To All Chapter Members,

Many of you have heard bits and pieces of information relating to new safety rules and restrictions on who may participate in NAVHDA tests and other events.  I will try to keep this brief, but I wanted you to understand what these changes mean for us as a Chapter, why these changes were made, and what we as a Chapter have done in response.

In January, NAVHDA International changed insurance companies and shortly after announced that both the handler and owner of a dog in a test must be members of NAVHDA Int’l.  We quickly revised test paperwork, and our test secretaries and Board went about communicating this change. Shortly after, NAVHDA International notified us that anyone participating in ANY NAVHDA event in ANY capacity must also be a member.  This would apply to a non-member who wanted to walk along in a test, volunteer to plant birds, join us for a training event or really do anything that required being in, or near the area where guns and dogs were at work. Non-members can participate (except handling in tests) if they are willing to sign the liability waiver. This rule affects family members without a spouse or child NAVHDA International membership, a member who happened to let their membership lapse, or someone visiting to learn more about our club.  In all cases, even with a signed waiver, a non-member must never be permitted to discharge a firearm.  It is also clear that the Chapter is expected to implement and manage this policy without exception.

Our Chapter is one of the largest, if not the largest Chapter in NAVHDA.  For those of you who have participated in some of our training and testing events, you have witnessed the sheer number of people coming and going. People often enter the grounds at different locations and may be spread out over three or more locations on the grounds.  To identify active members in good standing from visitors, family and lapsed members, and keep track of them on the grounds we needed a process to identify membership status, get waivers signed when needed and ensure that only those permitted to participate are then allowed to do so. 

Due to the participation levels expected at our Chapter events, the insurance change required the Chapter to develop a detailed, structured set of Safety Rules which must be managed diligently. To many members, these rules and procedures may seem cumbersome or “over the top” but, it’s the only way we can ensure that we are in compliance.  Absent this control, our volunteers, the Board, the Chapter, and NAVHDA International would be exposed to liability without insurance protection if a nonmember were injured in any way. 

We also explored the coverages provided by NAVHDA’s new insurance.  There is a major gap in the policy should a member injure another member.  As written, everyone has coverage should a non-member be injured, but NOT if a member injures another member. The basic liability insurance selected by NAVHDA excludes claims of members against other members, since both are policy holders and the policy states that you cannot sue your own policy.  While the injured could still file a lawsuit, the insurance company would have no responsibility to provide for your defense or pay for any settlement.  To remedy this, the Chapter is reviewing additional insurance at the Chapter level where member-to-member coverage is provided.  You would then be protected in the event you injured another member and, since the policy covers the same things covered in NAVHDA’s, we will have double the coverage limits for those common items.  It is expected that this coverage will cost $10 or less per member per year.

As we move forward, you will hear more about this subject and experience firsthand the procedures we’ve had to implement.  As a Board, we’ve spent many hours reacting to this change.  We’ve tried to keep everything as straightforward as possible and we’ll continue to look for ways to simplify it as we move forward.  I am requesting you remain patient with these changes and understand that the insurance change was the driving force and not something the Board decided to do on its own.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and above all else, thank you for helping to make this the best NAVHDA Chapter there is.

Best regards,


Rolf Rogers

President, Minnesota NAVHDA

I’m sure we’ve all read or seen quotes to the effect of “Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.”   At Minnesota NAVHDA we had our own experience with that concept this year, when one of our founding members, Joe Dolejsi, suddenly passed away in January.  The good news, was that from Joe’s passing was created the Joe Dolejsi Annual Youth Scholarship, the purpose of which is to be used by a youth Minnesota NAVHDA member for training and testing of their dog.

So – the call went out, the applications were received, the ballots counted, and the winner is – drum roll please – Mason Schultz!                                  Mason is a 5th grader at Lincoln Elementary in White Bear Lake, and lives with his folks Cory Schultz and Kirsten Olson, along with his younger brother Bram (plus the animals they foster through the humane society!).  When Mason’s not training his year old pudelpointer pup “Comet” (“Pan American Elora, from Pan American Kennels in Miami, FL), he’s into biking and just being outdoors.  He’ll complete his hunter safety course this month.  Oh yeah – and he’s a bit of an artist as well – as an accomplished glassblower.  It takes all kinds to work these dogs!

In addition to the scholarship providing Mason with a family membership in MN NAVHDA for a year, he’ll also be covered for his training day registrations, 10-week obedience class, training nights registrations and grounds fees, and a Mock NA or UT test.   The fine folks at Kelley Farms have even donated an annual pass for their grounds.

What will he do with all this?  Perhaps Mason himself says it best:

“My name is Mason P. Schultz.  I am 11 years old.  My family got a Pudelpointer in May, 2017.  Her name is Comet.  We just started taking her to training classes in Stillwater, at the Washington County Fairgrounds.  My dad and I go together, but I am in charge of training her, and I like training her a lot.

