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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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 7 - Saturday, October 8, 2011

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Please note, the closing ceremonies with be Sunday at 10:00 am at the Pavilion at Anatidae Farm.

Steve Surfman will be serving up approximately 75,000 photos in his kiosk near the Pavilion. Go look for your dog's photograph. Any orders placed at the event will receive a discount, otherwise the photos will be available for viewing online at his website as soon as Wednesday.

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

Judges Dorothy Ruehman & Steve Elliott

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.

Flight A began today with dog #73 at 8:00 am. There's nothing but sun today and it beings the warmth. There is barely any breeze out here, much different than earlier in the week. There have been some handles and 1 dog broke, but many are smokin' it! The remaining dogs in this Flight are here for a reason.

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

Judges Duwayne Bickel & Jim Wonnel

Nicknamed "Crazy 8's" for the patterns of "8" that were mowed into the tall grass by Frank Durham, the landowner, is 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.

Flight B began today with dog #165 at 8:00 am. It was 55 degrees and completely sunny as dog #175 was at the line with 22 to go at 9:15 am. The wind is very calm and the dogs are running at a great pace. The test should be completed around noon. There have been some really good blinds and very, very solid marks. The cream of the crop remain and they are proving it today.

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

Judges Martha Kress & Dave Illias

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.

Flight C begins work today with dog #170 at 7:30 am.

Of a total of 111 dogs, 96 are back and 15 were dropped.

1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 33, 34, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 76, 78, 80, 82, 85, 89, 90, 93, 97, 98, 100, 102, 103, 104, 106, 109, 110, 112, 113, 118, 120, 123, 124, 129, 130, 131, 134, 138, 139, 140, 143, 149, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157, 160, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 174, 176, 177, 178, 181, 183, 184, 190 and 192.

The dogs dropped are: 3, 4, 5, 20, 35, 55, 65, 73, 74, 77, 92, 147, 151, 159 and 191.

Flight C "Flooded Timber" Land Single Mark and Blind / Pick-up Blind Before Mark

Judges Martha Kress & Dave Illias

This test is set in a circular stick pond, 40 foot trees protrude from the water creating a canopy, shading the area of the fall and the blind. The bird is thrown to the left, away from the line at about 45 yards. There is one shot for the mark, then another shot to set up the blind. The blind is planted at 75 yards on the far shoreline of the stick pond laying on top of a log. The line to the blind cuts the corner of the pond requiring a swim and a passing of the mark. The test requires the handler to sit on a bucket until both shots are fired then runs the blind and then picks up the mark. The judges are judging this as a mark, not a poison bird. This test is using drake mallards.

Flight C started this test at 11:15 am with dog #41. From what started as a no breeze day, the wind has picked up just a bit where it has begun to swirl like previous days. The test remains quick, at just under 3 minutes a dog. The area of the fall for the flyer is well lit (but not in the sun) due to the positioning of the sun but the blind remains in the shadows on top of the log.

The blind work has looked very good and the flyer is looking great, but there are a few handles. Some dogs are just smokin' the whole test, getting hoots and hollers from the Gallery. At 11:40 am, dog #45 was on the line.

The handlers line up to get their photos taken in front of the MNRC sign.

Alan Sandifer assists Tommy Landers and "Hank" gets the bird.


Tommy is presented with a t-shirt signed by all the "C" gallery
Another Black Snake decided to enter the Test.

We scared him off with a direct hit from a stick! And...he was gone.

Frank Barton, "Head Jelly Bean Counter" looks on.


Master National Running Order

  • Flight Draw & Running Order

  • Dorchester Star Articles

  • September 30 Article
  • October 4 Article