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Wisconsin English Springer Spaniel Association

Hunting Tests

Wisconsin English Springer Spaniel Association Hunting Test
August 30-31, 2008
by Tom Maneely, Executive Field Representative

Beautiful weather, albeit warm, greeted the fall Hunt Tests of the Wisconsin Springer Spaniel Association. The club members are rightfully proud that they have been holding Hunt Tests for at least 20 years and believe they held the first flushing breed test in the Midwest. Held at Bong Recreational Area near Eagle Wisconsin, a small but interesting entry was tested. The club takes great pride in the fact that they have a good variety of flushing breeds that usually attend and this test was not an exception. 28 different individual dogs were entered. 14 English Springer Spaniels, both field bred and show bred; 5 Boykin spaniels; 3 English Cocker Spaniels, both field bred and show bred; 3 Field Spaniels; 2 Clumber Spaniels; and 1 American Cocker Spaniel. This gave an observer a unique opportunity to observe the hunting styles of the various breeds. As might be expected, the owners of the different breeds were more than happy to expound on their breeds.

Bong Recreational Area is a nationally known dog trail area near Milwaukee. It is a multiuse area that has areas set up for two and four wheelers, radio controlled airplanes, hiking, picnicking, hunting, and of course dog events - pointing dogs, retrievers, and spaniels for both hunting tests and field trials. The area is improved and well maintained by the Wisconsin DNR and members of the dog clubs that use the area. They work hard at making Bong an area they can be proud of.

Co-chairpersons Paul Dietrich and Sue Meyers, along with the Test Secretary, Henriette Schmidt had done a good job in setting up a quality event. They had made their plans and executed them smoothly. They and their hard working committee had selected judges which were knowledgeable about hunting and testing flushing breeds. They switched levels on Sunday and again did a good job of testing the dogs. The judges provided challenges that were not impossible but yet fully tested the abilities of the entrants. When a dog did not meet the standard, the judges took the time to explain to the handlers where they needed improvement. This is helpful in letting the handlers know where their charges need more training.

The many jobs that must be done to hold a Hunting Test were handled easily by club members and volunteers. The gunners that were used were very good, knowing when to pass on a shot and being an outstanding example of safe gun handling.

Both days began with the field work. Two courses were utilized. Each course began at a center point where Henriette had her table. From here she and the marshals kept things rolling along quite well. As the day was to be quite warm for Wisconsin, the cool of the morning was welcome for this phase of the test. Water tanks were provided to cool the dogs before and after their run. Judging to the standard, not all dogs were taken on to the next test.

Next for the Master and Senior dogs was the hunt dead which is a land blind retrieve. Although the blind was not overly long (about 40 yards for the Senior dogs and about 55 yards for the Master dogs) the light breeze did not carry the scent too far and the dogs had to trust their handlers to get them to a point where they could scent the bird. It was quite interesting to see when the dogs caught scent and zeroed in on their bird. Again several of the entrants found this to be too great of a challenge and did not get to go on to the water work.

The Master level water work was done in the same manner on both days with the blind first and the mark retrieve second for the dogs which completed the blind. On Saturday the blind retrieve was put on the point of a small island about 40 yards from the line. On the right side of the island there was only a 10 yard strip of water that separated the island from the land. This location looked like it would be an easy retrieve but the lay of the land and water seemed to frustrate a number of the dogs. The marked retrieve was a little longer but all the dogs performed this with enthusiasm.

Although the entry at this event was not large it was a good representation of flushing breeds. The committee did a first rate job of planning and running the event Although not all handlers were as lucky as they had hoped they all knew that they had been tested and evaluated fairly and I am sure they will be back next time to do it all again.

Before listing the results it is interesting to look at the dogs that qualified. 5 qualifying scores of the 22 total ribbon earners went to show Champions - all at the Senior level. Of the different breeds 12 qualifiers were English Springer Spaniels; 4 qualifying scores went to Field Spaniels; 3 qualifying scores to English Cockers; 2 qualifying scores went to Boykin Spaniels; and 1 qualifying score went to the American Cocker which was only entered one day.

Saturday's Results - 8/30/08

Junior - 9 starters
J3 - Argyle's Funny Cide O'Pemberly (FS)
J4 - Rockys Road America (ESS)
J5 - Fallen Wings Calli (ECS)
J8 - Sunrise Surprises's Glass Slipper (ESS)
J9 - Mostyn (BS)

Senior - 7 starters
S1 - CH Hillcrest Namtn Kocrk Canvas VCD1 RA AX AXJ JH (ESS)
S2 - Gardian-Skyrocket Man in Black JH (ACS)
S5 - Raintrees Frozen Concoction (ESS)
S6 - CH Winfarthings Pride And Prejudice (FS)

Master - 9 starters
M3 - Saracen Glory Bound SH (ECS)
M8 - Rock River Zeb MH (ESS)
M9 - Treba's Mischievious Mandy SH (ESS)
M10 - Ashley's Happy Fella (ESS)

Sunday's Results 8/31/08

Junior - 5 starters
J3 - Mostyn (BS)
J4 - Sunrise Surprise's Wingman (ESS)
J5 - Fallen Wings Calli (ECS)

Senior - 7 starters
S1 - CH W Haven's Maximum Effort CD (FS)
S3 - CH Hillcrest Namtn Kocrk Canvas VCD1 RA AX AXJ JH (ESS)
S4 - CH Winfarthings Pride And Prejudice (FS)
S6 - Hillcrest Laurent Fignon JH (ESS)

Master - 9 starters
M6 - Rock River Zeb MH (ESS)
M8 - Raintree Stout Nudge (ESS)

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For more information on the club, please go to wessaonline.org.