SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Music City Hunting Retriever Club in Nashville is a club conceived by hunters for hunters.
This weekend, the club will host over 700 dogs and trainers from all over the country for what is known as a hunt test.
Kim Smith has been in the hunting and retrieving games for 30 years, and his dogs have won numerous ribbons and titles for their work.
“She loves, loves this game,” Smith told News 2 of his Boykin Spaniel, Cinnamon.
In a few days, trainers and retrievers will have a chance to show off their skills in Smyrna at Pooles Knob.
“The test we’re having this weekend is going to be the largest HRC event there’s ever been in the nation. We’re going to have 750 entries this weekend. We’re going to have pros that will be coming; we’ll have amateurs, your individuals that train on their own. We’re going to have people from all over,” Smith said.
There will be three levels – started (beginner level), seasoned and finished. Smith told News 2 that finished dogs are expert retrievers like his dog, Cinnamon.
“You have different scenarios where birds are laying out in the field, and it [the dog]watched it go down,” Smith said. “You yourself as a handler don’t even remember where all the birds are, and your dog does. That’s really impressive.”
The dogs and handlers will run on land and in water.
Vincent Fields and one of his clients, Hank, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, will be participating in this week’s event as Hank runs in the seasoned level.
Fields owns and operates a retriever training and hunt test training company called Extreme Retriever Training. For more information, visit his website or Facebook page.
He says these specialized dogs are amazing to watch and train.
“You can bring the characteristics out in a Labrador, or a Boykin Spaniel, that this is what these dogs are bred to do. When you can go in there and you can use your tools, training scenarios, and different drills to bring that out of those dogs, it’s just awesome to see,” he said.
Duck hunting season lasts just 60 days, so these tests are a way for retrievers, like Hank, and their owners and handlers to enjoy the sport outside of the season.
“It’s a good challenge for him and keeps the dog sharp. It keeps him in shape. He’s hyped up and he’s ready to go,” he explained.
This weekend’s hunt test is open to the public. Attendees are asked to wear dark clothing or camouflage so the dogs won’t be distracted.