The oldest game of man and dog in the backwoods of Central Florida
(A full AKC Hunting/Field Trials feature will come later in 2019)
The central Florida "spine" north of the I-4 corridor is a different landscape than most think of as Florida, but it truly is the heart of the state. Things slow down and the countryside changes from flat areas of cedar and palms to gentle slopes of dense undergrowth farms. In this landscape you can find the oldest games of man and dog, including field hunting trials. I spent a truly incredible day with the community and their dogs and witnessed the silent communications and bond between each dog and handler.
This is a hunt still, and game birds are the goal, but it is truly a moment of exciting anticipation and strangely a peaceful sense of being closer to the dogs in natural form. To experience these dogs doing what they are hard wired to do and loving every moment may surprise many.
This weekend, the Central Florida German Short-haired Pointer Club (CFGSPC) were hosting dozens of teams at the rolling farmstead north of Orlando. The weather was phenomenal from sunrise. Warm, but not humid or boiling temperature. "Just right" Goldilocks might say. This was true of the community too. This was the first field trial I have attended with Bad Azz Dogz, and was warmly welcomed by the hosts and the teams. I spent most of my day with the father and son "Gunners", David and Matt Word. Professional hunters and the only people allowed to carry and fire rifles on this trial. The teams themselves do not shoot, and it is these professional "Gunners" who add to the safety of this sport. AKC Hunting or Field Trials started in the early 1980s, and have continued to refine and expand over the time since. It is far to detailed to cover in one piece. I have to thank Event Chair "Stephanie Kleinman" for sharing her extensive knowledge and experience of the sport, and there will be a number of separate features on the sport here throughout the year.
Note for Veterans with Disabilities: This game is for you hunters and those with hunting breeds. The AKC has full lists of acceptable breeds on their site. Some mobility in uncut terrain is required, but reasonable accommodation is offered on a case by case basis. Only the official "Gunners" have access or are allowed to carry rifles, but the teams do have cap guns to signal a simulated shot after game is located.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or the organizations linked in the article for more information.
Photo-Feature | CFGSPC Hunting Trials
Hidden Valley Hunting Preserve, Florida 10 March 2019
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