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Great Lakes Chapter Newsletter, Fall 2020

Note, the following text is the Great Lakes Chapter submission to the VDD-GNA Fall 2020 newsletter. Republished here for historical purposes. 

Happy hunting season everyone. As we haven’t had a submission to a newsletter yet this year, I’m going to take a step back and recap GLC happenings thus far. 

Like many chapters, 2020 was off to a great start. In early March our annual meeting and breed show was held on a crisp, sunny day in Marysville, OH. Being a new member to the organization, this was the first official GNA event my wife and I had the opportunity to attend. After the meeting, we were feeling pretty pleased about the breed of dogs we had selected for our first hunting dog. The breed show dogs looked great, the judges were friendly and helpful and the annual meeting itself was well run and well attended. During the meeting, I took on the role of Chapter newsletter editor and webmaster. 

It was only days after our meeting that things became much more complicated and challenging. With good cause, both our two spring VJPs were cancelled (one of which was to be my first test). Plans for a combination HZP-VGP proposed at the annual meetings were also off the table.

Despite the pandemic, we did have some wins in the spring. As we hunkered down following stay-at-home orders, we coordinated remotely and launched a new GLC website and online store. We also rebooted our Chapter email newsletter. The new website has proven to be popular, especially the locally-made fur training dummies we sell online – we’re on our third production batch! Visit the site at greatlakeschapter.org

After our VJPs were cancelled, we were in limbo for some time. For first time members, it’s already a pretty complex system to navigate and with the added State-by-State restrictions and and the uncertainty if any tests were going to be held, at least for me, morale took a hit. 

Fortunately, after restrictions loosened, we were one of the first Chapters to hold a Corona 2020 Tracking Test. The test was held at the end of May and really got us back on track (no pun intended). Over 20 dogs were judged that weekend at the St. Joseph Valley Beagle Club in Plymouth, IN. 

L-R: Test Director Shane Deford with judge Dan Carlise and apprentice judge Jim Smith

A big thank you to test Director Shane Deford, Test Coordinator Jim Husband and all the judges and handlers that organized and made this test possible. It was the first official VDD-GNA test my wife and I attended and, much like the annual meeting, we were pleasantly surprised at the high caliber of dogs and the manner in which the test was conducted. Our DD, ‘Axl’ had a strong track and no gun sensitivity issues. We left that day with high spirits and a renewed interest in training for the HZP, as I’m sure many handlers did.  

Our Corona tracking test had great attendance both days with many rabbit beaters
One of the four test groups run over the two day tracking test in Plymouth, IN. L-R Todd Wibright, Jim Jones, Lyndon Roeller, Pat Loetz, Steve Ostafin, Mark Thomas.
Test group #2 Saturday, May 30th. L-R:  Nick and Britany Donahue, Marissa Alverson, Will Good, Bennet Kamps

Another bright spot amidst the uncertainty this summer was our Continuing Education Seminar. Thanks to the hard work of some key members, we were able to offer this much needed Seminar in August. 

The CE seminar was graciously hosted by Dan Crusey who really went above and beyond setting up the presentation and inviting people into his home at a time when even that presents a risk. The CE had good attendance. In addition to the several judges attending to stay current, we also have two chapter apprentices on schedule to complete their judgeship this year. This is welcome news as I’m starting to understand that one of the keys to each chapter’s success, and the success of the organization as a whole, is the number and quality of our judges.  

Besides hosting and the CE Seminar, Dan Crusey also hosted our annual meeting this year. As always, thank you Dan for being one of the backbones of this Chapter and providing a great location for chapter events. 

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure training with several dogs from our litter this summer. We have all received great support from our breeder in Grand Rapids, Scott Broiser (vom Brosius). Our dog ‘Axl’ was part of Scott’s “D” litter born January 2019. Many of the dogs from this litter went to younger hunting families who have become motivated members eager to succeed. 

Of the ten dogs in the vom Brosius D litter, five ran and passed the Corona Tracking test and all five are set to run HZP. 

Having no in-chapter HZP this fall, many of us are headed different directions to test. In our litter, Todd Wibright is taking ‘Gigi’ to Loyal Wisconsin, Marrisa Alverson will take ‘Lux’ to Guys Mills, Pennsylvania, and Nick Carte and I are headed to Gackle, North Dakota to test ‘Reign’ and ‘Axl’ respectively. This will be the first HZP for all of us.

One of the GLC training groups headed for the HZP this fall. Huron-Manistee National Forest, White Cloud, MI. L-R: Marrisa Alverson with Dova vom Brosius (Lux), Todd Wibright with Dyanna vom Brosius (Gigi), Nick Carte with Drago vom Brosius (Reign) and myself with Diesel vom Brosius (Axl)
Marissa unloading Lux for some waterwork. 
A successful blind duck retrieve. Huron-Manistee National Forest, White Cloud, MI
Nick Carte and Lyndon Roeller discussing the rules (VZPO in hand). 
Diesel ‘Axl’ vom Brosius heads out on a blind retrieve. 

By the time you read this, we should all have finished our tests. Hopefully our training and dedication have been sufficient to pass.

As I thumbed through the 2019 year end test results in the VDD-GNA Newsletter this morning, I saw several blocks of littermates all lined up by their ZB #’s. It reminded me that we are indeed part of the larger picture. I imagine and sincerely hope that this same scene is playing out all over the country (and beyond) in the VDD-GNA this summer and fall. 

I look forward to a time early next year when we meet at the 2021 GLC annual meeting. Hopefully restrictions will be lessened and we can sit back at Dan Crusey’s and swap tales of duck searches and hunting success.  

Whatever happens this fall, it will be nice to see our block of littermates from the GLC lined up in next year’s Newsletter. 

Finally, the GLC would like to thank the outgoing VDD-GNA executive board for all their hard work and welcome in the new board members. We look forward to contributing to the organization and many continued years of success.  

Until the winter installment, we wish everyone a safe and successful testing and hunting season afield with their dogs.