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Hello - I'm just wondering how many members on this site have experience with working their setter in the field? What are the possibilities in your country?
Here in Switzerland it is very difficult to train your setter as it is not permitted by law to train the dog on live game... so when I have the time and money I travel to France, luckily no more than 2 hours, to work my dogs. They love it!
regards to all, Susan from wet & cold Switzerland

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European countries have different regulations. In Hungary, the FT for the championship was removed in 2000 or 2001 (can't remember right now). Other countries require a FT, like Slovenia as Alenka mentioned or all other South-Slavic countries. In others, like Austria or Slovakia, it is possible to become a champion with or without a FT, if you decide to do it without a FT, you have to gather more certificates.
I would love to work with my young girl as she is very energetic and talented but we live in the middle of the capital of Hungary, and the regulations are very strict. You can easily be shot when out on someones fields without asking. On the other hand, people don't like to allow dogs to be trained on their fields. Hopeless... But I still hope that somehow I can manage to train her properly and have the field trail done - as yu said: this is what they were designed to do. And it is only to watch their faces when they are out: HAPPINESS.
OK I knew that we have here quite good hunting grounds, because we have loads of tourists from Europe who come here to hunt, and they are delighted with amount of wild game. But really so much of you doesn’t have access to local hunting grounds that I find very strange. Isn’t there hunting societies who take care of wild life where you live?
Yes it costs a lot to get a hunting permit and you have to pass some exams to get it, also annual fee membership is not to be forgotten, and yes there are some obligatory working actions on the grounds few times a year (like planting bushes in the spring, digging waterholes at summer, and delivering food to animals in the winter etc). But if one is a member of hunting society he then has always access to hunting grounds free of charge. To be more precise, that is always during open hunting season.
Also for bird dogs it is allowed to take them hunting only for birds (there are pheasants, quails, doves, ducks, and guises, all in their own time) and nothing else, that means no rabbits and others. (on the other hand dogs from FCI group VI are not allowed at all on the hunting grounds in my parts of country at least)
We have a law that says a hunter can not shoot at the game unless his dog doesn’t have at least junior FT, but can breed from that dog if he is marked at least very good on exteriors dog show.
And unless I haven’t forgotten something I think this is pretty much it. As a result everyone is happy and we have quite wealthy hunting grounds, if you don’t believe me you can always come and see it for your self ;)
I wonder what will happen with all this if we ever become members of EU!?
Thanks alot to all who are participating in this discussion - I hope all the others find it as fascinating as I do! What surprises me is how many members are actually actively working/training their Irish. I think it becomes a passion once you've seen how much the dogs love it - as Laura said: HAPPYNESS:-))

Switzerland does not seem the ideal place for having Setters when I read of the wonderful opportunities other people seem to have - maybe we should emigrate??? Dusan, we do have an active hunting community, but they take care of wildlife like the deer, hares, fox and badger and the mountain wildlife. There are no pheasants or grouse in my area and only very few in other parts of the country. The problem is that these birds do not find enough natural breeding areas due to the intensely cultivated farm land (sometimes three different crops in one year). We'd get into serious trouble if we let our dogs hunt & chase deer or hare, so a high level of obedience is necessary...

To qualify for the Champion title our club requires the dogs to be placed with 'very good' in an official Field Trial - usually held outside Switzerland! This is the same qualification as needed by FCI rules for International Champion. As you can imagine there have been very few swiss Irish Setter champions over the years...

Laura - I really hope you find friends who can help you train with your young bitch. Oh - and don't get shot!!!


Just to give all an idea, this is the kind of wildlife we see every day... picture taken from our house yesterday, mid afternoon! Definitely NOT what we want our setters to hunt!
Hunting availablity, seasons, and regulations vary in the US from state to state. In California much of our hunting areas have been taken over by housing developments and other urbanization. Additionally, many of our military bases, that often had hunting clubs on base and are situated on huge acreage, have been closed permanently and the land put to other use. There is a very short (about 2 weeks) season in late fall for public pheasant hunting and much longer quail and duck seasons. We have private hunting clubs that charge a hefty membership fee, and some public land as well as state-controlled wildlife management areas. Most folks who seriously want to train their birddogs either own or have access to private acreage or to non-state managed land, such as that managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which includes large Native American reservations. It is very complicated and varies from locality to locality.

We are fortunate that we have our own small acreage where we can start our young dogs. We can certainly get them ready to run in Junior Hunt tests and Puppy and Derby stakes in field trials. Most of these started pups would also be ready to be first season hunting dogs. When we get to the higher levels of competition, we use a professional trainer in Washington state.

