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Three handlers' dogs qualify in hunt test

TOM MITCHELL I FOR THE LEADER TIMES Ron Schmerder, of Slippery Rock, left, with his German short-hair pointer, 'Dolph' qualified the dog for the coveted 'Master' hunting title, while Roy Yockey, of Cowansville, center, poses with 'Mickey' which qualified for a 'Junior' title. Hunter Lynch, right, qualified his short-hair, 'Bart' for two of four legs of the Junior title at an American Kennel Club Hunt Test Program near Harrisville Sunday.

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By Tom Mitchell For The Leader Times
Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

HARRISVILLE – Two Armstrong County dog handlers and one man from Slippery Rock qualified their pointing dog breeds in an American Kennel Club Hunt Test Program on Sunday.

Roy Yockey of Cowansville qualified his German short-hair pointer, “Mickey” to earn a Junior Hunter title, and Hunter Lynch, of Boggs Township qualified his pointer, “Bart,” for two of the four legs of the Junior Hunt Test Program. On Saturday, Yockey also had another pointer, “Soul” pass the Junior Hunt Test. A third dog handler, Ron Schmerder, of Slippery Rock, had his short hair, “Dolph” earn the coveted Master Hunter title.

The weekend test was held at the grounds of the Oakidge Pointing Dog Club and Oakridge members were joined by members of the Weimeraner Club of Greater Cleverland. In addition to German short-hair pointers and Weimeraners contenders also worked Brittany spaniels and Hungarian visula breeds.

To earn a “Junior” qualification a hunter must demonstrate that his dog has a keen desire to hunt and has a fast, attractive manner of hunting, and a good “nose” for locating game birds. Once a bird is located, the dog must establish point but need not hold steady when the bird is flushed and a shot fired. In the junior test only blank shots are fired. Dogs must show reasonable obedience to their handler's commands. To earn a junior title a dog must achieve four qualifying scores.

To earn a “senior” qualification dogs must show all the attributes of junior titled dogs. Additionally, once a bird is flushed, the dog must hold its position until retreat a shot is fired. In the senior test, live ammunition is used and the dog is expected to find and retrieve the downed bird and bring it to its handler, although the retrieve need not be perfectly delivered to the hand.

Only dogs meeting the most demanding standards may receive a “masters” qualification. A dog must cover ground quickly while remaining reasonably close to the hunter while demonstrating that it can take advantage of wind and terrain. It must obey its handler's commands but commands must be infrequent and spoken in a normal tone of voice. The dog must remain “frozen” on point until the bird is down and a command is given to “fetch.” A master dog will handle a bird gently and place it in the handler's outstretched hand. A master hunting dog must earn six qualifying scores.

Yockey will continue to work with “Soul,” and “Mickey,” throughout the summer hoping to perfect the dogs' skills. He often hunts other pointing dogs in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Lynch, age 11, son of Charles and Laurel Lynch and a student of Shannock Valley Elementary School, hopes to qualify “Bart” for the final two legs of the Junior title. And Schmerder looks forward to the fall hunting season to fine tune “Dolph's” Master skills.

Members of the two clubs ran 60 dogs of various pointing breeds. More than half the dogs at this weekend's event qualified for a junior title. Another hunt test is slated for September.

For more information about AKC hunt test sponsored by the Oakridge Pointing Dog Club, contact hunt test secretary, Terry Glover at: goldenpondlamas@zoominternet.net.

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