THREE FORKS UPDATE - DIRECTIONS, DETAILS, ETC.

Cooper - English Setter
Directions to the site:
Exit 274 off of Interstate 90 and head North. Turn West (left) off of Hwy 12/US 287 on to Wheatland Road.  (This is just past the Wheat Montana Cafe). From Helena Townsend on 12/287 - Turn West (right) onto Wheatland Road (If you get to the Wheat Montana Cafe or the Interstate, you went too far.

Follow Arrows and Signs for the German Shorthair Pointer Club or NAVHDA.  It is a few miles back to the site.  Park near the Quanset hut.


Lucy - Vizsla

Please RSVP to montanasharptail@gmail.com if you plan on attending.  If you have an idea of your bird needs, please let us know ahead of time.  We will have chukars and pigeons available.  If you are not sure of your bird needs, just let us know you are coming, for how many days, and what your situation is (e.g. "1 - 10 month old pup running NA this summer - or - "young pup for bird and gun intro", etc.).

Training Fees:
20.00 for one day / $10.00 for subsequent days
Pigeons: $5.00
Chukars: $13.50
We are still trying to find pheasants.

VACCINATIONS:
We will have Rattlesnake Vaccine Available at the training clinic.  On Saturday, a veterinarian in the chapter will be there to help administer. The fee for Rattlesnake Vaccine will be $20.00 for the first vial and $15 for each additional.  Proceeds will go to the Chapter.  He will also have DHPP available if your dog is due for a shot.

At this point, we don't have any formal lunches planned, so you should plan on taking care of this on your own.


Boogie - Griffon
Protocol / Training Day Etiquette:
One article of Blaze Orange (cap or vest) is required in the "Live Fire" field.  "Break-Open" shotguns are required for live fire as well.
(Pistol Blanks are used in the puppy field)

Although training days are great opportunities for socialization of pups with other dogs, please make sure if your dog is not running it is kept on a leash, in a crate or on a chain-out.  Keeping a young dog in a vehicle without means for containment can be a very bad idea, as their enthusiasm for the surrounding environment can be detrimental to the interior of your vehicle, and potentially dangerous to the dog.  There is not water available at the parking site, so bring plenty of drinking water for both you and the dog(s).

ANNUAL MEETING, TRAINING AND TESTING UPDATE AND MORE.....

Sharptail Country, Central Montana........Otis (Griffon), on point.  Dixie (Brittany), backing.
Thank you to all who have brought your membership dues up to-date.  The season is coming together well with lots of folks planning on attending the Training and Annual Meeting in Three Forks.  A huge thanks to everyone who has chipped in on "The Wishlist," as we have received a very generous donation from Bishop Company and Keith and Debbie McCormick to purchase the 18 x 30 event tent for the chapter.  We also have received gifts toward a "Pop-up Dog" and a "Sit-on-Top" kayak.

Given the fact that the Gallatin Valley Pheasants Forever Banquet is on Saturday night, March 28, we will hold our Annual Business Meeting at 1:00 pm, after lunch.  For anyone interested in attending the PF Banquet, more information can be found here: GVPF Banquet

Schedule for the Training Event is as follows:

Thursday March 26
10:00 am - Set up Tent, Bird Pen and Training Stations (Need Volunteers)
1:00 pm to Dusk - General Training - from pups to finishing dogs

Friday, March 27
9:00 am - Noon - General Training
1:00 pm - Dusk - General Training
3:00 pm - 5:00 "Trained Retrieve" Seminar - In the Tent
6:00 pm - Continued "Trained Retrieve"

Saturday, March 28
9:00 am - Noon - General Training
9:00 am - Natural Ability Seminar - Understanding the Test and how to prepare. - In the Tent
11:00 am - Natural Ability "Track" Training 
1:00 pm - Annual Membership Meeting - Everyone Welcome - In the Tent
2:30 pm - Dusk - General Training

Sunday, March 29
9:00 am - Noon - General Training
9:00 am - Noon - Utility Seminar - Understanding the Test and Training for it.
Noon: Pack-up and head out

There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone and their dogs.  As we've always promoted, folks usually learn more by either helping other folks, or observing other dogs and handlers.  Please jump in and help to make the weekend happen.

