Running Rules


The Grand National Grouse Championship shall be run annually in grouse cover starting the first Tuesday in November.  The place to be selected by the Board of Directors (see Article VI of the By-Laws).  The winner of the Annual Stake shall be declared The Grand National Grouse Champion of America for that year.

The declaration of a champion shall be discretionary with the judges.  However, it shall be the policy of this Club that each Championship event be run through to a logical conclusion, and the judges shall be instructed by the Stake Manager in advance of the running that unless an unreasonable succession of bad weather or lack of birds makes the continuance of the Stake impractical, the dogs shall be run in repeated series if necessary until a deserving winner is apparent.

A Runner-Up may be declared in the discretion of the judges if there is, in their opinion, another dog in the Stake close up behind the winner, and outstanding in comparison with the other contestants.

Dogs of pointing breeds that are registered in the Field Dog Stud Book or in a registry recognized by the F.D.S.B., are eligible to compete in the Championship Stake provided that they have won a first, second, or third place in any American Field recognized open All-Age event whether such event is advertised as an All-Age, Gun or Shooting Dog Stake. Qualifying stakes shall not include All-Age events as described above where the standards of the stake do not reflect a desire for placements to be “Steady to Wing and Shot.”.

The Board of Directors shall select the judges and decide upon their number.  The number of judges shall be decided at the annual meeting.  The selection of judges shall follow the following process:

The Secretary shall then take the ranked candidate lists from the directors and assemble a single list with highest collective ranked (lowest number) candidate at the top and the lowest ranked (highest number) candidate at the bottom.  The Secretary shall then contact potential judges, and reporters, according to the order of this list.

At the earliest convenience, the Grand National Secretary shall solicit names of three possible judging candidates and one reporter candidate, from each director.  This may be done by mail.  The Secretary shall then assemble the resulting list of all potential candidates, and mail it to all directors.  The directors shall consider the candidates and rank them in order of preference, and return the list promptly to the secretary.  This ranking process shall be as follows “1” being the highest rank, “2” being the second highest, and so on through the entire list.

If the physical aspects of the grounds make it practical, the judges and the official reporter may be mounted (see Rule 12 – Gallery).

Nominating and/or starting fees shall be fixed by the Board of Directors and must be paid before the closing date.  Post entries may be made at any time prior to the draw upon an additional payment, the amount of which shall be fixed by the Board.

No dog shall be run under weather conditions that make high-class work on grouse improbable, even though the pursuance of this policy shall result in one or more interruptions in the running.

The Secretary shall mail entry blanks thirty (30) days in advance of the running to all Club members and to all secretaries of grouse trial clubs known to him.  The owner shall be responsible for filling in the blanks accurately.  To be accepted, each blank must describe the dog by name, breed, color, markings, sex and Stud Book number.  It shall also contain the name and complete address of the owner, the name of the person who is to handle the dog, and the name of the club, place and year of the win on which the owner relies to make his dog eligible.

The Stake Manager shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and shall have complete charge of the Stake, including not only the actual running but also all arrangements for local publicity, entertainment, accommodations for visitors and dogs, hiring of horses, etc.  The Stake Manager may appoint such assistants and/or local committees as he may consider necessary.

When the grounds and courses have been selected for the running of the Championship event; it shall be the duty of the Stake Manager to request the local authorities controlling the use of the grounds to close the grounds and courses, so far as it may be legally possible to do so, to the training of dogs, and to hunting, for several weeks prior to the running of the Stake.  Courses to be utilized must be announced at the time of the drawing.  Once the running has commenced and the pattern of courses is established nothing should change that pattern unless weather conditions prevent the normal pattern from being run in the said prescribed manner as dictated by the first day’s running.

At least two field marshals or guides shall be appointed by the Stake Manager.  One marshal shall act as guide for the field trail party.  A second marshal shall immediately follow the judges and it shall be his duty to accompany any judge who has occasion to
leave the field trial party to follow a dog.  If two judges have occasion to leave the field trial party at the sane time to follow handlers, a marshal or adequate guide designated by the marshal must accompany each judge.

