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Discussion Starter #1
To date, I have had three All Age Judging assignments - each with great people, all of whom are considered to be very good judges - Gary Ahlgren, Judy Powers, and Skip Cope.

I thought I would pass on some things that I learned from judging with them.

First, on each occasion, my co-judge and I spent a couple of hours just talking about what we liked and didn't in dog work, and in tests. Then we discussed what our parameters would be for line manners and the honor.

Second, when we got out in the field, we set up two or three different options - so that we would have a test ready no matter what the wind conditions were like. We marked potential problems for the FT committee to address the next day. We checked to make sure the whistles could be heard and the handlers seen. We marked gun stations and where we wanted the bird to fall.

Third, at 6 the next morning, we got up, had breakfast, talked about the wind, then went out in the field, got our workers set up. Got test throws, talked about no -birds. When 8 am rolled around, we were ready for a test dog.

Fourth, we decided on a cadence by which we would call the bird - which we would not vary (many times wild dogs get more time than calm ones, because the judges watch the dogs and forget to call the birds). We decided again what we would consider a no-bird. As the dogs ran, when we saw something unusual - we would talk with one another

What did you think about that mouth?
I don't like this dog's voice off the line? I think we should keep an eye on it in the next series.

Throughout the tests, we would be talking about what we considered superb work, what we considered abysmal work, and the work we thought we needed to look at more closely. At the end of each series, I don't think we spent more than 10 minutes on call backs. Because along the way, we had already decided who would definitely be back, and who would definitely not return - all we had to discuss was the dogs on the bubble.

By the same token, as we worked our way through the field, we would continue to discuss the merits of the work. As a consequence, by the end of the trial, we had really gotten to know what the other thought about the dog work. On none of those three occasions did it take any time to decide upon a winner. And even where we disagreed initially on the remaining places, because we had communicated along the way, it did not take long for us to sort through the work.

So, here's what I learned from these folks:

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
2. Nothing beats hard work and preparation
3. Do your judging as you go

Ted
 

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Hard for me to think I left FT when their people like you in the game.




* I'm not bitter, I've always been this way :shock: *
 

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Good post, Ted. And it looks like your 3 major points have put you in better shape as a judge than many with lots more points. Keep up the good work. As an 8 point major (30+ points) and minor judge, I would like to add a few more things to your list.

Always be conscious of the presence and the movement of the sun; I'm sure this was included in your 'conditions' and just wanted to point it out further. Many times tests are set up in the afternoon of the previous day without this thought in mind and the sun provides sometimes impossible conditions the following morning; some judges go with their test anyway.

Draw good diagrams. This is a big one in my book, no pun intended. I have judged with many judges who just draw three lines to three birds, for example. After 40, 60, or 100 dogs, how can you really remember what each dog did? I've found it helpful to draw diagrams with significant terrain landmarks and etc. Also the gun stations. And notes when necessary. For example: Flyer fall very long, dog long hunt but tight in area, picked up 2nd.
Diagrams can help you remember many things about each dog that you might otherwise forget.

Be conscious of things like your shadow when signalling for birds as the day progresses.

I keep a tally sheet, using A, B, C, D, F, with + and -. This is NOT an end-all, but helps me to keep up with the dogs and overall general performance. However, this being said, a true standard for any test is not set until several dogs have run. I might pencil in what I think is a really good job or an average job, but those things are often not determined until several dogs have run. Once this is set, for me it remains constant throughout the test until it concludes. A couple of things: I would not recommend a tally sheet for anyone that might stray from being constant as the day progresses. Also, I do not use a tally sheet for placements or callbacks. The tally sheet helps give a count through the day of how many dogs have run, etc., without having to go through sheets, when a marshal is not keeping up with that information.

Be mindful of the time. This one can be tough.

Know the rulebook; you will often have to make split-second decisions that will affect the outcome of a dog's performance and you won't have time to consult the book.

