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Hunt Test/ Field Trials VS. Real Hunting?

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Hunt Test/ Field Trials VS. Real Hunting?

Old 03-29-2010, 10:53 AM
  #1  
Nontypical Buck
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Default Hunt Test/ Field Trials VS. Real Hunting?

Anyone train their dogs to compete aswell as to hunt?

If so what are the differences and similarities? Which is more physically challenging?
Which is more of a challenge to train for?
What difficulties do you encounter for both?
Please add any comments you have. Thanks, Pike
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:47 AM
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Hunt tests are conducted by the AKC which I have never ran. Field trials are held by different venues like NSTRA, AF, etc. After my first AF trial back in the early 80's, I never entered again, not because I don't respect it but because I never had a dog with those attributes. Then there was a big gap of years before I felt I had the freedom to get another hunting dog.

As for trainning, field trial vs. hunting, field trials by a far margin. They have to perform and trainning is a large part of that.

Differences, trials they want the dog to hit the field hard and fast and look good doing it. They look for attributes that separate an ordinary gun dog from an extratrodinary gun dog. Personally, for hunting, I like a slower dog but is more thorough with their hunting and independent. What I mean is that the dog learns alot about birds on its own. Repositioning and not crowding birds are two examples.

I respect FT'ers and what they do. I doubt there's a gun dog today which hasn't benefited from some form of breeding program which has ties with some organization meant for competition. FT'ers will search the country trying to find the right breeding pair, so we don't have to.

Last edited by Mite; 03-30-2010 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:11 AM
  #3  
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I just started doing hunt tests last August, Now my dog has competed in APLA hunt tests and AKC hunt tests, I will get to see my first APLA (American Pointing Lab Association) hunt test in May. As for AKC hunt test and hunt? The biggest hurdle is judges, if they want to see a standard and your dog doesn't have it, they will mark the dog down, even though you and and dog did everything in acceptance. You are basically showing your dog can be under control, mark falls, be steady, handle to a blind in a realatively straight line. Hunting is pretty close to all that. In AKC all the shots are done from the throwing stations not at the line.
If you train for hunt tests, you will or should have a good working dog in the field. if the other way, then make sure you are more stringent on the dogs lines to marks and blinds.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:55 PM
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This really can't be answered without knowing what kind of dog you're talking about. Believe it or not, not all hunting dogs are of the Labrador variety.

Nor can it be answered without some insight as to your definition of "real hunting".

If you're talking about the various retrieving types of dogs, there are more hunt tests being run through the UKC (via HRC) than AKC. Also, it is not true that "in AKC all the shots are done from the throwing stations": that is the exception not the rule. Once again, what kind of dog and what kind of test?
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:18 PM
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Thanks for getting back to me guys and all the info!!
Bruce I have a Lab but not interested in training my pup for either, I just wanted opinions from dog trainers who did both. I was told on another site by some non hunting dog owners that training a dog to perform in the ring, hunt tests and field trials etc.is more difficult than training a dog to perform in the field. (to hunt any species of game) I posted that is impossible, hunting dogs perform in adverse weather conditions, sub freezing water temps, staying focused even though they come across numerous distractions thru out the course of an 8-10 hour day afield, fatigue, countless hours of laying still and just waiting for their time to work etc. Where as hunt test/field trials are held in controlled environments etc. and the dogs are not fatigued etc. One even mentioned that things like live flyers flying past her pups heads are a distraction while they sit motionless, and I told her to try firing a couple fast rounds off from a semi auto shotgun a few feet away and see how much of a distraction that is to her pups. Pike

Last edited by J Pike; 04-03-2010 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:09 PM
  #6  
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I hunt which why I first got a dog. Then ran JH, then SH, and finally MH. Then I began training (Field Trials) for the Qualifying for a couple of years. And now getting set to run All Age stakes. Training for all the basics are the same. It starts with a good foundation whether just hunting or running AA stakes.

No venue replicates hunting, they get as close as possible. But the skills required in Hunt Tests translate into a day of hunting. The average hunter would be well served by a SH. A dog that can mark a simple double and do simple blinds.

A little about Field Trials. They are very competitive and demanding of both the dog and the trainer. 90+% of the dogs that run AA stakes are trained by a pro either part or all of the year. There are only 5 people in my state that train their own dog for Field Trials and one of them lives in TX during the Winter. The rest rely on pros and most of their dogs are out of state with the pros over the Winter. Can it be done by an amateur? Yes. But it takes dedication on your part, and a good training group.

I suggest go watch some field events, Master Stake at a Hunt Test or Amateur/Open at a Field Trial, to get a feel for them. At the following link you can do a search for events in your area. www.entryexpress.net

Last edited by losthwy; 04-03-2010 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:06 AM
  #7  
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losth thanks for the reply but many dog owners around here participate in field trials.

These same "" self proclaimed"" non hunting experts just tried to tell me that Labs dont point!! My lab pup points all the time. Pike
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:04 PM
  #8  
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I have lion hounds. I have entered them into non chartered field trials in CA and here in NV.

I don't think it is the same as hunting, but it is a nice break in the spring after hunting all winter, and the fall after sitting through the "dog days."

I enjoy them more for the comradarie than anything. Meeting new people, catching up with old friends, etc.

Later,

Marcial
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:12 AM
  #9  
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I've done introductory hunt tests. AKC Junior Hunter and NAVHDA Natural Ability. Basically, I did so at request of the breeder of my pup. I enjoyed it. Main thing for me - it gives me something fun to do with my dog when hunting season is over. And gives me a "target" for my training efforts.

The higher levels of testing (Master Hunter or UP) will take a lot of training time and effort. I'm just not that motivated. I'm a hunter first, the games/tests come in a very distant 2nd.

Testing vs Field Trial - I'd say Field Trials are much more challenging, and much more expensive. Though I like to maintain the FT blood in my pups, I have never had the time, money, or inclination to Field Trail. Maybe some day, when I win the lottery!
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:02 PM
  #10  
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I would say that Hunt Tests and Field Trials are more difficult to train for than hunting as there is much more obedience you are incorporating into the tests. Most hunting dog owners would never get their dog as far along a training program as is required for hunt tests; whichever venue you're looking at.

Pointing dogs - How many hunters actually get their dog to become 100% steady that aren't testing or trialing?

Retrieving dogs - How many hunters are getting their dogs to handle at 300 yards out?

I don't think there are many.

That said, I feel there is a huge difference in the manners the dog has on game when you look at a dog that has been tested and not hunted vs a dog that has been hunted. Dogs that know wild game have much better manners than those that don't.
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