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Hershner’s Grouse Gunner Claims Title; Quail Trap Will is Runner-Up

Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship

By Brent Sittlow | Nov 07, 2019
The Winners. Front, from left: Scott Chaffee with Hershner’s Grouse Gunner and Tammy Chaffee with Quail Trap Will. Behind: Rod Lein, Judge James Kleve, Judge Carl McRae and Roger King.

Augusta, Wis. — The first weekend in October has traditionally marked the running of the Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship in the Eau Claire County Forest.

This trial has always boasted a great mixed entry of professionally handled dogs, and amateurs from the Midwest and beyond. This year was no exception.

We were happy to have professional handlers Scott and Tammy Chaffee, Bruce Minard from Michigan; Tom Waite and Rod Lein, Wisconsin. The large amateur contingent consisted of John McKellop, Pennsylvania; Bob and Diane Wheelock and Ken Moss, Michigan; Tim Callahan and Mike Luebke, Wisconsin.

The Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Club of Wisconsin is light on membership, but very heavy on its dedication to providing a wild bird trial for pointing dog handlers and enthusiasts.

Considerable effort is needed to prepare for a wild bird championship. First priority of the summer is to prune and cut six or seven courses that go about 20 miles through swamps, thickets, forests, and hills. This work is not glorious, but is very important to provide a quality and equal venue for participants.

Those who put their summer weekends aside, to sweat and swat bugs and prune trails were Mike Luebke, Tim Callahan, Bert Benshoof, Rod Lein, Brent Sittlow, Tom Goltz, Roger King, John Domino, Mike Daly, and other members on loan from the Badger Brittany Club.

Then, as October approaches, the pre-game show is necessary to take entries, conduct the drawing, organize the lunch lineup, keep tabs on course and road conditions, etc. Brent Sittlow, Rod Lein, and Roger King assisted with these necessities.

When game day arrives, volunteers are needed to fill the role of marshalling, vehicle moves, lunch line, etc. All of the field trial entrants were quick to respond to keep the proceedings on schedule. Extra thanks to Brent Sittlow, Tim Callahan, and Roger King for wrangling up some lunch grub for the trial each day.

Additional support of this Championship was provided by Purina in the form of sponsorship and dog food. The CVGDA and the entire cover dog circuit is fortunate to have Purina out front and supporting our sport with quality food and financial support. It would be very difficult to find a better product and better company reps to deal with than Purina. Thank you!

It was a pleasure to have Carl McRae and James Kleve to look over this Championship, and judge the performances. Carl is a dedicated field trialer from Michigan that is consummately involved in some way, shape or form with the Beaverton and Lake States Clubs at Gladwin. James is a successful young professional who trains and breeds pointers and setters under the Out Cast Kennel banner. He spends part of his schedule in Kentucky and the rest of his time in the upper Midwest.

West Central Wisconsin has been in a very moist weather pattern, to say the least. It seems as if the last four or five early October championships have been excessively wet and green. Above average rainfall again in 2019 had the water tables high. Then, days before the trial, another heavy dose of precipitation made for even more havoc.

The first day of the trial we were able to make use of six courses. The flood waters rose by the second day, and the decision was made to whittle down to four useable courses. To complicate things further, a pending timber sale was started on a course that was planned for use. We appreciate the understanding of all participants on the extenuating circumstances that were largely out of anyone’s control.

And so it goes, with wild bird field trials; predictably unpredictable.

Championship Winners

The 2019 Wisconsin Cover Dog Champion was Hershner’s Grouse Gunner, eight-year-old white and orange setter male owned by Scott Hershner of Bellville, Ohio, and handled by Scott Chaffee.

Gunner was drawn to run on the sixth brace of day No. 1. The temperature was dropping on the last brace of the day, and rain was steady for the whole 60 minutes on the Stokely Diablo Jake Course. Gunner attacked the course with a forward and steady race ringing a wet muffled bell. His handler was able to stay with him through the first thirty minutes as we crossed the King property and headed toward Knight’s Pool. His race strengthened as he searched ahead for birds. At 45 bracemate Brushville Burton Spencer (Waite) went quiet on course left along the river edge, which resulted in a grouse put to flight. A minute later Gunner made his move to the right of the course, away from the river, and stopped neatly. Two different grouse were put to flight in front of the strapping setter. His finish was strong and he held his rank for the remainder of the trial.

Runner-up was Quail Trap Will,  eight-year-old white and orange setter male owned by David Hawk of Athens, Ohio, also handled by Scott Chaffee.

Will also ran on day No. 1, just before the afternoon rain started, on the Horse Creek Course. Will is a delight to watch. Not extreme, but attractively hunting every step. Will handled four evenly spaced woodcock with expert manners, and style to burn.

Other contestants that the judges were in favor of, in no particular order, were; Diva Dot (Lein) with two nice finds.

Titanium’s Hammer (Minard) had a nice grouse find that put him into the conversation, and Snyder’s Pioneer Scout (Chaffee) had an animated race and multiple woodcock.

Augusta, Wis., October 2

Judges: James Kleve and Carl McRae

WISCONSIN COVER DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

10 Pointers, 26 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

Winner—HERSHNER’S GROUSE GUNNER, 1643421, setter male, by Quail Trap Tom—Nutter’s Sweet Briar. Scott Hershner, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.

Runner-Up—QUAIL TRAP WILL, 1627794, setter male, by Shadow Oak Bo—Quail Trap Sadie. David Hawk, owner; Scott Chafee, handler.

OPEN DERBY

Another rainstorm swept through Wisconsin on the last day of the trial. A good inch or more of rain fell the morning of the Derby and continued throughout the running. Nine contestants went back and forth a newly cut course near Wilson Park. As bad as the weather conditions were, the stake was quite memorable with really good performances.

Taking first place was well-built pointer male Hifive’s Power Line (Minard) which punctuated a hard searching race with a beautiful grouse find. Placed second was Northwoods Setter Tech Ringo (Jeff Forsberg) which was strong, attractive and forward, with the perfect amount of handle. Third place went to Tupelo Honey (Wheelock) that ran solo in the last brace. Tupelo was steadily searching in the pocket for her thirty minutes and had a quality woodcock find in likely cover at the halfway point.

Judges: Rod Lein and Brent Sittlow

OPEN DERBY — 3 Pointers, 5 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

1st—HIFIVE’S POWER LINE, 1683486, pointer male, by Arizona’s Sixgun Syd—Hifive’s Sin Again. Bruce Minard, owner and handler.

2d—NORTHWOODS SETTER TECH RINGO, 1680582, setter male, by Erin’s Hidden Shamrock—Northwoods Nickel. Jeff Forsberg, owner and handler.

3d—TUPELO HONEY, 1681583, setter female, by Ponderosa Mac—Out of the Shadows. Bob & Diane Wheelock, owners; Diane Wheelock, handler.

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