PLAYING FETCH: Dogs, handlers visit Miss-Lou for national competition

Published 8:00 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

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VIDALIA — The Gunners Upland site, in a field off of Louisiana 131, handlers and dogs competed in retrieving pen-raised birds from different spots in a soggy field. It is just one of 10 competition sites being used in a series of field trials for 810 dogs competing in the Hunting Retriever Club International Grand. 

These national competitions are held in the fall and spring. Chair Tracy Stubbs said they will compete in both Vidalia and Natchez because the Miss-Lou is one community. Amite River Kennel Club is hosting the event.

Waterfowl and upland retrieving dogs compete in events throughout the week starting Monday and ending Friday. Dogs are eliminated from competition based on their score in each round. 

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“We will have four days of retrieving and one day of upland. Friday is the upland series where we will be flushing chucker hens,” Stubbs said, which is an activity where the dogs startle the birds so they will fly. “We have members from all over the US and Canada. One-hundred and fourty clubs are represented here.” 

At the end of the week the dogs who pass will be awarded a Grand Hunt championship. They are scored by judges against a standard. One competition can have multiple champions, he said. 

The ribbon ceremony will be held Friday. Historic pass rates for the event is about 20 percent, he said. 

“We are grateful to be here in Natchez,” Stubbs said. 

Members of the public are able to watch these competitions. There is signage pointing them to viewing galleries and there is no admission fee. A map to field trial locations can be found here.