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Thread: Thank You NAHRA, LCRC and RTF! A trail brag

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Default Thank You NAHRA, LCRC and RTF! A trail brag

    I just wanted to take a second and give a shout out to and public thank you to……
    EVERYONE who has ever tossed a duck or blown a call or stood in the mud and planted a blind for me and my mutts over the years.
    To the North American Hunting Retriever Association for the original hunt test rule book.
    To the Lake Champlain Retriever Club for hosting the events I so much enjoy.
    And to the People, both here in the interwebs and in real life.
    I thank you all so very much!
    In the beginning I was a humble waterfowler. I went to watch a NAHRA Field Test with my friend Jim Greene in Stowe, Vermont. We were dumbfounded! Joined the club and started entering tests. Started failing right away. Failed for every reason you can think of.
    The failing motivated me. I would work hard on why I would fail one test only to fail at something else the next time. The task I would fail the most often on in the beginning was the trail portion of the test. I started working hard on this task alone. Set up some type of trail now every time I train if I am able to. I start my dogs on it at a very young age now and make it a fun game. I would never have worked so hard on this if not for all my failures at the NAHRA Field Tests.
    So, Monday October 28 I was sitting in my Hawkins rd. blind with John Luco. I have brought him a few times this year. John is 72 years old and does not have many more duck hunts left. He has fun. Well that morning. Just like a hunt test scenario. I was pouring a cup of coffee and a group of 8 Canada Geese flew over from in back of us without making a sound. Feet down and looking. So John, without even standing up out of his folding chair pulls up and shoots. The last goose in the line falters, wobbles, and starts to glide in for a landing on the other side of the swamp. It went down near a red bush and I marked it. But it was a long way. I decided that instead of sending Loco from the blind we would walk around the swamp to the red bush and hunt it up. The walk around is the yellow line in the photo from goggle earth below. It took me 45 minutes from the time the goose went down. Once at the red bush I gave Loco the “Find the Bird” command and he started sniffing. I could tell by his ears and tail when he found the start and encouraged him but it was slow work. He had to go back to the start a couple times but worked it out and started to go a little faster. The red line in the photo below is from the red bush start of the trail to the end. While the line is straight the trail was not and the cover was scrubby old pastureland that is now unmowed state WMA property. It took another 45 minutes for Loco to get to the goose. The second photo, bad I know. Is from my telephone as I was scampering after Loco. I knew he was close when he started sneezing and clearing his nose and quickening his pace.
    This will be “The” retrieve of the season and this bird would have been lost if I had been the hunter I used to be back before my NAHRA and LCRC and RTF involvement. You all have made me a better waterfowler. You all have given me the tools to have a better hunting dog / dogs
    This post is not to pit hunting dogs against testing dogs nor promote any drama from anyone. It is simply to give credit were credit is due. Retriever club involvement, training for field tests and running them does build a better hunting retriever.
    Thank You All!


