Contributed by Bryce Adams, Event Chair

The MN Chapter of NAVHDA ran its 40th Annual Pheasant Championship on June 23rd at the Major Avenue Hunt Club near Glencoe, MN.  The day began with temperatures at 60°,  100% humidity, cloudy, and no breeze.  By afternoon the temperature reached 80° with continued overcast, and a light and variable breeze.

The cover in the both fields was about knee-high, but open enough that walking was fairly easy and the dogs could move through it easily and be kept in sight.  The cover was very similar in the north and south fields.  Each field encompassed approximately 18.5 acres.

The conditions were difficult for most dogs to find birds, with only two dogs finding 4 birds through the first 9 teams.  Then the reliable team of Mike and Colton Busse with Sarge, posted a respectable score of 116 points with 5 birds.  The 11th  team, Bryce Adams and Brian Karr, with Riley, then bagged 6 birds with 7 shots in just over 24 minutes.  Their performance held up for 1st place which earned them $420.00 in prize money.  Bryce was justifiably proud of the work that Riley, his 10 year old female Pointer, did for him.

Team Busse finished a distant 2nd, earning $180.00 in prize money.

As is customary, the first 6 places each received a handsome solid walnut plaque, and the top placing teams, beginning with 3rd place, made selections from the prize table for their efforts.

At this year’s event, 102 pheasants were released for the 16 teams, with 51 birds harvested.  This is a 3.2 bird average per team. This is slightly off the pace of last year when the average was 3.8 birds per team.  2011, with 4.9 birds per team, remains the high water mark for harvest ratio at our Pheasant Championship on the Major Avenue grounds.

Thanks to all who entered their dogs in the event this year.  In addition to many of our long time participants, we enjoyed the company of 9 first time competitors and had a Small Munsterlander and a Bracco Italiano running.

On a more somber note, this year is the 1st running of the Pheasant Championship without Joe Dolejsi.  Russ Koetz, who now owns Joe’s Pointer “Homer”, teamed up with Jake Goergen and ran Homer.  They had a respectable showing with 4 birds and captured 3rd place.

In addition, thanks are in order to Myra Martin of Major Avenue Hunt Club for allowing us access to these excellent grounds and club house.  She offered a delicious lunch of brats, potato salad, beans, chips, and a cold beverage.  This is the 25th consecutive year that this contest has been held on these grounds.

Special thanks to all the workers who volunteered their time to make this event possible.  A drawing was held for the workers for a $50 Gander Mountain gift card.  Wayne Starkson, who planted birds, was the lucky winner.


Scorekeeper/Field Marshall and Driver: Deb Letcher
Bird planters: Wayne  Starkson Judges: Michael Bredahl
  Wolfie Smith   Pete Ness
  Scott Green   Chris Petro
  Gunner Green   Terry Petro

Results of the Running

Place Handler / Partner Dog Breed Age
1st Bryce Adams / Brian Karr Riley PT 10
2nd Mike Busse / Colton Busse Sarge GS 6
3rd Russ Koetz / Jacob Goergen Homer PT 5
4th Bryan Thomas / Joe Raia Banshee PT 5
5th Pete Aplikowski / Ethan Aplikowski Ike PP 5
6th Joe Raia / Bryce Adams Ike GS 3