Gyp Hills Field Trial Club
Aetna, Kan. — Wild birds in some of the prettiest country you’ll ever ride in brought a record entry to the Gyp Hills Club’s stakes on the spectacular 43,000- acre Z Bar ranch south and west of Medicine Lodge, Kan.
Barber County is the center of the Gypsum or Red Hills just above the Oklahoma line and is one of the last great expansive places where wild bobwhite call home. The Z Bar team consisting of managers Keith and Eva Yearout and their able crew manage a herd of American bison which are moved frequently to avoid too much grazing pressure on any one of the several thousand acre paddocks.
Wildlife is abundant with deer, antelope, an occasional elk, quail, prairie chickens, fox, cougar, prairie dogs, burrowing owls and golden eagles making their winter home on the Z Bar. Last year, the bison herd was reduced by relocating animals due to the prolonged dry weather here in Kansas and the range responded by maintaining good cover in most of the pastures. In addition, the Z Bar staff improved water locations for the bison and added a number of guzzlers for the native quail and pheasants. This seemed to make a difference as more quail were seen this year compared to last year even though conditions had worsened in relation to drought. Coveys moved were large and the birds looked fat and healthy for this mid-December trial. Hopefully the nesting season next year will be favorable with more moisture.
The Gyp Hills Club invited two distinguished gentlemen to look at the 55 dogs that came to meet the challenge of one-hour stakes for all-age and shooting dogs. Jim Crouse, vice-president of the AFTCA from Kentucky, snuck away from his busy trialing and judging schedule (which includes the National Championship at Ames) to join Gary Young, AFTCA Region 8 trustee and experienced western Oklahoma wild bird hunter, field trialer and championship judge in the saddles. Gary currently owns Sammy Deduction in the string of Gordon Hazlewood. Both men teamed well.
This was a full four-day trial and birds cooperated during the first day and a half. We had a number of finds with birds constantly ridden up by the scouts and gallery. Then the birds shut off and despite several weather changes with conditions seeming like dogs should be finding birds, scent appeared to just shut down. Birds were still being ridden up and spotted along ranch roads but were not getting pointed. What birds we saw when dogs were in the vicinity were not handled cleanly. That is the nature of a wild bird trial and what makes them so interesting.
Club officers and board members Joe Worsham, Doug Meyer, Paul Roederer, Donnie Gerstner, Keith Yearout and Jim Michaletz were all in attendance and took turns marshalling, driving the dog wagon, collecting fees and/or wrangling lunches and evening meals.
Trialers came from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky, with Rick and Julie Steen joining us all the way from the Kamloops, British Columbia area.
Joe Worsham did a magnificent job with the meals including a fish fry on Friday evening with barbeque and ham on different evenings. Thanks also to Rodney Shoemaker who assisted Joe in the cooking duties.
The aforementioned Canadian, Rick Steen, won the All-Age with Strut’s Rambling Man which had a good race and one wild covey find. This probably made the long trip a little shorter!
Second was Capital’s High Yield which placed on race. Third was Certified Sam, owned by Donnie Gerstner but handled by Doug Meyer. Sam had a covey requiring a relocation during which part of the covey flushed and Sam aptly stopped.
The (all-age) Derby was won by Jim Michaletz’s setter Angelfire which had a searching race and a nice find on a wild covey of quail in the hills on course No. 1. Second and third were placed on race and are appended hereto.
Greg Sand handled Traveler’s Prairie Souix to a solid shooting dog race coupled with a covey find on course No. 2. The birds flushed on their own while we were riding to the find — no fault attributed to the dog. Second and third were placed on race and are appended.
The shooting dog Derby was won by Texan Virgil Moore who handled Jayhawk Thunder which had a good race also coupled with bird work. Second and third were based on race and are appended.
Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out, and a huge thanks also to our judges who traveled a great distance to see the grounds and look at the dogs for four days.
Aetna, Kan., December 13
Judges: Jim Crouse and Gary Young
OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 8 Pointers, 1 Setter and 1 Irish Setter
1st—STRUT’S RAMBLING MAN, 1597470, pointer male, by Strut—Gunfire Bess. Rick Steen, owner and handler.
2d—CAPITAL’S HIGH YIELD, 1602106, pointer male, by House’s Line Up—Mac’s Diamond Lil. Brandon Johnson, owner and handler.
3d—CERTIFIED SAM, 1597242, pointer male, by Miller’s On Line—Rebel’s Royal Addition. Don Gerstner, owner; Doug Meyer, handler.
OPEN DERBY — 4 Pointers and 4 Setters
1st—ANGELFIRE, 1645390, setter female, by Jetsetter—Cost A Latta. Jim & Sherri Michaletz, owners; Jim Michaletz, handler.
2d—NEMAHA YANKEE, 1630916, pointer male, by Nemaha City Slicker—Ringafire’s Cajun Queen. Dr. Pat McInteer, owner and handler.
3d—EMAGIN LOUIE UNBROKEN, 1629180, setter male, by Havelock Dapper Dan—Havelock Winkem Zeta. Bob Brown, owner; Ryan Eichelberger, handler.
OPEN SHOOTING DOG [One-Hour Heats] — 12 Pointers, 9 Setters and
3 Irish Setters
1st—TRAVELER’S PRAIRIE SOUIX, 1614234, setter female, by Hytest Sky Hawk—Traveler Prairie Girl. Greg Sand, owner and handler.
2d—HONKY TONK FAST FORWARD, 1630039, pointer male, by Rock Acre Blackhawk—Addition’s Fiddlin Girl. Dr. Stan Wint, owner; Scott Miller, handler.
3d—HELL CREEK KATE, 1605059, pointer female, by Funseeker’s Rebel—Shadow’s Dreams. Dr. Stan Wint, owner and handler.
OPEN DERBY — 12 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st—JAYHAWK THUNDER, 1628890, pointer male, by Covey Rise’s Offlee Amazin—Just Add Water. Chuck Forsyth, owner; Virgil Moore, handler.
2d—THE OPTION, 1643193, pointer male, by Moore’s Raisin Kane—Sage Creek Wildfire. Marty & Dora Moore, owners; Scott Miller, handler.
3d—YELLOW SKY, 1641065, pointer male, by Westfall’s Black Ice—Jodie Oh. Ronnie Litle, owner; Scott Miller, handler.