It shall be the duty of the marshals to so regulate and control the gallery that the work of the judges, handlers and dogs will not be interfered with.  It shall be their duty to enforce any regulations laid down by the Stake Manager for the control or size of the gallery.

If practicable, the handler, judges and the official reporter may be mounted.  Marshals must walk.  All others, constituting the gallery, shall walk in single file except that if any member of the gallery wishes to provide a horse at his own expense he may ride at the extreme rear of the walking gallery; the number of horses thus permitted at the rear of the gallery to be wholly within the discretion of the Stake Manager and such horses shall at all times be under his control and that of the marshal.

It shall be the duty of the Stake Manager to have a map of all courses available at the drawing, and, if possible, copies shall be made available for distribution to the owners and handlers.  Courses for the first series shall be mapped and numbered and unless later changed by the Stake Manager due to the development of unforeseen conditions will be used in the order indicated, with respect to dogs running in the second or subsequent series, the courses on which they would like to see each dog or brace perform.

The order of running shall be determined by the drawing of well-shuffled folded slips from a hat, bowl or other receptacle.

While in the ordinary course of events dogs will be run on consecutive  courses as  indicated  by  the  Stake  Manager  at  the time of the draw, there shall be no drawing for courses as such.  The management reserves the right to start or resume running on any course if conditions in its opinion justify a change.

If two dogs handled by the same handler should be drawn in the same brace the second dog so drawn shall become the first dog in the next brace, etc.

No dog shall be required to run twice in the same day without the consent of his handler.

No handler shall without his consent be obliged to handle dogs for more than two consecutive hours.

If a dog is not present at the place at which he is to start when called to run he shall be disqualified after the expiration of a brief courtesy period to be determined by the judges.  The duty of having a dog at the place and time he is to start shall rest solely on his handler.

There shall be a first series heat of one hour in length.  Further running shall be at the discretion of the judges.

No dog shall be named Grand National Grouse Champion or Runner-Up that has not had work on grouse acceptable to the judges.

If the performance of a dog in any series is such as to interfere with the work of the brace mate or is otherwise unsatisfactory to the judges, he may be ordered up.  If both dogs of any brace perform in such a manner that in the opinion of the judges would eliminate them as contenders, the brace may be ordered up and the next brace called.

All handlers must conform to instructions of the judges unless such instructions conflict with the By-Laws and Running Rules.  Should any instructions be disregarded, the judges shall have the authority to disqualify such handler and/or his dog, or they may refer the matter to the Stake Manager for action.

A handler may work his dog by any means he thinks proper, provided his methods do not, in the opinion of the judges, interfere with the competing dog.  The use of bells is permitted. Electronic devices are not permitted..

A handler may ride under special circumstances or physical impairment with prior permission of the Board of Directors, provided the horse be kept on the course and a marshal placed between the foot handler and the mounted one.  The pace shall be kept at an ordinary shooting gait.  The judges if mounted shall keep their horses at a slow walk and must not crowd the marshals or the handlers.  If, through no fault of their own, the handlers become separated, it shall be the duty of the marshals to bring them back together at the earliest possible moment.

No dog shall be named Champion or Runner-Up unless shot over when birds are flushed to his point.  The shot must be fired by the handler of the pointing dog only, unless in his absence some other person is designated by a judge.  Blank ammunition may be fired from a pistol or shotgun, but nothing smaller than a .32 caliber shall be used.

A dog may be declared Champion that has had no opportunity to back, but no dog that has clearly failed to honor a bracemate’s point shall be declared Champion.

19.  BYE-DOGS:
Should there be a bye dog in the Stake the judges may in their discretion order him run with a bracemate of their selection.  If, however, a dog from any brace should fail to start, the judges may move the bye dog up to run in the vacancy thus created.  In the event that there are two or more dogs that fail to start in different braces their bracemate may be rebraced at the election of the judges.

No second series dog may be run until all dogs have run their first series heat.