Well, I've been typing a while, time to get some work done...LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Vickie Lamb said:
Always be conscious of the presence and the movement of the sun; I'm sure this was included in your 'conditions' and just wanted to point it out further. rds, for example. After 40, 60, or 100 dogs, how can you really remember what each dog did? I've found it helpful to draw diagrams with significant terrain landmarks and etc. Also the gun stations. And notes when necessary. For example: Flyer fall very long, dog long hunt but tight in area, picked up 2nd.
Vickie

Yes, of course, I was waiting for the right moment to make ALL of those points. LOL

As for diagrams, I have seen judges use overlays, so that they did not have to draw the terrain over and over again. I am planning on doing that this year.

As for the tally and callbacks, with each of the above judges, even though we had discussed dogs along the way, we would go through our books dog by dog. Pull the sheets of those we knew were gone. Fold back the corners of those we needed to discuss. Discuss those dogs. Pull sheets of dogs that were gone. One person reads numbers of those left. Other writes on separate sheet. They trade. Other reads numbers off of callback sheet, while the judge who had been writing earlier now checks his book. If everything is confirmed, sign and give to marshall. Although this sounds tedious, it is not and reduces the possibility of dropping the wrong dog.

Time, there is a big subject. A few points. Have contingency plans for wind shifts. Try to eliminate as many moving parts as possible (especially in the first series when you have the most dogs). Place your flyer where pinpoint location is NOT necessary and where wind shifts will have the least impact. Keep the trains running.
 

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More Stuff

I took have had the good fortune of co-judging with many good and Varied judges when I was not a 8 pt judge - Randy Whitiker, Judy Powers, Gary McIlwain, Sam Milton, Ed Aycock, Tim Coluson, and of course our own Keith. Also have marshalled for some good ones that have taught me alot - Bob Kennon, Rick Van Bergen, Pat Martin, Ray Veerland, Ken Payne, Tony Snow, etc the list is almost endless.

The single most important thing - Time Management!!! Don't waste it. Practice good mechanics getting dogs to the line, running them and getting them off line.

The First series is the most important test you will do in the whole trial. It sets the tone and shape of the trial. It gives you as a judge control of the trial so that you are not back on your heels playing catchup. I like to look over the water - kinda figure out a waterblind, confirm in my mind that the same piece of water will do for water marks, then I spend the rest of the day on Land Marks. Go over our options and try to pick a test that will work best for 1) Answers 2) Mechanics.

Divide the duties - I like to switch handling birds or signaling for birds every 20 birds.

Settle issues before the first dog runs - When to re-heel, No-birds for every mark, vocalization, cadence, use of mat, rotation.

I like to use a white towel to signal and I have a particular way of signaling.
Start with my arm straight by my side with the towel folded in my hand (no flapping ends). Keeping my arm straight, I smoothly raise it to a straight over head position, then smoothly lower it. I have found that over the years - most bird boys see this motion right away, it involves NO frantic waving which could distract dog, and it helps with cadence - one thousand and one up - one thousand and two down. Wait tell the bird settles - turn and face the next mark and repeat. I like to give PLENTY of time between marks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: More Stuff

Gman said:
I like to use a white towel to signal and I have a particular way of signaling.

Wait tell the bird settles - turn and face the next mark and repeat. I like to give PLENTY of time between marks.
GMan

I use a bright, large yellow frisbie. Hold it at my chest. Then put it directly over my head. Bring back to chest. Then do again.

I give a slow count of "thousand and one" after the bird falls before calling again. Nothing peeves me like a judge who calls the birds like a machine gun. Not only does it not give the dogs a chance to mark. It also reinforces headswinging which we fight so hard against in training.
 

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I guess you'd have to say I signal like G-man, and with a white towel in the same way. And yes, I have a count between birds. I HATE birds/guns going off too fast as it certainly contributes to headswinging, birds not seen and therefore not marked and etc.

Yes, the checking and double-checking and talking about iffy dogs and checking the list and checking it twice is the way to go.

Any time something occurs with a dog that REALLY bothers you, discuss it with your co-judge at that time.

:? :)
 
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Overlays/Judges Sheets

I have never thought of this before. It's a great idea. Can anyone give me details on where I can go about getting something like this for Hunt Tests?

Thanks in advance.

Ritchie
 

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I have tried it all Ted. Day glow pieces of paper on the front and back of my book, ping pong paddle with one side white other side orange. I just use the towel for so many other things, keep hands clean and dry and the poor motels I stay at keeps me in good supply of them.

