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What is NSTRA?


    The National Shoot-to-Retrieve Association, NSTRA, field trials were started by a group of dedicated bird hunters who were looking for a way to extend the fun they enjoyed with their bird dogs after their season ended. Field Trials, under hunting conditions, were the answer. They not only extend the season, they also provided a sportsmanlike environment where they could compete with others, truly evaluating their dogs with others. The thrill of competition not only makes you a better team mate with your dog, but also gives you the opportunity to see other quality dogs under the same conditions. Thus, evaluating your training, breeding and ultimately, building a better bird dog for you. The Association was incorporated in 1978, and is a non-profit association with service to the members and sportsmanship as its goals. North West Region is 1 of 31 NSTRA Regions, serving members in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and British Columbia.



How does a NSTRA trial work?


    Usually a NSTRA Field Trial is made up of anywhere from 24-32 dogs. Any pointing breed, registered with FDSB, AKC, CKC and UKC can compete. Each dog competes with another dog, this is called a brace. Each brace last 30 minutes, with 12-16 braces in a day. Each dog is scored separately on their performance in those 30 minutes in the field. The field is usually in a marked off area, between 30-50 acres of natural habitat. The field is planted with 5 birds; usually bobwhite quail or chukar, there is always the possibility of left over birds being left in the field. Scoring consist of a score of 0-100 for each piece of bird work, known as a point, which must be held till flush. 0-100 for each retrieve, delivered to hand. A score of 0-100 of the dog’s field coverage or application. 0-75 on the dog’s obedience, and 0-75 if the dog had an opportunity to honor, also known as “back” another dog. The score is compiled, and compared with all 32 dogs at the end of the day; the highest score is declared the winner, with placements of 1st-3rd being awarded. Each point and retrieve is scored separately for each bird found. All other criteria, such as; obedience, field coverage, and a back, are scored just once in the brace. Obviously with each bird being pointed and retrieved having a possibility of 200 points. The more birds that are found with good, honest bird work will likely determine the winner. NSTRA trials usually consist of an A and B field on Saturday and Sundays. Each Field is its own separate field trial, so essentially you have an opportunity to compete in 4 trials in one weekend.



What is a Champion?


    In order for a dog to be declared a Champion under the National Shoot to Retrieve Association they must compile 18 points, 9 of which are 1st place points and have shown the ability to back. Points are awarded for placements of 1st -3rd. In a trial consisting of 24-32 dogs; 1st place dog receives 3 points, 2nd garners 2 points, 3rd getting 1 point. So, if your dog places 1st at three separate trials, and then accumulates 9 more points, rather with 9, 3rd’s or 5, 2nd’s, or any other combination, NSTRA recognizes your dog as a Champion. If your dog compiles another 18 points, with another 9 points from 1st place finishes, your dog becomes a 2xChampion. Each time your dog earns another 18 points, with 9, 1st place points, your dog will add on more Champion title, 3x, 4x, and so on.


What is a High Point dog?


    A high point dog is a model of consistency. In a year span, usually from June-May, all points earned in the Region are accumulated. The dog that has accumulated the most points, 2 weeks prior to the Region Elimination Championship will be declared the High Point dog. Region High Point dogs receive a personalized belt buckle from the region.



What is a Region Elimination Champion?


    A Region Elimination Champion is one of the most sought after titles. Each dog that has earned a placement 1st-3rd during the current field trial season, as well as all previously Championed dogs, qualifies for the Region Elimination. An Elimination Championship could consist of anywhere from 32-64 or more dogs. All dogs run once on Saturday, with the top 12-16 dogs advancing, depending upon number of dogs entered. Sunday morning all scores are erased and those dogs compete with the top 6 dogs advancing to the semi-finals. That afternoon, the top 2 highest scoring dogs from the final 6 advance to run in a 1 hour final. The size of the field is doubled and 10 birds are planted, all scores set at 0. At the end of the hour, the dog with the highest score as well as proving their ability to back at least once during the weekend will be declared the Region Elimination Champion. Personalized belt buckles are awarded to dogs from 1st-4th.

Beginner's Guide:

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