Comet went hunting with my dad and I this fall.  She is a versatile hunting dog.  She is a pretty good listener, but she sometimes forgets.  I like to work with her and would really like to keep taking classes.  I think that I can help her to be a really good versatile hunting dog – to go after ducks, pheasants, grouse, and other types of birds.  Also, I have been teaching her some other things too, like how she should point for a bird.  And how she needs to have her own place to go when people are over.

I would like to be in this next class session because I want to learn how I could improve my skills and her skills.  I would really like to enter competitions with her and see how well we could do together.  I would like to be a good trainer and dog handler, which I think this class would help me do.

I really like owning a hunting dog because when you ware hunting you have to scour all over to try and find a bird or two.  But if you have a dog, you find the birds much more quickly.

If I get into this class my goals are to learn even more about dog training, to improve my skills, to be able to teach my dog new advanced skills, and to enter my first competitions.

Thank you for considering my application for this youth scholarship.”

There you have it.  Thank you, Mason, for applying to be our first recipient of the Joe Dolejsi Annual Youth Scholarship!  I sure that Joe is smiling about this right now.

If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to this fund in memory of Joe, please follow this link: GOFUNDME  The Joe Dolejsi Youth Scholarship Fund

We received this notification from NAVHDA International, and are sorting through the best way to implement this policy while at the same time, making it as seamless as possible so as not to interfere with you involving family and friends who are not members of NAVHDA International in our Chapter events. Remember, your family members are automatically members of our Chapter with your enrollment however, they are not considered members of NAVHDA International unless they have an individual membership with them.

We’ll keep you updated as this develops.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Click here for NAVHDA International Facebook info thread on this topic

From NAVHDA International, 03/04/2018

ALL Non-Members Participating in NAVHDA Events are Required to Sign a Release and Express Assumption of Risk Agreement (available under the Forms Express link at

This year, for the first time in many years, our organization’s liability insurance coverage has been placed with a different insurance company, Philadelphia Insurance Company. As part of our insurance contract with Philadelphia, we are now required to secure a signed release and express assumption of risk agreement (the “release agreement”) from anyone who will be participating at one of our events that is not a member of the NAVHDA parent organization, also known as NAVHDA International.

The following Q&A provides information on how we will utilize this release agreement in our organization.

Why do we need this release agreement and what is its purpose?
It is now a requirement of our insurance coverage to comply with this so as to not to jeopardize our coverage.

Who has to sign the release agreement?
This release agreement must be signed by anyone who is not a member of NAVHDA International as defined below, and who intends to participate in ANY NAVHDA-sanctioned event, including but not limited to all tests, handler clinics, and training days. In addition, if the participant is a minor, the release agreement must be signed by a parent or other legal guardian.

Who is a member and who is a non-member?
An individual is considered a NAVHDA member if they have a NAVHDA member number and if their dues are paid in full for the year in which the event in question is occurring. This would include “life members” since they have a member number and their dues are paid in perpetuity. Some Chapters allow spouses and/or family members to be considered Chapter members without joining NAVHDA International; these individuals are considered non-members of NAVHDA International and must therefore sign the release agreement prior to actively participating in any NAVHDA International or Chapter events. A nonmember is defined as anyone who wishes to participate at a NAVHDA event, but who is not a member of NAVHDA International, and/or individuals who are former NAVHDA International members but whose dues are not paid in full, and/or is someone who intends to join NAVHDA International but does not yet have a member number or dues paid in full.

Under what circumstances is the release agreement required?
A release agreement is required when a non-member wishes to actively participate in a NAVHDA event. Practically speaking, this means anytime a non-member intends to:
• handle a dog in one of our hunt tests or training sessions
• follow a handler out in the field during a hunt test or training session
• volunteer to help at any NAVHDA sactioned event
As a side note, a non-member can never be allowed to handle a firearm at any of our events.  (Also, as of July 1st, 2018, Non-Members will no longer be allowed to handle dogs in any tests)

When is a release agreement NOT required?
A signed release agreement is not required for any non-member who is merely there to watch an event from a distance or stops by to have lunch, etc., but does not otherwise actively participate in any event or activities.

Is the release agreement signed yearly, or for each event?
A release agreement should be obtained each time a non-member wishes to participate in any NAVHDA sactioned event. It is the only way to ensure that we have a release agreement for that particular activity.

How do we access the release agreement?
The release agreement form is available on the NAVHDA webpage under Forms Express.

Who secures and retains the release agreement and for how long does it need to be retained?
The release agreement should be secured and retained by NAVHDA International for International events and by the local Chapter for Chapter events. The release agreement should be maintained for a minimum of one year after the expiration of the longest applicable statute of limitation for tort actions in the relevant jurisdiction. Any release agreement pertaining to a minor should be maintained for the period of the applicable statute of limitations after the minor reaches the age of majority.

