Based on the feedback from the Northern Groups Committee, The chapter Board of Directors unanimously approved the following proposals at the June 21st Board meeting.

We look forward to helping the Pineridge Grouse Camp group form a new NAVHDA chapter, and continuing the relationship with the Virginia group.

  • Iron Range Retriever Club (IRRC) NAVHDA Group Proposal:  Based on feedback that came from the Committee  about forming any new chapter(s) in the Northern part of the state, Minnesota NAVHDA will do the following for the group based at  the Iron Range Retriever Club (IRRC):
    • Continue to sponsor a NAVHDA test at these grounds provided that:
      • The test is on the 3rd weekend in August. 
      • This group must reserve these dates and negotiate their own grounds fees for the test with the IRRC.   
        • Prior to January 15th of the year of the test, this group must notify the Chapter Director of Testing of:
          • Who the Test Secretary will be.
          • Who the Test Coordinator will be. (If different than Secretary)
          • What the grounds fees will be.
        • The chapter will request approval of the test with NAVHDA, set and collect test fees and pay test expenses. Any other chapter policies related to tests will be in effect.
      • To be consistent with the chapter Mission Statement, the group Testing and Training at the IRRC must identify a person or persons that can be contacted for any NAVHDA training inquiries for the IRRC grounds and this person(s) contact info will be published on
  • Pineridge Grouse Camp (PGC) NAVHDA Group Proposal:  Based on feedback that came from the Committee about forming any new chapter(s) in the Northern part of the state, Minnesota NAVHDA will do the following for the group based at  the Pineridge Grouse Camp (PGC):
    • Support and assist this group with making applications with NAVHDA for the formation of a new chapter, as long as the application is made by Sept 1st, 2022.
    • When the new chapter is recognized by NAVHDA and a bank account is established, Minnesota NAVHDA will send $4,000.00 to the new chapter.
    • Any equipment purchased by Minnesota NAVHDA for this group will be gifted as well.  (Approximate value $1,000.00).
    • Provide advice and assistance as needed going forward.  
      • Establishing Bylaws.
      • Establishing website and online payment systems.
      • Sourcing Birds
      • Consulting on training schedule & events.
      • Consulting on Test management


UPDATE 6/22/22-Committe is dissolved. 

At the NAVHDA International meeting this winter, it was announced that NAVHDA International membership has now surpassed 10,000 members.    Along with that, was the fact that growth in new chapters is falling short of being able to support adequate testing & training opportunities for members.

Minnesota NAVHDA has also grown significantly recently, and by the end of each season has had well over 300 paid members the last several years, with about 50 member-families in the northern part of the state.  (Roughly from an east-west line north of Mille Lacs Lake.)

Across North America, suitable grounds for training and testing dogs are always in short supply, especially for Utility Level Tests.    Northern Minnesota members are very fortunate that there are TWO proven grounds to hold quality NAVHDA tests.  The Iron Range Retriever Club and Pineridge Grouse Camp.

Minnesota NAVHDA is forming a committee to discuss the logistics of forming new chapters for the 2023 training & testing season (next year) in the northern part of the state, centered around these two sets of proven training & testing grounds.    The primary goal of this committee will be to identify ways to better serve all NAVHDA International members in the state, and offer more focused local involvement and participation to those members.

Any new chapters would NOT be affiliated with Minnesota NAVHDA, and could set their own dues, policies, bird sources, training programs and sponsor their own NAVHDA tests.

If you are interested in serving on this committee, please fill out and submit the form below.    This committee will meet via virtual teleconference several times throughout 2022, starting in May.

Running on wild birds in the spring when the snow is melting and the timberdoodles are making their return back to Minnesota can be a rewarding experience after a long winter of inactivity for us and our dogs.

Respecting the birds should be at the forefront of our minds when planning to run during the off season on wild birds. To stay legal, in Minnesota, one can run their dogs off-leash prior to April 16 on most state and county lands. Federally owned lands (except National Forest) are generally off limits outside of the hunting season. Now just because you can, does it mean you should?? Depends… personally I feel there are a few general rules of thumb to dictate whether to go or not.

Keep in mind that whenever a bird is disturbed, it wastes energy it could have otherwise conserved. Flushing, running, vacating the area it felt safe all take a negative energetic toll on birds who have already endured a long, cold and snowy winter. Disturbing birds while they were feeding could leave them cold and hungry  Weather is the first factor to consider when deciding whether to go run. If the temps are below freezing the energy demands of all birds are already increased, but keep in mind woodcock feed by probing their bill into the ground, so it must be thawed for them to feed on their primary source of food (earthworms). I do not recommend running dogs on wild birds when it’s below freezing or during inclement weather.

