Versatile Hunting Dog Federation of Canada (VHDF-Canada) Judge's Page


Table of Contents

Judges approved by the VHDF-U.S. organization are authorized to judge in any VHDF-Canada field test.


last updated on January 29, 2024 by Sheila Schmutz


Introduction. A professional and capable judging core is integral to VHDF-Canada’s operation. The two types of judges, Field- and Blood-Tracking Judges, enable VHDF-Canada to serve hunters through game conservation and ethical hunting practices. VHDF-Canada does so by providing a practice-based dog testing system for dogs in field and water on the one hand and blood tracking of big game on the other. Hunters are able to prepare their dog in advance of the hunting season and have their training success evaluated by experienced judges. Dog breeders are served by the opportunity to have their chosen dams and sires evaluated for heritable ability and response to training in a system of hunting-dog tests similar to those in use since the creation of versatile hunting breeds in Europe over a century ago.

Judges volunteer their time, but expenses incurred to travel to judge at tests away from their home "club" are paid for by the club hosting that test.

A judging team consists of three judges plus apprentices, if any. The judge who is assigned “Lead Judge” is responsible for paperwork and ensuring the successful and timely completion of all judging related responsibilities. The judges work in unison with the test secretary, the field marshal and the hosting club to ensure that the owners and dogs receive the services as promised by VHDF-Canada.

One of the three judges will "handle" the handler. That is, this judge will walk closely behind the handler while other judges and any possible observers stay further back.

A judging team's decision is considered final at the end of the day. Handlers are invited to ask for explanations of scores and test events after scores are announced to the group. If any unresolved questions remain, a handler is invited to contact the VHDF-Canada president in writing.

Blood tracking judges have a separate approval process based on experience.


The field judges approved as of January 2024 are listed below.

  • Rick Hallwyler, Oregon City, OR hooch@teleport.com
  • Vance Lester, Purdue, SK. vance.lester@usask.ca
  • Michael Maksymchuk, Arborg, MB michael_maksymchuk@hotmail.com
  • Lawrence Pellerin, Saskatoon, SK billie10@sasktel.net
  • Oksana Moshynksa, Saskatoon, SK moshynska@shaw.ca 306-373-4484
  • Derek Oderkirk, Saskatoon, SK ddpoder@gmail.com 306-202-7427
  • Les Piecowye, Saskatoon, SK lppiecowye@shaw.ca
  • Joe Schmutz, Saskatoon, SK. joe.schmutz@usask.ca 306-382-8964
  • Rick Schryer, Saskatoon, SK rschryer@shaw.ca 306-230-3019
  • Todd Shury, Saskatoon, SK twshury@sasktel.net 306-242-0156
  • John Staley, Evanston, WY jsmunster@gmail.com
  • Sam Sturlin, Oregon City, OR sturlin.sam@icloud.com
  • Amber Sturlin, Oregon City, OR sturlin.amber@gmail.com
  • Craig Wilson, Saskatoon, SK caw238@protonmail.com 306-716-0640

Apprentice judges have read the required material, attended a 6-hr workshop, answered a 72-question exam and attended a 2-hr exam review.. They are well on their way to becoming "VHDF-Canada judging professionals".

Note all judges approved by VHDF in the United States are also approved to judge VHDF-Canada Field Tests.

Blood Tracking Judges undergo a separate approval process, still under development. As of January 2024 these judges include:

Craig Wilson, Oksana Moshynska, Todd Shury, Derek Oderkirk, Tyler McKay, Les Piecowye. Seated: Lawrence Pellerin & Rick Schryer.

Key characteristics of professionalism include:

The apprentice judges have learned the differences between:

VHDF-Canada judges rely on three pillars for their work.


Requirements for becoming a VHDF-Canada Field Judge


How to apply to become a Field Judge

The Field Judge Application Form is available for download.

Canadian judges are expected to maintain their membership in VHDF-Canada, and U.S. judges their membership in VHDF in the United States.


Background Reading

The following is a list of background reading that judges are expected to be familiar with.


For more information on the U.S. VHDF, visit Versatile Hunting Dog Federation

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