American Field

Out of the Shadows Wins Title; Go Peter B is Runner-Up

Minnesota Grouse Championship

By Jim Tande | Nov 29, 2017
Out of the Shadows Winner of the Minnesota Grouse Dog Championship

Mora, Minn. — Setter female Out of the Shadows, owned by Bob and Diane Wheelock of Northville, Mich., repeated her excellent performance from a year ago to win the 2017 Minnesota Grouse Championship. Last year she was runner-up to Dave Moore’s Showgirl. This year she was the standout winner with six woodock finds and a grouse.

Runner-up was Go Peter B, pointer male owned by Bert Benshoof of Roseville, Minn., and handled by Rod Lein. Peter had one grouse find.

The Rum River State Forest grounds were really wet. Five to six inches of rain fell about a week before the trial. The heavy soil that helps the habitat for woodcock and grouse was saturated, making footing difficult and seemingly moved the grouse to higher ground.

This year there was great support from a group of enthusiastic younger folks. Work days were well attended and courses were in great shape. Hopefully this trend will continue and a new generation of field trialers is being created.

Judges for this renewal were Bobby Phillips of Jonesboro, Tenn., and local judge Al Ranfranz of Virginia, Minn. Both men have been involved in the sport for many years. Bobby has had great success in walking trials, primarily in the Southeast, as well as the National Amateur  Grouse championship in Wisconsin. Al, known to his iron range friends as “the trapper”, may have started his harmonica playing career at the campfires, common at many of the earlier Minnesota trials. He won this championship with J P’s Pirate. After a brief stint as a professional trainer, he seems content being musician, fisherman, hunter and canoeist. These two seemed to get along real well and I would expect might shoot some grouse together some day soon.


Diva Dot (Lein) and Grand River Gold Digger (Bruce Minard) showed good speed and drive. They were forward for most of thirty minutes with no birds moved. Gold Digger was counted out and Dot went forward. She was found on point at 37. No birds were flown and a couple of relocation attempts proved fruitless. She finished the hour. Bruce said he moved two broods of grouse on the way out.

Angel Envy (Diane Wheelock) and Hunter’s Pale Face (Bressler). We all slogged through the very wet start to the course. At 7 a grouse flushed up ahead and Bressler stopped his dog and shot over him. Not a clearly defined piece of work. The heavily black ticked Envy was a hard charger with good application. She was lateral at times. Pale Face also hunted the cover, to no avail.

Both Grouse Trails Cracker Jack (McKellop) and Wheelin and Dealin (Minard) did a nice job on the ground.  The pair got hung up for a short time, then finished well. Jack pointed where a grouse had departed, was shot over and taken on to finish to the front.

Nobody’s Shadow (B. Wheelock) and Hartland Maisy Mae (Tim Kaufman). Judges said Mae had a great grouse find with the bird well located and good style. She also had a woodcock find and an unproductive. Unfortunately near the end of the hour she was pointed and self-relocated while Tim was flushing. Diane Wheelock did a great job scouting and found Shadow on point. The dog made a mistake on the grouse which Bob described as a handler error.

Rufus Del Fuego (Neil Anderson) and Titanium’s Hammer (Minard). A woodcock flew left just after breakway. Rufus pointed ahead and took a couple of jumps as the first woodcock flew. A second bird flew farther out. Minard was very vocal attempting to get Hammer forward. Rufus went backward and was not returned to the front. Hammer made it to the swamp crossing and Bruce asked for the retrieval device.

Leet’s Standard Protocol (Minard) was scratched. Last year the winner and runner-up had eleven finds on this course; the same time of day and similar weather conditions. This year Out of the Shadows (B. Wheelock) went on a bird-finding spree. Her total bird count was six woodcock and a grouse. A good race to accompany all the bird work and the judges had one to hang their hats on.

Sadie (Bjerke) and Outcast Bar None (Kleve) were fancy moving and hunted hard. Sadie was a bit more forward and wider going. When we crossed the road and got into a young aspen cutting, Sadie’s bell stopped. She relocated and a woodcock was put to flight. Bar None was up ahead and a grouse was flushed near the trail. She increased her intensity when the bird flew.

Hawthorn Patty (Tande) is a hard driving fancy moving setter. Over the Hill Patty (Lein), the pointer, has done well on these grounds. Seemed like a good matchup. A good ground effort was rewarded when setter Patty slammed on the brakes near a swamp edge. A woodcock departed with Patty standing rigid. Ahead on the left pointer Patty had a nice dug up woodcock find, followed by another a short time later. Both dogs finished with energy to spare.

Grouse Trails Pride (McKellop) was standing along a swamp edge at 5. No bird. On past the swamp edge she was charged with another unproductive. Henry of Ferguson (Bressler) looked great in a birdy looking spot. No bird. Ahead, Henry was statuesque with Pride backing. A pretty picture. Unfortunately, no bird there.

Go Peter B (Lein) and Outcast’s Cover Cruiser (Kleve). Cruiser’s owner Ryan Hough was in the gallery to see his young setter perform. Peter’s bell stopped as the course bends along a swamp edge. The dog was located, looked good and a grouse was quickly flushed. The dogs had complementary races for the next fifteen minutes. At a recent aspen cutting Lein thought Peter’s bell had stopped and sent his scout to look, waiting back for a point call. James took his dog and vocal efforts were made to let him know his dog was up front. Peter hunted ahead of Judge Ranfranz. Kleve’s dog was also forward and hunting. Peter and Rod reconnected at 45 and went on to finish the course.

Mora, Minn., October 9

Judges: Bobby Phillips and Al Ranfranz

MINNESOTA GROUSE CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 9 Pointers and 10 Setters

Winner—OUT OF THE SHADOWS, 1650996, setter female, by Nobody’s Shadow—Ramblin Ruby Lou. Bob & Diane Wheelock, owners; Bob Wheelock, handler.

Runner-Up—GO PETER B, 1659364, pointer male, by Go Johnny Go—Beaver Creek Lucy. Bert Benshoof, owner; Rod Lein, handler.


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