WELCOME to the Official Report of the 2011 Master National Hunting Test, September 30-October 9, brought to you by the Retriever News and written by Tina Ebner & Mark Koenig. We hope you enjoy these daily updates on the 2011 Master National, held this year in and around Vienna, Maryland.


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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 1 - Sunday, October 2, 2011

Brought To You By Retriever News | Entry Express

GOOD MORNING! Test descriptions and pictures for the three flights will be posted as soon as they are available.

Test dogs at A, B and C will all be running at 7 am. Well, the three tests are well underway. We have visited all three which are all held on Terri Stevens and Frank Durham's property "Anatidae Farm." We have the test photos to load and then detailed descriptions will come shortly thereafter. It was rainy and cold this morning and it is still cold this afternoon.

Flight A "Crazy 8's" Land Triple with a Double Blind

Judges Dorothy Ruehman & Steve Elliott

Judges Dorothy Ruehman and Steve Elliott discuss the test set up.

The first day of tests began cool with some precipitation as we awoke at Headquarters. Arriving at the test sites at the Anatidae Farm in Vienna, MD, the sun was peeking through the clouds and the dog trucks were lined up waiting for what the Judges has been preparing for the last few days. Again, the starting number is #79.

This test, nicknamed "Crazy 8's" for the patterns of "8" that were mowed into the tall grass by Frank Durham, the landowner, was a land triple, double blind. The Judges designed this test on the edge of corn rows, in the "Crazy 8's" field that sloped slightly away from the line and in grass that stood around 15 inches in height.

All birds used in this test are rooster pheasants. The first bird is a flyer shot to the right at 99 yards followed by the memory bird thrown from to the left and another dead bird thrown to the left along a tree line. There are two blinds in this test; the first blind is planted directly right of the line at 65 yards, along the rows of corn against the treeline; the second blind is planted 99 yards straight away from the line, between the falls of bird's one and two. The normal order of pick up has been the third bird, followed by the flyer, then the second dead bird at 75 yards, the short blind to the right ending with the straight-away blind.

The first test dog, Walker Branch CEO Is A Sailor, handled by Frank Durham, ran at 7:40 am. Followed by the second test dog, Four Star Molly, handled Deonard Quillen, at 7:50 am The test is taking just over 5 minutes with a SW wind from right to left at around 5 mph. The temperature was hovering around the 50 degree range, in mostly cloudy skies but the sun showed it's warm smile every now and then, if only for just a moment.

Shortly after the test dogs ran, the first 20 handlers were invited to view the test from the line. As the line was cleared, dog #79, Starlight's Mikayla Sue, MH handled by Steve Raney, began the running of the 2011 Master National test in this Flight A. "Kayla" had a hunt on the memory bird and a few whistles on the blinds, but overall, Steve and "Kayla" did a good job.

The second dog, #80, JW's Star River Rylee, MH took the line with handler Ed Thibodeaux. "Rylee" also had a hunt on the memory bird and whistles for the blinds, but again, a very nice test. As the marshal organized the running order, the clouds rolled in, some appearing quite ominous... as of yet, we haven't experienced any rain.

On our afternoon return trip to "Crazy 8's," we learned of a couple of pick-ups between the time we first arrived in the morning, until the time we returned as around 65 dogs had completed the test. Reports from the gallery and the workers say that overall, the work has been good although there were many handles earlier in the day.

Winds held throughout the afternoon, remaining SW @ around 8-12 mph, with light gusts at times. The clouds dominated the skies from late morning on with very little to no sunshine making it through keeping temps around 51 degrees. By around 4:30 pm a little sprinkle was felt in the gallery, but nothing requiring rain gear.

Judges are finding their answers in the dog work with the satisfactory wind conditions. Around 4:15 pm, there was a streak of 5 dogs showing fantastic work, making for an excited gallery.
The Gallery had to stay behind the roped barrier.

Frank Durham ran Test Dog # 2.

Dorothy Ruehman counsels Deonard Quillen.

The Judges give instructions to the handlers.

Frank Durham and Test Dog # 2

Denard Quillen and Test Dog # 1.

