FAQ’s – Upland Gundog Association
Answered by UGA President Ryan Eder
What breeds of dogs can participate?
The UGA is definitely focused on sporting breeds; however we have no restrictions on what dogs can participate! Our events (whether a hunt test or timed trial) have criteria that a dog/handler team must follow to be successful, and any dog capable of doing so is welcome. It is also worth noting that mixed breed dogs, or dogs without kennel registry papers are absolutely welcome at UGA events.
What is offered at a UGA event?
The UGA offers 2 types of upland events:
1) Hunt Tests
2) Open Challenge (timed trial format)
Our hunt tests are offered in 3 levels:
What do the difference between the beginner, gundog and advanced levels?
The idea behind our format is to have an event suited for everyone (from a new beginning handler, to a professional trainer).
The Beginner hunt test is exactly what it sounds like; an entry level stake that is aimed at both new handlers or young, inexperienced dogs that need time in the field, exposure to birds, hunt test environment and overall hunting experience. No judging is taking place; rather, it is an educational experience for both dog and handler alike. A typical participant is a first time handler (of all ages), a younger dog with minimal experience or both. E-COLLAR PERMITTED AT THIS LEVEL.
The Gundog hunt test is our most popular stake. This level is what we consider to be setup for your common bird dog to enjoy. At this level, a dog is expected to actively seek birds, work with their handler by hunting within desired range, respond to commands (verbal or whistle), produce birds (either point or flush) and retrieve the shot bird to their handler. Dogs are not required to retrieve to hand, but within 1 step of the handler. In our eyes, this is what a typical “gundog” does; they seek birds, work with their handler and retrieve birds that are shot. E-COLLAR PERMITTED AT THIS LEVEL.
The Advanced level hunt test is for the handlers and trainers who seek finished level work. In addition to all the same requirements in the Gundog test, dogs are required to retrieve to hand, as well as demonstrate further steadiness in their work. For pointers, they are required to steady to flush and can release to make retrieves on the gun shot. For flushers, dogs are required to be steady to flush, and can also leave to make their retrieve on the gun shot. We feel this level of steadiness is practical for everyday bird hunters because the steadiness keeps a dog safe during gunfire, but also allows them to pursue a bird in time to make the retrieve should it be wounded. Both pointers and flushers run in 2 dog braces at this level, and are required to honor the other dog.
What are the differences between the different tests and trials?
The hunt tests are not a competition. Participants enter the test, and if the dog/handler team’s performance satisfies the criteria of that test they earn a “pass”. This is no different than in school when you took a math test, each participant could pass or fail based on their ability to satisfy the criteria or standard.
The Open Challenge (trial format) is a competition. Participants are competing for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and the objective is to find, produce and harvest 3 birds in the fastest time. The rules are essentially the same as a Gundog test, except the goal is to do it in the fastest time. The Open Challenge has grown in popularity and our participants love the venue. E-COLLAR PERMITTED IN THE OPEN CHALLENGE.
What medical records do I need to bring for the dogs?
It is expected that all participants bring dogs that are up to date on annual shots and rabies. We do not have a written rule, but we like to think that dog owners are respectful of other dog owners and value the health of all dogs at events. Dogs not properly vaccinated and current on preventatives always run the risk of health issues and the UGA is not responsible.
How long do the events usually last?
When we started the UGA, one thing we wanted to do was create an event that was more appealing to a common bird hunter. One way to do that was to have something that lasted 1 day, rather than a full weekend (or several weekends). In many organizations it takes 4-5 passes to earn a hunt test title, which means several weekends of travel and participation. While we encourage everyone to participate in all hunt test venues, UGA titles can be earned in one day making our events very convenient to a wider audience of bird dog owners.
How much does it cost to participate in a hunt test?
Hunt test entries are $99 which covers both of your runs at the event. The Open Challenge entries are based on bird costs, as well as fees to run the event (land / facility usage for example). Participants can choose between entering for 1 run, 2 runs or 3 runs so fees vary between $50 per run (1 run) and $135 (3 runs).
What e-collar is recommended by the UGA?
The e-collar of choice in the Upland Gundog Association is D.T. Systems. We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with DT and promote their e-collars, bird and dummy launchers and training bumper products. Both DT and UGA are dedicated to helping dog owners get the most out of their dogs with quality products at reasonable prices. Their products have served us well and we are very hard on our equipment!
Is training assistance available?
Yes! The UGA can assist with any hunting dog training needs by either taking calls and emails for advice and tips, or providing training services for clients as well. Our staff is very experienced and knowledgeable and can assist in several ways. We are also available for training demonstrations and seminars.