HUNT TRIAL: West Mississippi Hunting Retriever Club tests dogs with annual event

Published 10:33 am Friday, March 29, 2019

The West Mississippi Hunting Retriever Club held their annual spring hunt trial, drawing 100 participants and more than 195 dogs to Mahanah Wildlife Management Area.

Secretary of the club Brad Abernathy said the event is aimed at testing dogs by using a consistent scale.

“The set up we do here is to simulate a duck hunt, and the dogs are tested on a set of standards,” Abernathy said.

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“This is not a field trial; this is just a hunt test where dogs either pass or fail,” he said.

There are three tests performed at the club’s spring hunt — started, seasoned and finished.

“Started is the easiest level and finished is the hardest level,” Abernathy said.

And reasons for having a dog tested, he said, include bragging rights, helping keep the dog tuned up and pedigree purposes.

“If you were getting ready to sell your puppies, one of the things you may look at,” Abernathy said, is the dog’s pedigree.

“Pedigrees are not always everything, but there is a good chance,” he said, that if a dog is from a line of good retrievers, it too, may follow in the footsteps of the mother or father.

The club also hosts training days to improve hunting retrievers for all breeds.

The club was formed in March 1997, by Dr. Tom Weeks, Kimble Slaton and the late Rowdy Nosser.

For more information, visit or the West Mississippi Hunting Retriever Club Facebook page.

About Courtland Wells

Courtland Wells is a staff photographer at The Vicksburg Post. He is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in Photojournalism. Following graduation, he started at The Vicksburg Post in the fall of 2016. Courtland has won numerous awards through the Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors and the Mississippi Press Association. His work has also been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post as well as other national publications. Courtland is a member of the Vicksburg Young Professionals.

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