Gun dog trials held in the Nebraska Panhandle | TheFencePost.com

Gun dog trials held in the Nebraska Panhandle

By Jo Chytka

Hemingford, Neb.

Berea Creek Outfitters, run by Lisa and Roy Campbell, hosted the American Gun Dog Trials in December. The two-day event had eight competitors each day with the opportunity to compete in several events.

Lisa Campbell said, “This is the first time we have hosted these Trials, in coordination with the North American Gun Dog Association.”

Mike Hatfield, founder and owner of the North American Gun Dog Association out of Stratton, Colo., attends the dog trials to oversee the competitions and to be sure everyone is clear on the rules and so that the trials are conducted according to their guidelines.

Lisa said “we have a social hour each day from 8-9 a.m. Everyone registers and has an opportunity to get acquainted and visit over coffee and donuts.” She said, “On average each hunter will bring two dogs to compete with, but one individual brought four. Many dog breeds were represented; English Pointer, Springer Spaniel, German Shorthair, Golden Retriever, with Labs being the most predominant. There was even a Kelpie, named Squirt, who went to the National Gun Dog Trials last year.”

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The competitive divisions are broken down as follows: Open and Amateur Divisions for both Pointing and Flushing. Each competition allows one hunter and one dog a 20-minute run to bring back two pheasants and two chukars with eight shells per run. (In the pointing division the dog must hold a point for three seconds.)

A Doubles Division allows two hunters, and two dogs, a 25-minute run to bring back, three pheasants, and three chukars using 10 shells. (A hunter may enter this division up to six times as long as his team member changes every time.)

The Youth Division allows one hunter (12-17 years of age) a guardian, and one dog, a 20 minute run to bring back two pheasants, and two chukars using eight shells. (At the National level age brackets will be (12-14) and (15-17).

A Puppy Division (for dogs up to 12 months of age) allows one hunter and one puppy a 25-minute run to bring back two pheasants and one chukar with six shells per run. The hunter must declare before the beginning of this division whether their puppy will be a pointer or a flusher. There is no National competition in this division.

A Scramble Division is also available for one hunter, and one dog a 20 minute run to bring back two pheasants, and two chukars using eight shells. This is open to anyone and can be entered up to six times but not with the same dog. There is no National competition in this division.

Lisa said, “Entry fees are charged for each division and participants get ribbons for first through third place slots. All open divisions and the doubles division have monetary paybacks. Amounts of winnings are determined by the number of entrants in a division with a percentage of entrance fees paid out. Most competitors enter an amateur and an open division.”

A scoring sheet is used for each competitor in each division. The dog, not the handler, accumulates all points.

Each run is timed and points are received for birds found, birds pointed, birds bagged, birds retrieved to hand and partial retrievals. Also if you have time remaining in your run or shells left over, you are awarded points for that as well.

Lisa said, “Just minutes prior to each event we release the required number of pheasants and chukars for that competitor. During the entire weekend we released 39 pheasants and 43 chukars, with not even 1/2 retrieval of birds. Each hunter will average two birds an event. As the day progresses, obviously there is more population to hunt.

“After a shooter makes a shot they must stay where they shot from and the dog has to bring the bird all the way back to them.

“Our Trials were held on a 12-15 acre area with heavy, tough cover and that was part of the reason for less than 1/2 retrieval. There was a riverbed with rushes and thick grasses hanging over and a lot of snow. The doubles division with the two hunters covered it fairly well and got in the most birds. In a regular situation (hunting CRP acres) more birds would be found.”

Lisa said, “I was really impressed with everyone and how they handled themselves. All were very friendly and it was a low-key, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It was a great way for friends and family to improve their skills and their dog’s abilities. The more competitions you enter, the better you and your dog become.”

Lisa and Roy raise all the pheasants used for these trials at their Berea Creek Outfitters’ headquarters. They purchase all the chukars from producers in the Hay Springs area. In addition to hosting their own Gun Dog Trial on March 10, the Campbells will host another “Fun Shoot” on March 31, 2002.

For information about upcoming Berea Creek Outfitters’ activities contact Lisa or Roy at 6262 Hall, Alliance Nebraska 69301, call (308) 762-4246 or email them a http://www.gamebird@premaonline.com

There are four geographic areas of competition. During the Gun Dog Trials season, 14 competitions (total) will be held. A competitor must attend a minimum of four competitions and earn a minimum required number of points to qualify to compete at the National Level. The National competition will be held in Stratton, Colo., in April.

For information and dates of other North American Gun Dog Association Trials, or about the National trials, contact Mike Hatfield at:

echohatfield2473@hotmail.com; call or fax (719) 348-5581or visit their website http://www.nagdog.com.