The second rule of thumb is to leave a bird (or birds) alone after one flush. Sometimes this means leaving the area altogether and checking out a new area. Forcing birds further away from their comfort zone increases unnecessary stress. It’s tempting to re-flush birds to get a second attempt at training success but not only is it not ethically a good idea, you’re also less likely to be successful in your endeavor as re-flushed birds carry little tracking scent.

Lastly, if you ever see signs of nesting or courtship (mating) behavior, do not target those birds and better yet; work on heeling and head back to your car. Not only is it unethical, it can be illegal depending on the species, and any disturbance of brood production could reduce a whole lot of birds that you and others could hunt the next season. The quiet season start date of April 16th was set statutorily many decades ago, birds can’t read the regulations book and during a warm and early spring like last year, many game birds began nesting prior to the April 16th closure.

Oh, and don’t forget while you’re in the woods that there are other dangers of spring – bears are waking up, feeding, and raising young. Wolves and coyotes are also raising pups during this time. Beaver trapping is still open so there could be water sets near outlets, culverts or other near shore areas.

-Bailey Petersen

**NOTE**-This is not a Minnesota NAVHDA Event but Washington County PF is looking for volunteers, including handler/dog teams.  Our chapter members have participated in this in the past.


Washington County Pheasants Forever

The annual Disabled Hunters / Wounded Warrior Pheasant Hunt will be taking place on Saturday, April 2, at Whispering Emerald Ridge Game Farm near Menomonie, WI.

The purpose of this special event is to provide up to 24 disabled hunters with an opportunity to get out into the field and hunt pheasants. To conduct a successful event we are asking for your support as a volunteer to help out during the day, or by making a financial contribution. During the day we will need 40-50 volunteers to work with the hunters or to participate in other ways. Many of you have participated in prior years, and we would appreciate your participation once again. There are AM and PM hunt times, so you can decide if one or both of these times work for you. Volunteer assignments include being a gun handler for the disabled hunters, driving a 4-wheeler to transport the hunters in the fields, being a dog handler, catching and planting the birds, taking pictures, etc. We also need to identify who can bring a side-by-side UTV with a bed (like a Gator, Ranger or Mule) to transport the hunters, many of which are in wheelchairs. If you own one or can get access to one for the day, please let me know. Another need is to provide well-seasoned hunting dogs (pointers only) to work with each of the hunters and locate the planted birds. Again, let me know if you can provide a dog.

We also need to identify disabled hunters who are interested in participating, so if you know of someone who would like to hunt, please let them know and pass along this email with the attachment.


Note: The first two pages of the attachment is the Donation/Volunteer Form. It needs to be completed and then returned by mail or email to Whispering Emerald Ridge. The email address is

The final two pages contain the application which the disabled hunters need to complete and send back to Whispering Emerald Ridge in order to register for the event by March 20. **Please keep me informed so I have visibility of who has responded. I also need to maintain a list of volunteers and donations. The donations can also be mailed to me at my address below. Please make the checks out to Whispering Emerald Ridge Game Farm.

The event will be held at:

Whispering Emerald Ridge Game Farm

N3954 640th Street

Menomonie, WI 54751

**If you intend to make a financial donation, please do so as soon as possible so we know how many disabled hunters we will be able to include in this hunt. If you would like to sponsor a hunter the cost is $125.00 each (to cover the cost of 5 pheasants, ammo, and food), however, any contribution is appreciated. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me or you can also reach out to Bruce Olson at Whispering Emerald Ridge Game Farm at 715-233-1281.

On February 15th, Minnesota NAVHDA held its annual meeting via a virtual teleconference.   You can see the full meeting minutes here.

For our 2022 Fundraiser, we are excited to announce a raffle in conjunction with one of our new sponsor partners-The Upland Gun Company.  You can read all about the raffle here.  Tickets will be sold at our events throughout the training & testing season.

As I am writing this, the 15 day forecast unfortunately does not look to be indicating any signs of an early spring.   Spring will come, though, and we are anxiously waiting to get started on our outdoor training and our 2022 testing season.  To help meet demand, we expanded our tests to 18 days over 8 weekends this year.   This will likely be an all time record for any chapter in NAVHDA.  We can only pull this off with the help of our member volunteers.  Please consider volunteering at our training clinics and tests this year.  You find contact information for event coordinators here.

