Super Storm Fred, our 10 month old son of Super Storm, put forth a searching hunting effort over the spacious and historic Flaherty Field Trial Grounds, East Windsor, CT, November 11, 2023. He placed 2nd in a 10 dog field of amateur pups from throughout New England. “Fred’s” potential was obvious, not only in his hunting but also in the high class way he goes about his work. “Fred” carries himself high and his exceptional athleticism is apparent when you see him maneuver through cover and run along the edges of fields. He’s one of those dogs you can’t take your eyes off of. His finish showed that he has bottom and that he’s been worked into top condition. He handled with relative ease for Thor Kain.
The US Complete Northeast Regional Club ran its fall trial over the spacious Flaherty Field Trial Grounds at East Windsor, CT on Saturday, November 11, 2023. Fifteen shooting dogs went to the line to hunt for 30 minutes during the afternoon guided by their amateur handlers.
Two-time National US Complete Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year, Super Storm, now 6 years old, added to his impressive list of wins by capturing 1st place in the shooting dog competition. “Fed” gave a performance that featured his typical hard driving, determined hunting. While he was exciting to watch “Fed” did reach to the limits at times and with that he did give his handler some challenging moments where Thor Kain had to work hard to keep “Fed” on course. At other times, he was comfortable and perhaps the long trial season could be detected as wearing on “Fed. Nevertheless, he persisted and along the way his intelligent application and sharp instincts had him locating game five times. Each point was intense and complete with appropriate steady-to-wing and shot manners. “Fed” remained tight even after the shot. He finished strong, a tribute to his conditioning.
With this mid-November competition, the fall 2023 season comes to an end for “Fed” and his kennelmates. Fast upcoming deer season curtails running bird dogs. Additionally, since the string has been worked hard since mid-July, the dogs have earned a break until preparation for spring events begins in January.
Super Storm Fred “broke the ice”, so to speak as he his first placement in a field trial. Running in the first brace, “Fred” ran hard for the full 20 minutes. He hunted with the jump, crack and class that Thor Kain, his handler, has witnessed in workouts throughout young Fred’s first months of life.
Fred, sired by Super Storm, has thrilled us in workouts and this day he gave the gallery a glimpse at this potential.
Super Storm added to his long list of shooting dog wins with a respectable performance earning 3rd at the Sugarloaf Mountain BDC, Amateur Shooting Dog stake held October 28, 2023.
“Fed” flashed around in Freeland Kennel Club grounds displaying the kind of running style he has become known for throughout his career. Cracking tail, lots of jump in his step and fierce determination to drive to the next objective are marks of “Fed’s” competitive DNA. This day, “Fed” had his running shoes on and for the first 10 minutes the handler and judges only had his bell that remained ahead to identify his hunting path. Focused on finding game, “Fed” went where he had to and fast in this search.
“Fed’s” pace was challenging to keep up with as he attacked the cover on the top field and had point called when his bell stopped on the tree line at the end of this switchgrass plot. High and tight, “Fed” had the bird located directly in front and he was immobile at the flush and shot. On down the stretch, “Fed” nailed a quail find on the edge of the long field that marks the end of the course. Again, style, intensity and manners of the highest order.
This was a highly competitive stake with many accomplished competitors who had multiple finds and strong hunting efforts. “Fed’s” hunting effort was rangy and this along with his sharp finds earned him a placement for him and his handler, Thor Kain.
At the end of October the woods and fields were at their autumn peak as the Sugarloaf Mountain Bird Dog Club hosted their annual fall trial. The Freeland Kennel Club grounds near Weatherly, PA were groomed and all was in place this October 28, 2023 morning for the continuation of the tradition of competing bird dogs that goes back to the the 1960s on these grounds.
Hunting in the first brace, Super Storm Liz set a standard that the other 17 competitors could not surpass as she earned the first place ribbon. “Liz” hunted the course with her remarkably fast pace. She virtually flies from one objective to another. Even with this speed, she does not outrun her nose. Proof of this was that she rang up 3 sharply executed finds. Her first find was just 100 yards off the breakaway. When her bracemate failed to back, this did not unhinge Liz. She stayed high and tight throughout the lengthy flushing attempt. Birds were reluctant to fly at times due to the light rain that fell throughout most of the trial.
Liz registered two more finds spaced out along the hunting course. She was found pointing in a hedgerow and then near the end of the course. No other dogs rang up more finds than Liz. While there were quite a few other dogs with multiple mannerly finds, it was Liz’s hard driving, classy running, sharp bird work and strong finish that had her eclipse the field.
