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Out On A Limb – April
Posted on 04/09/2011 in Out On A Limb.

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Todd Kellam

The UKC Hunt Tests for Squirrel Dogs are up and running! Now remember, this is a web-based program and all details can be found at www.ukcdogs.com. For those of you who are not on-line, we want you to feel free to contact UKC to schedule a Hunt Test, to find the Hunt Tests nearest you, or to request forms necessary to conduct a Hunt Test. We will attempt to list in the magazine those Hunt Tests that are scheduled at least 60 days in advance, but because Hunt Tests are only required to be scheduled 30 days in advance, you will want to check the website for up to the minute scheduling.

The Hunt Tests are a great opportunity for you to put a UKC title on your dog without the pressure of head-to-head competition. This program was actually designed with Cur and Feist enthusiasts in mind. It has been working successfully in UKC coonhound program, but I am confident it will be even more successful in the Cur and Feist arena. It is a totally different concept for the tree dog world, so you’re going to have to be patient as clubs and hunters figure out what it’s all about.


As we have stated previously, there are many different types of hunters this program should appeal to. If you are a person whose family enjoys spending time in the woods with you and the dogs, this is the perfect program to introduce them to the sport. There is no limit to the number of spectators that may accompany a dog to the woods for an evaluation. That means you may take the wife and both kids, whereas on a competition hunt you can only take two other people total. And because there are no formal “handler” requirements, everyone or anyone can take an active role in hunting the dog. That means leading the dog, catching him at trees, looking for the squirrel, etc. It is much easier to get young or new hunters interested and active in a sport when they can actually share in the participation. The Hunt Tests are perfect for this and, based on that fact alone, are good for the future of hunting in general and tree dogs in particular. Schedule a Hunt Test at your club if for no other reason than to get kids involved to protect the future of the sport!


For those of you who would like to try or practice some of these at home before actually venturing out to a club hosted event, you can do that. All you need to do is log on to the UKC website and download evaluation forms. Then take a couple of those forms to the woods with you next Saturday with the kids or your hunting buddy, and have a go at it. I think you will find it is both fun and challenging. Even a good dog will not pass every time you turn him loose so keep that in mind. Don’t get discouraged. With young dogs, it’s a really good way to chart their progress. In upcoming columns we will take a closer look at the actual evaluation sheet and kind of break it all down.


For this month only, we are going to show you how the Upcoming Events list looks. These are actual events, though, so if you are near any of these, go check them out!


•Indiana

April 1, Edinburgh, IN, Johnson County Houndsmen Coon Club, Marty Stanton, 812-587-5354 or 812-343-0958
May 14, Edinburgh, IN, Johnson County Houndsmen Coon Club, Marty Stanton, 812-587-5354 or 812-343-0958

Michigan
April 16, Stanton, MI, Michigan Squirrel Dog Association, Mike MacInnes, 616-499-7031