TESTING DATES
All of our Testing Dates have been approved by NAVHDA.  The following opportunities are now available for registration:

June 6 & 7 - Whitefish, MT - Natural Ability (NA), Utility Prep (UPT), and Utility (UT)
August 7, 8 & 9 - Wisdom, MT - Natural Ability (NA), Utility Prep (UPT), and Utility (UT)

Test Fees Are:
NA - $125.00
UPT - $165.00
UT - $165.00

For more information on Testing, including a link to a "Fillable" Test Entry Form - Follow this link:
NAVHDA Test Info

For specific info related to testing with the Montana Sharptail Chapter - Follow this link:
Testing with the Sharptail Chapter

Test Entries are not official until a completed Test Entry form, along with full payment are received by the Test Secretary.  Test Entries and inquires can be sent to: mtsharptailtest@gmail.com (PLEASE NOTE - This is a different email address from the general chapter email address..... It is for Test Entries and Inquiries only)
Payment may be made over the phone with Visa.
Entries, along with check or money order for entry can be sent to:

Test Secretary
Montana Sharptail NAVHDA
PO Box 5255
Whitefish, MT  59937

Get your entries in early........ Tests fill quickly.

A full schedule of available tests around North America can be found here: NAVHDA TEST SCHEDULE

CHAPTER TRAILER DAY - SATURDAY, APRIL 11 
(Whitefish or Bigfork - Location yet to be determined)
Join Keith and Tom for a day of organizing the trailer - building shelves for Jackets, Shirts, Caps, Training Supplies, Cooking Supplies, etc........ Stay tuned and please chime in via email or phone if you can help.
montanasharptail@gmail.com  406-212-5767

CHAPTER SERVICE PROJECTS
 



Once again, the Montana Sharptail Chapter is looking to get involved with Habitat and Ranch Service Projects.  We plan on another "Fence-Marking" day in the Big Hole, in addition to potentially getting involved in Sage Grouse
Radio-collar projects....... Stay tuned as we learn more.



TRAINING LOCATIONS AROUND THE STATE
One of the priorities for the Annual Meeting will be to identify local groups and locations for training on a regular basis around the state.  Insurance certificates have been issued to the chapter for all of last years training and testing grounds.

HOTELS, CAMPING, ETC.
As stated in the previous newsletter, rustic camping will be available at the training grounds.  If you have a camper and the weather looks like it might be rainy, you might be better off at the Headwaters campground, as the road into the training grounds is a true "gumbo road"........  A great hotel option, very close to the training grounds is at the "Fort Three Forks Motel."  More info can be found here: Fort Three Forks

Hope to see you all in Three Forks!

TRAINING, TESTING AND ANNUAL MEETING

With another hunting season recently in the books, and spring winds blowing, it's time to start thinking about training and testing.  The Chapter Board of Directors has approved Membership, Training and Testing fees to stay the same for the 2015 Season.  In the interest of budgeting and paperwork, please consider renewing your membership before the Annual Meeting on March 28.  A 2015 Membership Form, with payment information, can be found here:  MEMBERSHIP 2015  Feel free to contact the chapter directly if you would rather "re-up" over the phone.  If you paid for a 2-year "Introductory Membership" last year, you will get an email confirming your paid membership for 2015.  To contact Tom with questions or payment details:  406-212-5767

Somewhere in Chukar Country - January 2015
THREE FORKS, MT - TRAINING AT THE PAIS CASA RANCH 
MARCH 26, 27, 28 & 29
Our first training opportunity will be once again at the Pais Casa Ranch.  Camping will be available on-site.  There are no electrical hook-ups or water, so camping is "rustic".  There will be an outhouse at the training grounds.  Information on area hotels will be forthcoming.  Directions will be posted soon.  A huge thanks to Karen Conner for making her facility available once again.  Pigeons, chukars and dead ducks will be available at the event, and we should be able to get pheasants as well.  Stay tuned as more information will be posted with specific times for a "Natural Ability Seminar," "Utility / Utility Prep Seminar" and "Conditioned Retrieve" training.  As always, training for both "NAVHDA Testing" and "Continued Hunting Dog Development" are welcome and encouraged.

