Fun Trial at Cottle Branch

Setters,Pointers and even a few GSP’s. The one day fun trial is alive and well. As we already know Cottle Branch Shooting Preserve opened this year for their inaugural year. It appears that they are doing well and it was nice to return for an event that I think doesn’t happen enough anymore.

 The family at Cottle Branch hosted their first field trial and it in my opinion was a success. Despite the weather threatening and raining on and off throughout the entire day everyone endured and had a great time.

 The morning started with clouds and a cool temperature. The staff was assembled and making sure the place was ready to welcome everyone. Ensuring they gathered up the birds for the trial and that the cabin was a warm comfortable place to gather.

 Arriving a little early I exchange some hellos and sit in the cabin to enjoy the warmth and some nice conversation with an old friend and some new ones.

 After a few more people show up the judges say “let’s get started”.

People sign up and get braced. The categories that are being competed in on this day are puppy, derby and bird hunter. No shooting dog offered because no one deemed that their dogs were ready to be judged at that level. It seemed to me that there were more puppies than the other two classes.

 First two pups to get the fun started are on the line and they get the word to to turn ‘em loose. A young Setter and a Brittany. They are fun to watch as they burn up the course from the breakaway to the bird field.

These two find a few birds and perform well. In fact the young Setter takes the puppy class and places in the other two classes as well. Talk about setting the bar.

 The braces are run all morning and for an informal event it goes off very smooth. This is probably a testament to the behind the scenes work of the staff and volunteers that are working hard to make the day and enjoyable one.

 So where do I fit in. I enter my dog after lunch which for me turns out to be a mistake in my strategy. It seems that the large amount of scent on the bird field definitely had an effect on my dogs performance. Now I know he is not a trial dog but when we hunt he has a pretty good race and a good nose and usually stays in place until the flush. This day he decides to stalk like a cat and never really gets in stride. He eventually gets to a point and looks good on point but that is about it. He chases and when I get him back on the field he continues to stalk. In all honesty I didn’t need the judges to tell me that his performance wasn’t good and that he definitely wasn’t in the running for anything.

 While he didn’t have a good showing, I still am happy with him as my bird dog and enjoy his company around the house.

  The day goes on and some dogs do really well and I watch some dogs that are on their way to becoming nice shooting dogs.

There were some dogs that didn’t cooperate and others that performed wonderfully. I think that besides spending the day watching the dogs run,the most rewarding part of these one day fun trials are the friendships that are formed and others that are rekindled.

  I hope to see more of these run at Cottle Branch Shooting Preserve and the surrounding area with the hopes of keeping this tradition alive.

4 Replies to “Fun Trial at Cottle Branch”

  1. We at Cottle Branch appreciate what you have done for us this year. You have supported us with your hunts and through your great write ups. It is always a pleasure to read about your experiences in the field. I think we can all relate. Your way of writing makes us feel as if we are right there with you. We at Cottle Branch hope we can help keep the tradition of quail hunting alive and we realize it would not be possible without the support of people like you. We hope to add on and make some changes in 2019. We’ve had a great first year and look forward to making new friends in the future.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the write ups. I thoroughly enjoy going to Cottle Branch whether it is a hunt or a trial, it is always a good time.
      I look forward to many more times sitting around that cabin.

  2. Wow! Sounds like a great place. The people there have groomed their fpreserve They have provided a safe and gamed environment and definitely deserve the patronage of of all you guys in the future . Brian, you have written a great blog here. Hunters can get a clear feel for the fields, the owners and the promise of a satisfying hunt. Good job and cudos to that up and coming bird dog, Cash! Will follow his progress with interest!

    1. Thanks Barbara, I appreciate the compliments.
      Cottle Branch is a great place and for them being in their first year they have made great strides.
      As for Cash I will continue to write about our exploits chasing birds where ever we can.

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