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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Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 2 - Monday, October 3, 2011

Brought To You By Purina & Avery

The first day of the 2011 Master National wrapped up late with dark clouds rolling in. The workers put in many hours in the field and everyone was ready to get inside, warm up and relax for the evening. 

The starting numbers for the three tests today are as follows:
Flight A #168
Flight B #163
Flight C #36
(Flight C expects to wrap up in three hours this morning and move to the fourth test).

Tonight, the Susquehanna Retriever Club is hosting a Crab Feast at the Anatidae Farm Pavillion in Vienna, MD. The feast begins at 7:00 pm and more information regarding the event and tickets can be found here. There are still tickets available and they can be purchased at the door. If you have pre-paid, make sure to wear your orange wristband when arriving. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Flight A "Crazy 8's" Land Triple with a Double Blind

Judges Dorothy Ruehman & Steve Elliott

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 with a 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 Flight 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.

By 3:00 pm 143 dogs had run the test. The skies are partly cloudy with a subtle breeze and temps are holding in the mid/low 50's.

Work had improved today since yesterday with the wind change providing assistance this morning. There were a few pick-ups and one noted break and a few no-birds. It was reported that during the mid-morning rain, there were two dogs that did perfectly, said one worker.

As of now, it looks as if the test will finish early tomorrow morning. 
It was smiles all around as the sun came out!!

John Weller snoozes in the sun as he waits for a rebird...

 The song "Build Me Up Buttercup" played while a rebird was in progress.

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

Judges Duwayne Bickel & Jim Wonnel

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.

By late afternoon, all but 20 dogs had to run the test. The dogs were averaging about 6 minutes, when a little math was done, this meant, a few dogs would have to finish in the morning.

A vast majority of the dogs had been handling, the center bird being the biggest issue, according to one worker. There were a few pick-ups throughout the day and at least two no-birds.

The weather remained calm and cool in the afternoon, a few sprinkles here and there but nothing becoming a bother. The slight breeze forced some dogs to hunt short on the flyer, causing a few whistles.

One of the roosters flew off and had to be retrieved...

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

Judges Martha Kress & Dave Illias

Flight C, 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.

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.

The gallery was waiting for Callbacks.

This is what happens to a corn field in the rain.

Just one of seven, SO FAR, trucks that have gotten stuck in the muck.

We revisited Flight C this morning with just a few dogs to run. There was a short downpour which dispersed the crowd waiting for callbacks. As it brightened up their judges gave their sheet to the announcer as they drove away from the test site alerting the folks sheltering in their cars that the callbacks were ready.

C A L L B A C K S ! ! !

Of a total of 192 dogs, 167 are back and 25 were dropped and 1 scratched.
The dogs called back are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58,59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 190, 191, 192 and 193.

The dogs that were dropped are: 14, 17, 19, 21, 36, 39, 40, 47, 79, 87, 88, 105, 107, 108, 114, 115, 127, 144, 146, 156 (scratch), 158, 175, 179, 182, 188 and 189.

We are on our way to the fourth test site. The sun is beginning to peek out and we are all anticipating an exciting water test.

Flight C "4 Mil Pond" Water Triple with an Honor, Diversion Pop and a Blind

Judges Martha Kress & Dave Illias

The fourth test of the Master National is a Water Triple with an Honor, Diversion Pop and a Blind. The water in this pond is lungable and swimmable. The birds used in this test are drake mallards. The first bird is thrown from the close shore of the pond to the right, over a small inlet to the opposite side of the pond at 83 yards. The second bird is also thrown from the close shore, but it lands 49 yards away on the left edge of an island. The final bird, a flyer, is shot to the left on the shoreline with the area of the fall varying in distance from the water. Upon return with the far left bird, there is a diversion pop to set up the blind. Finally, the blind is planted 75 yards out on the far shoreline of the pond. The line to the blind clips the right edge of the island. There are goose decoys placed on the middle-right area of the island, while duck decoys are placed between the island and the far shore visible when the dog clears the edge of the island on line to the blind.

The order of pick-up has been (thus far) from right to left; the flyer, followed by the shorter island bird, then the dead bird at 83 yardsfirst dead bird at 83 yards ending with the blind.

Test dog's began running at 1:45 pm with #117. The wind is blowing out of the NW at a breezy 3-5 mph. The skies are mostly cloudy with short periods of direct sun keeping the temperature in the low-mid 50's.

The test is running at 5 plus minutes and the first handful of dogs ran very well with few whistles and some clean blinds.


Today we're serving up Dog # 117!!
Crab Feast
As the sun set behind a blanket of dark clouds, hungry workers and handlers began arriving at the pavilion at Anatidae Farm, just a few hundred yards away from Flights A and C. Our gracious hosts, the Susquehanna Retriever Club, Theresa Stevens and Frank Durham (landowners) and Millie's Roadhouse planned a shore-fare feast for all to enjoy.

The preparations begin for the Susquehanna Club Crab Feast!

As folks arrived, the music was playing, the beer was flowing and the level of hunger was rising after a long, cool day in the field. Shortly after 7:00 pm, Frank Durham announced that the food line was open. The throng of eaters received large platters filled with freshly steamed blue crab, seasoned shrimp and corn on the cob. But, that was only one food station. Near-by, Millie's catering had also provided fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, coleslaw and hush puppies. Needles to say, plates ...  were ...  FULL!

These folks got in line early and are digging in!

Rick & Lo Dirmeyer of Eukanuba with Mark Parman

This huge bonfire sure helped warm us up!

The sound of mallets cracking crab shells along with the friendly chatter backgrounded by music created an outdoor atmosphere much-like a family reunion - which, this entire event is, in a way. The large bon-fire had some folks huddled around for warmth as the temperatures were very much fall-like. Finishing our meals, a few raindrops began to fall keeping our evening in line with the previous few days - cool and wet. But, as usual, spirits remained jovial.

The last glimpses of the sun could be seen through the clouds...as we settled in for dinner.

A typical meal platter....Y U M M Y ! !

Thanks again to the Susquehanna Retriever Club, Terri Stevens and Frank Durham and Millie's Roadhouse for a wonderful evening, a fantastic meal and great company!


Master National Running Order

  • Flight Draw & Running Order

  • Dorchester Star Articles

  • September 30 Article
  • October 4 Article