ANNUAL MEETING - MARCH 28 - THREE FORKS, MT
The Montana Sharptail Chapter of NAVHDA will hold its Annual Meeting in concert with its first training event - Saturday evening at a location yet to be determined near Three Forks.  Stay tuned for exact location and time as we find the best place.  The priorities for the meeting will be:

Weekly Training Opportunities Throughout Montana - Coordination of Insurance, Permits, Locations, Etc.
Location and Dates for Extended Training Camps (2-5 day events)
Board Member and Officer Elections - 2015
Chapter Service Projects - Habitat and/or Ranch Projects
Test Site Coordination

TESTING - 2015
We should have dates set in stone in the coming week with land-owners, but so far we look to be on track for the following:
Whitefish, MT (Tentative) - June 6 & 7  Natural Ability, Utility & Utility Prep
Wisdom, MT (Tentative) - August 7, 8 & 9 Natural Ability, Utility & Utility Prep
We are still looking to possibly add a couple of Natural Ability Dates, potentially in July, at a location yet to be determined.  Fees are the same for 2015:  $125 for NA and $165 for UT/UPT.  Chapter members have priority until 30 days from the first day of a test series.  Test Entries will not be formally accepted until we get final approval from both NAVHDA International and the respective property owners (expected to be quite soon.)

WISHLIST 2015

The "Wishlist" was a great success in 2014....... The chapter was able to add several launchers, a shotgun, decoys, numerous bumpers, and even a "Brute Trash Can" from Crazy Uncle Bearcat.  In addition to your membership, please consider a donation to the "Chapter Wishlist" and keep the chapter assets growing.  Thank you for your consideration:  Chapter Wishlist

UPLAND BIRD POSSESSION AND DOG TRAINING PERMITS

In order to possess upland birds for "non-commercial" purposes on your premises, you must obtain a free permit from FWP.  If you hope to obtain live birds to take home from the chapter, or any other source, you must have one of these permits.  More information, as well as a PDF download for the permit, is available here: Captive Upland Bird Possession

The Montana Sharptail Chapter obtains appropriate permits for each training and testing location, which covers all members and participants at those locations.  For any other dog training that chapter members pursue, outside of chapter sponsored events, you are required by FWP to obtain the appropriate free permit for dog training if you plan on using any captive upland birds (e.g. pheasants, chukars, Huns.) NOTE - Pigeons and quail are not considered game birds and are exempt from this requirement.  More information, as well as a PDF download for the Dog Training Permit, is available here:  Dog Training Permit

Dora, Kruz, Eddie and Swipe - Sharptails, September 2014




ANOTHER YEAR IN THE BOOKS


Ethan and Nigel Waterton look on from the gallery, as judges confer.
Thanks to all who jumped in to make for a successful 2 weeks in the Big Hole Valley.  Curtis Fry put on an outstanding Handlers Clinic for 18 NAVHDA members including 2 youth recipients from the Kirsten Rieser Scholarship Fund.  Training week was active, followed by four days of Natural Ability, Utility Prep and Utility Testing.  Congratulations and thanks to all handlers and dogs for their participation and enthusiasm.

The Test Series was smooth and seamless, as a result of the tireless and well-organized efforts of Test Coordinators Anne Roberts and Phil Jacob.  NAVHDA Judges Travis Miller, Sheryl Tepp and Bob Farris put in countless miles over the 4 day series, and we are all appreciative of their commitment to NAVHDA. Too many volunteers to name made the weekend a great success.  The generosity of the Geim Ranch and Hershey Ranch, for access to their grounds is once again greatly appreciated - it is truly a privilege to test and train on one of the most beautiful places on the planet. A huge thanks to Jane and Ken Wigen for preparation of the grounds and "wiring up" food and lodging for Judges and the Community Center for the Handlers Clinic.

Special thanks also to Snowghost Ranch - Whitefish, DJBar Ranch - Belgrade, Spruce Creek Farm - Billings and "Angus and Emmet's Ranch" - East Helena, for training, testing, judge lodging, and "snake break" opportunities throughout the year.

