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Thread: Questions about youths running Hunt Test

  1. #1
    Junior Member Firemanf21's Avatar
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    Default UPDATE!! 6/1/14 youths running Hunt Test

    I will try to not make the a long post (it probably will be) but here is our background.

    My now 12yo is absolutly crazy about Duck hunting! i hadnt duck hunted in several year and I got back into mostly for him. we have been hunting together for the last 3 or 4 years and i cherish every hunt.

    Last year we got into a different lease with several guys who had retrievers. He fell in love with the idea of having his own dog. He dropped hints all season long about wanting a retriever of his own. After much debate with my wife, we decided to set him down and descuss it with him. You know the "you have to feed and take care of him" speech. So we secured a pup in january and she came home with us late febuary. He is up every morning at 5:30 to feed and let the dog out as well as spend a little time with her before he catches the bus at 6:30. He also does much of the training. He taught her all of her obdiance commands as well as working with her on retieving.

    Neither one of us has ever trained a dog.

    At 6 months old i sent her off to be forch fetched, collar conditioned as well as a few other things. she has been gone for almost 2 months and we are getting her back soon, we will continue to train as well as hunt her some this season.

    He has since day one had a desire to run his dog in hunt test, We have been to several throught the area last spring and this fall to get an idea of what is expected as well as watch some of the pros run. I even got him to bird boy a couple of local test.

    Now for the question:
    As a 12 yo how far can he go in this game? We are planning to start running started test this spring. I have come to the realization that it is as much if not more about the handler than it is about the dog. Every dog has good days and bad but i think its up to the handler to work the dog through the bad days and complete the test. I often refere hunt test as a chess match, a thinking mans game. I have seen very few kids his age run test and several of the one i did were pros kids . We have several pro's locally that are willing to work with my son and prepare him for the test. Even with this, i am unsure how far someone his age can go.

    Be honest! I would love to hear you comments and suggestions,and anyone that has been in my shoes please tell me what to expect.

    As a dad i would like to make sure my son has every tool as well as every oppertunity to be succesful as handler and a hunter! Who knows this could be his calling!

    Thanks in advance for your help
    Last edited by Firemanf21; 06-01-2014 at 04:42 PM. Reason: update

  2. #2
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    The first question i can think of if he is really excited by it is...."What does he have to lose"? What are the consequences of a failed hunt test? I cant think of any. My best advice going forward would be to go watch a test or two at the different levels so you know exactly what to expect. Become very acquainted with the rules and also invest in a training program such as Total retriever training or fowl dawgs. Time with a pro is great, but it also helps to know and understand each step and goal you are working for with the dog and to be able to progress at home with the dog. Keep in mind this is just my 2 cents but that is the way i see things.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JustinS's Avatar
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    He can go as far as anyone else there was a young girl that ran her dog at the master national and she was right around 13 i do believe . If you want him to really succeed and want him to learn right buy him the TRT series by mike lardy for christmas this way he can watch the videos and read the manuals and know how things are done and then let him work with the pros around you so he has working knowledge with multiple dogs. It may just start out as a weekend or summer job but could develop into much more good luck and thank you for introducing your boy to the sport and letting him take on responsibility.
    Justin E Schneider

    Xtreme's 30 Rounds N' 1 Full Maggie SH
    Foundation's One Up the Sleeve


    "Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail." -- Josh Billings

    Some peoples stiffest competition is themselves.--MooseGooser

  4. #4
    Senior Member Carol's Avatar
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    Congratulations to you for encouraging this young man to be part of a very positive sport. I agree with what the other posters have said. Give him the tools to train his dog, get as much support from pros and experienced amateurs as you can, and above all have fun. I would add two things. One, if you have a local retriever club, join it. Having a local training group is a great advantage. Two, go online to AKC.ORG and apply for a Junior Handler number before you enter any AKC Hunting Tests. Your son will run as a junior handler until he is 18 years old. At every event he qualifies a dog, a form with his Junior Handler information will be filled out and signed by the event judges. AKC keeps track of qualifications and awards scholarships based on participation.

