Attention-Motion to be Voted on at Annual Meeting (Fable Fest)

Please read this message from our President-Rolf Rogers

With the recent revision of our web page and our presence on Facebook, we have been provided improved ways to communicate with our Chapter members.  As a result, the Board has decided to transfer the publication of the Chapter newsletter to the new web page and discontinue issuing a stand-alone newsletter.  We believe this change will provide you with more timely, quality information than could otherwise be achieved with a monthly and often semi-monthly newsletter.

The Chapter has grown and along with that, the need for great communications becomes increasingly important but difficult to execute.  As a result, we have also determined the position of Vice President should be changed to Vice President & Director of Communications.  This restructuring, if approved will assure timely and accurate information is always shared with the Chapter.

Along with this change, we would plan to discontinue the appointed post of Newsletter Editor.  Responsibilities associated with this post become part of the VP & Dir. of Communications’ responsibilities.

To revise the job description and eliminate the appointed post of Newsletter Editor requires a motion and vote by the Chapter to modify the bylaws at the annual meeting/Fable Fest. Members at least 18 years of age may vote at this meeting, provided dues are current.  Attached is the motion for your review in advance of Fable Fest. The Board of Directors has unanimously approved this motion and we ask for your support. Should you have any questions about this information, please feel free to contact me at 612.219.4109 or by email:

Click Here to Review the Motion

I look forward to seeing you at Fable Fest!


President MN NAVHDA

Thank you, Joe.

There are people in this world who, wherever they go, somebody’s gonna’ recognize them.  When they walk into a room, you know someone is going to raise a glass and say “Hey!  Over here!”  When you hear a big laugh, you turn and see gathered a group enjoying themselves, with that same person of quick wit and good humor near the center of it all.  In the Minnesota NAVHDA world that person was our own Joe Dolejsi.  But our Joe was no ordinary Joe, as the rest of the NAVHDA world will attest.

Last January I had the privilege of representing the Minnesota chapter at the NAVHDA annual meeting in North Carolina.  Imagine my delight when, at the height of the awards banquet, two honorary awards of handmade knives were awarded to Joe Dolejsi and Joe Raia.  Two great guys – our guys – being honored.  How could I not sit just a little straighter and stand a little taller?  After all, they were ours!

Since neither man was present in North Carolina, I was entrusted to bring the knives to Minnesota, and present them at our chapter’s annual meeting.  I had with me NAVHDA president Dave Trahan’s notes detailing their incredible accomplishments.  Joe Dolejsi’s hall of fame stats were eye popping:  Joe joined NAVHDA in 1983.  Over 27 years as a judge, Joe judged 1793 dogs at 218 chapter tests.  He led 14 Handler Clinics.  For NAVHDA International he served as the Director of Testing, Director of Judge Development, Treasurer and President of NAVHDA across a span of 21 years.  All this in addition to training his own dogs to Invitational status.

What the stats don’t tell you is what he has meant to us at Minnesota NAVHDA, as well as the rest of NAVHDA.  There are no statistics to show the number of people he mentored, helped, influenced, taught, and befriended over the years.   There are no records of handlers trained and coached at training nights.  No recordings of good times shared and stories swapped.  Joe was a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother and son, and what does remain is a compelling legacy of which his family can be proud.

We in NAVHDA are also a part of his family – I think Joe would agree.  And yes, of that we can certainly be proud.   Hunt ‘em up, Joe.  Rest in peace, my friend.

Services will be held for Joe in Minnetonka on Saturday, February 3rd.  Details can be found at

The UPT Test & the Practicality of Steadiness & Retrieve Training

Years ago I had a Lab and then a Boykin spaniel.   I was a novice bird dog man, but we found, flushed, shot birds and had fun.  With some retrieving and steadiness training, it would have been a lot more fun (and safe.)  There were shots taken that should not have been (low flying birds with dogs on their tails.) Then there was that time in Iowa that I dropped a Rooster across a dredge ditch and the dog refused to go across.  It was ½ mile to a bridge, and I became the dog on that 1 mile retrieve.

Watching a NAVHDA Utility Test for the first time a few years ago, it really blew me away how much a fully trained “finished” versatile gun dog was capable of.  Training a dog for a NAVHDA Utility (UT) or a Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) is essentially doing hunting training, and the work you do will immediately translate into the field during hunting season. 

The Utility Preparatory Test, (UPT), is the least run of any NAVHDA test, but it shouldn’t be.  According to the NAVHDA AIMS book, The Utility Preparatory Test is designed “to evaluate the dog midway in its training towards becoming a reliable versatile gun dog.”.  I would make the argument that if you made the UPT test your final goal in NAVHDA, and trained your dog to those test expectations you could quit there and would have a MUCH more reliable hunting dog than most bird hunters.

On a NAVHDA UPT test, 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 and Retrieving.  In NAVHDA, Steadiness is broken down into 4 parts as described here:

A UPT dog is expected to be steady only to flush & wing, and to retrieve birds “within reach of the Handler”.    In the real world of hunting, this solves a lot of problems.  Safe shots can be taken, and the dog can be relied upon to retrieve game. 

My son Ethan (14) getting instructions from Judges Jeff Jalbert, Blaine Carter, and Terry Wilson prior to running his dog RJ in a UPT test. September, 2017 Kelley Farms
2 year old RJ with a retrieve of a shot Chukar

The Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA has more training days than any other NAVHDA Chapter, and is expanding its test days/slots next year in part to allow for more dogs that want to test in UT or UPT at the June & September full tests at Kelley Farms.  Take advantage of these opportunities.   Commit to signing up for a UPT test in 2018, engage in training towards that next spring & summer. You will have a much more enjoyable hunting season in 2018, with more birds recovered.

The NAVHDA Aims book is always good reading, no matter what level of training or testing you are working on.

Pete Aplikowski

MN Chapter Director of Judging &  Apprentice Judg

Another season come and gone

With another hunting season coming to a close, we have to find ways to keep ourselves occupied.  Here’s some photos of some recent squirrel retrieving we’ve done.  Nothing says versatility like a little fur work.

Here’s Tina and Marx