PAY IT FORWARD:
Jade Miller, 16 of Carter Montana, hangs markers on a fence as part of a project to reduce "fence strikes" near sage grouse leks.
Bruce Waage, NRCS in Billings traveled to the Big Hole and led a group of Montana Sharptail Chapter volunteers in a fence marking project.  The goal is to reduce "fence strikes" by sage grouse.  The project will be ongoing for the chapter, as there are countless miles of fence on DNRC and Forest Service lands in the Big Hole that are prime sage grouse habitat.  Our focus will be on "leks" and expand out from there.  A lek is the spring courtship grounds where hundreds of birds will gather and males strut and display their unique plumage.  After breeding, the birds then spread ubiquitously throughout the proper habitat to nest and live the remainder of the year.  We will be working with the "Sage Grouse Initiative" to continue the project, and submit an article to both "The Versatile Hunting Dog" and "Pheasants Forever Journal".  The project is a great opportunity to learn, teach, and partner with several groups such as FWP, DNRC, USFS, SGI, NRCS, and local ranchers, just to name a few.  A great write-up and photos about our project can be found here: http://www.sagegrouseinitiative.com/hunting-dog-group-helps-montana-sage-grouse-unique-double-marking-project-prevent-fence-collisions/



Bridget Nielsen with GSP Raven and gunners Ken and Elton after the field portion of the Utility Test.  Judges confer in the background.
Judges Travis Miller and Sheryl Tepp confer, as Apprentice Leslie Lowe tallies her score card.
Hannah Ryan and Rye start off on the Field portion of the NA test with the judges, gunner and gallery.
Handler Trevor Ferguson and Senior Judge Travis Miller approach as Madison holds a solid point.
Sprig holds down the fort for Jehnet at "Camp Wirehair"


Ethan and Travis move in on a Deacon point.

Ken moving cattle next to the Pheasant Tracking field after the last Track was run.
Ken moving Bulls........ An entirely different perspective on "Temperament Testing"
Loaded up and ready to go.  Fast Eddy makes one last run through camp at Doolittle Creek.  
Raffle Winners:
Dogtra Collar: Brian Riggs
Quill Jig: Bob Miller
Jacket: James Warren
Cap: Gary Tabbert

Thanks for a great year everybody.  Have a productive, safe and fun hunting season - it is just around the corner.

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2014



Jehnet's GWP Sprig with some water work on the Yellowstone -  DJBar Ranch Training Night - Belgrade


The August Gathering on the Big Hole River is almost upon us. It is time to get caught up on the schedule and opportunities that exist.

HANDLERS CLINIC:
August 2-3 - led by NAVHDA Senior Judge Curtis Fry
There are still a couple spots available - Please make sure you call Tom to register.
406-212-5767
The cost is $120.00 - More info on Handlers Clinics is available here:
http://www.navhda.org/testing/holding-handler-clinic
This is a phenomenal opportunity and there are only a handful around the country on any given year.

TRAINING CAMP:
Training for Testing and general hunting training is available from August 2-7
We will have pigeons, chukars, ducks and pheasants available.
Training fees are 20.00 for one day or 30.00 for two or more.
Envelopes will be available to keep track of your bird use.
Please RSVP to montanasharptail@gmail.com if you plan on attending any of the training days, what your approximate bird needs may be (if you know) and what you hope to accomplish.

TESTING:
August 8 - UT & UPT - Test is Full
August 9 - UT & NA - Test is Full
August 10 - NA - Test is Full
August 11 - UT and NA (One NA spot is now available)

PAY IT BACK - PAY IT FORWARD - CHAPTER HABITAT AND SERVICE PROJECTS
We hope to take on a couple of different projects throughout the week.  On Monday August 4, Bruce Waage, a Sage Grouse Specialist with NRCS will share a presentation and lead the group in a fence marking project on the ranch.  There are several leks (Sage grouse courtship areas) on and near the ranch where we train and test.  The fence markers have proven very useful in decreasing accidental fatalities sage grouse getting caught in barbed-wire. This will be a great opportunity to both learn and contribute.
Please RSVP to montanasharptail@gmail.com if you want to jump in.

