pass shooting with high thrown birds being shot to fall where they may.

The tests will be determined by where the birds land, and each dog will have a different test accordingly. There is never a “no bird” in a British Field Trial. The dogs will be expected to find the bird wherever it happens to fall. Also thoroughly tested will be game-finding initiative and perseverance of hunting. Also be ready for demanding blind retrieves. (Leaving the short obvious retrieves lying in order to go for the long unseen cripple in heavy cover).

03-23-2009, 11:45 AM
Here is a more lengthy description:

There is a new retriever field trial game on the scene. It is aimed at the 1.2 million gundogs employed in the US to retrieve the waterfowl and upland gamebirds downed by their hunter/owners. This field trial is conducted entirely on actual shooting of flying birds in two basic scenarios where each dog’s test is different and is determined by where the bird falls. These trials realistically test and evaluate the three essential behaviors of gundogs:

1. Good manners in a high distraction environment – In a field trial the dog may have to sit quietly while 15 or 20 ducks are shot passing over. He may have to continue to sit quietly while 3 or 4 other dogs retrieve prior to his turn.
2. The dog must find the bird wherever it lands.
3. The dog must handle quickly and efficiently away from close obvious dead birds and go after the long unseen (by the dog) fall of a crippled bird and track it down.

The two types of shooting seen in these trials are pass shooting and flushed bird shooting.
For pass shooting pigeons, pheasants, chukars or ducks are lofted in a high flight path over stationary shooters. Just as in hunting, the flight path and landing of the shot bird determine the nature of the test presented each dog. The bird may land in light cover and be an easy retrieve, or it may land way back in the heavy brush and require an arduous and skillful hunt for the successful dog. Normally up to 12 dogs may be sitting on line as the birds are flying over and being shot. This is a demanding test of manners and steadiness and is comparable to the steadiness required from a dog when a flight of 50 or 100 ducks is worked, lit in the decoys and 5 or 6 ducks are shot as they are climbing out.
The second scenario is flushing of birds from the ground. Here birds are put out prior to the test and flushed for shooting. Dogs, guns, and a group of beaters line up and walk a field to flush the birds. As the line moves along birds are flushed and shot. When several birds are down, or when a bird is crippled, the line stops and the dogs are called on to retrieve. In the order of the dogs numbers, the judges instruct each handler on which bird the dog is to retrieve. Cripples are always collected first. The lucky dog whose number comes up to retrieve a cripple will get a chance to excel. When the dog is sent, he is expected to focus on the cripple to the exclusion of any other birds that he happens to flush. Chasing fresh game in those circumstances is an eliminating fault. If the dog is tenacious on the track and retrieves the bird, he will get extra points. If he fails, the next dog up will get a chance to try. If the second dog succeeds, he will get extra credit, and the previous dog will be eliminated. The successful second dog is said to have wiped the eye of the failing first dog. Thus the dogs are tested with circumstances remarkably close to the real hunting situation.
These hunting dog retriever trials are also easy to put on, and fun to watch. They are small and mobile, and move to where the birds are to be found and shot. The gallery of spectators moves with the trial, so every one gets plenty of exercise. Drawn from the entries two weeks prior to the date of the trial, a one-day trial will have 12 dogs running, while a two-day trial will have 24 dogs. With the small number of competing dogs, the judges have plenty of time to properly and carefully judge the behaviors expected o f an excellent gundog.
The small number of competing dogs also makes the logistics of providing birds very easy. A one-day trial for example will need only 70 to 80 birds to provide each dog with 6 to 7 retrieves, so that each dog’s hunting ability and manners are fully evaluated. Additionally, since the dogs are tested only on live birds, it is easy to recruit shooters for the trial.
The focus on the hunter is further maintained by the rule that a maximum of 2 dogs can be run by one handler in a given field trial. Although there is no differentiation between professional trainer and amateur in these trials, one can expect that the small number of competing dogs and the 2-dog-per-handler limit will make the trials unattractive to a professional trainer with a truck full of dogs
The full set of judging criteria are:

Judging Criteria

d. Credit Points
Natural gamefinding ability------------------------Control
Drive and Style----------------------------------Quiet Handling
Good retrieving and delivery----------------------Nose
Quickness in gathering game----------------------Marking ability

e. Eliminating Faults
Hard mouth--------------------------------------Whining or barking
Running in or breaking----------------------------Out of Control
Failing to enter water----------------------------Rufusal to retrieve
Changing game while retrieving-------------------Chasing
Without merit

f. Major Faults
Unsteadiness at heel------------------------------being eye wiped
Disturbing ground---------------------------------Poor control
Slack and un-businesslike work--------------------Failing to find dead or wounded game
Noisy or inappropriate handling--------------------Sloppy retrieving and delivery

These judging criteria are all important behaviors for a gundog. Any dog that excels in these behaviors will be a pleasant and valuable hunting companion. More importantly, that dog will be a valuable conservation agent, by collecting many crippled birds that might otherwise be lost.

03-23-2009, 02:21 PM
Take me home Daddy!!!
Robert ,
Is this (I am confused probably the scotch whisky) the same as the trial at duplins or some thing different?

Chris Atkinson
04-15-2009, 01:13 AM
Robert Milner's American Gundog Trial results:

1st place to Teal, owned and handled by Bill Billups
2nd place to Laya, owned by Mark Hart, handled by Mike Pind
3rd place to Sage, owned and handled by Steward Hoy

Congratulations to all three, as well as the entire field of competitors for this event. The gunners were great and the gallery was full of friendly and enthusiastic folks.

I had a great time judging with: Robin Watson of England, and Americans Jeff Swackhammer and Bill Gibson.

I made some new friends whom I hope to see again soon. As always, brother Robert and his lovely wife Susan were great hosts.

Among the funnest times were those hanging out in the guest house with Robin and Bill late at night, discussing training, trialing and dogs in general... It was really a great experience.


04-15-2009, 04:53 PM
So Glad it went ahead! and sounds like a great day was had by all/
tell us more?
How many runners? was there anyone from the uk?describe the action,as different to US trials?
Is there another planned for next year?