If you have ever visited a country show you may have seen gundogs retrieving against the clock and wondered what was happening. Let me introduce you to the world of gundog scurries, a competition which is fun for both handler and dog and open to any gundog breed.
Scurries come in all shapes and sizes but the aim of them is always the same, for a dog to retrieve a dummy in the quickest time possible.
Scurries range from a straightforward marked dummy to more challenging exercises such as the Pick & Mix where only certain dummies should be picked and some even have a distraction element.
These exercises provide fun for both the handler and dog whilst also testing your dog’s abilities in the atmosphere of a gundog competition. BASC run their own scurries which are kindly supported by Skinners who sponsor the entire BASC Gundog programme and new sponsors Sporting Saint.
Typically held at country shows and game fairs, scurries are really easy to get involved with as you just have to turn up on the day, pay for as many or as few runs as you wish and then take your turn in the scurry.
Don’t be put off if you have never entered a scurry before, BASC’s on the day events including both Junior and Novice competitions allow you to have as many runs as you want.
This means that should your first run perhaps not go to plan (and believe me with the scurries entering their 10th year, we have seen it all including dogs jumping out of the arena completely), you can always have another go!
BASC volunteers and staff are also always on hand to help should you be unsure of what you need to do and you will find the other handlers cheering you on as well.
Each scurry operator will have their own rules so handlers should make themselves aware of them before they enter as although they may be similar important differences may occur.
Our rules are designed not only to make the competition as fair as possible but also to ensure the handler and dog have fun.
For instance rules such as having the handler and dog behind a line, with the clock only starting when the dog crosses the line on its outgoing run and pauses as soon as the dog returns over the line with the retrieve gives the handler all the time they need to take the retrieve from their dog and prepare them for their next run. This also helps issues with delivery from creeping in.
The Scurry League is the overarching competition run by BASC with qualifying heats at each of the five venues the scurries will be visiting this year.
All 20 qualifiers will be entered into the Grand Final at Weston Park, in September, where they will battle it out in a series of scurries to win the title “Scurry League Champion 2022” and walk away with a whole host of prizes and the Scurry League Trophy.
Of course the first reason to enter the scurry is to partake in a fun activity with your dog and to perhaps try something completely new to you both, testing both of you within the environment of a scurry arena.
There are also a whole host of prizes up for grabs each day for all our on-the-day competitions, junior competition, novice competition and of course the Scurry League Qualifier. So it really is worth taking part and having a go as you could be walking away with some of our brilliant prizes including Skinner’s dog food and Sporting Saint equipment.
To enter the League competition you need to register in the booking in tent and pay £3 for the time card plus £2.50 for each run needed.
For this competition you must nominate your run before you send your dog for the retrieve and even if the run goes awry your time will stand.
However, you can always enter again the next day and start from afresh and you can still enter the have a go events as many times as you want. If you come first or second in the qualifier, then you will be entered into the Scurry League Final in September. Click here to find out more.