We also hope to take on a service project for the ranch that is a win-win opportunity.  A traditional zig-zag wooden fence known as a "worm fence" needs to be built to isolate cattle from a riparian area.  The project is a priority for both the ranch and for wildlife.  We will have more info forthcoming, but the wood will be procured prior to the training week.  More info will be forthcoming on this project.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
We will need several folks to "jump in" throughout the event.
Transportation to the Handler Clinic for the leader (August 1) from the Butte Airport
Transportation from the Handler Clinic for the leader (Augst 4) to the Butte Airport
Setting up the Event Tent (18 x 30 - Frame Tent)  Friday August 1.
Lunch help (available for 5.00 on the grounds) for the Handlers Clinic and for all 4 days of the Test Series
BBQ Help Friday and Saturday Night of the Test Series (we'll try to go out Sunday night somewhere)
Test Help - Bird Planters, Bird Shuttling, Field Marshals, Gunners, Etc.  Anne and Phil will be coordinating volunteers for the Test Series.  Email contact will go out to all chapter members.
Bird Care - Throughout the week.
Clean-up - Ongoing and final sweep
Tent - break down.  Monday night, August 11 or Tuesday morning August 12.
As of now it looks like we have all judge transportation taken care of for the Test Series.

WISHLIST UPDATE
We've had several generous donations throughout the year which has enabled the chapter to acquire several essential assets.  Additionally, the "Snake Avoidance Clinics" have been successful, with more than 100 dogs through and 1600.00 added to the chapter coffers. We've added 4 launchers with remotes, a singleshot 12 gauge, decoys, a dozen bird crates, a canoe and now an 18 x 30 commercial quality "event tent" to the chapter asset list.  The event tent stretched our wallet a bit, but the board was in agreement that it was an essential investment for the chapter and will increase opportunities in the future.  Any added gifts toward the tent will be deeply appreciated and are tax-deductible.

MEMBERSHIP UPDATE
We now have more than 100 individual and family memberships, totaling approximately 150 members.  We will have an informal "Membership Meeting" on Saturday night August 9th after the test and before dinner at the tent.  A brief opportunity to bounce around ideas and look to the future.

RAFFLE UPDATE
We've sold approximately 1/3 of the raffle tickets. (5.00 each or 5 for 20.00)  The drawing will be held at the end of the test series.  Tickets can be purchased remotely with Visa/MC just by calling Tom:
406-212-5767
More info is available here: http://sharptailraffle.blogspot.com/

Keith introducing his new Pudelpointer pup "Gusto" to birds. Snowghost Ranch - Whitefish



MARCH NEWSLETTER 2014

Anne and Shooter (Braque du Bourbonnais)
Although most of the state is covered with a blanket of snow, the training season is nearly upon us - the Three Forks Training Camp is just a month away.  We had a great turn out this month for the Annual Meeting, considering the nasty weather throughout the state over that weekend - thanks to all who ventured to Great Falls to set the path for the coming year.  Although we'll be adding plenty of training opportunities, the following dates were adopted:

Testing:
May 3 & 4 - Billings NA, UPT & UT
May 31 & June 1 - Whitefish NA, UPT & UT
August 8-10 - Wisdom NA, UPT & UT
All of the Test Dates have been accepted by NAVHDA and we have secured most of the Judges we need for the tests.

Training:
Three Forks -  March 27 -30 (Directions and Camping Info Forthcoming)
Wisdom - August 2-7
Whitefish - Dates forthcoming
Billings - Dates forthcoming
Other Locations and Dates to be come.

NAVHDA Handler's Clinic:
August 2-3 (Approved NAVHDA Clinic Leader to be Named)

Snake Avoidance Clinic (Snake Breaking):
Whitefish - June 1
 
Derek Jennings, training "Stop to Flush" with his Griff at the first Three Forks Training - 2011

DOGTRA DONATION

Dogtra Company donated a 2500 T & B collar to the Montana Sharptail Chapter.  We will use this collar as the Grand Prize for a raffle benefiting the Youth Scholarship Fund.  More info can be found here: SHARPTAIL YOUTH RAFFLE
Directions for purchasing tickets are on the raffle web page.  If you are interested in helping sell tickets, please contact Tom at 406-212-5767 or montanasharptail@gmail.com .

