Category Archives: VHDF


Hunting Chukars

Stihl had a great time hunting chukars the past couple weekends. The snow is deep and the birds are plentiful. Despite having a challenging time getting through the snow, he had a good few days. He retrieved 2 birds last weekend (with help getting into the area). It’s amazing how fast he is learning. He retrieved 4 birds this last trip without any guidance. I’m excited to see how Stihl progresses through the rest of the bird season.
Thanks again,       ~Matt and Veronica Stanley


Wears the Blaze Orange Collar

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Our puppy update is long overdue. We cannot tell you how happy we are with our beautiful boy. He is incredibly smart and is learning is jobs at home quickly. He immediately loved doggie day-camp and even as a small puppy he fearlessly played hard with the big dogs. He is extremely brave and tenacious. It has been so much fun to watch his personality develop. We have been using the ‘learn -to-earn’ method of training for basic obedience and it has been awesome for establishing a happy relationship with Stihl. These pictures span a couple months, so you can see his progress. We favor a blaze orange collar since his blue coat seems to disappear into the background.

Matt has been gradually working on hunt training. This fall Stihl at just four months old retrieved his first bird. Stihl is also doing very well with endurance-dog training. It only took a few rides for him to lean to stay away from the horses feet and he has not yet been stepped on! We love how bonded his is to us. Even out with the horses, Stihl is always ‘checking in’ to see where we are, and looking for his next command.

We’ll try to have another update to you soon since there is so much progress in so short a time span. I remember Cliff mentioning he is planning a springtime bird training session at the farm. We’re definitely interested in attending, so any information on that would be appreciated.

Thank you again for such a wonderful addition to our family.

~Matt and Veronica

The Snake River Versatile Gun Dog Club

Today Marks Twenty Years

Snake LogoYou have no idea what it takes to put this event on. Heidi Wayne Funke has championed this cause along with her husband, Jeff, for twenty years. It takes dedication, and a type of stamina many of us could not fathom. After working a long day at FedEx, she goes home almost every spring evening to work on this event. There are countless phone calls to make, as well as details to organize. It takes a lot of organizational-ability, and more than a little knack to get the necessary volunteers. We know she is thankful for the faithful, who help year-in-and-year out; however, without her this event could not continue. Not only is this great for dog owners, the organization has given back to the community.

Protect them from their curiosity

Protect them from their curiosity

When you see this little green snake emblem, remember who has made this possible. Furthermore, keep in mind the beautiful person who orchestrates this for those who have a beloved fur family member. No one wants their pet to be lost to a snake bite.

The time you invest could save both you, and your companion. Your pet will learn how to avoid rattlesnakes by sight, smell, and sound. How great is that? This is important for hikers, campers, hunters, and anyone enjoying the great-outdoors.

Thank You

          Snake River Versatile Hunting Dog Club

OwyheeStar wants to stop, and say thank you. We appreciate you (the SRVGDC, and Heidi and Jeff Funke) for making this an annual event for twenty years.

It is Not Too Late  

The 2015 Registration is now Closed.

Nevertheless, you may still have your dog trained as a walk-up customer for $60. Here are the details:


Sunday ~ June 14, 2015

  • Veterans Memorial Park in Boise, Idaho
  • 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • $50.00 per dog with a reservation.
  • $60.00 per dog without a reservation.  Walk-ups are welcome.
  • Dogs must be 6 months or older.
  • All breeds accepted for training.
  • Each dog takes approximately 20 minutes to complete the training.
  • Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake vaccine administered by Idaho Veterinary Hospital at $13 per vaccination.

They also partner with Idaho Fish and Game who will be presenting a Trap Awareness seminar. The Trap Awareness seminar is Free and No Appointment is Required.    You are encouraged to visit the Idaho Fish and Game’s fascinating exhibit anytime throughout our Community Service event!

Idaho’s Premier

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs

is conducted by

The Snake River Versatile Gun Dog Club

A Non-Profit Organization Since 1988

For More Information

          Please Check Out This Link:

Youth Programs

390786_486117708065876_1837317833_nThere are many programs that educate, support, and help develop young hunters (as well as dog handlers). Some of these are associated with 4H programs. Tomorrow the Oregon Hunter’s Association (OHA) (Redmond Chapter) has a youth event planned. ( June 7-8 Redmond: Youth Day, Tim Van Domelen Ranch, Powell Butte, Tim Van Domelen 541-771-8383) NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, as well as VHDF (Versatile Hunting Dog Federation) have mentoring programs. They also have various scholarships available from time to time. Contact the organization to get details for their current programs. Here are a few links to check out; they are followed by NAVHDA’s news for the day.



NAVHDA Youth Test Incentive Program

NAVHDA’S Executive Council is pleased and excited to announce a new youth development program made possible by the generous donation of Terry Wilson and Nancy Anisfield.

