Sharptail Sign - At the Wisdom Test Site, January 2016
Just a quick note to let folks know that the Board of Directors is tracking on Training and Testing Events for the coming year. We are currently working with landowners to secure our test dates for 2 days in late June in Whitefish, and 3 days in early/mid August in Wisdom.  Both Tests will be NA/UPT/UT.  We will not accept any test registrations until the test fees are finalized by the board, and the dates/locations are accepted by NAVHDA International.  Stay tuned, as we will let the membership know immediately when they are approved.  As usual, Montana Sharptail Members will have priority for test registration up until 30 days prior to a test series.  Rae Brown will serve as the Test Secretary for the coming year, and Keith McCormick will coordinate Membership renewals once the board has approved fees for the coming year.  We will likely continue to have 2-year options available to new members as this has been a popular option.  Folks who signed up for a 2-year option last year will be notified soon that their membership status for the coming year is set.

We are in the process of scheduling a multi-day training event in the Three Forks/Bozeman/Belgrade Area for Early April........ We will also incorporate our annual meeting and Board / Officer elections into the event.  Stay tuned for coming info.

The board is looking forward to the coming year, and we invite your comments to: montanasharptail@gmail.com
Please feel free to forward this newsletter, or the Montana Sharptail contact info to interested parties.
Hope to see you all soon, and scratch those dogs..........


Dan Helterline's Pudelpointers Vesper and Murdock
The Whitefish Test is full, with a waiting list of two.  Please email or call if you are interested in volunteering - we'd love to have your help.  We will have at least a couple training evenings in Whitefish in the coming two weeks, and a training day the weekend before.  More info forthcoming.  Camping and Lodging will be available at Stillwater Mountain Lodge - Please call 406-212-5767 for details.  (More info will be forthcoming to test participants shortly).

Chapter BBQ at Stillwater Mountain Lodge Saturday June 6 after the test at 6:00 for $10.00. Everyone is welcome.

Wisdom August Test Update:  We have 2 days full and the 3rd day is half full - It will be full by the end of next week...Don't hesitate to get your entries in.  Wisdom training week info is forthcoming.

Chapter Sage Grouse Project - In addition to more Fence Marking in Wisdom in August - The Chapter has a great opportunity coming to us via Vice President Bridget Nielsen:
We have an exciting opportunity to help in the research and data collection of information for the Sage Grouse in Montana!  This is an exciting event that will directly help the birds!  The MTFWP conducts annual monitoring and scientific research on Greater Sage Grouse in the Roundup, MT area every spring.  Part of the study includes capturing young chick sage grouse, tagging them, and evaluating survival between marking and fledging in the fall.  The chicks are located by using radio telemetry equipment to locate collared females after sunset.  The chicks are quickly released back to the female and success of the project has been very high.  The information gathered from this effort is utilized in determining the level of success of the Sage Grouse Initiative Grazing Management programs that have been developed on over 200,000 acres of private and federal lands in the Roundup/Lavina area of Montana.  We are being offered the opportunity to assist the MTFWP in this effort during the months of June and July.  The ability to handle birds safely is desired as well as the ability to handle changing weather conditions and rustic overnight accomodations during the work week is needed.  Preferably the volunteers will camp near the project site and be able to work after dark. If you are interested in helping, please contact Bridget Nielsen at (406) 366-6042 and she will coordinate with MTFWP to schedule volunteer efforts.  


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.

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).


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.

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

(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


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.

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.

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!


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
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.

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.)


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


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


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.

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.


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.

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.
The cost is $120.00 - More info on Handlers Clinics is available here:
This is a phenomenal opportunity and there are only a handful around the country on any given year.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:
More info is available here: http://sharptailraffle.blogspot.com/

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