We still have room in our 2022 NAVHDA Aims & Rules Clinic on June 4th & 5th.  This year’s clinic leader is Blaine Carter from Maine.    Blaine has been involved in NAVHDA for almost 50 years. He is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and presents it in his own unique way-complete with that Maine accent!   Take advantage of this unique opportunity.

TESTING:  6 of our 8 Test weekends are full with wait lists, but we do still have room for UPT & UT dogs in our Aug 27-28 test and NA dogs at our Sept 10-11 tests at Four Brooks.  Full Test Calendar and details are here.

TRAINING: We highly encourage our members to form their own small training groups, and we will help support that with access to birds and grounds.  If you need help getting into a weekly small training group, please fill out our Training Survey.  We anticipate bird deliveries and training will get ramped up the last week of April.    Our first large training clinic event will be April 30th.    There will be a MOCK NA test (already full) and in conjunction we will be debuting a couple new courses and an OPEN training day.    See the details of Versatile Dog 101 and Versatile Dog 201 here.  These are FREE to members and no registration is required.

HELP NEEDED-FOUR BROOKS TRAINING:  We are still looking for volunteers to organize training at Four Brooks.  Not looking for “trainers” so to speak, just individuals who can be a group leader and organize communication and bird wrangling for the group.  If you can help please email:

GROUNDS PASSES:  Unless you are attending a Chapter sponsored Test or Clinic you must have a Pass to be on our two primary training grounds.

  • FOUR BROOKS (Milaca) -**NEW FOR 2022**    We will be selling Grounds Passes to Four Brooks online this year.   You can get your 2022 Pass here.  When you complete the payment process, you will get an email to print out, and that will be your pass.

KELLEY LAND & CATTLE CO (Hugo-Marine on St Croix).    As usual, passes will be sold by Kelley Land & Cattle Co.  We will hold a group night near the end of April for selling passes.  There may also be some availability of birds by then.  More details will be released as we get closer to that timeframe.

WOUNDED WARRIOR HUNT-The Washington County Chapter of Pheasants Forever is holding this hunt on April 2nd, and needs volunteers, including dog/handler teams.   Minnesota Chapter members have helped with this in the past.  Full info here.

Pete Aplikowski-President


All members are welcome to join the chapter annual meeting on Tuesday Feb 15th at 7:00pm.   There will be reports from each Director on the Board and a report from our delegate to the NAVHDA annual meeting.  This is a Virtual Meeting.    Meeting Details here.


This chapter could not operate without the help of all of our member volunteers.   Please give back by volunteering at our Events.  You can find all the volunteer coordinator contact info for each event here:  2022 Test & Clinic Contacts .    We especially need help at our first spring events, like the Mock NA test at Kelely Farms in Hugo on April 30th, and the Natural Ability Test at Four Brooks near Milaca on May 14-15.


To expand testing opportunities this year, we are now doing 18 days of testing over eight weekends. This will by far lead the NAVHDA system in testing opportunities.  Our 2002 test dates opened for entries on Feb 1st.  Some tests are full with wait lists, others near being full.  If you plan on testing this year and have not secured  a test slot, do not delay.  2022 Testing Dates and Information.


There are still openings for our 2 day  2022 NAVHDA AIMS & Rules Clinic on June 4th & 5th at Kelley Farms in Hugo. Led by SR Judge Blaine Carter from Maine.  The AIMS clinic is an in-depth look at the NAVHDA test and scoring system.  You will observe other dogs, but will not be working with your own dog.  YOU WILL LEARN A LOT!  These clinics always fill up and are limited to 20 people, so if interested, do not wait to register.  This is also a required clinic for anyone interested in entering the NAVHDA apprentice judge program.

TRAINING COORDINATORS-With a chapter of our size, we can always use more help forming more training groups.  You do not have to be an expert or seasoned handler or trainer, just someone who is willing to organize a group, birds and a group schedule.

FOUR BROOKS-We want to expand our training opportunities for members at Four Brooks WMA north of Milaca this year, but we will need people to step up and help coordinate.  We will also be selling Grounds Passes for Four Brooks to chapter members through our ONLINE payment system this year, starting in March.

If you are willing to help in any capacity with small group training, please email

Any member that needs help with getting into a regular small training group this year is invited to fill out this survey.  2022 Training Survey


Applications are Open for the Joe Dolejsi Youth & New Handler Scholarship.  Applications accepted through March 5th, 2022.  Full details and application form here.

