Posts Tagged ‘field trial dogs’

Defining a Good Bird Dog Blood Line

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Will these pups hunt? They are from a proven line, so chances are good. Photo by Todd Sauers / Pheasants Forever

Will these pups hunt? They are from a proven line, so chances are good. Photo by Todd Sauers / Pheasants Forever

In the last couple of blog posts, I’ve written about my newfound respect for Field Trials and Hunt Tests.  As I was driving home from a night of dog training last Thursday evening, I caught a FAN Outdoors radio interview with pro dog trainer Tom Dokken.

tomdokkenweb

Tom Dokken

During the interview, Tom articulated why folks interested in acquiring a hunting puppy should consider field trial and hunt test blood lines to find the best bird dog puppy blood lines.

“Successful field trial and hunt test dogs,” Dokken explained, “have proven they have the genetics to be good hunters in addition to being very trainable.  Even if you have no intention of trialing your own dog, these characteristics are exactly the same traits important to creating a successful bird dog.”

Dokken went on to explain how to find these successful field trial and hunt test blood lines in a breeding’s documents by looking for the following acronyms after a dam or sire’s name:

FC = Field Champion

AFC = Amateur Field Champion

NFC = National Field Champion

MH = Master Hunter

SH = Senior Hunter

To listen to the full podcast of Tom’s interview, follow this link to Hour 2 of the show on July 18.  You can also contact Tom direct by visiting his website.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Field Trial Dogs Produce Great Hunting Puppies

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

When searching for a bird dog puppy, the inevitable question surrounding whether or not you desire field trial bloodlines always comes up.  Put me into the category of guys who have said the following about field trial dogs in the past:

“I don’t want a high-wired, big running dog with a bunch of titles.  Pure and simple, I want a hunting dog.” 

Over my ten years with Pheasants Forever, exposure to hundreds of bird dog experts, and personal hunting experiences over countless pups and breeds, my opinion on field trial dogs has changed.  Personally, I’m still not interested in running my dogs in trials.  My focus remains hunting and putting birds in the bag.  However, I do have a greater appreciation these days for dogs with the ability to win field trials and hunt tests. 

Ultimately, successful field trial dogs carry the genetic capacity to both mentally and physically out-perform their peers.  For guys looking to train a hunting pup themselves, this is an incredibly important benefit.  Who wouldn’t want to start with the best ingredients?  A field trial pup with personal training will more easily adapt to your hunting style, than trying to “coach up” a puppy with less superior genetics.  It’s a logical equation. 

Minnesota Bird Hunters Field Trial

Placing at the Minnesota Bird Hunters Field Trial were, from left, Ophelia, owned and handled by Neil Anderson, 3rd place; Berg Brothers Prairie Hawk, owned and handled by Scott Berg, 2nd place; and The Texas Liberal (“Molly”), owned and handled by John Edstrom, 1st place.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Minnesota Bird Hunters Field Trial near Milaca, Minnesota.  The event was hosted by Berg Brothers Setters.  I enjoyed the company of some fantastic “dog guys” and appreciated the exciting dog work on display.  At the end of the day’s run, John Edstrom, Pheasants Forever’s own Merchandise Manager, and his English setter “Molly,” earned the top award of the Gun Dog portion of the trial. 

Edstrom had this to say about his perspective on the overlap between successful trial dogs and hunting dogs.  “The very best trial dogs are all hunted, and hunted hard. Just like Molly, the successful trial dogs become hunting dogs in the fall. That is the secret to a good performance at a trial. Without that experience they do not know how and where to use their genetics and talent. They need to learn where to look for birds, how to use the wind etc. You will hear this said about trial dogs “he/she is a good bird dog.”  If the dog is not a bird dog, it is just running not hunting, and those dogs will not win a trial or put birds in your game bag.”

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.