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Central New Mexico Brittany Club

Hunt Tests

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Providing more events for members and their Brittanys
than any ABC Club in the Southwest

No Hunt Tests Are Scheduled!
Our club needs volunteers to step up
to keep these events going.
Please contact CNMBC President John Tunberg






An Introduction to Hunt Tests

by Tom Mauter, CNMBC, NVBC

If you have never considered entering your Brittany in a hunt test because you don't hunt you may want to reconsider.

At the urging of Roscoe Tippett, NVBC member and an AKC Hunt Test judge, I entered my then five year old Brittany, Jake, in his first hunt test. What an exciting day it was! Living inside the Washington, DC beltway at the time, Jake's hunting had been limited mostly to our backyard. When given the opportunity to work in the field, he had the time of his life.

The Basics

So just what is a hunt test and what is needed to enter? From my limited experience, (Jake and I and my current Brittany Ollie have now participated in more than a dozen hunt test events ) if your Brittany is fairly obedient, likes to sniff out birds and points, then he or she is ready for the beginning or junior hunter level. As for equipment, you will need a blank pistol (starter's gun) and holster - if you are just getting started, you should be able to borrow one from a fellow club member - and blanks. A good pair of hiking boots and jeans or heavy pants are recommended to get you through the field course. So your dog, a blank gun, hiking clothes, a water bottle for you and your dog, and the entrance fee and you and your Brittany are on your way. If you are looking to have your Brittany as a solid hunting partner, Senior and Master Hunt competition will document you and your dogs accomplishments in the field.
Awaiting Brace Breakaways
Awaiting Brace Breakaways

Junior Hunter

At the Junior Hunter or beginning level, each dog competes against a standard in four areas:

1. HUNTING - a dog is scored from '0' to '10' on the basis of whether or not it shows a keen desire to hunt on his or her own and has a fast pattern of running which is near the handler.
2. BIRD FINDING ABILITY- a dog must find and then point bird(s) in order to receive a qualifying score. Dogs are scored from '0' to '10' based upon how well they demonstrate their intelligence, use of the wind, and the ability to find birds.
3. POINTING - a dog is scored from '0' to '10' on the intensity of its point, as well as its ability to located (pinpoint) birds under difficult scenting conditions and/or confusing scent patterns. A 'flash point' (a point that is not held for any length of time) cannot be graded as pointing, however, a dog's score in this category shall not be influenced by its steadiness to wing and shot (when the bird is flushed and the blank pistol is fired).
4. TRAINABILITY - a dog is scored from '0' to '10' on its willingness to be handled, its reasonable obedience to commands, and its gun response. If the handler is within reasonable gun range of the bird, which has been pointed and flushed, a blank pistol must be fired. It is recommended to point the pistol towards the ground, away from the dog and the judge(s).

A minimum score of 5.0 in each of the four categories qualifies. Four such qualifying scores, scored by four different judges, earns your dog a Junior Hunter title and you some bragging rights.

Senior Hunter

A Senior hunting dog must show all four of the attributes of a Junior hunting dog and more. In addition, each dog competes against a standard in two additional areas:

*. HUNTING AND POINTING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how well it holds a point and is "steady to wing" holding point when the bird is flushed; the dog must remain in position until the shot or the dog is released by handler.


5. RETRIEVING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on its ability to retrieve the bird, taking a route directly to the bird or locating it with little delay and returning directly to the handler bringing the bird to the handler's hand and releasing on command.
6. HONORING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how well it honors the point of a bracemate; when a dog encounters its bracemate on point, it must honor, that is to freeze in position letting the other dog demonstrate its ability to be steady to wing and shot as well as retrieving. A dog that steals its bracemate's point cannot receive a Qualifying score.


A dog must acquire a minimum score of not less than 5.0 on each of the six categories qualifies. Five such qualifying scores, scored by five different judges, (or four if your dog has a Junior Hunter title) earns your dog a Senior Hunter title and you more bragging rights.

Master Hunter

A dog earning the title of Master Hunter is a hunting dog that gives a finished performance and demonstrate clearly that it deserves this title. This is the complete hunting companion that any hunter would be proud to own. In this competition each dog is scored on:

A Master hunting dog is judged on six categories but at a much higher level than Junior and Senior hunting dogs:


1. HUNTING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how well it is under its handler's control at all times, and handle kindly, with an absolute minimum of noise and hacking by the handler. A Master hunting dog must show a keen desire to hunt, must have a bold and attractive manner of running, and must demonstrate not only intelligence in seeking objectives, but also the ability to find game. The dog must hunt for its handler at all times at a range suitable for a handler on foot, and should show or check in front of its handler frequently. It must cover adequate ground but never range out-of-sight for a length of time that would detract from its usefulness as a practical hunting companion.
2. BIRD FINDING ABILITY- a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how well it locates game and it must locate game.
3. POINTING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how well it points and it must point staunchly, and must be steady to wing and shot on all birds and if it breaks, it cannot receive a Qualifying score.
4. TRAINABILITY - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on how intelligently it uses of the wind and terrain in locating game, accurate nose, and intensity on point are essential.
5. RETRIEVING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' on its ability to retrieve the bird, the route it takes to the bird or locating it with little delay and returning to the handler bringing the bird to the handler's hand and releasing on command.The dog must retrieve promptly, tenderly and absolutely to hand
.
6. HONORING - a dog is scored from '0 to 10' whenever it encounters its bracemate on point, it must honor. A dog that steals its bracemate's point cannot receive a Qualifying score. A Master hunting dog must positively demonstrate its steadiness to wing and shot. The handler shall not command or signal the dog to retrieve until positive steadiness has been demonstrated. A Master hunting dog must be given an opportunity to honor, either during the time its brace is running, or in a callback situation. The Judges may call back only those dogs whose scores in the other abilities would otherwise permit them to receive a Qualifying score.

A dog must acquire a minimum score of not less than 5.0 on each of the six categories qualifies. Six such qualifying scores, scored by six different judges, (or five if your dog has a Senior Hunter title) earns your dog a Master Hunter title and you "top dog" bragging rights.

CNMBC Hunt Tests

Typically, CNMBC conducts hunt tests in the spring and the fall. CNMBC partners with another area pointing breed club to provide two separate hunt tests on Saturday and Sunday, providing the opportunity for you and your dog to compete in four events in one weekend. These are wonderful opportunities to get a first hand understanding of what a hunt test is all about. You can follow the junior level braces (two dogs) and their handlers as they work them through the fields. You can also set up your favorite lawn or camping chair overlooking the bird field and watch the more experienced dogs (Senior and Master levels) show their stuff. Binoculars will bring the action right up close and personal. There are always lots of CNMBC members on hand to answer questions and help you and your Brittany have a good time. Of course, your Brittany needs to be on a lead.

CNMBC Training

CNMBC members conduct all levels of field training on many weekends on the West Mesa. This training is another excellent way to get an introduction to hunt tests for you and your Brittany as well as polish the higher level skills needed to compete for Senior and Master titles. For more information see our CNMBC Training page.
Training on West Masa
West Mesa Field Training

For More Information

If your interest has been aroused and you want to learn more about hunt tests, write to the American Kennel Club and ask for the Regulations for Hunting Tests for Pointing Breeds booklet or go to their web site. Their address is: The American Kennel Club, 5580 Centerview Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606.

AKC Regulations for Hunting Tests for Pointing Breeds - Official rules and regulations from AKC.

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