Who is responsible for ensuring release agreements are signed prior to an event?
The hosting Chapter’s secretary or his/her designee is responsible for securing the signed release agreement from the appropriate people before and during a NAVHDA event. During their opening remarks, the Senior Judge is encouraged to inform all non-members that they must complete the release agreement if they have not already done so.

Who can “witness” the signature of the release agreement?
Any member of NAVHDA International that is at least 21 years old and who has read and understands the release agreement may witness the signature for a non-member.

Thanks everyone for your great participation with the training survey!  The number of people and dogs that showed up last year for our training and testing days came as a surprise, which left us scrambling for more training hours and testing days to add to our calendar. As a result of this survey, we now have a good idea of what to expect this season.   I can guarantee we’ll be adding dogs!  Which means that we will need more birds, more hours and more help!

Your Board of Directors have been very busy trying to figure out how to stay ahead of your needs.  You will likely see some changes this year, both in training and testing.   These changes will be shared at a later time.

We are an organization of volunteers and there is tremendous effort that goes into this program.   We ask that you recognize these efforts, be patient, and please volunteer when you can!

This is your club!

Mark Jacobs
Director of Training

This article was posted in the February 2018 issue of NAVHDA’s Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine:

According to the NAVHDA AIMS book, The Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) is designed “to evaluate the dog midway in its training towards becoming a reliable versatile gun dog,” and the Utility Test (UT) is “designed to test a dog’s usefulness to the on-foot hunter in all phases of hunting, both before and after the shot, in field and marsh, and on different species of game.”

For an inexperienced handler, the UPT is a great introduction to the hunting team concept and the different areas of focus for the full UT. There is no age limit for a dog in the UPT, so it can also be a good way to evaluate a dog that missed running a Natural Ability test.

But what about the UPT as a measure of a dog’s usefulness to the hunter? Years ago, I had a Lab and then a Boykin spaniel. I was a novice bird-dog man, but we found, flushed, and shot birds and had fun. With some retrieving and steadiness training, it would have been a lot more fun (and much safer). There were shots taken that should not have been—low-flying birds with dogs on their tails. There was a time in Iowa that I dropped a rooster across a dredge ditch, and the dog refused to go across. It was half a mile to a bridge, and I became the dog on that one mile retrieve. For those of you who do not hunt waterfowl and feel all the water work required of a Utility dog does not apply to your hunting style, think again. Pheasants, grouse and woodcock all live near water, and it seems almost every year one of my dogs retrieves an upland bird from water.

In the NAVHDA UPT, a dog is evaluated across many areas, but, for the purposes of the points I am trying to make with this article, let’s focus on Steadiness (in the field and at the blind) and Retrieving (land and water).

In NAVHDA testing, Field Steadiness is brokendown into four parts as described here:

“Steady to Flush” – Judging “Steady to Flush” begins when the dog is aware of the presence of the handler. Think of “Steady to Flush” as behavior during the flushing period. The steady to flush judgment ends when the bird leaves the ground.

“Steady to Wing” – Judging “Steady to Wing” begins when the bird leaves the ground and ends when the gun is fired.

“Steady to Shot” – Judging “Steady to Shot” begins when the gun is fired and ends when the bird hits the ground.

“Steady to Fall” – Judging “Steady to Fall” begins when the bird hits the ground and ends when the dog is sent for the retrieve.

Continue reading “Steadiness & Retrieve Training-The UPT Test”

At the NAVHDA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on January 20th, the Executive Committee passed a motion requiring that all owners and handlers of tested dogs be members of NAVHDA.  This rule will go into effect July 1st, 2018.

“The EC approved a motion, to become effective July 1, 2018, to make it a requirement that Owners (at least one owner of co-owned dogs) and Handlers of dogs must be NAVHDA Members in order to enter a NAVHDA test. The statement “…must be NAVHDA Members…” refers to the NAVHDA parent organization commonly known as NAVHDA International.”

Please note that this also includes Youth Handlers, who will require their own NAVHDA Youth Membership Membership Application

2018 Annual Meeting Highlights

Please pass this information on to non-members you know who might be planning to test after July 1st!

Joe Dolejsi Annual Youth Scholarship

This scholarship has been established by the Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA in recognition of Joe Dolejsi’s commitment and many contributions to NAVHDA and the development of the Minnesota Chapter.  Joe was a dedicated leader at the International level as well as the Chapter Level. He also enjoyed interacting with youth and was a firm believer that their involvement would be a cornerstone to the growth of NAVHDA.