    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

  2. #2
    Senior Member The Snows's Avatar
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    Good job Loco!!
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    Senior Member Illinois Bob's Avatar
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    Cool story. I'm glad you admit your failures and the benefits of learning from them. I'm glad I'm not alone there. I also had a retrieve like that once. It wasn't an old guy but it was a for a person I didn't know. My first lab was a really nice hunting dog. One day I was in the pheasant area at Horicon Marsh's state area. I was sitting, taking a rest, watching some guys along a fence line pass shooting at geese that were leaving the refuge. One guy nicked one and it sailed a long way off into the cattails. Later, he was leaving and I asked him if he was going after his goose or not. He said there would be no way to find it in all those cattails. I told him to take a seat on a stump and we'll send the dog after it. He was so worried that I would lose my dog. It took awhile but the the dog never gave up. You could hear him from time to time crashing around in there. He found the goose and brought it out to us. I just remember how happy that guy was to get his goose. That still stands out as that dogs best retrieve in his life and a great memory for me. Your story reminded me of it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    I just wanted to take a second and give a shout out to and public thank you to……
    EVERYONE who has ever tossed a duck or blown a call or stood in the mud and planted a blind for me and my mutts over the years.
    To the North American Hunting Retriever Association for the original hunt test rule book.
    To the Lake Champlain Retriever Club for hosting the events I so much enjoy.
    And to the People, both here in the interwebs and in real life.
    I thank you all so very much!
    In the beginning I was a humble waterfowler. I went to watch a NAHRA Field Test with my friend Jim Greene in Stowe, Vermont. We were dumbfounded! Joined the club and started entering tests. Started failing right away. Failed for every reason you can think of.
    The failing motivated me. I would work hard on why I would fail one test only to fail at something else the next time. The task I would fail the most often on in the beginning was the trail portion of the test. I started working hard on this task alone. Set up some type of trail now every time I train if I am able to. I start my dogs on it at a very young age now and make it a fun game. I would never have worked so hard on this if not for all my failures at the NAHRA Field Tests.
    So, Monday October 28 I was sitting in my Hawkins rd. blind with John Luco. I have brought him a few times this year. John is 72 years old and does not have many more duck hunts left. He has fun. Well that morning. Just like a hunt test scenario. I was pouring a cup of coffee and a group of 8 Canada Geese flew over from in back of us without making a sound. Feet down and looking. So John, without even standing up out of his folding chair pulls up and shoots. The last goose in the line falters, wobbles, and starts to glide in for a landing on the other side of the swamp. It went down near a red bush and I marked it. But it was a long way. I decided that instead of sending Loco from the blind we would walk around the swamp to the red bush and hunt it up. The walk around is the yellow line in the photo from goggle earth below. It took me 45 minutes from the time the goose went down. Once at the red bush I gave Loco the “Find the Bird” command and he started sniffing. I could tell by his ears and tail when he found the start and encouraged him but it was slow work. He had to go back to the start a couple times but worked it out and started to go a little faster. The red line in the photo below is from the red bush start of the trail to the end. While the line is straight the trail was not and the cover was scrubby old pastureland that is now unmowed state WMA property. It took another 45 minutes for Loco to get to the goose. The second photo, bad I know. Is from my telephone as I was scampering after Loco. I knew he was close when he started sneezing and clearing his nose and quickening his pace.
    This will be “The” retrieve of the season and this bird would have been lost if I had been the hunter I used to be back before my NAHRA and LCRC and RTF involvement. You all have made me a better waterfowler. You all have given me the tools to have a better hunting dog / dogs
    This post is not to pit hunting dogs against testing dogs nor promote any drama from anyone. It is simply to give credit were credit is due. Retriever club involvement, training for field tests and running them does build a better hunting retriever.
    Thank You All!


    NAHRA is the only retriever org today that still tests and evaluates a retriever's 'nose' and the ability to trail a bird.

    I'm glad you and Loco were dedicated enough to make the long slog to the area and that Loco used her natural ability and training to recover that goose for your old friend. You're a fine example of what an ethical hunter should be.

    Extra biscuits for Loco!!!!-Paul
    there's no good reason to fatten up a retriever.

  5. #5
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    Hunting dogs which have been trained for tests? Can't possibly happen?! Lol bora must have been abducted by aliens. Sort of looks like crop circles on the upper right side of the picture.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    Default Training for Trails

    My story isn't too different from Ken's and I credit NAHRA for showing me the importance of training for trails. (I think my first dog Roxie set the record for most NAHRA Seniors failed.) It's really easy to train for, fun for the dog and mostly natural ability. Some of my dogs have been much better than others, but they all can do a serviceable job.

    But why train for something dogs do naturally? One of my favorite trails was run by Daisy years ago while pheasant hunting. I was hunting with a friend whose dog was a very experienced pheasant dog. We knocked a bird down in knee-high brome grass, with him landing just over the fence where we had permission. Both dogs were under the fence in a flash looking for the bird. Daisy could be handled to the spot the bird fell and given the trailing command, which I did. She RAN about 250 yds parallel to the fence, then about 50 back through into the farm we were on and grabbed the bird. In the time this took, Drake was still frantically trying to find the start of the trail... On a dry day, a prompt start on the trail can make the difference between finding the bird and not.

