Oak Ridge Pointing Dog Club - Fall Hunt Test Weekend
by Mike Aldrich, Executive Field representative
With small game season fast approaching pointing dog enthusiasts in central Pennsylvania gave it one last shot at qualifying for a hunt test title. This week's event was sponsored by the Oak Ridge Pointing Dog Club, which is based near Rimersburg, PA. The grounds are owned by Bill and Debbie Pietrzyk who were also the Chairman and Secretary for this weekend's program. The Oak Ridge club members maintain the grounds, which includes bush hogging to keep unwanted vegetation under control and planting wildlife feed strips. The result is an excellent venue on which to hold events or train dogs. They also sponsor a youth hunt that attracts from 20 and 30 participants with the object being to start a new generation enjoying hunting upland game birds over pointing dogs.
This club has a dedicated membership that not only competes but they also enjoy doing the work in the field that allows others to have their dogs tested. They attack the gunning, bird planting, and marshalling in a very professional manner. The gunners are as safe and accurate a group as there is anywhere. Those planting birds have the experience and knowledge to release game in a manner that is as natural as possible. It is also important to these members that they have judges that are not only experienced judges but also hunt and compete. Judging is not as black and white as reading a book, but one must also understand the dog and the sport. The dog is number one when testing and no stone is left unturned to provide a natural test. The result is a quality test and a very enjoyable experience for all in attendance.
Hunt tests in this area have grown to the point that each event is a full day of testing. Those entering dogs appear to also be dedicated hunters that use this sport as an incentive to continue to train year around to have the best bird dog possible. The proof is that the Master Test is traditionally the biggest stake. This weekend there were 17 entries on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. The Senior Tests attracted 12 entries both days. In the Master Test, 5 dogs qualified on Saturday with one finishing a title and Sunday 8 qualified with 1 finishing a title. Those entering in the Junior test are in many instance newcomers. They are all greeted as veterans but when they are competing everyone is as helpful as is needed. One may enter and arrive as a stranger but all leave as friends with a common bond; that being the love of pointing dogs and their unique talents.
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