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Retriever Hunting Tests

Sauvie Island, Oregon - A Unique Dog Trialing Grounds
by Wayne Bleazard, Executive Field Representative

Sauvie Island, Oregon sits in the Columbia River a few miles northwest of downtown Portland, Oregon. More than a million people cross the bridge to the island each year to fish, hike, horseback ride, and visit “u-pick” farms. Many of these people also cross the bridge to attend field trials and or hunt tests on the island’s 12,000 acre wildlife refuge where migrating ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes and great blue herons are seen in abundance.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department has a wonderful working relationship with the many dog clubs in the Portland area. All three sporting dogs (retrievers, pointers, and spaniels) hold several trials and hunt tests per year on Sauvie Island. At the beginning of the year, the Fish and Wildlife Department holds a meeting where the representatives from each club pick dates for their licensed AKC events as well as sanctioned trials and picnic trials. The area is open for dog events from April through late September.

The clubs that use Sauvie Island for 2008 include:

    Oregon German Shorthaired Pointer club (three field events)
    Multnomah Irish Setter Association (three field events)
    Oregon Brittany Club (two field events and one picnic)
    Oregon Wirehaired Pointer Club (one hunt test)
    Oregon Hunting Retriever Club (two field events and three picnics)
    Oregon Retriever Club (three field events)
    Pacific NW NAVHDA (two picnic trials)
    Rose City Labrador Retriever club (two field events)
    Trails End Vizsla Club of Oregon (one picnic and two field events)
    Willamette Weimaraner Club (three picnic and three field events)

Each of the clubs who use the island donates money and time to help keep the blackberry bushes from overrunning the grounds. The bushes are not native to the island and create a real problem for both dogs and land managers. The Rose City Labrador Club holds a raffle each year at their event and donates all the proceeds to the Fish and Wildlife Department for the eradication of the blackberry bushes.

At the Rose City Labrador Retriever club July 26-27 2008, Christine Robertson, MD qualified her Irish Water Spaniel, Ch Realta’s Just Do It, CDX, MH, TD, RA to run the Master National in September in Minnesota. This will be the first Irish Water Spaniel to run the Master National.

The Oregon Hunting Retriever club has a double header hunt test on May 23, 24, 25 and 26th which is one of the biggest in the nation with over 500 entries. While attending that event, it was evident that the club has been holding this hunt test for several years. They were very organized and everything went very smoothly, even with such a huge number of entries.

Besides running dogs, the island offers several u-pick farms that allow you to pick a variety of fresh berries, corn, squash, fruit, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. The farmers also grow just about anything that you can think of. There are also two dairies on the island. An occasional ocean going ship traveling up or down the Columbia River loaded with their cargo offers a fascinating backdrop. All you see is the top of the ship way above the tree line. For inlanders that is quite a sight. There is also a clothing-optional beach on the island!! All this, plus an awesome view of three volcanoes, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams makes Sauvie Island a very scenic and unique area to run dogs.

Click on image for larger view.