Thursday, April 7, 2011

For hunters, by hunters, BHU takes off

This was a fun one I did for today's paper. Think it would make my dad proud.

For hunters, by hunters, BHU takes off


Because they share an appreciation for the great outdoors, hunting upland game and taking to the field with their trusty canine companions, Luke Hudson and Jason Nelson decided to round up some of their fellow bird hunters and start a club.

In 2010, Hudson and Nelson created Bird Hunters United, which offers area hunters the chance to compete in the field with their dogs.

"Jason and I both had been involved with other organizations but really wanted to get that sense of sportsmanship," Hudson said. "We took the best of those other organizations and started BHU."

Putting their energy toward sportsmanship, equality and safety, Hudson and Nelson also focus on young hunters, the dogs and conservation.

"BHU is a group of hunters that was founded on the principle of acknowledging all the other dog trials that hunters competed in and getting together, uniting, once a year to have a big trial," Hudson said. "It has since blossomed exponentially to many trials across the midwest, and most of the hunters still compete in other trial circuits as well.

"We also felt it was really important to get the youth in the area that are interested in hunting involved."

Hosting monthly trials, youth hunts and national trials, BHU offers practical hunting situations with a fairly strict set of guidelines and certified judges.

"I used to think that I never had a chance in something like this," Hudson said. "But everyone has a chance as long as they have a dog that likes to hunt. It's a team effort between dog and man and that's really important to us."

Hudson also said that BHU isn't just for the guys.

"We've got women that compete, and some that come just for fun with their camera," he said. "Since the youth are so important to us, it's kind of a family thing. It's a friendly and fun environment where everyone helps each other and cheers each other on."

With their own trial format, BHU offers open pointing, amateur pointing, flushing and youth categories with the chance to compete at BHU Nationals. Whilte there is a small fee to compete, BHU membership is free.

In just the first year, chapters have already been started in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, with each hosting trials and nationals as well.

"Even though we are for upland hunters, BHU trials are a great way to keep a duck dog in shape," Hudson said. "It also gives you a chance to spend more time with your dog and training."

For those water dogs, BHU looks to host a fun summer splash competition as well.

BHU will host the next trial on Saturday near Ravenwood. The BHU Kansas City Cup will be held in May with a youth day scheduled for June 5 in Ravenwood.

While not just geared toward hunting, Hudson and Nelson also have conservation in mind. BHU has hosted benefit hunts with funds going to Pheasants Forever, an organization dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

"We take pride in our youth, dogs, friends, game and habitat," Hudson said. "We let everyone have a say and everyone is welcome."

BHU has a website. Find out when the next trial is and what the rules are at:

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