The United Field Trialers’ Association will be hosting the 2019 UFTA Nationals event Feb. 23 through March 2 beginning at 8 a.m. at The Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve. Hundreds of dogs and hunters from all over the country will be gathering this weekend for competition.
Jeff Ferguson, owner of the preserve, said this event last took place in Alabama two years ago.
“They rotate it,” Ferguson said. “I had it here for two years, then they go up north for two years. They were in Illinois the last two years.”
According to Ferguson, participants are already preparing for the event.
“They are coming from every state, and there are people flying in from Canada,” he said.
Ferguson said the UFTA rules require a team to hunt a seven to 12-acres field and flush or point three birds and bag them within 15 minutes. The faster the birds are bagged, the higher the points awarded to the team. A field trial team consists of a dog and hunter who compete against other teams in a field trial.
“Teams qualify in other states and then come here for finals,” Ferguson said. “There are eight fields, and they will run from 8 to 12-acres each, and there will be three birds in each field.
It’s a team effort, you can have the best dog, but if you can’t hit the bird you still lose.”
Ferguson said there will be no fee for the public to come and watch, and there will be a variety of vendors present.
“This event is really good for the community,” he said. “It brings in a lot of revenue Saturday morning, no matter the weather, it’s taking place.”
Ferguson said he would like to thank the local sponsors for helping sponsor this event.
Those sponsors include the city of Rainsville, Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, Peoples Independent Bank, Ag-Pro and Quail Unlimited.
Ferguson said he would like to encourage the public to come out and support the event.
“There are several locals who have qualified; come out and support them,” he said, “This is a good event for the community.”
The Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve is located on County Road 100 one mile south of Northeast Alabama Community College.