BRADFORD, PA – September 19, 2016 – The Allegheny Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society sponsored the first “bird dog challenge” for bird dogs and their owners in North Central Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 10. The bird dog challenge was held at the Rolfe Beagle Club in Johnsonburg, Pa.
Registration was limited to 20 bird dogs only so the quality of the event could be kept at a high level for all of the dogs and their owners. Flight quail were released in managed warm-season grass fields and early successional brush, and then each dog was given the chance to point or flush three quail apiece and receive a score. Jeff Yeager, President of the local Allegheny Chapter of the RGS stated, “The event went over well; attendees all want to come back, and everybody was safe with firearms. You can’t ask for an event to go more smoothly than that.”
A special permit is needed from the Pennyslvania Game Commission (PGC) in order to hold such an event and the Rolfe Beagle Club holds a permit. The quail were provided by a Game Farm in Meadville, and some local quail ‘ranchers’. Each quail was banded with a tag from the PGC. All of the registered dogs were entered into either a pointer or a flusher category and judged accordingly as pointers and flushers have different bird skills. Each dog was given 25 minutes to strut their stuff, and either point or flush quail.
Lunch was provided free by the Rolfe Beagle Club as it was also the last day of the Rolfe Beagle Club Coyote Hunt so both bird dog handlers and coyote hunters could eat lunch at the club. DJ Williams, RGS member and huntsman, and a well-known bird dog judge out of Erie, Pa. was one bird dog judge. The other judge was Chris Double, RGS member and huntsmen, and owner of Double Drop Tine Outfitters. At the end of the challenge, both judges offered attendees the opportunity to watch their prized bird dogs in action in the fields.
Mary Hosmer, Rolfe Beagle Club member, said, “It was a fun event to watch and all attendees learned they now have a good place to train bird dogs on live birds through our PGC permit and the bands. We had as many watchers as we had bird dog owners. What a hoot this challenge was!”
The Ruffed Grouse Society was founded in 1961 to promote and increase awareness of young forest management and to maintain suitable habitat that supports healthy populations of ruffed grouse, woodcock, deer and many songbird species that depend on forest diversity to survive and prosper.