THE 'PROGRESSIVE VERSATILE DOG DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM'
Admittedly, it is a program in search of a better name, but it was unanimously approved as a priority for the Sharptail Chapter at the annual meeting.  In essence, it is formalizing a chapter project that puts "Training for Hunting" on equal footing with "Training for Tests" at all of our Training Camps.  The following encompasses the goals of the PVDD program:

“Natural Ability” or “NA” testing and training is usually how people are introduced to NAVHDA.  The elements of Natural Ability are key components to the foundation of any versatile hunting dog – swimming, tracking, field search, pointing and use of nose in addition to understanding and developing “desire” and “cooperation” are the first stepping stones to developing a solid and productive relationship with your companion.

Once a team of dog and owner have completed “Natural Ability,” the goal of the Montana Sharptail Chapter is to stay dedicated to the continued development of that partnership, whether or not a member decides to pursue continued testing such as “Utility” or “Utility Prep,” through the NAVHDA system.  The mission of NAVHDA and the Sharptail Chapter certainly pertains to testing and the dissemination of information, however, it also includes helping members learn the fundamentals of training versatile hunting dogs in a manner that results in the safe, ethical and efficient taking and recovery of game.  As a result, the Montana Sharptail chapter is developing a “Progressive Versatile Dog Development” program (PVDD) devoted to assisting chapter members who are unsure about, or simply not interested in the continued testing of their dog.  In its program development, the chapter is fully committed to giving equal footing to PVDD, in conjunction with seminars, clinics, training camps and testing.


The “Progressive Versatile Dog Development” program will begin with a survey and assessment of the dog’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as help identify the inclinations and priorities of the owner/trainer.  There will be no tests, judges, scores, prizes, or awards within the program – simply a framework that should help the owner identify priorities while working both with the chapter and while at home. 

Elements of the program will include, but are not limited to:    

* Improvement of the "Field Relationship of dog and owner
* Developing “Retrieve” – from polishing a “Natural Retrieve” to a fully “Trained Retrieve”
* Establishing “Stop to Flush” and “Stop to Shot”
* "Lining Drills" for blind retrieves on both land and in water
* "Marking Drills" for singles and multiples on both land and water
* Development of "Manners in the Blind" for Waterfowl Hunting
* "Backing" or "Honoring" from point through the retrieve  
* Steadiness to "Shot" and/or "fall"
* "Trash Breaking" including Deer, Porcupines and Snakes
* General Obedience Skills                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
The goal is to develop PVDD as a Montana Sharptail Chapter project through at least the coming year and assess our gains at year end.  Input from novices through experienced chapter members will be key to its success. 


 
Christine, Natalie and GSP Double Dutch in Wisdom, MT
FACEBOOK:
The Montana Sharptail Facebook Page is a great way to keep in touch with Chapter Members, folks who have moved away from Montana, and the greater NAVHDA community.  It is very important that the page reflects the mission and objectives of the chapter and NAVHDA at large.  We strongly encourage "Facebook Group Members" to be chapter members, although we also understand that folks move away, or occasionally test with the chapter, and "Chapter Membership" is not absolutely essential to "stay in touch."  That said, we are in the process implementing some new administrative controls on the page, simply to make sure that all posts comply with our 501(c)3 status (For example, no posts should be political in nature, or conduct commerce such as offering "goods for sale" or "looking to buy".  Another good example is the posting of photo of a litter of puppies - that would be fine - mentioning that they are 'for sale,' however, would NOT be okay.  Additionally, we need to make sure the page complies with our insurance policy.  For example, what may seem a harmless statement of - "Hey, I caught a bunch of pigeons - if anyone wants to come to my place and train - just let me know" - could be construed as a sponsored event in which case we'd need to make sure all insurance parameters are met.  It should be fairly easy to keep the page consistent with the chapter objectives, and 99% of what has been posted in the past is great and appropriate stuff - our great and beloved dogs, hunting, training, state land status, how to release your dog from traps, testing, etc.  Hopefully the page becomes both more popular and more useful, as well as an avenue for informal chapter communication.  Please visit the page to request "Facebook Group Membership."

WISH LIST UPDATE:
First of all, a huge thanks goes out to folks who have contributed to the Chapter Wish List .  To-date, we have received gifts for a 12 gauge Single-shot, 8 Bird Crates, an "Easy-up Tent, 2 Launchers, a Set of Decoys, a Garbage Can and several Bumpers.  Folks have asked, and we certainly will take "in-kind" donations - we just want to make sure, for example, that things like chairs nest together and are efficiently transportable.