The program is called the NAVHDA Youth Test Incentive Program and its purpose is to encourage youth education and participation in the training and testing of versatile dogs. All youths at least twelve years of age and less than eighteen years of age that handle a dog in a sanctioned NAVHDA test are eligible to receive a fifty percent refund of the paid test entry fee. This refund is paid by the International after the youth handler submits a voucher to NAVHDA’S Central Office.

Complete details of this program are available on NAVHDA’S web site by clicking on the “Youth Programs” tab on NAVHDA’s home page.


Click Here to view this NAVHDA Notice Online

North American Verstile Hunting Dog Assciation   |   (847) 253-6488  |
P O Box 520, Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5950

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved

Birds and Bird Dogs

The flurry of activity has left us wondering. Cliff has been snatching every opportunity to train his charges in an effort to make a good showing at the upcoming hunt tests. As you are aware, it has been an uphill battle with the passing of his father on (Tuesday) May 6th–two weeks ago yesterday. Life didn’t stop for us. There was no escape, or opportunity to check out. As inviting as that sounds others are depending upon us to keep our commitments.

A Nesting Redtail hawk Pair on the farm November 13 2011

The Two Red Tail Hawks Sitting near their precariously construction original nest.

Two more deaths occurred here at OwyheeStar in tandem with Clifford’s crossing over. We don’t take these losses lightly either. The two Red Tail Hawks who nested for several years (in the Three Cliff’s Sanctuary, AKA our timber patch). Their nest blew to the ground killing two young hawks. We were devastated. Cliff and our son (Richard) scrambled to build a suitable platform, and to locate the lofty perch at least 15′ high. Photos of the process are located in a Facebook Album (click here).

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3 Cliff Sanctuary Discoveries (32)It did not seem right to do nothing. Sadly, the Red Tails returned for a short while, and tried to build a new nest. Another big wind spoiled their efforts, and sent them fleeing. We have not spotted them of late. We hope they return, but there are other birds, bird nests. Some are natural, and some were installed by Cliff and his father. Native quail call this home; it is a shelter for them despite the encroachment caused by the farming to the fence post philosophy. There is little space for birds to nest undisturbed. Wasteland has been drained, and weeds are removed to make pristine conditions. It is not always in the best interest of the native birds. There has to be a balance. Dad wanted to give the birds a little corner to call their own. This area has become more than what he originally planned–it is a multipurpose area.

Cliff and Bernie_1990Saturday sees Cliff at the first of a few local hunt tests. He is snatching every possible moment to train. The hay and grain still had to be watered. The Weims had to be tended–and loved. There is a plethora of things calling Cliff’s name. (Fix me!) (Do this!) (Don’t forget me!)

Bird and Dogs take a lot of our time; they require constant attention. Cliff raises some birds for training. He often uses homing pigeons, and they live on to train another day. He has a couple of ducks, a rooster, and various quail. The Coturnix quail he recently hatched, are almost old enough to begin laying eggs. The circle of life; the endless activity continues. It is all good!

This Week’s OwyheeStar News

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Pumping Irrigation Water

Pumping Irrigation Water

Isn’t spring grand? It does bring its own set of demands. Cliff was pressed on every side this week. He has not farmed the second half of our property in recent years; however, last fall he put in winter wheat on the east parcel. It is coming along nicely; it required irrigation (for the first time this year) this week. Getting the water going took some concerted effort. He has had to revamp everything to work for how we will be doing things. Isn’t that the way it goes? Anyhow, he got the wheat watered. Beyond the farming, he is preparing for spring hunt tests.

He has a couple of Weims to get ready for the spring hunt tests. We will see how it goes; he only has one girl who fits the time frame for the NAVHDA N/A (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Natural Ability) hunt test.  He hoped to put more time into her, because she has hunt-potential-promise, but it takes patience to develop a good hunt-performance. This is true, even though it is known as the natural ability portion of the NAVHDA testing process. It requires exposure to birds, field conditions, and water prior to the test. The pup must be ready to perform to a certain level.

We mentioned the time frame for NAVHDA N/A testing was limited, but the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation (VHDF) has a much more doable set of age requirements. The VHDF Hunting Aptitude Evaluation (HAE) which is similar to the NAVHDA N/A doesn’t restrict participation due to age. In many cases, this can be a huge plus. Some Weimaraners (and other breeds) will mature later than others; it can be difficult to have a pup ready in the exact NAVHDA test time frame. Both venues have a lot to offer a dog breeder, as well as someone wanting to develop a serious hunting companion.

Here are the links for this week’s blogs….

