Hello chapter members,

This warm winter/early spring has our phones and emails buzzing with people wanting to get an early start on Training this season.   Please be patient!  We can assure you that your board of directors is hard at work behind the scenes making plans for this season.   We are also not scheduled to take delivery of any birds from our suppliers until late April, as usual.

KELLEY/KEYSTONE in Hugo:  One of the biggest hurdles and delays in planning is the ongoing uncertainty with the Kelley Farms/Keystone Woods property in Hugo.   What we can tell you is that there will be LIMITED training available for some small groups at Kelley in 2024 starting in mid-April.  More details will be announced in the next couple weeks.  We will also be holding 4 OPEN chapter training days at Kelley on some Saturdays- April 27th, May 18th, June 15th, and August 10th.

FOUR BROOKS north of Milaca:    With the limited scope of what we will be able to do at Kelley/Keystone, we will be pushing to  expand our weekly training options at Four Brooks this season.     There will also be an OPEN training day and perhaps a MOCK NA test on July 13th at Four Brooks.      There will be much more room to roam at Four Brooks than the limited amount of space we will have at Kelley.    2024 Passes are available for sale and self-printing now, and the grounds are available for your use, as long as you are not interfering with a scheduled event.  You must display your printed pass on the dashboard of your vehicle.    You can see the Four Brooks Event schedule here.

WE WILL NEED HELP!!    We will be needing help building and relocating bird pens again this spring.  Please watch for those email requests and/or Facebook events to be posted very soon and help us out where you are able.  We will also be looking for volunteers to assist with the OPEN training days and stations.  We are an organization built on volunteer efforts-please do your part!

FUNDRAISING-PLEASE MAKE A DONATION!-Please also support our 2024 Fundraiser-the raffle for a $4,000 value coupon to the Upland Gun Company for a custom fitted and built Italian shotgun.   Fundraising will be more important this year than ever for Minnesota NAVHDA to continue to offer our members adequate training & testing opportunities.  For more information on the raffle and to purchase tickets,  please go to this link:  2024 Upland Gun Company Raffle


I got a call tonight from a nice woman looking for the support of dog organizations to correct an error that was made when the legislature and county recorders went through a process of cleaning up and removing obsolete statutes. They accidentally removed a statute related to “estray animals”, and the obligations of a person that finds a stray. So now, currently in MN, if you lose your hunting dog, the person who finds it has no obligation to turn it back over to you or a shelter or even notify anyone. There is new legislation working its way through both chambers. The Senate Bill is SF3703 and the House Bill is HF4288. I researched this, and this is a real thing and a legitimate concern and the Bills authors could use your help to push it through. Please consider contacting your legislators to support these bills. It does not take much effort to send a quick email., You can easily find your Representative and Senators and contact information here:  https://www.gis.lcc.mn.gov/iMaps/districts/

Go to our Testing Information Page for all test dates and information.

Online entries for all 2024 tests will open at 8:00am on Saturday Feb 17th to chapter members only.     Open to Non-Members March 1st.

Make sure you have all Navhda International and Chapter membership up to date and that your dog has a valid NAVHDA Registration number.


Our condolences to the family of Vince Steffens on his recent passing.   Vince was a longtime chapter member and board member, last serving as our President in 2015.   Memorial/Obituary Info is below:

VINCE STEFFENS: Age 60 of St. Michael, passed away December 14th at his residence. A Memorial Service and time of sharing for Vincent Steffens will be held Thursday, December 28th at 1:30 PM, with visitation beginning at 1 PM, at The Peterson Chapel St. Michael-Albertville Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at; www.thepetersonchapel.com.

We hope everyone is having a terrific hunting season!  Please share your photos and stories on our Facebook Group.   Your  Minnesota Chapter Board of Directors is hard at work planning for our 2024 Season.   Here are some updates on what we are working on:

Membership Renewals-2024 Membership renewals will be opening soon, after we finish some maintenance/upgrades on this website and our payment processor.    $10 discount for renewing by 12/31.  Watch your emails for the membership drive announcement in the coming weeks.

Bylaws Update-All members were previously notified about an upcoming vote on a slight revision to the chapter bylaws.  All members we have valid email addresses for will be getting an email soon with an electronic ballot/voting option.  PLEASE watch for that email from a system called Election Runner and participate in the voting.  Read the proposed change here.

SAVE THE DATE!   Annual Meeting/Fable Fest will be Saturday Feb 3rd at Brookhall in Blaine.   We are in need of a Coordinator to help plan and host this event.  If you can help, contact Pete Aplikowski at 651-485-0055 or pete.aplikowski@mnnavhda.org.

Winter Positive Reinforcement Indoor Classes-Chapter member Bob Brearey will again be leading this course at Hooley Hall at Washington County Fairgrounds in Stillwater.  Class will be on Mondays starting Feb 5th and run 10 weeks.  Class will be limited to 12 handlers/dogs.  Registration will be opening soon, so watch your emails for that announcement.

Joe Dolejsi Memorial Scholarship-Applications for the Joe Dolejsi Memorial Youth & New Handler Scholarship are  now open.    Click here to learn more about Joe, this program. and  our new all online application.