Flight B "12 Point Corner" Land Triple with a Diversion Shot – Blind & Walk Up 

Judges Duwayne Bickel & Jim Wonnel 

Judges Jim Wonnel and Duwayne Bickel.

Following a short drive around the property, we arrive at Flight B, or, "12 Point Corner," so named for the 12-point buck Frank Durham shot in this area.

The test, a walk up land triple with a diversion shot blind, is set in a high brush area that opens into a cut corn field to the right, flanked by a line of trees to the left. The wind is blowing from the left at around 7 mph, at times gusting to around 10 mph. The area in front of the blind rises slightly into the distance. The Judges put together a challenging test. To the left of the line, a rooster pheasant is thrown to the right at 59 yards, almost away from the line near the trees on the left. The second rooster is thrown from to the right landing at 89 yards in/near standing corn stalks. The rooster flyer is shot to the right at 105 yards. Finally, the blind is planted just inside the standing corn stalks, straight from the line. Typically, the dogs have been sent to retrieve the flyer first, followed by the left bird (upon returning with this bird, a diversion shot is fired to set up the blind), the second dead rooster and, finally, the blind. The test is running just over 5 minutes per dog, with all dogs staying pretty level with their work.

Work has been fairly consistent. The temperature is still cool as the morning moves along. The sun, when it decides to come out, makes a great deal of difference in temperature providing relief from the cool breeze.

By 6:00 pm, around 76 dogs had completed the test, the clouds withheld their stronghold of the skies dropping a few raindrops on the "12 Point Corner." The temp remained cool and the winds seemed to calm at this darkening hour of the day, down to 5 mph.

Reports from the workers say there were 28 handles out of 34 dogs and 7 known pickups during the mid-afternoon hours.

Thanks to the Sponsors for providing the tents for the holding blinds.
Ida Richards and "Spook"

Bruce Halverson and "Flip"

Janet Peters and Ron Sauls

The Gallery seems happy, despite the cold.

Flight C "Wet Willie" Land/Water Triple with a Walk Up and Honor 

Judges Martha Kress & Dave Illias

Judges Dave Illias and Martha Kress.

This test, nicknamed "Wet Willie" because of the torrential downpour and sudden thunderstorm that called off work during test set-up, is a land/water triple with a walk up and honor and Judged by Martha Kress and Dave Illias.

There is a small pond of water in front of the line, surrounded by some high grasses. On the far side of the left corner of this pond, there are a few rows of standing corn. The wind was blowing at a steady 12 mph from the northwest, blowing in on the handlers from the right. In the early part of the morning, during one of the running of the test dogs, a test dog from Flight B decided to make an appearance...running from some 1500 yards away straight into this test! Both dogs were called in and were rerun following the surprise guest appearance.

The first mallard drake was thrown from to the right, landing in a wet patch 46 yards away from the right of the line. The second mallard drake was thrown from to the left, landing straight away from the line creating a line through the small pond at 71 yards. The final bird was a flyer, shot from to the right, along the corn rows at 71 yards, shot far enough away that the dog needs to run through the small pond. The order was the flyer first, the right bird and then the middle bird. Within the first ten dogs, there were 2 pick-ups and three handles--this is going to be a challenge!

After just 11 dogs there was a re-bird, completed in just over a minute! These volunteers are working hard! Thanks again to all of you, you are doing a great job.

By the mid-afternoon hours, "Wet Willie" was moving along quickly as dog #23 had taken the line at around 5:00 pm. Reports say that this Flight will be moving on tomorrow sometime before the lunch hour.

All-in-all, 22 handles and 6 pick-ups were reported through dog #23. Work had improved over the 1:00-3:00 pm hours as the wind leveled and shifted. At around 5:00 pm the work returned to the same satisfactory levels as the morning hours. Note: there was 1 no-bird for #191.

Becky Malphus and Lyle Steinman sport eye-catching head gear.


Master National Running Order

  • Flight Draw & Running Order

  • Dorchester Star Articles

  • September 30 Article
  • October 4 Article