The Blues……

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Friday’s blog featured the puppy swim. The (Blues in the Wagon) photos we posted on Facebook were a hit with you, and others. There are a few blog subscribers who don’t get on Facebook; therefore, we will post these cute faces for you again. We don’t think anyone will mind. I am heading off to bathe two of these pups that will depart for their new family today. Others will be leaving soon. We have a couple left to place, but inquiries have been consistent. Although we have a waiting list, each person on it has their own agenda. This includes coat color, time frame, and other factors. Placing the pups in the best possible home is important to us. We believe it is a breeder’s duty to care about where the pups go, and what happens to them. 


Many blessings and warm wishes from Shela and Cliff–(and the OwyheeStar Weimars too!)

~Thank you for being a part of our lives!

Molly performs in Idaho versatile hunt test

Molly scores 69 out 70 possible points

Molly_2cMolly’s success at the Fall VHDF (Versatile Hunting Dog Federation) Hunt Test is very exciting; both for Me as her owner and You as her breeder.

I’m hoping we have another strong showing at NAVDHA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) Hunt Test; however, I am want to remain calm–not to get too excited.

How we achieved the results…

Molly is from the Mousse X Benton litter and was born on August 30 2012.  I started working her when she was about 3 months old by dragging a dead pheasant around for about 6 weeks.  When she started getting enthusiastic about playing with the bird, I started planting a live one over at RKC Pheasants in Parma (on Rick’s farm).  These bird plants required Molly perform only about a 20 yard search.  This process lasted about 8 weeks.  After that, I started pounding the preserves with 4-6 bird plants, gradually increasing the distance of the plants and spread.  She really showed her stuff to me for the first-time last April at the Blonhaven Hunt Club in Wisconsin where she was paired with a five-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever with extensive hunting experience and pointed six of the nine birds we shot.   In early June, Cliff and I met at your place, and he worked with me on pigeons. During our visit, we talked about the test-structure; that helped me better prepare–know what to expect.  Cliff also helped get Molly to swim.  In addition to all this, I took her to a couple of training sessions with the local gun dog clubs to get her used to working in larger groups.

Molly’s Home Life

Molly_1On the home front, she has two brothers… Milo who is a Chihauhau (her best friend)…and Mac who is a Boston Terrier (Mack is ten so he doesn’t like the active play as much).  During her free time she loves chasing after squirrels with Milo in the back yard.  She also attends doggy daycare at Camp Bow Wow a couple days a week where she can play with another Weimaraner named “Jake” and a few other dogs.  This gives her a place to spend all that Weimaraner energy and work on those social skills.

Looking Ahead

We are looking forward to the Treasure Valley NAVHDA natural ability test on October 6th where we hope to replicate our VHDF success.  We also have a planned pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota during the last week of October where she will be partnering with a German Shorthair named Shelby. In the meantime, we are going to start working on her retrieve to hand and a few other things to see if we can fine tune ahead of NAVDHA.

Breeder’s Comments

Rod and Molly have done everything right. There have been a lot of birds, and these happened early. Their systematic, and broad-based approach is ideal for creating a well-balanced outcome. Of course, fist the Weimaraner must have the potential. Secondly, the handler has to figure out how to bring out the Weimaraner’s natural ability. Do not be deceived by the terminology. Natural ability is not as easy as it sounds. The participants are scored on several areas. There is a possibility of ten points in each. When a dog performs beyond the expectations, they can be rewarded a bonus point. Each one of these areas can lead to a problem. For example, a dog might refuse to get into the water. That affects scores in other areas, as you might imagine. This will give you some idea of what must be accomplished. Please note that no one got to the test with a camera. (Oops)


Search –10

Pointing –10

Track—11  they gave a bonus point on that




Versatile Hunting Weims

A young Weimaraner points

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) defines versatility as “the dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water.”

Here is a list of breeds that qualify to compete is NAVHDA hunt tests as a versatile hunter:

  • BA – Braque d’Auvergne
  • BB – Braque du Bourbonnais
  • BF – Braque Francais
  • BI – Bracco Italiano
  • BS – Brittany
  • CF – Cesky Fousek
  • DD – Deutsch Drahthaar
  • ES – English Setter
  • FP – French Spaniel
  • GL – German Longhaired Pointer
  • GO – Gordon Setter
  • GR – Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • GS – German Shorthaired Pointer
  • GW – German Wirehaired Pointer
  • IR – Irish Red & White Setter
  • IS – Irish Setter
  • LM – Large Munsterlander
  • PP – Pudelpointer
  • PO – Portuguese Pointer
  • PT – Pointer
  • SM – Small Munsterlander
  • SPI – Spinone
  • VI – Vizsla
  • WM – Weimaraner
  • WV – Wirehaired Vizsla

NAVHDA nor any well-known registry is yet to accept or recognize the Wesslpointer. As they are being developed not far from OwyheeStar, I have first-hand knowledge of this new versatile hunting development. The Wesslpointer has made its debut in the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation (VHDF) hunt test. 