If the fact that a bitch is in season is announced before the draw, her slip when reached should be held out and paired with the next bitch to be drawn.  If the bitch comes in season after the drawing and is braced with a male she is automatically prohibited from running.  If her condition has distracted bracemate before it is discovered, he should be ordered up by the judges and run at the end of the stake as a bye dog.

Dogs afflicted with any disease, which the Stake Manager may regard as contagious, will not be permitted to start, or to be kenneled, handled or exercised on the grounds.

Any person who, to the satisfaction of the Stake Manager or any officer of the Club, who is present, shall have impugned the action of a judge, or who shall have otherwise annoyed a judge because of his official connection with the trial, may be barred from further participation in or attendance at the trial by the Stake Manager, and disbarment from future trials may be made permanent by later action of the Board of Directors.  The Stake Manager shall have the authority to order any person in attendance from the field trial grounds, and to prevent his return during the continuance of the Stake, if in his judgment the person has been guilty of conduct unbecoming to a gentleman, and any such person may be permanently disbarred from attending future trials of this Club by subsequent action by the Board of Directors.

If no champion is declared the stake shall revert to an All-Age with the purse divided 50-30-20% to the first, second and third placed dogs.

The judges may, on their own initiative or in their discretion, at the request of a handler permit a single scout to assist the handler in locating a dog.  No more than one scout per handler shall be out at any one time and no scout shall leave the field trial party unless permission of a judge is first obtained, and such scout must report to a judge promptly on his return.  A scout’s duties shall be limited to the location of a dog.  Under no circumstances shall a scout attempt to handle a dog except at the request of a judge.

A dog that shall be out of judgment during any series for a continuous period of over twenty (20) minutes shall be disqualified, unless found on point witnessed by a judge.  The foregoing disqualification may be lifted by the judges if it can be shown to their satisfaction that the absence of the dog for more than the time limit was due to outside factors which physically prevented him from rejoining his handler.  The question as to whether a dog should be disqualified for being out of judgment for a shorter period, or a  series of periods during the running, shall be within the discretion of the judges.

If a dog shall be out of judgment, his bracemate shall under no circumstances be held but shall proceed on the course.  In such cases a judge and a marshal shall remain with the handler of the lost dog.
The Club reserves to itself the right to reject any entry.  The exercise of this right shall be vested in the Board of Directors, except that with respect to late or post entries it shall be vested in the Stake Manager.

27.  DOGS:
No electronic devices shall be placed on a dog.  This includes so-called Beeper Collars and Telemetric or other electronic or Tracking Devices.   Bells are permitted.   Handlers run their dogs at their own risk in accordance with these rules.  The Grand National assumes no responsibility for lost or injured dogs.

HANDLERS AND SCOUTS:  No personal communication devices, (cell phones, walkie-talkies, voice amplification gear, etc.) are permitted.  Doctor prescribed hearing aids are permitted, but other sound amplification gear is forbidden.  The same rules shall apply to the scout, but can be applied somewhat less rigidly.  Scouts should not carry any sound amplification gear, and should leave cell phones and walkie-talkies with the gallery, judge or marshal before leaving the trial party.

GALLERY:  No restrictions shall be made for the gallery except where judges or trial officials believe that the trial is being influenced, disrupted, or if information obtained electronically is being conveyed to the handler.

TRIAL OFFICIALS:  There shall be no restrictions placed upon trial officials who choose to use electronic or other devices to communicate with one another to prevent wasted time and to otherwise run a smooth trial.  Yet these devices should no way be used to influence a trial by disclosing dog locations or assisting the handler in any way.  When a dog has been counted out, or a handler has chosen to pick up, and a dog is officially ‘out’ of the stake, all resources – electronic or otherwise – can be used to reunite the dog with his handler.  Similarly, if a dog, separated from his handler, has been injured or has been found hopelessly far off course, the stake manager may notify the field trial party by any means available, so as to prevent needless searching and to insure the safety and well being of the dog.

There shall be no restrictions on personal navigation (GPS) devices.


With respect to matters not specifically covered by the By-Laws and Running Rules of the Club the rules of The Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America, Inc. shall govern.

It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Club to supply the judges with copies of all of the foregoing rules and regulations well in advance of the date of the trial.