Here are some Training Updates:

Kelley Farms-Hugo:  We will be having limited Training at Kelley Farms this year.  Small group training will be mostly limited to people training toward UPT, UT and IT tests and those people have been contacted about grounds access.  We do have some spots reserved for new members and natural ability dogs on Thursday nights.   We will also be having OPEN Exposure/Training Days on April 27th, May 18th, June 15th and August 10th.  See FULL Calendar

Four Brooks:  Weekly Training will again be taking place at Four Brooks WMA north of Milaca, primarily on Thursday nights.  You will need a pass to be on the grounds at Four Brooks.  Buy your 2024 Four Brooks Pass Here.

If you are a new member or need help getting into a training group, please fill out the 2024 Training Questionnaire

Our first larger training day will be on Saturday April 27th at Kelley Farms.  See details at these linksRegistration is required for some events.

General Training Questions?   send email to

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:

It’s that time of year – questions on getting ready for the Natural Ability (NA) test are rolling in!  Here are some thoughts and tips to get you started before chapter-organized group events begin.

  • Help your pup become bold and fearless. Take puppy walks OFF LEASH or at most by dragging a check cord. Hit the local WMA’s (Be aware of DNR regs on “quiet” season-usually April 15-July 15) and let him go! Be QUIET- Don’t keep reining him in. Build confidence and let him expand his range working AWAY from you and exploring with his NOSE.
  • If you can get a bird, let him go crazy. Remember, at this stage there is no “NO!”. If he eats it, ignore the problem. If he carries it around, be a cheerleader! If he is afraid of it, go slow and don’t make it a
    big deal.
  • After you get a bold puppy, get some kind of recall. A whistle gets their attention better than yelling. Give him a treat when he comes to you!
  • You can do little tracks with pieces of hot dog dragged with a string. Start short, then stretch it out over time to where the hot dog is out of your sight. Don’t rush, make sure the pup can be successful. Later, you can drag a bird.
  • The swim isn’t really about being able to swim, it’s about being brave enough to leave the bottom. Toss bumpers to encourage a chase in the yard. If necessary, throw treats first. You don’t need a retrieve, you just need him to get excited and go for it. When you finally get to the water, you can transition. WATER is weighted more heavily on the NA test Scorecard than POINTING!
  • In the water, get the pup to run in. If you wade in and coax, it’s not going to seem very exciting to the pup. It might help to get the puppy to run with an older pup that will hit the water. Throwing in a wing-clipped bird can help get started also, but you need to get past needing one.
  • Go slow and in small increments. The puppy must always be successful. Remember- be patient. Praise any success! What you do or don’t do could have a long-term effect on your pup.

More information can be found on our website here:  Puppies & Natural Ability Exposure.

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;

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

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.

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