Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Nittany Valley Trial hosted by the Nittany Bird Dog Club at the Scotia Game lands in State College, PA. This was a wild grouse trial where the dogs had the opportunity to hunt for wild grouse or woodcock in the trial grounds. Most of my day was spent on the derby course watching these younger dogs work the grounds. It was a cold day with few birds but it was great to work the dogs letting them do what they love. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to the judges.
If you’ve never been to a dog trial before you’re missing out on a great experience. Even as a spectator I gain so much knowledge every time I attend on different training methods, how to work dogs, as well as what the judges are looking for in the dogs. Spectators are welcome at these events and it’s encouraged. Good hiking shoes are a must at these wild grouse trials where the derbies have a 30 minute course and the all age dogs have an hour long course. I’m sure for other events such as retriever hunt tests and trials there is much less walking. Some folks may be apprehensive about entering their dog in a judged event because they feel they will be judged. While it is true that the dogs are judged in the trial, judgment is not passed onto the handler and owner. In my experience the professional trainers competing in the trial are also willing to offer advice on how to correct any problems. They are a fun learning experience provided you’re open to criticism.
I attended a walking grouse trial because my friends have dogs that were entered; however any trial, hunt test, or club event would be great to attend. If you are hosting any of these in or around State College, Pennsylvania let us know. We would love to attend and bring light to your organization and competition.
Pictures from the weekend.
Mark Hughes with Cooper getting ready for his run to third place.
Derby course: Cooper on left and Nick on right starting the brace.
All-age course: Henry on Left and Petey on right