    My avatar is my grandson at 6 the weekend he earned his first two junior passes.
    Carol Hynes

  5. #5
    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
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    My son has run my dogs many times. He ran my dog Annie for her SHR when he was 7.

    Here is a pic of him running at a local invitation event when he was 8.



    Here is another at 9 running Junior. I concur about the Junior Handler program, it is worthwhile.



    Both of my dogs are very unsure running blinds with him. His technique is unorthodox and he is lacking in patience. I bought a youth Mossberg 20 this fall and next spring he will be running Seasoned and maybe Senior. Now, at 10 years old, I let him run both of my older dogs while I ride the four wheeler and throw marks.

    At 12 I feel the dog can learn as fast as your son. He should be capable of competance at any level of hunt tests with hard work and dedication.
    Mark Land

  6. #6
    Senior Member hughest's Avatar
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    There was a young girl at Master National running her dog last month. I think her name is Marissa, and seems like she is 13 or 14.

    12 is not too young! If he has a passion for it, you'll be surprised at how helpful folks will be to a youngster in the sport. They are the future of these games that we all love!
    Tracy Hughes - Crimson Kennels
    www.crimsonkennels.com

    Jessica's Chocolate Cait, MH
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  7. #7
    Senior Member chuck187's Avatar
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    Fishduck make a great point. I've seen several folks with kids running there dogs for scholarships. What a cool way to grow up......
    HRCH UR01 CH UNJ WHISKEY CREEK'S DUKE CHASCERI MH
    Cherokee Foothills HRC

  8. #8
    Senior Member jacduck's Avatar
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    Damn fine idea, go for it!

    Let the pair of kids do what kids do and have fun! If they enjoy the HT scenario like I think they will you are way ahead of the game. If not you are out some time and cash with the lessons learned by all 3 of you way more valuable than the time or money.
    John C aka jacduck


    "Duck hunter's minds are like concrete. All mixed up and permanently set."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    He can run HRC as well. Only thing You may need to figure out. If You run HRC he can handle the dog and shoot the gun, as long he has all the documentation required by your state law. Example CA a youth can hunt (junior license) and handle a gun @ 12 yrs. providing he has taken and passed a hunter safety as is under supervision, either parent or shooting instructor.
    "They's Just DAWGS"
    "Hunting is a skill to be learned whether you do it early or late it still needs to be learned"
    "I train dogs, Not papers"

    GMRH HRCH Quick MH (most importantly Duck/Upland Enthusiast)
    MHR HRCH Lakota MH (most importantly Upland/Duck Enthusiast)
    SHR Storm.. the Pup (Beginning Upland & Waterfowl Enthusiast)

  10. #10
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    my son tj started running started dogs at age 7 or so. He was running seasoned with his own dog he trained at 12, finished at 13, and the grand this fall at 14. I remember him being 12 and me having to fill in judge one sunday, tossed him the keys to my dog truck, he drove to started to run a dog, seasoned to run his dog, finished for a friend to run dogs off my truck, and them made the loop again. Got in my truck that afternoon, I was like hey boy, ya burnt 1/2 tank fuel on the grounds.... what where you doing??? He just smiled, hey dude if you where 12 and someone gave you a truck to drive what would you do??? Ha. He travels all over the country with me running hrc, and runs dogs while I judge the other flight a lot of times. All my sons came up hunting and training dogs... its the first times in their lives they are ever 'equal' with grown men, and can pull their own weight. I think its an important part of growing up. We didnt have labs and hunt tests when I was a kid, but I clearly remember being 12 years old and calling ducks for grown men, and telling them when to shoot, and running the boat. I think most at first thought it was cool, and went along before they realized I was right. ha. Long story short, yall can go as far as he wants too. Join a club, buy yourself a dog, so the 2 of you can do it together! travis
    When exactly is the off season?

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