2017 Test & Training Information:

The Montana Sharptail Chapter Test is just a few weeks away, July 21-23.  The test is coming together.  At this point, we are opened up to non-memberships and are only taking dogs on waiting lists.  The test will consist of one day of Utility Tests (6 dogs) on Friday, July 21 and two days of Natural Ability Tests (up to 10 dogs per day).  The Utility Test will be held at the location we have used in the past, north of Wisdom.  Natural Ability will be held at either the UT test grounds or last year’s NA test site near Jackson.  Field conditions will dictate which grounds are used.  We will get a run day schedule out around July 9.

The camping has changed for this year.  A couple camping options are available near the test grounds.  The base camp and meals will likely be located at the American Legion campground 1/2 mile west of Wisdom.  This site has 15 campsites with no hook ups.  Additional campground information is available online.  We will have a toilet there and at the test grounds.   There will be additional camping northeast of Wisdom, east of the gravel pit.  More detailed directions will be provided.

We have an opportunity to train the two days prior to the test, Wednesday July 19 & Thursday July 20 at the test grounds.  If you plan to attend and want training birds you need to order by July 7.  We will be able to get chukars, pheasants, and ducks and you must order birds in advance.  Contact John Arkins to place your order. 

We do need volunteers to help pull off the test.  If you are interested in helping, please let me know.   Diane and Jim Lechleitner have been extremely gracious with taking on the food plan.   There will be lunch (Fri.-Sun.) and dinner (Fri. & Sat.) available for a reasonable donation.   We will need some help with food operations.  Contact Diane or myself to help. If you would like to share a dessert or side for dinner, we want to try it. 

Feel free to contact me with any questions.


John Arkins


Montana Sharptail Members,

The Chapter's first training is just a couple weeks away!  We are looking forward to seeing many members in Three Forks!
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.).

Schedule for the Training Event is as follows:

Wednesday April 19
10:00 am - Set up Tent, Bird Pen and Training Stations (Need Volunteers)
1:00 pm to Dusk - Training assistance for advanced dog work

Thursday April 20

9:00 am - noon - General Training - from pups to finishing dogs
1:00 pm to Dusk - General Training - from pups to finishing dogs

Friday, April 21
9:00 am - Noon - General Training - Concurrent NA and UT sessions
1:00 pm - Dusk - General Training - Concurrent NA and UT sessions

Saturday, April 22
9:30 am - 10:00 am - Board Meeting - Any members interested in joining the board welcome
10:00 am - Noon -Annual Membership Meeting - Everyone Welcome - In the Tent
9:00 am - Natural Ability Seminar - Understanding the Test and how to prepare
1:00 pm - Natural Ability "Track" Training  
9:00 am - Dusk - General Training - Concurrent NA and UT sessions

6:00 pm - Group dinner at the tent (cost share)

Sunday, April 23
9:00 am - 2:00 pm - General Training
11:00 am - noon - Utility Seminar - Understanding the Test and Training for it.
2:00 pm: 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.

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 no water available at the parking site, so bring plenty of drinking water for both you and the dog(s).
If your pup has not been conditioned to gun shot, please notify the trainers and take percussions to keep your pup away from the live fire training fields. 

Training Fees: 
$20.00 for one day / $15.00 for subsequent days
Pigeons: $5.00
Chukars: $13.50 
We are able to take cash, check or credit card payments.  There will be new hats, jackets and other various wearable swag.

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.
Primitive camping will be available at the training site with a portapottie.  Hotels are available in Three Forks about 15 minute drive from the grounds.
The training grounds are on private property please be sure to thank the land owner.  Continued use depends on all of us showing respect by keeping the property clean.
We are all volunteers making this happen so do not hesitate to jump in with a helping hand.

Feel free to contact me with questions.
Train on! John 406-628-2881

Spring training and annual meeting

The Montana Sharptail Chapter will be hosting a spring training and annual meeting April 20-24 in Three Forks Montana. The event will be at our usual location on Karyn Conner's ranch.

The annual meeting will be Saturday, April 23 at 10:00 am.  We will be discussing the upcoming season events including testing and training opportunities. Also on the agenda will be to nominate and fill open Board positions. The Chapter will be electing Treasurer, Secretary, and President as well as adding and/or replacing Board members.  A few folks have expressed interest in joining.  If you are interested please contact a current board member or myself to find out more.  The meeting will have an open forum for membership to share ideas.  We want to hear what membership would like to get out of the chapter.

We are bringing in a professional trainer to assist members during the event. The trainer has extensive experience with NAVHDA testing and training including handling multiple Versatile Champions.
This will be an outstanding opportunity for folks to gain training skills and get hands on help. He will be focusing on Utility Testing skills but will also provide Natural Ability assistance.  If you are wanting assistance with UT training he recommends that at a minimum your dog has a solid "recall" command and understands "whoa".

We will be charging a minimal fee to cover the trainer's expenses.  The training fee will be somewhere between $60-$75 + bird expenses per participant based on how many folks attend.  Bird costs are $5 for pigeons and $12.50 for chukars.  We will need to get an approximate count on how many folks would like to participate so we can order enough birds and determine the training fee.
Please let me know if you are planning on attending.
The event will be limited to chapter members. 

Additional information will be posted on the website and via email.

I look forward to seeing folks in April.

John Arkins
Montana Sharptail President
January 5, 2017

Happy New Year to all the Montana Sharptail Family!

I hope your hunting season was filled with memorable points and the smell of gun powder.