Another problem in California is that there is very little wild game anymore. We do have a small herd of deer that lives in the field next to us, and we get plenty of nightly visits from opossum, racoons, skunks, weasels, lots of feral cats, and the occasional fox. But our field events are all run on planted birds, and the hunting clubs also raise or purchase birds to release in their fields.

We have a difficult time finding suitable grounds for our hunt tests and field trials. Private clubs charge a substantial fee for the use of their facilities during their off seasons - as much as $250/day, which is quite a financial burden for the dog clubs that hold the tests and trials. State-controlled grounds are very limited and much in demand by many dog clubs; we often plan our events a full year in advance, just to be assured of grounds.

To become an American Kennel Club conformation champion, there are no performance requirements for setters. And most conformation Irish never see a field or a bird. Many of them have no opportunity even to run off leash, mainly because their owners are afraid they will run away and get lost. (A few are very opposed to hunting on principle and will not allow their dogs to do so, even when that is their basic nature and purpose.) When we hold training days or fun events to try to get show people to bring their dogs into the field, we are very careful in our choice of grounds, so we can assure novice folks that there is no way their dogs can get lost or leave the property. Next April in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty, my husband and I will put on a field demonstration and workshop. We will see delight on the faces of the workshop participants as they watch their show dogs turn on to birds. The ISCA tries to have some type of field activity at every national specialty, but sometimes there is no suitable place, or the weather is far too hot, or there is no knowledgeable person who can do a field demo.

Likewise, many of the very seriously competitive field trial Irish owners have no use for and may never have attended a conformation event. And there is no requirement for dogs competing in the field to be assessed on their conformation qualities. Unfortunately, this has led to a very great division between field-bred Irish and show-bred Irish. There have only been 18 Dual Champions (conformation and field trial) in the history of the breed in the US. A few of us die hards continue to insist that Irish Setters can be beautiful and capable both in the show ring and in the field. There are people here and there around the continent (including myself) who are working
Sorry, all. I always get carried away when writing, and the above is not the complete comment that I made, obviously broken off mid-sentence. I don't know why this happened - I've written to Gene abt. it. Perhaps there is a limit as to how long a reply can be! Anyway, the above sentence should be:

There are people here and there around the continent (including myself) who are working diligently to produce DC #19.

The rest that disappeared I will re-write shortly.

Hope everyone's having a great day with their Irish!

Wendy
Here in Canada we can train on wild birds, or on pen raised birds as long as it is not nesting season. We can then particiapte in hunting, field tests (or hunt tests at AKC events) and field trials. Since we live relatively close to the United States we can participate in Canadian Kennel Club events or American Kennel Club events. Only time and money and real life interfere - one could conceivably go to tests, trials, or hunting all year long. Finding a training partner is the hard part, and for a new hunter such as myself, it is difficult to find a person patient enough and willing enough to teach hunting to a newbie. It is also hard to balance family and dogs - the dogs are so much fun! LOL!
In Finland the possibilities are quite wonderful, though one has to wait untill the hunting season starts in september. I live in Lapland and we have wild grouse in our back yard :)
You and your setters are soooo lucky! But it must be hard during winter...
Actually, if you´re referring to the cold weather Susan, it isn´t so hard. Our dogs are quite used to the cold. There is only about 2-4 weeks in the winter(january) when the temperature might be -25C or colder and then of course the walks are shorter. Then the hunting season continues till the end of march. We ski on beautiful white surface, get tanned and shoot the game on the skis :-) it´s like slamon and hunting together, what would be better?
And imagine , the hunting season starts in september and stops in the end of march. Only the coldest months(jan and feb) are out of hunting, but if the temperature is nice we can train our dogs tough the lightness is poor. You know we have this "darkness season" in Lapland,which lasts for a month...
In Finland we have FieldTrials in high mountain in march, which are quite popular and some of us continue to compete in Norway where the FT`s last till the end of april so the season gets even longer!

And all the FT`s are with wild game :-)
This sounds mouth watering! Thanks for adding some fabulous pictures on your page, showing the kind of atmosphere you talk about. I imagined you in darkness for much longer during the winter...

There must be game in abundance, so your dogs can gain a lot of experience and develop their intelligence. Are they also expected to retrieve at the FT? At our autum trials the dogs must retrieve after shot, or else they fail the trial.

Sadly, if we wish to train our dogs, it is a very time and money consuming business... so understandably not many setter owners in Switzerland go to the trouble.
Yes Susan, our dogs have to retrieve after shot in the open class and winner class, both autumn and winter trials.
Years differ with the abundance of the birds but yes we have them enough to train our dogs and in the south of Finland we have pheasant farmery. FT´s can be arranged totally with farmed birds which are let out to be hunted days before the competitions.
In Lapland all the competitions are with wild birds.

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