    When they're needed in hunting, trails "make my day."

    I miss not having NAHRA around here any more, but I keep many of the lessons learned.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Way to go team Bora
    Wayne Nutt
    Go Nutts with dog training

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    I just wanted to take a second and give a shout out to and public thank you to……
    EVERYONE who has ever tossed a duck or blown a call or stood in the mud and planted a blind for me and my mutts over the years.
    To the North American Hunting Retriever Association for the original hunt test rule book.
    To the Lake Champlain Retriever Club for hosting the events I so much enjoy.
    And to the People, both here in the interwebs and in real life.
    I thank you all so very much!
    In the beginning I was a humble waterfowler. I went to watch a NAHRA Field Test with my friend Jim Greene in Stowe, Vermont. We were dumbfounded! Joined the club and started entering tests. Started failing right away. Failed for every reason you can think of.
    The failing motivated me. I would work hard on why I would fail one test only to fail at something else the next time. The task I would fail the most often on in the beginning was the trail portion of the test. I started working hard on this task alone. Set up some type of trail now every time I train if I am able to. I start my dogs on it at a very young age now and make it a fun game. I would never have worked so hard on this if not for all my failures at the NAHRA Field Tests.
    So, Monday October 28 I was sitting in my Hawkins rd. blind with John Luco. I have brought him a few times this year. John is 72 years old and does not have many more duck hunts left. He has fun. Well that morning. Just like a hunt test scenario. I was pouring a cup of coffee and a group of 8 Canada Geese flew over from in back of us without making a sound. Feet down and looking. So John, without even standing up out of his folding chair pulls up and shoots. The last goose in the line falters, wobbles, and starts to glide in for a landing on the other side of the swamp. It went down near a red bush and I marked it. But it was a long way. I decided that instead of sending Loco from the blind we would walk around the swamp to the red bush and hunt it up. The walk around is the yellow line in the photo from goggle earth below. It took me 45 minutes from the time the goose went down. Once at the red bush I gave Loco the “Find the Bird” command and he started sniffing. I could tell by his ears and tail when he found the start and encouraged him but it was slow work. He had to go back to the start a couple times but worked it out and started to go a little faster. The red line in the photo below is from the red bush start of the trail to the end. While the line is straight the trail was not and the cover was scrubby old pastureland that is now unmowed state WMA property. It took another 45 minutes for Loco to get to the goose. The second photo, bad I know. Is from my telephone as I was scampering after Loco. I knew he was close when he started sneezing and clearing his nose and quickening his pace.
    This will be “The” retrieve of the season and this bird would have been lost if I had been the hunter I used to be back before my NAHRA and LCRC and RTF involvement. You all have made me a better waterfowler. You all have given me the tools to have a better hunting dog / dogs
    This post is not to pit hunting dogs against testing dogs nor promote any drama from anyone. It is simply to give credit were credit is due. Retriever club involvement, training for field tests and running them does build a better hunting retriever.
    Thank You All!


    You said "it is to give credit where credit is due". Short the sentence is but so accurate is it's meaning. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
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    image.jpg

    Ken, this is actually a GREAT photo. The blurriness (is that a word?). Tells part of the story. If this was my dog and my retrieve... This photo would be framed and hanging prominently in my den. This is a memory that cannot be recreated.

    Great story and great retrieve.
    Bill Davis

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    Ken, this is actually a GREAT photo. The blurriness (is that a word?). Tells part of the story. .
    the goose was Loco's first bird that was still alive at the end of a trail. of course he has done a few duck chases in water but this bird had some fight left. looking it over after, John dropped it with one pellet in the birds right wing (elbow?) the other wing worked.
    This bird, I am sure would have been lost. And had a slow death if not for the retriever club, and NAHRA. Training for tests builds a better retriever! Even if you choose not to run them, I test very little now, but train a lot.
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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