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Gunner Requirements


As per Board approval on December 9, 2002, the AKC has instituted a new gunning regulation in the "Field Trial Rules for Spaniels", effective July 1, 2003.

The AKC has sent all clubs a new insert which reads:

"Effective July 1, 2003 all Gun Captains for AKC ESS Field Trials must be "graduates" of the ESSFTA Field Trial Gunning Program. The graduates will be listed with the ESSFTA Field Vice President. The graduates will have attended and participated in an official ESSFTA Field Trial Gunning Seminar, and observed by an ESSFTA Seminar leader. The graduate will have a history of experience gunning in AKC English Springer Spaniel field trials, and have passed these requirements to the satisfaction of the ESSFTA Gun Captains' Review Board."

Below, you will find an explanation of the process and the Approved Graduate/Gun Captains list.

Attendees will be rated Q= Qualified, P= Partially Qualified (needing more field experience) or N= Non Qualified (needing more experience, a sponsor/mentor and will have to repeat the seminar). These "ratings" come from the IC Seminar Leaders who have collected a history of each attendee and have observed them during the field portion of the seminar.

The Gun Captains Review Board will review those people on the list who are rated "qualified", to determine whether they would be rated as a Qualified Graduate or Gun Captain. Here are the criteria used to arrive at the decision:

  1. Number of years Gunning.
  2. Number of ESS Field Trials gunned.
  3. Club affiliations.
  4. Gun Captain experiences.
  5. Attendance and participation in a Parent Club Field Trial Gunning Seminar.
  6. "Q" rated (Qualified status) by Interclub Field Trial Gun Chairs.
  7. Personal recommendation by the seminar leader or a mentor/sponsor, based on their observation of the candidate's gunning safety and protocol.
  8. Leadership Qualities

All Field Trial Gunners must attend a seminar and will need to be Qualified or Partially Qualified. We are depending on them to select experienced guns, and encourage them to select people who could be eligible to become graduates by becoming an apprentice gun and having a mentor/sponsor recommend them to attend a seminar.

Gun Captains must choose Trial Guns from the approved list of Qualified and Partially Qualified attendees first in order to utilize persons who are familiar with recommended field trial gunning practice as presented in the ESSFTA Field Trial Gunning Seminars. All IC Seminar Leaders should now have had one or more Seminars within their Interclub. For those clubs who do not have a graduate in their own club who is qualified to be Gun Captain, the IC Seminar Leaders will help locate someone who would be willing to come to their trial as Gun Captain, and mentor their club's Q guns.

The ESSFTA Field Trial Gunning Program has 5 ESSFTA Field Trial Gunners Seminar Leaders. They are:

East: Paul VanHouten at
Mid-East: Dave Barto
Midwest: Mark Haglin
Rocky Mountain: Mark Hairfield
Western: Bob Child at

The AKC will not approve a field trial until they have received notification from the ESSFTA that a graduate gun captain has been assigned. Therefore, it is important that the Interclub chair list the name of the designated gun captain for each field trial club when submitting approval for trial dates with the Field VP.

We are making every effort to insure the accuracy and integrity of these lists, but, like all lists, integrity of the information degrades over time.  Your cooperation in keeping the information current is greatly appreciated. If you have not received your notice yet indicating your status after having attended a
seminar, please contact Mark Haglin at mark[AT]