NSTRA Questions & Observations

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NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:07 am

I've been messing around in some NSTRA trials the past couple of years. Didn't get into it to champion a dog or take it real serious, just the opportunity to do something in the off season and meet some new people. However, the more I compete I am really starting to question the NSTRA format. I'm realizing that the NSTRA trials do not provide a very level playing field. I won't even get into the judging as that is a whole other issue. Here's some observations: Like why should the first brace of the day get 6 birds and all subsequent braces only 5? I ran a 2nd brace recently and the first brace cleaned the field, harvesting 6 birds. So my bracemate and I are already at a disadvantage with only 5 birds in the field. But we take out all five birds, I get 4 to his 1. Now comes brace #3. Two brand new, young dogs and inexperienced handlers are in this brace. They produce 2 birds so brace #4 now has 8 birds in the field. They clean the field 5 & 3. No other brace of the day is likely to have an opportunity to take the field with 8 birds in it. Is this fair? And we all know how scenting conditions can vary during the day. Drawing an early brace when the temps are in the 40's certainly has an advantage over the later braces on days the temps are in the 80's by mid day. I know, talk to the guys that have been in NSTRA for years and they say it's just the "luck of the draw". And I guess that is fine for those that have can accept it for what it is. I just happen to be struggling with that right now. Maybe I need a wake up call, or I can take it for what it is or get out, right? What I do see is that the best dogs will consistently win or place, but they can get screwed by one of the above scenarios also. I guess basically what I'm more concerned with are people like me that are new to the sport with a young dog. It's tough enough to try and compete even on a level field. Probably one of the reasons our region is losing existing members and struggling to get new members. I'm not trying to open a can of worms here but I would like some thoughts from those of you that have played the NSTRA game.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby PntrRookie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:32 pm

The reasons for your frustration will not change. 6 birds in the first brace is due to the fact that it is the first brace and thus NO change for a build up, so they give them 6.

Dakotazeb wrote:"luck of the draw"

Nailed it...all part of trialing, no matter what "game" you play.

Dakotazeb wrote:I won't even get into the judging as that is a whole other issue.

Even in broke dog stakes the judging is just an opinion...all part of trialing.

Dakotazeb wrote:so brace #4 now has 8 birds in the field. They clean the field 5 & 3.

NSTRA is a bird counting game, if you do not want to count birds, try running in some AF/AFTCA trials...again......all part of trialing.

Sorry, I understand your frustration but like in any game there is a learning curve and like you stated...
Dakotazeb wrote:the best dogs will consistently win or place


Keep running, you will get your share of breaks. I was told early on that you will get screwed sometimes and sometimes you will get a freebie...Enjoy it!
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby ckirsch » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:34 pm

I'm relatively new to NSTRA as well, but I have questioned the first brace getting six birds, as that does seem to provide a significant advantage. That said, I've also seen winners come from the last brace of the day. I had a brace last year where two of our five birds were inadvertently flushed by the judges' four-wheelers, which pretty much eliminated the chances of either dog placing that day. Much also depends on the team you get braced against; if it's a new handler with a green dog, your prospects are obviously better than if you draw a professional trainer behind a multiple champion. There clearly is an element of luck involved, and as with any other competitive venture, the judging can sometimes be a little inconsistent, but the best dogs and handlers typically find ways to occupy spots towards the top of the board each day. I had a lot of fun at the two trials I attended last year, and am looking forward to getting back up to Savage, MT in a few weeks for another try, and will hopefully get to the Williston, ND trial in May. I found the NSTRA crowd to be similar to NAVHDA in that most are very generous and hospitable, and go out of their way to help rookies get off on the right foot.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:14 pm

PntrRookie wrote:Keep running, you will get your share of breaks. I was told early on that you will get screwed sometimes and sometimes you will get a freebie...Enjoy it!


You're right. I need to forget about all that crap, take it for what it is and just have fun. Sometimes harder to do than say! As long as my dog does reasonably well I'll probably hang in there. A placement or two would sure go a long way to restoring a positive attitude. :) I've signed up for 5 more trials between now and the end of May so we'll see how it goes.