At the International level:
  • He was a judge for 27 years.
  • He judged 1793 Dogs.
  • He judged at 218 Chapter Tests.
  • He was a Clinic Leader.
  • He led 14 handler clinics.
  • He was the Director of Testing, 1996.
  • He was the Director of Judge Development for 2 years, 1997-1998.
  • He was the NAVHDA president for 6 years, 1999-2004.
  • He was the Treasurer for 10 years, 2008-2017.

Every year the Chapter will award a scholarship to a young Chapter member, 18 years or under at the time of their application. Applications must be received by January 1st of each year and the winner will be announced at the Chapter’s annual meeting.  For 2018, applications must be submitted by March 1st and the winner will be announced by March 31st.

The recipient will be awarded coupons for the following MN NAVHDA events/privileges:
  • 1-year Family Chapter Membership* (include coupon with mail-in registration)
  • 1 Obedience Class – 10 Week Session (include coupon with mail-in registration)
  • 1 MOCK Test (NA or UPT/UT) (include coupon with mail-in registration)
  • 25% off ONE MN NAVHDA Test Fee. (NAVHDA Testing Incentive Program offers reimbursement for the other 75%)**
  • Free Pass to any MN NAVHDA Training Events for that year. Includes any grounds and registration fees. Purchase of birds is the responsibility of the handler.

The youth awarded the scholarship must be the individual handling the dog and registering/signing up as the Handler (training or testing)

*If recipient or family is currently a member of the Chapter, the coupon can be used for the following year.

**Recipient must sign up and register for any event on their own.  Coupons must be submitted along with registration forms or presented at the time of a daily event not requiring registration. Normal test refund policies apply and a credit, not cash will be refunded.  Reimbursement from NAVHDA International for their Youth Incentive Program covering 75% of test fees must be applied for separately. NAVHDA Youth Testing Incentive Program.  If the recipient elects to participate in a Chapter sponsored Handler’s Clinic, they must apply for the NAVHDA International Kristin Rieser Youth Scholarship Fund  which will pay for participation in this event.

To apply for the scholarship, please follow this link: Application for Joe Dolejsi Scholarship

If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to this fund in memory of Joe, please follow this link: GOFUNDME  The Joe Dolejsi Youth Scholarship Fund

The winner of the Joe Dolejsi Annual Youth Scholarship will be selected by vote of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA. Children and grandchildren of members of the Board of Directors are not eligible to participate.

2018 Handler Clinic (2 Day Clinic)

  • Where: Kelley Farms (Kelley Land & Cattle Company), 11425 155th St N, Marine on St Croix, MN 55047
  • When: Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th, 2018
  • Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $130.00 (members and non-members)

The Handler Clinic is an educational tool developed by NAVHDA to help dog owners and handlers understand the testing system. The clinics are conducted by designated trained leaders; all of whom are NAVHDA Senior Judges. During the two-day clinic weekend, participants experience all aspects of a Natural Ability, Utility Preparatory, and Utility Test. The first few hours of each day are devoted to informal classroom instruction. There is discussion of Test mechanics, the scoring system and NAVHDA philosophy.

The group then goes out to the field to judge and score dogs being run in the actual Test process. After each dog has run and been scored, there is a discussion of performance and scoring as observed by the participants and the clinic leader. The discussion includes strengths or weaknesses of training and handling observed in the demonstrations, and how they may have affected the dog’s inherited skills.

Who Should Attend?  People with their first pup see how other dogs work and gain insight into what their pup is doing and why. This helps them to develop their pup’s talents and improve performance in weak areas. ➢ Novice handlers learn how NAVHDA evaluates versatile dogs, and are better prepared to handle their dogs in a test. ➢ Experienced handlers gain a deeper, more technical knowledge, of how the team of dog and handler are judged. ➢ Breeders learn what to look for in their breeding stock and their progeny, and how to use NAVHDA records obtained through our Test Records for selective breeding. ➢ For aspiring NAVHDA Judges, attending a Handler Clinic is one of the first steps in our Apprentice Judge Program.

Download Event Flyer and Entry Form

Question:  What do you get when you combine bird dogs, shotguns, flying pheasants, comradery and competitive spirit on a fine summer day?

Answer:  Minnesota NAVHDA’s annual Pheasant Championship, of course!

This year marks the 40th annual running of this event, to be held at Major Avenue Hunt Club near Glencoe, MN on June 23rd .  To celebrate this milestone, 2018 entry fees have been reduced to $125.00 per team.

This is not a training or testing day!  This is a fun event open to all members (and their friends as hired guns).   Steadiness is optional and retrieving standards relaxed!  Teams consist of 2 gunners with one dog.

REAL MONEY AND REAL PRIZES are at stake here, as well as BRAGGING RIGHTS!  70% of prize money goes to the #1 team – last year’s winners walked away with over $400.  Need more info?  Contact Bryce Adams at (651) 387-8556 or

Full Event Info, Rules and Printable Entry Forms Click Here

See the results from 2017 here:

Hope to see you there!