WELCOME to the Official Report of the 2010 Master National Hunting Test, October 10-17, brought to you by the Retriever News and written by Tina Ebner & Joule Charney. We hope you enjoy these daily updates on the 10-10-10 Master National, held this year in and around Corning, California.


Event Information

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 1- Sunday, *** 10-10-10 ***

Brought to you by Eukanuba

The big event starts today. We're going to post photos of the tests for Flights A, B and C and then we will add the written descriptions as soon as possible. We don't want you to miss anything! Our Report is organized by Day and by Flight. Throughout this eight-day event, we will be updating the Report and adding details to Days and Flights on which we've already reported.

Test Dog at each Flight is at 8 am sharp. (For the rest of the week it will be 7:30 am.)


Flight A: "Donut Hole"  Judges: Mary Williams & Bill Cummins
Water Triple with Double Blind -- Walk-up with Honor

The temperature this morning is 61 degrees, but is soon to heat up to a high of 87 degrees. The Judges both said they are delighted to be back out West. Mary is from North Carolina and Bill is from Oklahoma. Bill referred to the tests as “challenging, but nothing crazy.” Handlers were reminded there is no duck call on walk-ups, per AKC Rules. They also were reminded several times to shoulder the handler’s gun.

The pond is kidney-shaped. The ‘donut’ is on the far side toward the middle bird. It is a reverse island, in essence. There is a circular mound with water in the middle, all water is running water. All birds in this series are Drake Mallards and launched out of wingers. 1st down: Right-hand bird, out-of-order flier at 50 yds. The station is completely concealed from the Line by tall, thick cover, referred to in these parts as “tules.” This bird is landing on the land on the far side of the pond. There is no way to be certain if the literal line will be through this cover, as this bird is a live shot flier. 2nd down: Middle bird, dead, angle back toward the left at 70 yds. 3rd down: Left bird, dead, angle back to the right at 89 yds, although it appears to be less of an angle than the middle bird. There are decoys placed at the far end of the pond. Two are visible between the left and the middle birds.

The handlers are facing roughly south, with a low, bright sun to their backs once they have arrived at the line. There was virtually no wind when the test dogs began 8:21 am. Several adjustments were made to the mechanics of the test, with Janet Peters running an invisible dog and also during the dual test dog runs.

Handlers were told by the judges they can pick up either blind first. “It’s dealer’s choice; but, you do have to say which hand you’re playing.” Left Blind--72 yds: The line is across the left side of the pond. Right Blind--112 yds: The line is roughly through the center. The blinds are very tight, which could get even more interesting as scent increases and if the wind becomes more of a factor.

Flight B: "Never Again"   Judges: Myrna Zumwall & Clarence Klaus
Land Triple with Blind -- Walk-up with Honor

Flight B's first series is at the Never Again venue, which is on the north side of the creek. It is a land Triple with a Blind and an Honor. This is a walk-up to nearly the edge of a very steep hill down into a large valley. All birds are rooster pheasants, the first of which is a 74 yd dead middle bird, launched from a winger, left to right, into medium cover, at a square angle. The second bird is on the left and is a square throw, left to right, into tall, thick green cover, at 76 yds. The third bird is a 61 yd live shot flier that originates from the handler's right. The 150 yd blind is between the middle and right marks. All stations are concealed by natural elements.

There have been multiple no-birds. After too many missed live shot flyers, the Judges stopped the test to replace gunners and shot size. Then there was a problem of flyers landing too close to the middle bird. In one case, they virtually were on top of one another. Some handlers experienced two no-birds; one had three. By the time things were running more smoothly, the afternoon temperature soared into the eighties and two dogs were treated for heat-related problems.

Flight C: "Not So"  Judges: Keith Kiesow & Bill Blochowiak
Land - Water Triple with a Blind

Flight C’s first test was at the Not So venue. This is a mostly land Triple, with surprise water on one of the marks, and a land blind. The intent of the Judges was to create a hunting scenario. All birds in this series are hen mallards and are launched out of wingers. 1st down: Right-hand bird is out of a station completely hidden by cattails, angled back to the left, at 70 yds. The right mark is separated from the two on the left by a fair amount of distance, a wide angle and significant changes in cover. 2nd down: A huge Flier long bird, most of which are landing at a square angle to the right around 125 yds. 3rd down, from a station in line with the Flier's station but closer to the Line, landing in green cover of varying length, at 78 yards. The blind is under the arc of the short left bird, between the station and the tall cover on the left outside of the test, at 94 yards.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing handlers is that their dogs must disappear on their way to the right-hand bird, even those dogs holding a good line. There is a very long land entry, after which the dogs go down an embankment, and out of sight. The bird lands on the other side of a 20' wide span of water connecting two ponds. The majority of factors around the area of  fall are not visible to the handler. The shortest time in the no-see-um zone has been five seconds, according to some of the handlers. Dogs reappearing close the line to the bird have been averaging 20 to 30 seconds out of the handlers' range of vision. Of the first fifteen dogs to run this test, five have been handled and three have been picked, leading to the rumor that Flight C is the most difficult test of the first series.

Everyone is looking forward to the Lassen Retriever Club's Grand Oktoberfest Pig Roast this evening. Preparations have been going all day...the pigs have been roasting since 9 am this morning! We're off to sample some of the delectable food and will report back later......

Well the Pig Roast was a lot of fun! The tent glowed in the night sky as the sun set. There was lots of beer flowing courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, CA. The meal was delicious with all the trimmings, including pretzels! The entertainment was fitting with German polka music and later...a bagpipe. Everyone had a good time thanks to the Lassen Retriever Club and all the hospitality volunteers. People went home after a long, hot day to rest up for tomorrow.

Flight A continues w/ Dog 15 in the morning  (Test Dog at 7:30 am)

Flight B continues w/ Dog 17 in the morning  (Test Dog at 7:30 am)

Flight C continues w/ Dog 18 in the morning  (Test Dog at 7:30 am)


Master National Running Order

  • Flight A
  • Flight B
  • Flight C