As you can well see there are many breeds that quality as versatile hunting companions. Although they are grouped and compete in this category, each breed is unique. Their hunt-style can vary a lot. The Weimaraner tends to mature later than many of these other breeds.

The Weimaraner tends to work close in, more as a team hunting; rather than what people tend to refer to as “big running dogs” that range long distances.

Retrieving a Duck

NAVHDA and VHDF Provide avenues whereby the breeder of a versatile hunting breed, can test for potential in their lineages.

What makes them versatile in the field is their ability to hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water. 

Celebrating diversity in America, seemed to call for a look at the versatile hunting companions. They are diverse and often wear many hats. The Weimaraner can be an under-cover dog, a lap dog, a running companion, and a versatile hunting companion. As you can easily see, there are other breeds that quality as versatile hunters, but the Weimaraner has a devote following. Possibly, if you are reading this blog, you are addicted to the Weimaraner!

~ Have a super fantastic day! I plan to take to the field and see if we (Stack, Zee, and my friend Doug) can scare up some birds closer to the home-front today.



………Small for now but big dreams loom large!

Ace ~ Alert and Proud!

Ace has found a friend/companion with Dave in Michigan. Together they are exploring potential for field work. They are busy bonding and just spending time together.

Ace nose to ground....exploring his world!

Ace’s new family has embraced him wholeheartedly. In the past other hunters have lived and trained in this home. They are not new to pointers and versatile hunting dogs but a Blue Weimaraner is new. Having an inside dog that hunts is also a new experience. Of course what breed is better at winning over the little woman than the Weimar?

Dave, his gun, and new hunting companion! What more does a guy need?

Ace and Dave are off on an adventure that will unfold potential. It remains to be seen what Ace and Dave can achieve together but the journey in and of itself is a gift.

Wishing Dave and Ace many bird-filled adventures! ~ Shela & Cliff

Oliver Prizes!!!

Congratulations Casey!!!

Oliver of Red Deer

Casey Reports (May 31, 2010)

We just got in from the spring North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) Natural Ability (NA) test in Montana. Oliver did excellent!!

I am really proud of him. His score was 96 points prize 3, I wish his track would have been better, but that is the way things go. He got water 4, search 4, cooperation 4, pointing 4, use of nose 3, desire to work 3 and track 1. I got nothing but compliments about how good looking he was and what a great hunter he is. Amanda has some pictures I will send when we get them loaded up.

Note:  Earning any NAVHDA Prize is noteworthy. These are tough venues. Then consider getting everything perfect at one given point in time in an unpredictable environment. Even if you have practiced on the field (most have not) the conditions evolve. Then add judges, other dogs, people, and the unknown factor anything can happen. Anything can happen and often does. Sometimes the pup that swims and loves the water will balk at the water. Sometimes a pup will not listen or respond as per normal.

Beyond all these factors you are running against other breeds that mature much more quickly. Even though the idea is to judge the breed for the breed your Weimaraner is running under the shadow of bigger-running and more driven breeds. In our opinion, a Weimaraner that ran as big or performed at the top level may not be as livable. You want a well balanced Versatile Hunting Companion.

People run these events for various reasons. It is a great way to train your hunting companion and bond. Some people enjoy the fellowship of being in an organization.  Others are breeders who want and need to prove their hunt lines in field conditions. No matter the reason it takes time to prepare a pup for the natural ability test. Yes, they call it natural ability but all participants spend weeks and sometimes months in intensive preparation.

Novice handlers with less experience must work harder to get the same results as the experienced handlers. Across the board, NAVHDA and VHDF (Versatile Hunting Dog Federation) provides a great opportunity.

Not that long ago Casey picked up Oliver from us and he looked like this. He was full of potential! He was brimming with energy and drive. Anything could have happened but here is how the story is unfolding…….We so appreciate Casey’s hard work.

Great Job Casey & Oliver!!



Note: If you are part of the extended OwyheeStar family or on our waiting list, then please feel free to share your questions, comments, pointers, insights, experiences, and valued tips. Please keep in mind that all of our information is based from our experience and is our personal opinion.  Information found within this blog and on our website is not meant to replace that of your personal Veterinary. We are not licensed Veterinarians or licensed Vet Techs. We do not give treatment advice, diagnose illness, or consider ourselves the final authority on Veterinary medicine.
You may print or copy items ONLY for your own personal use! This Blog, information, and photos posted herein are copyright protected and remains the sole property of Cliff and Shela Nielsen. No unauthorized use is permitted. Owner’s Weim pictures are used with permission and the photos remain the sole property of their owners. (Confidentiality–OwyheeStar does not share names, phone numbers, Email addresses, or other contact information)