By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY John Kelder of Callicoon is “breeding” a sigh of relief these days.
Two of his dogs at Bashakill Labradors qualified for the 2011 Master National Hunt Test for Retrievers, which was held in October in Maryland.
Kelder explained that just to qualify for the National Test, a dog must pass six AKC (American Kennel Club) Master Hunt tests between Aug. 1 and July 31 of the following year and be a Master Hunter.
“It was a tough week with around 575 dogs starting the test and Bashakill’s Swashbuckler MH, who is also known as Pirate, being one of about 250 to pass,” Kelder said. “The tests consisted of combinations of marked and blind retrieves on either land or water or both. He is the only dog from the Hudson Valley/Catskills to pass.”
“I am Pirate’s breeder/owner/trainer/handler,” Kelder continued. “He is the fourth generation of my Bashakill Labrador bloodline.”
Another dog that Kelder bred also qualified and entered the National, but only made it halfway through. She is Pirate’s half- sister, named Remington’s Shot Flyer MH, and is owned by Jeff and Kim Schiller of Middletown.
Only a handful of dogs from New York State passed the National Test.
“I have the winter to decide if we want to qualify for the 2012 Master National held in Alabama next October,” Kelder said. “If a dog passes three National events, the dog is entered into the Master National Hall of Fame and in 2013 the event is in Kansas. You never know.”
Kelder said Kim Schiller has another dog, Sir Diesel Tank Schiller MH, that qualified for the National Test,
“And our friends Pepper and Sharon Lyons of Slate Hill have Indian Trail’s Rizin Star Bruno MH, who qualified as well,” Kelder said. “We are all members of the Hudson Highlands Hunting Retriever Club, training dogs at the Stewart WMA and throughout Orange and Sullivan counties.”
Since the hunting seasons are quickly approaching, Kelder would like to remind everyone “to conserve game and use a trained retriever.”