HWVA Grouse Experience Days – 31 July & 1 August 2021
HWVA Grouse Pointing Test at Grinton Moor – 26 July 2021
The Judges Report from the Grouse Pointing Test held at Grinton Moor on Monday 26 July 2021. Many thanks to the Judges – Peter Szalai (B Panel) and Peter F McCullough (Non Panel) for their time.
Test: Grouse Pointing Test on Monday 26th July 2021
Venue: Grinton Moor, Reeth, North Yorkshire
Judges: Mr Peter Szalai [B Panel] & Mr Peter F McCullough [Non Panel]
12 dogs running (including 4 juniors): 6 HWV, 2 WEI, 1 GSP, 1 GWP, 1 HV & 1 LM
Weather Conditions: Mainly overcast but hot day, dry with an intermittent wind that changed direction and dropped completely at times.
Scenting Conditions: Good but variable depending on wind strength
Ground: Heather moorland, short to medium, mainly on flat or undulating hillside with some dry ditches. Good levels of Grouse.
All dogs were generally run into the wind as much as possible, though due to the changing direction of the wind some dogs had a cheek wind or a back wind for part of their run. On the first round, many of the dogs encountered Grouse and the wider ranging dogs made the best use of the ground, resulting in 4 dogs being able to be graded on their first run. Of the remaining dogs, 6 were selected for a 2nd run, however 1 dog (GWP) withdrew from the second round, so 5 went forward.
On the second run, we changed to another similar part of the moor, which once again proved to have a good level of Grouse. This time a number of these dogs that had little or no wind on their first run, benefitted from a more stable slight breeze, giving the opportunity to assess them better, resulting in a further 4 gradings.
Generally, the handlers and dogs worked well together, with quiet handling and very responsive dogs in the main, which was pleasing to see. At times, ground treatment some handlers meant the dogs missed opportunities that they could have capitalised earlier or steadiness on the flush, having to be reinforced, graded them lower – but overall the standard was generally good with some impressive wide ranging but controlled performances amongst them.
Peter and I were delighted to be able to award 3 Junior and 5 adult gradings as follows:
Junior Dog Awards
HWV – Beechwood Fate (Handler: Shaun Walker)
This dog, just under 2 years old, put in a very impressive performance covering a wide beat efficiently and at pace. Responsive to his quiet handler, just an occasional backcast when handler intervened. On his 2nd run, eventually rewarded with a staunch point on 3 Grouse in a ditch that were produced efficiently and the dog steady to the flush.
HV – Roxombury Stevie Nicks (Handler: Kate Eames)
A 2 year old bitch that covered the ground efficiently and stylishly with pace, responsive to her very quiet handler. After a missed opportunity due to ground treatment, located and pointed a covey of 3 birds which were produced efficiently on her 1st run.
HWV – Nordicwalker Wild Solitude at Bonisla (Handler: Emma Heslop)
This 2 year old bitch performed well covering the ground with good head carriage and a reasonable pace, once the handler moved on from less productive areas. This resulted in a point on a covey of 3 birds from a good distance, which was produced well.
Adult Dog Awards
HWV – Fourlums Tavaszi (Handler: Yvonne Deighton)
This 3 year old dog hunted with good drive, passion and distance but no opportunity to point a bird. On his 2nd run, after remaining steady to birds flushing on the wrong side of the wind, was later rewarded with a nice find on a single Grouse on a ridge from 20-30m out. The bird was produced on command and the dog remained steady to flush.
HWV – Woodend Flyer (Handler: Iain McClellan)
This 3 year old dog hunted wide with great pace and style. After missing one opportunity due to ground treatment, he located and held a staunch point at quite a distance from the handler at the end of his 1st run. The birds lifted of their own accord, well ahead of the dog which was sufficiently steady to flush given the large distance from the handler.
HWV – Brecalde Goshawk Girl (Handler: Carole Coxhead)
This 6 year old bitch initially started its run working very controlled and relatively close to its handler and backcast on a couple of occasions. However, with a slight breeze, she opened up and hunted a much wider beat with pace. This resulted at the end of her 1st run, in locating a single Grouse some distance ahead of us which she staunchly pointed for some time until commanded to produce, which she did efficiently and remained sufficiently steady.
