VIDALIA – The Gunners Upland site, in a field off Louisiana 131, handlers and dogs competed to retrieve pen-bred birds from different spots in a soggy field. This is just one of 10 competition sites used in a series of field trials for 810 dogs participating in the Hunting Retriever Club International Grand.
These national competitions take place in the fall and spring. President Tracy Stubbs said they would compete at both Vidalia and Natchez because Miss-Lou is a community. Amite River Kennel Club hosts the event.
Waterfowl and Upland Retrieval Dogs compete in events throughout the week, Monday through Friday. Dogs are eliminated from competition based on their score in each round.
“We will have four recovery days and one mountain day. Friday is the highland series where we go flush the chucker hens,” said Stubbs, which is an activity where dogs scare birds into flying. “We have members from all over the United States and Canada. One hundred and forty clubs are represented here.
At the end of the week, passing dogs will be awarded a Grand Hunt Championship. They are scored by judges against a standard. A competition can have multiple champions, he said.
The presentation of the ribbons will take place on Friday. Historical success rates for the event are around 20%, he said.
“We are grateful to be here at Natchez,” Stubbs said.
Members of the public can watch these competitions. There are signs indicating the exhibit galleries and there is no admission charge. A map of the field trial locations can be found here.