Hound News

April 2003
      Spring will be very close by the time you read this article. Mountain lion season in Montana will end April 14th and everyone will begin thinking about coon hunting and field trials. Keep your hounds in good shape. At the Spring Tune-up, which will be May 10 and 11, 2003, near Potomac, Montana, MSHA will be having a new race. You must be signed up for the race by 6 PM on Saturday, May 10th, and the race will be held Sunday morning. There will be a guaranteed payout of $1,000. That amount will be divided between first line and first tree. It will be a one-heat blow-out lion track race. The entry fee will be $25.00. Bring your fastest trail hound, since this race will be restricted to trail hounds only.

      We will be having a UKC Field Coon event (entry deadline of 8:30 AM) and UKC Bench Show (entry deadline of 2:00 PM) on Saturday as well as many open events. There will be no water races at this field trial. We will be bringing back the Junior Handler contest. This is open to all kids up to age 13. There is no fee for entry, but they must be entered Saturday morning, get their number, and handle at least one dog for the entire field trial. This doesn't mean they have to be entered in every event, but the more they enter, the more the judges will be able to see how well they work with their dog. An adult can supervise the child, but the child must do the work.

      Sales of raffle tickets have begun for our MHDF raffles for this year. We have two very nice major prizes: 1.) A 29" x 40" Framed Oil Painting donated to MSHA by Dusty Miller of England. A picture of this painting was in last month's article. 2.) A guided buffalo hunt with Montana Hunting Company on the Flying D Ranch near Gallatin Gateway, MT. This hunt will be during the fall/winter of 2003. Exact date will be worked out with the winner. Drawings will be August 16, 2003 at the Fall Classic Field Trial. Ticket holders need not be present to win the big prizes.

      We will have our smaller raffles at each field trial as we normally do. We are already gathering items for these raffles. Again Dusty Miller of England has donated eight CDs of Hound songs.

      Our State Championship Field Trial will again be held near White Sulphur Springs on June 7 & 8, 2003. We will have UKC Field, Bench Show and Water races along with many open events.

      The Fall Classic Field Trial will be August 16 & 17, 2003, but a location has not been confirmed. We will find a suitable location so that we can have a good time in August. We are currently working on two possible locations.

      On to the legislature - as I write this, there is no final decision on HB 32 our Training Season for mountain lion and bobcats in Montana. This bill has passed the House of Representatives, and will be heard in the Senate Fish & Game Committee on March 11. After that hearing, with a passing vote, it will have to be heard and passed on the full Senate floor and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law. Write or call your senator in support of this bill!

      Representative Joe Balyeat of Bozeman, MT who chairs the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee has introduced a Bill (HB 306) to the Montana Legislature for a constitutional amendment with a short title of "Right to Hunt Game Constitutional Amendment." This bill would put on the November 2004 ballot the opportunity for Montana residents to amend the Montana Constitution: "For recognizing and preserving the heritage of Montanans' opportunity to harvest wild fish and game." This bill has passed the House and will be heard next in the Senate. I personally feel that each and every Montana resident should contact their senator and ask for support of this bill. We as sportsmen need to show our recognition and support of our hunting heritage when items like this come up that can help us to preserve what has been the American heritage.

      A very sad note for houndsmen. Bill Sherman, 62, of Stanford, Montana, passed away due to a heart attack on Thursday, February 20, 2003. Bill was very instrumental in starting and working with houndsmen organizations in Montana. He has also served as Montana's UKC representative for many years. He got many young people interested in hounds and either gave or found a hound for many of them to get started in this sport and love of the hounds. Bill was a Navy veteran and retired civil servant. He will be missed by many.

      I received a nice letter from Maggie Baertsch of Helena. She sent along a photograph of Skeeter Baertsch's Casey dog. Skeeter got Casey in 1998 and, since that time, Casey has won 19 trophies and 21 ribbons. CaseyCasey was the third high point dog at the Idaho Water Daze in July 2002 for which Skeeter received a silver belt buckle. Skeeter had never owned hounds before 1998, but received a black-and-tan hound named Turbo for his 62nd birthday from his children. Turbo passed away last September, but Skeeter still has Casey and three other black and tans. Skeeter is a fine supporter of MSHA's field trials.

      I received an e-mail from Murray Selzer of Alberta. He tells me that EKTHA of British Columbia will be having their field trial the third weekend in April. Alberta Tree Hound Association is looking for a new site for their field trial usually held the last weekend in June or the first weekend in July.

      US Sportsmen Alliance has written that PetSmart has made a very large donation and support to HSUS. So, I've quit buying products from PetSmart and hope that you will do the same.

      I also read that Oregon has a bill coming up in their legislature to bring back mountain lion hunting.