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Georgia Epagneul Breton Gun Dog Club
Posted on 03/29/2013 in Notes From The Field.

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Jim Anders

On the weekend of February 16-17, 2013, the Georgia Epagneul Breton (EB) Gun Dog Club once again visited Guy de la Valdene’s El Consuelo Farm in the Red Hills Region near Quincy, Florida. This was to be a late-season quest for the wily bobwhite who by now had learned to survive, presenting an added challenge for handlers and dogs alike. These late season wild birds were elusive and the recognition and ribbons the handlers and dogs
received for their efforts were well earned. The weather was cool and cloudy on Saturday but with a bit more sun and wind on Sunday, conditions that provided reasonably good scenting for our dogs. With some 4 Open Braces, 8 Open Solo, 8 Gun Dog Braces and 24 Gun Dog Solo entrants both days, we had a full weekend in both classes. The event was judged by the Honorable Mark Bird, the Honorable Larry Ellison and the Honorable Billy Cannon, with apprentice judge Bud Shipp completing the requirements for attaining his UKC Judge’s license.
The grounds of El Consuelo Farm provided the perfect habitat and venue for this wild bird trial and Guy’s assistant, Daniel Boyd, had meticulously prepared the grounds to a pristine condition in the Red Hills plantation habitat. Now, with the dogs staked out and ready to go, the run sheets distributed, and the appropriate instructions issued
by the Field Trial Field Trial Secretary, it’s time the rubber meets the road. This is the most challenging part of the weekend, making sure the judges, dogs, handlers, photographer, etc., all get to the right course, in the right order, and on time. Daniel and Bill Roberts are to be commended for their efforts as their shuttle service was run with perfection all weekend as they moved back and forth over the three separate courses with everyone in the right place at the right time. A job well done!
As always a gracious and generous host, Guy hosted lunch on Saturday for all attendants, with BBQ chicken, ribs, potatoes, salad, bread and, unfortunately for most, some very delicious chocolate brownies that defy eating only one. The barbecue was catered by JC Thomas and is always a big hit. On Sunday, the Georgia club cooked a Low Country Boil of shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes as a fundraiser for the club. Special thanks go out to Amy Bird for organizing the event, with cooking and setup help from Paula Hanington, Lori Hutwagner, Jim and Fatmi Anders, and Dudley Horton.
While there were enough wild birds available for dogs to classify for an award, being able to properly handle them was another matter altogether. Gene Nosco, driving down all the way from Iowa, was able to gain a TAN and Pass with his young male, imported from abroad, Fleche De L’Ardour. Don Shepherd drove down from Indiana and his dog Smith’s Grosvenor Jax made him proud with a Pass. Unfortunately, Guy de la Valdene was unable to run his EB, Louie, but Louie’s offspring, Mister Pic, owned and handled by Charles Harvey, MD, made his papa proud producing birds each day and earning a TAN and Pass. Jim Anders’ Maquis received a well-earned pass during Gun Dog Braces when he was able to hold his point under tough conditions.
Fred Overby’s two-year-old tri-color male F’Nat du Mas D’Pataula (known as “Pride”) ran well all weekend, holding steady on a wild bird and flush while a covey of birds was running just in front of him on Saturday, to earn a First
Place in the Gun awarded by Judge Billy Cannon. Pride had performed quite well in the liberated trials at Canaan Farms, earning a Pass With Honor last year, and just weeks earlier this year he had an exceptional heat on the Cannan grounds, but had bad luck on a fifth bird encountered with seconds left. The stars aligned for him in Quincy, in Saturday’s Solo Gun event resulting in Pride achieving his UKC GUN title and he graduated up to the Open Class on Sunday.
John Hanington had a solid run with his EB, Eagle de Hannahatchee, who found and handled two separate coveys of birds in Sunday’s Solo run. Eagle and John criss-crossed the grounds methodically covering areas that other dogs and handlers had already passed and the strategy certainly worked. Eagle produced a staunch point and held solid to shot earning herself a first place and a UKC GUN title under Judge Larry Ellison. It was heartening to see Eagle reach this fine achievement, as she has battled back from several debilitating medical conditions which threatened her working career, to reach the winner’s podium.
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Clint LaFary (with the help of his 7-year-old son Will) had the run they had hoped for in the previous runs of the weekend with their 5 year old bitch, De la Ferme Sur le Delavan, “Lucy.” In the final run of the weekend for the LaFarys, they set out with Lucy on the sunny side of the ridge below the dove field. Learning from their near
successes of the earlier runs, all of them slowed the pace down and worked a very tight and close pattern. After covering nearly every inch of the ridge Lucy worked her way back up hill towards the road, when Judge Billy Cannon told Clint they had 3 minutes left in the run. At that point the LaFarys decided to change strategies and
quickly crossed the road heading back into the pines, broom sage and lespedeza. About 25 yards across the road working a cross wind, Lucy locked up on a 20-bird covey that had spread out feeding. Clint walked in and flushed the birds and fired his blank gun, with Lucy holding steady and marking the birds. Lucy earned a first placement
and with that placement classification she has earned the coveted title of UKC Champion of the Field.

While not garnering any ribbons this time, our youngest handlers Will LaFary, handling Fergus Sur Le Delavan; Ashley Ambos, handling François Ashley Abigail de Pure Point; and Will Hutwagner, handling Eugene de
Hannahatchee, continue to show improvement in their handling skills. Each of these handlers and their dogs found birds but came up just short of getting ribbons. We look forward to their continuing growth and participation with their EBs.
These wild bird spring field trials on Guy’s property in Quincy, Florida, each of the past few years have become a nice tradition which our club looks forward to each year. This part of the world is hallowed ground in the tradition of bobwhite quail hunting, and there is a sense of history and a sense of excitement for our handlers each time they turn an Epagneul Breton loose for a breakaway at El Consuelo!