GSP – Sigourney Maverick (Handler: Deb Bowns)
This 5 year old dog had good range and pace and demonstrated some very precise ground treatment, apart from a couple of distractions on rabbit scent, but had no birds on his first run. On his second run, his efforts were eventually rewarded with a good find on a single Grouse, which was pointed and the flushed with the dog remaining steady.
WEI – Aschfahl Jagerin (Handler: Christine Carpenter)
This 3 year old bitch had a difficult first run as the wind dropped and it was the only dog to encounter sheep on its run, hiding in long bracken, which on one occasion flushed the Grouse that the dog was working. Later had a flash point on a bird just as it lifted but remained steady. However, on her 2nd run worked efficiently and had a lovely find on a covey of 4-5 Grouse from 50m+ which she carefully closed in on and held. Produced efficiently on command and was sufficiently steady to multi bird flush.
Peter F McCullough
HWVA Training Day at Grinton – 25 July 2021
I would like to start by saying how lucky members are to have an opportunity to train their dogs on such a fantastic moor as Grinton with kind permission from Dez Coates and Janet Sunter.
We had a good turnout of HWV and a smattering of other breeds, GWPs, HVs, GSPs, and Weis.
At the start of the day conditions were dry and hot and scenting difficult with a light breeze from the side. A side wind was a new wind direction for handlers to think about and learn and for dogs to experience. This is a nice easy moor to walk which helps when you need to watch your dog hunting. Grouse were plentiful, but dogs had to widen their beat to get onto the birds. For the new handlers there is a lot to take in: wind direction, their body language, the dog’s body language, when to use a whistle when not, when to speak, when not, has your dog located birds? How does it react? How do you react? What do you do next and how do you manage the situation? Handlers were keen to learn. It is always a great thrill to see the dogs who had no experience, often bumping birds at the start of the day gradually improving with each run, as the experience grows to achieving a point at the end of the day. We also had a few experienced handlers looking to get their new dogs out on a moor for the first time and evaluate their dog’s performance and where to focus their training efforts.
HWVA Training Day at Mullenscote – 23 May 2021
The day was very successful and we managed to dodge the worse of the rain by taking breaks when the heavens opened. Howard Kirby our host greeted everyone and gave us the housekeeping instruction and a layout of the day. We were divided into three groups, according to experience.
Howard instructed on the wind. The hunting consisted of a marked off hunting field 85m by 180m field of rough grass. All runs were into wind for maximum benefit. Two species of birds were set in soft release cages a various stage on the beat for pointing and blank shots were fired on the birds release for dogs to honour them away.
Various scenarios of retrieves were set up by Lyndsey Howard and adapted to each of the groups abilities. We were all reminded to never miss out the basics of heal work., recalls and sit/stay exercises. For the more advanced group, double jumps for seen and blinds were used. An added distraction and a challenge for the dogs was evidence of rabbit activity. A phrase used by Lyndsey that stuck with me when a dog is not carrying out what was expected is, ‘it’s down to the handler to know how to manage it’.
Annie Jones took us to the water and set up several different entry points using different distances, small jumps and through rougher grass.
The day ended with a competition. We were put into three groups of three with the newer handlers as captains. The three tests were set using hoops as placement platforms to ensure less straying on the exercise by both handler and dog. Each team captain nominated who would do which test. Test 1) heel work sit stay and recall 2) Seen retrieve 3) Seen over two jumps followed by a blind in the same spot. The winners judged by Claire Buchanan was Alice Croxford with her 12-month-old KG, Jackie Hammans with her 2-year-old HWV and Christine Carpenter with her 2-year-old Weimaraner and were presented with bright orange Mullinscote baseball caps.
We are very privileged to be able to use a ground like Howard can provide and he and his team made the day fun while learning.
Thanks went to Debra Revell Working Secretary for the arrangements.