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Hunting Test Handling Techniques

From the book QUALIFY! (Chapter 9) by Mark A. Powell, we bring you a chapter dealting with Hunting Test Handling Techniques and Specific Hunting Test Handling Situations. Thanks Mark.

How to Handle Problem Birds in a Hunting Test

Sometimes, the bird your dog has pointed fails to cooperate on the flush. This is always a tough situation, and fails miserably to simulate actual hunting conditions. The flush of a problem bird is probably the source of more handling errors than anything else in Hunting Tests.

If your dog has established a solid point, do everything possible to find the bird.


If your dog says by its point that there is a bird there, believe it. Dogs rarely point staunchly if there is no sensory stimulus, either a waft of bird scent or sight of a bird.

All it takes to qualify in the Junior Hunting level for the Pointing and Bird Finding Ability categories is one solid point over one bird over which you can fire your starter pistol. You should do everything you can to find the bird and flush it. Be very vigorous in your flushing effort, some birds hold very tight.

In Junior Hunting Tests, it is easy to get into the habit of letting your dog find and put up the bird for you, especially if the bird is hard to find. This habit, of course, trains your dog to bump birds, a big problem to overcome if you continue to Senior or Master Hunting levels.

If the grounds are wet, or if it has been raining, the birds may sit so tight that they will let you step on them. Should you release your dog because you cannot find or flush the bird, your dog will probably move in and pick up such a bird. Without an opportunity for you to fire your starter pistol, the judges will have difficulty giving your dog a qualifying score. You also may have trouble catching your dog with a live bird in its mouth.

If your dog is pointing a bird that you found but cannot flush, ask the judges if you can pick up the bird and throw it.

Attwater Publishing that offers quickie tips on Pointing Breed Sports in the Field (featuring the Qualify! book). Mark Powell, the author of Qualify! has given us permission to reprint some of his articles on the Vizsla Home Page. However, this link will provide more information.

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