My judging book has gotten smaller over the years too. I now use the 1/2 sheet size - everthing on one side of the paper. For a long time I used a reqular 81/2 X 11 book but one trial in 40 mph winds cured me of that.

Someday I want to have a judging bag like Keith's to judge with !!!! You could live out that think for a week and not run out of supplies. LOL. The only thing in the world that has more STUFF than Keith's judging bag is Keith's Jeep.
 

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Oh, here is another one.

Be conscious of what the stations are doing. Like all of a sudden your middle gun has taken his shirt off 'to get some sun' and is laying back to soak in the rays. :roll: :x :roll: Or a gun has turned around and facing the other way to watch something interesting over the next hill...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes. I was at the Sooner trial. Wayne Bleazzard was judging the Open. Zowie had run and moved into the honor. We were waiting on dogs. Dog finally comes up. Wayne says GUNS UP. Only one guy at flyer station. The other two had gone off without checking in.

Zowie and I chat with Wayne for 10 minutes while we herd the cats back.

Funny now. Not then.
 

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I alway have a "TALK" with my bird boys before they go out in the field. The speal is something like this:

"This is what we are going to do today guys - Run 90 dogs on these land marks. It might take until 5:00 or it might take until 7:00. When we get done - you get to go home and I get to go home. I WANT to go home. YOU can help by paying attention and being ready to do your job. If you take 1 minute to slowly walk out of the holding blind and slowly load the gun and be ready - that is another hour and 1/2 we will be out in this field. If you are ready before the next dog come out - we can go home 1 hour and 1/2 earlier."

Know each bird boy by THEIR NAME. Don't rag on them for a no-bird. Encourage them - tell them when they are doing a great job. Don't blame anyone if something gets screwed up - just fix it and move on.
 

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Vickie Lamb said:
Oh, here is another one.

Be conscious of what the stations are doing. Like all of a sudden your middle gun has taken his shirt off 'to get some sun' and is laying back to soak in the rays. :roll: :x :roll: Or a gun has turned around and facing the other way to watch something interesting over the next hill...
That's good. Just seen a boy take off running out into the woods about 40 yards to take a pee WHILE the dog was running out to him for the memory bird. :lol: THAT was funny, but it WASN"T. Especially for the ole boy on the line.
 

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Hey, I told you they would cut you some slack and give you a call-back, didn't I????

It is not funny at all, when it happens. And it happens quite often.

Jerry
 

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As others have stated, TIME Management is paramount in Judging.

Running a close "second" is having an ex-Marine as the Marshall!!!

The Marshall has to be dedicated to getting us yahoos to the line in an orderly and efficient manner in order for the Judges to take advantage of their "time management".

Jerry
 

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Good post Ted, lots of good info in this thread.
 

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Judges

One thing I would like to mention is that when discussing something with your co-judge use caution. Be sure persons in the holding blinds cannot hear you or look at your drawings, that you are not discussing someone else's job while the dog that is running is being judged, etc. Common courtesy is a big factor to consider.

I know one judge turned around to a friend in the holding blind and commented on a blind just run by another dog (which persons applauded) that "he didn't know why they applauded that blind, and don't you run it that way!"

One judge sang "Your Cheatin' Heart" while a dog was working. The owner (a new person to the game) was crushed.

One marshal told his friends the criteria for the blind after overhearing the judges----ONLY his friends!

Be polite and friendly, but be very careful re any comments made about a dog's work unless it was obviously a fantastically good job!

Glenda
 

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When judging with Marvin Hoffman many years ago I picked up a couple of things I use to this day.

!st - Make good sketches of what is happening, don't worry about scoring - it will show quickly as you go through good sketches - the dog only gets so much lead on the sheet.

2nd - When you have finished setup make a list of each test & what you will need from the Field Trial committee for that test & give them a copy of all your needs for the tests plus any alternates if you would do something differently. Do not expect those people to read your mind, they will be part of your success in time management.

Beyond that the 1st bird hitting the ground at 8 AM & paying attention to what is happening with the working dog are always a must!

Marvin Sundstrom
 

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You've said something that I can agree with 100%, Marvin.

I would add to point #2 that following a close facsimile on setup day will help get the trial started on the right foot and set the tone for at least that most important day.

kg
 
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