The Sebasticook Chapter is a non-profit, volunteer organization. The Chapter’s officers, training leaders, judges, gunners, testing directors etc., are all volunteers who give their time and energy to help each other learn how to become hunting dog trainers themselves. The idea behind NAVHDA is that as members progress through the various levels of training, that they, in turn, are able to help train those who are just beginning. It is a cycle of volunteer efforts. We encourage all club members to volunteer in some capacity, if possible, in order to help our Chapter run successfully. By volunteering during a test or a clinic, members can make new friends and learn ten times more than they can by just observing or waiting for their dog’s turn in the field. Members can also support the Chapter by participating in any of our other public events or fundraising efforts. If wielding a mixing bowl and spoon are your forté, we most definitely welcome food contributions to test weekend lunches and dinners as well!
Just ask! Grab a club officer or other volunteer and ask how you can help. Don’t know how to plant birds? We’ll show you. Don’t know how to set up a duck drag? No problem, just ask how! We also offer discounted bird prices to those who call the Director of Training prior to the clinic to sign-up for an all-day volunteer role at that clinic. These tasks are limited so make sure to call ahead to sign-up and get the discount!
The Field/Water Marshals are critical in order to facilitate a smooth and successfully run test or clinic. He or she facilitates the testing/training order and ensures that the next handler and dog are ready to go when their order number is called and that all proper safety precautions are taken by all members. He or she will direct the bird planters and assign gunners throughout the day. They will make sure all necessary equipment, workers and birds/ducks are at each site. On test days, they answer directly to the judges and ensure that the gallery does not interfere with the test. This person will also make sure the sites are picked up and secured at the end of each day.
Only NAVHDA approved gunners are allowed to participate during test days. To become a gunner for the chapter, you must attend a gunner’s clinic and/or have a training session with the Chapter’s Director of Gunning, or another assigned gunning mentor. You will be accepted on a trial basis, through which you will need to know and abide by all of the Chapter’s rules as well as those indicated in the “Becoming a Gunner” section on pg. 24 of the NAVHDA Aims, Programs and Test Rules book. You will be expected to gun at training clinics and be evaluated prior to gaining approval as a test gunner. Gunners will bring their own shotguns to the fields. All shotguns must have a break-open action. 12ga and 20ga shells will be provided by the chapter. If gunners bring other gauge shotguns, they must supply their own shells unless otherwise advised by the chapter. Gunners will answer directly to the judging teams and the Field Marshal.
Bird planting is a great way to get involved and also learn how to plant birds successfully for your own individual training sessions. Some training is required as you will need to know how to plant birds in a manner so that they are alert and ready to fly when a dog approaches; as such, it is preferred that bird planters have experience planting birds during clinics prior to planting birds on a test day. Experience with all-terrain vehicles vehicular safety and operation is required for those who will be planting birds during a test, but not necessary on clinic days. Bird planters must ensure that the birds are sheltered from the sun/rain and are well cared for.