Kelley Farms/Keystone Woods WMA-In conjunction with the Minnesota Field Trial Federation, we are actively involved in discussions with the Minnesota DNR about the future of dog training on these grounds which will be called Keystone Woods WMA.   There are going to be public hearings/meetings this winter about future plans for Keystone Woods.  We will provide all of our members with that meeting information when it is available.

2024 Training Plans-With the changes at Kelley Farms, we are making plans for expanded training at Four Brooks WMA near Milaca.  We are also always looking for alternative training grounds opportunities, especially access to private  water sites for DUCK SEARCH and  BLIND RETRIEVES. We are also looking for some options for INDOOR  heated space for additional winter training classes.  If you know of any possibilities, please contact Director of Training Keith Larson.   training@mnnavhda.org

2024 Tentative Test Dates-Test entries will open in February initially to members only.  Here are our planned dates.

  • May 11-12-Natural Ability-Four Brooks WMA-Milaca
  • June 22-23-NA-UPT-UT-Four Brooks WMA-Milaca
  • July 20-21-Natural Ability-Four Brooks WMA-Milaca
  • August 17-18-NA-UPT-UT Iron Range Retriever Club-Virginia/Eveleth
  • August 24-25-UPT-UT -Four Brooks WMA-Milaca
  • September 7-8-Natural Ability-Four Brooks WMA-Milaca





For the past several years, we have moved to only accepting online registrations & payments for membership registrations & renewals.   Due to the high demand for testing slots in recent years, we have also restricted test entries to chapter members only starting in February.   To help us better serve our members and reduce the workload on our Chapter Secretary and the individual Test Secretaries, the MN NAVHDA Board of Directors has approved the following change to the Chapter Bylaws regarding membership:


Article II: Membership and Dues

Section 4: Members who have not paid Dues by March 31 will be dropped from membership and all the benefits of membership will be terminated.


Article II: Membership and Dues

Section 4: Members who have not paid Dues by January 31 will be dropped from membership and all the benefits of membership will be terminated.

Requirements to change Bylaws:

Article VII: Bylaws Amendments 

From time to time, the Board may approve Amendments to the Bylaws as necessary. Proposed Amendments are to be sent to the full Chapter membership with a two-thirds majority of those members participating in the voting needed to be ratified for approval and adoption. There shall be at least a 14-day time period after notification to Members before a vote is held. The method of notification to Members and voting method and procedures are to be approved by the Board.

Our Full Bylaws and Appendices can be viewed here.

**All current primary chapter members and registered secondary members 18 years of age or older will be sent a Board approved electronic ballot in November  via the email addresses on file with the chapter secretary.

SAVE THE DATE-Mark Your Calendars!-MN NAVHDA Fable Fest/Annual Meeting will be Saturday Feb 3rd at Brookhall in Blaine.   We had a very successful event here last year with around 100 people attending.  We could really use a volunteer to be the point person to work with the venue and manage the logistics on the day of the event.   If you are interested in helping to coordinate the annual meeting, please contact Pete Aplikowski pete.aplikowski@mnnavhda.org, or 651-485-0055.


Hello Minnesota NAVHDA chapter members, please read below for some chapter business news and other items about Training, Testing/Volunteering and our 2023 Raffle Fundraiser.


Per our Bylaws, we are notifying the membership that new nominations for Board members are now open until August 31st.

Here is the current makeup of the board, positions and expiration terms:

Pete Aplikowski 2023 President
Sean Ewaldt 2024 Vice President
Brent Haefner 2023 Treasurer
Andrew Blonski 2024 Secretary
Megan Hennen 2024 Director of Testing
Keith Larson 2023 Director of Training

We have 3 Board positions expiring in 2023.  At our Board of Directors meeting held August 1st, Keith Larson, Brent Haefner and Pete Aplikowski were all nominated to run for another 2 year term on the board.

Our Secretary, Andrew Blonski will be accepting any new nominations from the membership until August 31st.  Please send those to secretary@mnnavhda.org

Please keep in mind that per the Bylaws: Article IV Section 2:  Nominations will be accepted by the Secretary from the Membership until August 31st. Members may nominate themselves. Members who are not nominating themselves must agree to accept the nomination which is to be verified by the Secretary.


Please see this Post about what is happening with Kelley Farms.

Remaining 2023 Test Events-Volunteers Needed

We are halfway through our testing season, but we still have some big tests coming up that we could use volunteers for. As a reminder, everything we do is done by volunteers without people stepping up we can’t hold any events. If you’ve gotten any sort of benefit training, clinic opportunities, a testing spot-please consider volunteering at one of the upcoming tests. No experience is necessary, we can train you into any of the positions. If you’re available to help any of the upcoming testing days, please reach out to the individuals below.  If you are a newer member, this is a great opportunity to learn, observe, meet people and help out all at same time.

2023 Raffle Fundraiser

We still have about 20 tickets left for our 2023 raffle Fundraiser for the $4,000 value coupon to Upland Gun Company for a custom fitted custom-built Italian Shotgun of your own design.    Full details are here.  If you want to purchase a ticket, please contact Sam Tillman at sam.tillman@mnnavhda.org.  Tickets are $100 each.   Five additional runner-up tickets will be drawn for $100 “get your money back” prizes.