Super Storm added another quality win to his record as he won the Amateur Shooting Dog stake at the Mountain View Bird Dog Club trial, September 16, 2023. “Fed”, two-time US Complete Shooting Dog of the Year, put forward the kind of flashy, tail-crackin’ hunting effort that is his trademark. At 13 he was found standing tall in a thicket where handler, Thor Kain, flushed the accurately located quarry with “Fed” staying high and tight even after the flush. On he went, forward, scouring the many objectives on the Mountain View course. Heavy cover did not deter “Fed” who rimmed field edges and explored islands of cover created when a farmer, decades ago, picked the field clear of rocks. At 24 minutes point was called for “Fed” as he stood just inside the edge at the end of a long field. Again, his style was magnificent and he had the bird located for Thor to put to wing. Down the stretch “Fed” continued to run hard and with plenty of jump in his step. He’s in great condition and even the warming temperatures were not a deterrent to a strong energetic finish. It’s been a thrill to have a dog like “Fed” who can put on show in a workout or in a field trial with friends watching.
Super Storm Cliff placed third in the 18 dog amateur shooting dog stake at the Mountain View FTC on September 16. A field of 18 hunted the grounds which are dedicated to bird dog training and field trials. Cliff ran and hunted hard and his efforts were rewarded with finds on three different game birds. At 12 minutes he handled a quail with high style and intensity. At 20 he had a chukar on the wood’s edge with the bird flushing well out in front of his high styled point. Headed out across an open field near the road crossing Cliff pointed to the right of the handler. Thor Kain flushed well out in front of Cliff but no bird was disturbed. He released his charge and Cliff went on forward another 40 yards and stopped immediately as a cock pheasant got up another 15 yards in front of him. And honest stop-to-flush. Released Cliff was looking hard for a fourth game bird as woodcock were found in the alders on the back course but he had to settle for the threesome of quail, chukar and pheasant. Leaves me to wonder how many dogs this season will handle successfully three different game birds in a half hour field trial hunt?
A strong entry of 29 amateur shooting dogs celebrated the first trial of the fall 2023 season. The Mohegan Bird Dog Club was the site of this event held over the well-groomed grounds of the Freeland Kennel Club, August 19, 2024. Entrants from NY, NJ, MD, IL and CT traveled to Weatherly, PA for this event.
Our Super Storm LIz put forward a fast, furious and forward hunting effort in the near 80-degree weather. Unfazed by the conditions and heavy cover, Liz searched hard in the opening 15 minutes of hunting. She was found ahead pointing with 12 o’clock style and excellent intensity. Handler, Thor Kain, dispatched a good flying single quail with Liz remaining staunch and intense. She continued her effort exhibiting consistent determination and drive. Always known for her speed, Liz scored again with similar arresting style and intensity as another quail was well located and dispatched. From here she faced the challenge of finishing in the heat with heavy cover taking its toll on many participants. Liz showed that she was more a match for these conditions as she hunted forward with plenty of go power until time was called. This is an outstanding start to the new field trial season and we look forward to seeing her compete over the full fall ’23 season.
Super Storm Fred, our 2023 male pup, has been thrilling us in workouts throughout the late spring and summer. Sired by Super Storm ex Pinekone Play Girl, a female sired by multiple Ch. Merritt’s Zachary. We acquired Girl in 2022 from Ashby Morgan. Fred was our pick of the 7 males in the litter.
To date Fred has fulfilled all the hopes we had for this mating. Fred has size, long-legs, a perfectly straight tail running and on point, cracky running style, drive, range and he has been getting woodcock and pheasants pointed regularly and from surprising distances. He’s a relatively calm dog who is easy to have around the kennel and to work with.
Bob, with over fifty-five years of breeding and developing young dogs who have gone on to win in more than forty championship placements, says “at this point in his development, Fred’s the best pup I’ve ever seen. Many things can go wrong in the development of a bird dog, but it’s performances like Fred’s been giving that keep me fired up and excited about running bird dogs.”
On August 5, at the annual meeting of the US Complete Shooting Dog Association, Thor Kain was recognized as the association’s Amateur Handler of the Year. This is the third consecutive year for which he has earned this honor by accumulating more points in US Complete bird dog field trials through the wins of the dogs he owned and handled than any other of the scores of handlers who entered their dogs in these amateur events.
Primarily Thor accumulated points through the performances of his four-dog shooting dog string. Wins by Super Storm (previous 2-time winner of the Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year), Super Storm Liz, No Limit and Super Storm Cliff (who capstoned Thor’s field trial year with his win of the Region 2 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship).
Keeping these four winners in condition to hunt in 30 and 60 minute stakes in addition to keeping them sharp and handling gamebirds with ideal steady-to-wing and shot manners requires an extraordinary commitment of time and energy. Thor gets up at or before 5am and works his dogs often at first light. Roading the string some days and training them on finding and handling wild and released birds on other days. Good supplies of woodcock with some ruffed grouse sprinkled in, plenty of pheasants in the summer and fall along with chukar partridge throughout the year are the gamebird exposures that Thor ensures each dog gets on a regular basis to keep them hunting with enthusiasm and pointing with style and intensity.
Not only does it take energy and time to win consistently enough to gain this Award, it takes bird dog training sense and skill. Thor is determined to know of the best training methods and he is always adjusting his own understanding and technique for the individual personalities of the dogs he work with.
Congratulations to Thor on earning this Award–again.