Training, testing and NAVHDA fun is just around the corner.  The Board is looking forward to an event filled season working with our wonderful versatile gun dogs. 

It’s that  time of year to renew your chapter membership.  We need your support.  Members keep our chapter active, healthy and growing. If you have already renewed, thank you.
Current yearly membership fee is $30.00 for a single or $50.00 for a family membership.
If you know anyone interested in joining, please refer them to the website.

Here is the link for renewals and new memberships.

It is likely our membership fees will have to increase at some point.  Your early renewal ensures renewal at the 2016 membership rate.  We very much appreciate your support.

The board has a few ideas of training and testing opportunities and we would like to hear from the members on their wants for chapter activities. Contact a broad member to share your ideas.

The chapter is pursuing two tests this year with potential locations of Whitefish and Wisdom.
Nothing has been set yet.  However it will be important to get our event dates set as soon as possible to ensure we secure volunteers, birds, judges and facilities.

If you are interested in hosting training events in your area, we can help with equipment, birds and training support.  Training dates will be established in early spring.  

There are a few critical duties we need to fill this year.  We are looking for a Test Secretary and a chapter treasurer.  If you have interest in either, please contact me to find out more about the job.

Thanks for being a Montana Sharptail NAVHDA member!
Much more to come.

John Arkins
Chapter President

2017 Sharptail Chapter Test - Wisdom, MT

July 21, 22, & 23- 2017
Big Hole Valley - Wisdom, Montana

Natalie and Dutch, NA Swim, as Judge Ruth Weiss looks on
We'll be testing again in Wisdom, MT this year on July 21, 22, & 23.  The only method to register for a test prior to the actual event is through the Montana Sharptail Test Registration Gateway Link: (Click Below)


Priority for test registration with this chapter is granted to Montana Sharptail Chapter Members only, from now, March until 30 Days from the Test Series.  At that point, general registration will open up for non-members.  It is recommended that you sign up as soon as possible.  This test will fill very quickly - It would be a fair to assume that the test will be full, or almost full, by the time we offer our Training Camp later this month.

Test Registrations will be accepted on a "First Come, First Serve," basis.  We will fill test days according to the NAVHDA Test Capacity Chart, which, along with other testing info can be found here: http://www.navhda.org/testing/holding-navhda-test

Please be advised that your "Preferred Run Day" is not an automatic selection.  We will more than likely run UT/UPT on Friday, a "mixed day" of NA/UPT/UT on Saturday and NA only on Sunday, depending on how many dogs, and which Test Types are enrolled.

Questions about TEST REGISTRATION ONLY should be directed toward our Test Secretary at the following email address:
All other chapter questions including seminars, training, annual meeting etc should be directed to:

The Membership List to the left is current as of March 13, 2016.  If you have not renewed, but plan on participating and/or supporting the chapter, please update your membership at this link:

More information regarding the Three Forks Training Event, Annual Meeting and the coming year will be posted soon, with an email alert to the membership.  Thanks, and hope to see you all in Three Forks.
P.S. - all blog posts below are historical in chronological order, most from 2015 or earlier.

Angus, GSP, on a Utility Duck Search


Gunnr - Pudelpointer owned by Todd Baier - Photo by Dave Shumway
2016 ANNUAL MEETING - Saturday, April 2
1:00 pm - Pais Casa Ranch, Three Forks Montana
Board and Officer Elections and Priorities for the coming year
Nominees to the Board for 2016 include Jim Lechleitner and Brian Gertiser

TRAINING EVENT - March 31 - Thru April 3
1:00 pm Thursday until noon on Sunday.
A more formal schedule will be published, but informal and formal opportunities will exist, with plenty of birds available.  Chapter membership is required - you may attend any or all days.  Scheduled events will include:  Natural Ability Seminar, Duck Search Discussion, & Electronic Collar Training.
More info coming, including potential lunch and dinner for Saturday.

We have been granted permission to once again run a 3-day test in the Big Hole Valley - Wisdom, MT.
Natural Ability (NA), Utility Preparatory Test (UPT), and Utility Test (UT) will all be available.  We are in the process of confirming dates with the host ranch, but you can expect it to fall between July 15 and August 14.  We should know within the week.  Once we have confirmed the Test Date, we will have them approved by NAVHDA International.  Once approved, we will open registration for the test.  Registration will be granted to Montana Sharptail Chapter members only until 30 days from the Test Series.  In an effort to keep all registrations fair, minimize paperwork, and ease the handling of money, all test registration (with the exception of "on-site or same-day" will occur through a new "gateway," including payment options.  A link to the Test Registration Gateway will be furnished to all members, and made available on the website, once our dates are approved by NAVHDA International.

Annual Memberships are now due - several folks have already sent in their Membership for the coming year which is great.  All memberships (one or two-year) that were paid for after last year's August Test, have been applied toward the 2016 (one year) or 2016-2017 season.  Please feel free to contact montanasharptail@gmail.com if you have questions.  If your membership is due, you can expect an email reminder soon.  Otherwise, you can use the secure link: https://montanasharptail.formstack.com/forms/membership_application

Please do not send a hard copy of your Membership Registration to the PO Box - We are making a concerted effort to reduce paperwork and create a sustainable volunteer organization. Please help this by renewing on-line. We will accept "hard copies" and checks or cash from new members at events only.  Thank you for your help on making this work.

We look forward to seeing you all in Three Forks.
Feel free to call or email with questions.
Fast Eddy in the Big Hole Valley - January 2016


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..........