Interested in becoming a NAVHDA Judge?   The Bill Jensen Apprentice Judge Scholarship was created to assist chapter members in that journey.  More details here


Minnesota Chapter Annual Meeting

The Board of Directors decided to once again NOT hold our traditional Fable Fest Potluck and in person annual meeting due to continued concerns about CV-19, and the fact that our group size has outgrown the venue we had been using at Chomonix golf course.    We hope we can get back to an in person get-together in 2023.

Our Bylaws do require us to have an annual business meeting during January or February, and like we did in 2021, this meeting will be a virtual meeting on the Google Meet platform.  It will be held Tuesday February 15th at 7pm.   You can join by video or phone.  The agenda will include reports from each Director about the past year, what we have in store for 2022,  and a briefing about the NAVHDA annual meeting held on Jan 29th.

Click here for the Online virtual meeting link or phone call-in details

NAVHDA International Annual Meeting & Auction/Fundraiser

The 2022 NAVHDA International meeting is being held virtually again this year for chapter delegates only, but there is an online auction/fundraiser that is open to all NAVHDA members. Lots of dog and outdoor equipment is up for auction as well as some hunt trips to cool locations. The auction ends 1/29 and is open for bidding now.  Register, browse, and bid here


Applications are Open for the Joe Dolejsi Youth & New Handler Scholarship.  Applications accepted through March 5th, 2022.  Full details and application form here.

Interested in becoming a NAVHDA Judge?   The Bill Jensen Apprentice Judge Scholarship was created to assist chapter members in that journey.  More details here

NAVHDA Aims & Rules Clinic with Blaine Carter-June 4th & 5th

Minnesota NAVHDA will once again hold the popular AIMS & Rules Clinic this year on June 4th & 5th at Kelley Farms.  Clinic Leader will be Blaine Carter from the Yankee Chapter in Maine.  This is a 2 day in depth clinic about NAVHDA principles, the testing system and scorecards.  Limited to 20 people.   Any member interested in becoming a NAVHDA Judge must attend one of these clinics.  Full details & Registration here.

2022 Test Entries

Minnesota NAVHDA is expanding our tests to EIGHT weekends this year to try to meet the demand for test slots.  To also help our own members this year, we are initially restricting test entries to chapter members only.  Entries will open on Feb 1st.  Full testing details and calendar can be found here:  2022 Test Dates & Registrations.

Mock NA Tests are BACK!

After a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are offering two MOCK Natural Ability tests.  Limited to 12 handlers each day and reserved for chapter members who are signed up for Minnesota chapter NA tests.   April 30th & July 30th at Kelley Farms in Hugo.   Registrations will be by invitation as NA test entries are accepted.

NEW for 2022!

Versatile Dog 101-Search, Point, Track, Swim.  A One Hour introduction to NAVHDA principles.  Good information for new members and Natural Ability Handlers.  Will be run in conjunction with the MOCK NA tests and OPEN training days at Kelley Farms on April 30th & July 30th.

Versatile Dog 201-Heel, WHOA, Fetch. Learn principles about Obedience training  and transitioning from a dog’s natural ability & cooperation to what it takes to create a “finished” versatile hunting dog.   Demonstrations will then be given about each segment of the NAVHDA Utility Preparatory & Utility Test.  Will be run in conjunction with OPEN training days at Kelley Farms on April 30th & July 30th.

Small Group Training

Minnesota NAVHDA encourages all members to work together to form their own small training groups, and we will help support those groups with access to birds and grounds.  For new members who need help meeting people and getting in a group, you can fill out our Training Survey/Questionnaire.

Chapter Members,

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Holiday Season and hope many of you are still out hunting with your dogs.

The Board of Directors met on 12/21/2021 and the decision was made to once again NOT hold the traditional “Fable Fest” potluck, silent auction and annual meeting in early 2022.  This decision was made due to a combination of factors revolving around the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of Omicron variant and that the venue we have been using at Chomonix golf course is no longer suitable for a group of our size and needs.    Our chapter Bylaws require us to hold an “annual meeting” for our members in January or February, and this will be done virtually in mid February, as we did last year. Meeting details will be sent out in January.

Some other reminders:

Chapter memberships are now due, and there is a discount for renewing by 12/31.  Click here to renew.

We will be opening our 2022 test entries on Feb 1st, and it will be for members only until March 1st.   Our tests fill quickly, so make sure if you are planning on running a dog that your dog is registered with NAVHDA and that all owner and handler membership status is up to date with NAVHDA and our chapter.

2022 Testing Dates & Locations