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Result: American Brittany Club Grouse and Woodcock Championship

Location: Augusta, Wisconsin

Post Date: Nov 27, 2019

Submitted By: Jack Wichita


The Winner. From left: Neil Boos, judge; owner-handler Mike Dally with M J's Sweet Sugar Magnolia and Brent Lloyd, judge.
BEFORE the trial narrative begins, there are several acknowledgments that need to be made.

We thank the Eau Claire County Forestry Department for the use of the county forest that they manage in part for the benefit of grouse and woodcock.

These beautiful courses meander along the Eau Claire River with the creek and river bottoms and climb the hills from the bottoms to the wooded high ground. The courses have been

established and improved since the first trial was run in the early 1980s.

The first ABC Grouse and Woodcock Championship run here was in 1988. It was the third held in the renewal of the Grouse Championship into the Grouse and Woodcock Championship.

The efforts of the Chippewa Valley Cover Dog Club with some assistance by Badger Club members to maintain and improve the courses keep this a

preeminent, beautiful and productive cover dog venue.

The American Brittany Club and the host clubs are thankful for the strong and continuing support from Purina with both Pro Plan food and financial

resources that help allow us to continue to hold these events. Also, thank you to Garmin's continuing its generous support with providing the Tri-Tronic Pro 550 e-collar to be awarded to the winner.

Thanks also to our judges, two experienced grouse hunters who are also avid grouse dog trainers, Brent Lloyd of Poynette, Wis., and Neil Boos of Bloomer, Wis.

In addition to the judges, a shout out is due to the field trial managers: Jim Brigham (field trial secretary), Roger King and Tom Goltz (marshals), and John Domino (chief of transportation

logistics). Thanks to Bob Powell and Bill Zwettler for being there to move participants, dogs and vehicles from

location to location.

And thanks especially to all the


The most important thanks go to those handlers who entered dogs to compete in this event and for being willing to brave the conditions to compete this year. Especially Richard Jarosinski from Pennsylvania who brought two dogs to compete, prior to heading to Michigan to hunt grouse.

As the group gathered the night before and walked down the hill to the Black Bear for supper, there was optimistic talk of the coming days in the woods in anticipation of grouse and woodcock contacts.

Seven braces of fine gun dogs representing the Brittany in the grouse woods were at the rendezvous point at 7:30

a. m. to brave the difficult conditions in search of wary local grouse and local and migratory woodcock.

While the conditions, a chilly wintry mix and cool temperatures, were not

optimal, the contenders ran impressively aggressive races. Typically forward and appropriately lateral, they hit the cover hard. The cover, aspen and mixed hardwood forest, interspersed with evergreens and ground cover comprised of red berry, hazel brush, prickly ash, new maple, ironwood, aspen and ash saplings, was ideal grouse and woodcock habitat. But in spite of the fine cover and aggressive races, few birds were encountered. In fact, only three birds, all woodcock, were encountered by the dogs. Notably two days later, local hunters reported that the woodcock migration flights had arrived, resulting in as many as twenty birds flushed per hour. Ah, what a difference a couple of days make.

The previous unseasonal major rains had affected the access to the five hour courses that we normally would use. The H Course and the Horse Creek Course were not usable because of flooding. The three remaining courses had some wet spots.

The Running

Biscuit's Me Wearing the Pants (Paddy/Tom Jagielski) and J D's Hawk's Phoenix (Jim Doperalski) on the Gas Line Course. Running on the wetter course of the trial, both dogs rendered solid, energetic races. Each made some impressive forward and lateral casts through their tour of the damp cover. Surprisingly, in spite of good application and moderate range, no birds were

encountered. Both dogs finished strongly at the gas line and both were dogs that one could hunt effectively in the grouse woods.

Bark River Queen of Diamonds (Daisy/Jeff Stanton) and Repeat's Little Blues (Levi/Julie Asmus) on the Crash Course. The dogs broke away

aggressively and over the next hour they thoroughly covered most of the birdy pockets of the course. This course was fortunately not as wet as course No. 1 and ran through excellent bird cover

paralleling the Eau Claire River. Again, despite strong forward races, neither dog was rewarded with a bird. However, at 41, the gallery flushed a grouse from a tree about 20 yards off of the trail. There was no dog involvement. At 44 the gallery saw a flock of turkeys take flight about 75 yards to the east. Again, there was no discernible dog involvement. Both dogs finished forward and strong.

M J's Sweet Sugar Magnolia (Maggie/ Mike Dally) and Rib River Tough Enough Too (Tuffy/Roger King)

competed on the Diablo Jake Course. They were impressive from the beginning with the way they hit the cover, hunting aggressively and smart. Both dogs continued to make strong lateral and forward casts with Tuffy the wider of the two. These dogs were clearly

experienced grouse and woodcock dogs.

Maggie stylishly pointed a woodcock at 6. Mike flushed, fired and all was in order. Meanwhile, Tuffy continued the hunt forward, laying down what most thought was the strongest race of the trial. Maggie pointed stylishly again at 35 but produced no bird. Then at 45 Maggie was found pointing to the front with Tuffy backing. This was a picture to behold! Again the woodcock was flushed, the shot fired and all was in order. Both dogs finished strongly. This was an exciting brace to watch and raised our hopes for future braces.

Ajax Jaros Josey Wales (Richard Jarosinski) and J D's Hawk's Eagle (Doperalski). Back to the Gas Line Course. Both dogs broke away with

energy, hitting the cover hard despite the wet, sloppy conditions on the first half of the course. Both dogs ran strong

forward races but neither was rewarded with a bird. This brace hit the gasoline at 50 and continued along the river for an additional 10 minutes. This was an untouched extension to the course where in past years birds were often found, but to no avail. Both dogs finished strong.

Red Granite's I Am A Rock (Rocky/ Julie Asmus) and M J's Box of Rain (Dally) were on the Crash Course. Both dogs wore similar sounding bells, occasionally creating a bit of confusion. Rainy ran a strong race, mostly forward, and was a bit of a handful at times. At 44 Rainy went off course for 7-8 minutes but made it back by 52 and maintained one of the stronger races of the trial. Meanwhile, Rocky cruised the cover aggressively but for the first 15 minutes came from behind several times. After 15 he ran a good forward race. Rocky pointed at 33 but no bird was produced. Both dogs hunted well with no let-up, but as with most braces the bird work was minimal to nonexistent. They finished at the beaver dam.

Ajax Hurricanes Bird Finding

Machine (Radar/Jarosinski) and

Biscuit's Buddha Banshee (Tom Jagielski) were on the Diablo Jake Course. Buddha and Radar broke away on the river course with Radar showing an

excellent forward run. Buddha's run was snappy and more lateral. He worked hard but seemed out of his element (his handler noted later that he had never

before been in the grouse woods). Meanwhile, Radar was putting down a strong forward race, quick and snappy. He had an unproductive point at 23 and a stop to flush at 37, which was the only other bird contact of the trial. Both dogs

finished strongly.

C J B's One For The Road Make It A Jameson (Jamie/Jim Brigham) ran as a bye on the Gas Line Course. Jamie had an outstanding breakaway, hitting the cover aggressively in the face of deteriorating weather. The wintery mix of snow and rain challenged both dog and handler. Jim picked up Jamie at 10.

Augusta, Wis., October 11

Judges: Neil Boos and Brent Lloyd


[One-Hour Heats] -- 13 Brittanys

Winner--M J'S SWEET SUGAR MAGNOLIA, 1649788, female, by Sweetwater Billy Tucker--Vande Hei's Kentucky Tiki. Michael Dally, owner and handler.