What does it take to win at a hunt test? How do you break in? Young superstar Luke Cour tells all.
Luke Cour grew up – as many outdoor kids across the country – hunting and fishing. He also spent a lot of time watching his dad train upland bird dogs and running field trails. As Luke got older, he and his dad began waterfowl hunting and by the time he reached college age he decided to get his own waterdog dog, a Labrador named Colt.
Luke was attending college when he made the decision that he and Colt would start running hunt test together. It was at their first hunt test that Luke met Rody Best, from Best Retrievers in Paige, TX. They hit it off and Rody offered him a job – as Luke said, “Just the right place at the right time.” To start Luke would be throwing birds at Best Retrievers.
Luke’s always loved working with animals: He worked with some of his dad’s horses growing up, as well as the bird dogs. When his dad would ask “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Luke’s answer was always the same: “Hunting or fishing… I need a job where I can hunt and fish.”
For Luke, training dogs for waterfowl was pretty close. It wasn’t long and Luke got that opportunity… to train dogs full time at Best Retrievers.
Luke, now age 23, was hooked on the competitive environment at Super Retriever Series (SRS). He knew that if he could be doing this – training dogs for a living – then he was doing the right thing.
Below, SRS interviews Luke on his mindset, his training, and what it takes to win.
Luke: I came across the SRS when I was younger. My Dad and I used to watch it on ESPN. It was the Great Outdoor Games I think because it was little segments. I didn’t really know what it was at the time, but we saw the dogs hunting and I thought it was pretty cool. We were into the upland dogs then and not really into retrievers or waterfowl. When I started working for Rody he talked about SRS. He showed me some videos on Youtube from when he participated in the SRS game. I was able to see the different types of scenarios or tests in the SRS. It seemed cool, you were able to train in every type of Retriever venue, be it field trial, hunt test or a duck hunt. This type of game is what drew me in. It was really interesting with the point system and using the plastic ducks …the EZB’s and it gave every dog the opportunity to win.
Luke: Well it was 2 years ago, 2016… Best Retrievers hosted a SRS Club event. Since it was at our place some of our clients asked if we could enter their dogs. Even though I was a rookie and Rody’s assistant I asked if I could run it . Lucky enough he said I could and I kind of just winged it. I ended up coming in 3rd place with Indy and that was it, I was hooked on my first try. I just really enjoyed the game.
Luke: It’s a thrill…. It’s an adrenalin rush. The main thing is that draws me to it and makes it fun is that it’s not just about the dog and its not just about the handler…you really have to be a team. Every bird counts every time your standing at the line. Every time you send your dog its win or lose. So just having that relationship and communication with that dog is what makes it stand out from any other game to me.
Luke: yeah, oh yeah… every dog is different and so you have to play the game to the advantages of each dog. You may pick up the birds in a certain order with one dog and you may have to change that up with the next dog. Sometimes it can be strategic in the beginning of a really tough test and dogs are struggling on it so your just trying figure it all out…. because what works on one dog may not work on the next dog. You may have to play off your dog and their tendencies and off what your dog strengths and weaknesses are to come up with the best way to make your dog successful in that series.
Luke: Yes I am currently in 2nd with Indy, 3rd with Bang and 5th with Cash. SRS Reporter: Right now you are a new face in the big scheme of things. You have to run multiple events to really make it in this race. We are almost halfway through this year and with more events. There are other teams pushing for this win but you are a Pro to watch right now, your in the mix.
Luke: I think I have a little different mind set than most, most come into this game with one bullet, they bring their strongest dog and they have their other dogs to feel out the test. I am coming to win, my goal is to win with each dog I bring to the line, whether we are in sitting in first place or we are sitting in last place. The beauty of the SRS is you can go from last to first or first to last in any giving series. So if you can come to the line with every dog and give a 110% effort then it gives the opportunity for your dog to be successful and you to be successful as a handler. We all see those 3 or 4 powerhouse teams come to the line, and this may scare some away from this game, but when I hear that this guy can’t be beat, then my goal is to beat him.
Luke: This game is about competition, for me the more teams in that event the better the competition is… that’s what makes it fun. The scary part is stepping to the line for the first time. Once they get to the line they may not be successful that first time but they will get a feel for it. I think once you step to the line once, then like me you become addicted and want to continue to come play. They hear the scoring system with the points and think they have to do math in their head the whole time, but you just have to run this like any other event that you run and just hope for the best.
2018 Super Retriever Series events:
May 7 -9 SRS Club Event At Shadow Creek Ayden, NC
May 11-13 SRS Club Event SW Georgia HRC Smithville, GA
May 25-27 SRS Super Dock Crawfish Craze West Monroe, LA
June 1-3 SRS Club Event at Peppers Pond Mayflower, AR
June 15-18 SRS Club Event at Castile Creek Stewartsville, MO
July 27-29 SRS Club Event at Toppers Gundogs Mondovi, WI
August 3-5 SRS Classic in Redwing, MN Redwing, MN
Sept 1-2 SRS Club Event AMATUER Natchez, MS
Sept 3-5 SRS Club Event OPEN Natchez, MS
Nov 7-11 SRS CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP Huntsville, AL
Please check the 2018 SRS schedule here, as it changes periodically.
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