Hope to see and meet "ckirsch" at a couple trials.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:06 pm

I'll be seeing ckirsch in Savage, MT at a NSTRA trial this weekend. Looking forward to having a good time. I'll have to try and get some pics to post.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby ckirsch » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:24 pm

Looking forward to seeing you in Montana, Zeb. Have a safe trip up.

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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Sun May 13, 2012 11:34 am

ckirsch wrote:Looking forward to seeing you in Montana, Zeb. Have a safe trip up.

CK


Quick update. ckirsch and I met at the Savage trial last month, dogs could have done better but my Brittany, Elle, did come away with a 4th place on Sunday. So I was quite please with that.

We had 2 trials in Minnesota the two weekend following the Savage, MY trial. Elle got her first placement (a 3rd) the first weekend in Minnesota and a 4th the second weekend. That 4th place finish was oh so close to a 1st place. She had 4 birds in the first 12 minutes and then the 5th bird flushed wild and landed in some cattails along the edge of a slough (still in bounds). It became a "marked bird" and we had to wait 3 minutes before doing after it. The cattails were in water but Elle found and pointed the bird. About the same time our bracemate's dog also moved in and pointed. I signaled the judges but before they could get there to see the dogs the other dog took out the bird. Since the judges were unable to see the dogs and what happened there was not score to be had. :cry: With that bird Elle would have finished in first place. With the 4 birds she had an excellent score of 873. She didn't have a find that scored less than 90 nor a retrieve that was less than 85. I was extremely happy with her performance but I still think about what could have been.

BTW, I scratched from the Williston trial that is gong on this weekend. I had a couple of things come up that prevented me from attending. The next trial will be on Sunday & Monday of Memorial Day weekend in Oakes, ND. Plus we also have the Regional Elimination and Championship that Saturday preceeding the trial.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:04 pm

Final update for the season. We had our regional elimination and championship over Memorial Day weekend plus a regular trial. Elle didn't advance in the elimination but did do quite well in the regular double/double. With her 4 runs she came away with a 1st and two 4th's. It was her first 1st place finish. Always has to be a little luck involved as she pointed her last bird in the winning run with 7 seconds left in the brace. With a little more luch those two 4th place finishes could have easily been another 1st and a 2nd. But it was still a very good weekend and a good season for her. A 1st, a 3rd and four 4th's. Finally at 3 years of age she is figuring out this trial game. I have entered her in a national trial in Montana in September. It's the Endurance Classic and the format is "beat your bracemate" throughout the trial. She won 75% of her braces this spring so I'm hoping she can do well on the national stage.
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby 3drahthaars » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:33 pm

I just stumbled onto this thread after running in a fun trial fundraiser last weekend.

And, my observations mirror several of the above.

First, it's a game! And, it was a hoot!

As for rules, judging, etc. everyone has to run to the same rules and judging no matter the game or test is subjective.

But, if your dog has drive and can find birds this game has serious potential for fun...

As for me, I held off on steadiness until after my pup's 2nd full season, and the plan worked fine this hunting season, but planning on VGP and now thanks to NSTR I've a little incentive to work on it this spring and summer.

3ds
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Re: NSTRA Questions & Observations

Postby Dakotazeb » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:52 pm

3drahthaars wrote:I just stumbled onto this thread after running in a fun trial fundraiser last weekend.

And, my observations mirror several of the above.

First, it's a game! And, it was a hoot!

As for rules, judging, etc. everyone has to run to the same rules and judging no matter the game or test is subjective.

But, if your dog has drive and can find birds this game has serious potential for fun...

As for me, I held off on steadiness until after my pup's 2nd full season, and the plan worked fine this hunting season, but planning on VGP and now thanks to NSTR I've a little incentive to work on it this spring and summer.

3ds


Where are you located? If you are in the Midwest I'm looking for dogs for our Mid-North Region trials.
Janees August Breeze - Bree
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Godfather's Dakota Elle
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2008-2016
http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigree. ... erations=5
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