About VBHA
What's News?
Meetings & Events
Contact Information
VBHA Sponsors
Hall of Fame
Favorite Links
Meetings & Events



VBHA 1st Quarter 2018 Membership Meeting will be held during a break in field trial events.

The Fall Field Trial will be held in Nelson County on Saturday, October 6, 2018.



VBHA 2017 Fall Field Trial and 4th Quarter Membership Meeting

The VBHA Fall Field Trial was once again held at the Coffey farm in Nelson County on October 7, 2017.  The weather couldn't have been nicer and we once again had good crowd attendance.   These trials not only showcase dogs doing what bear dogs do, but allow everyone a chance to work with their dogs and also socialize with old friends and make new friends.

We tried a new approach of having a larger pen built around the bear enclosure to give the dogs more room to bay and move around the bear and be more like a real bay up. This new concept was well received by the contestants. We are constantly working to improve the events so the participants enjoy them more and participation grows.

We  held a brief business meeting during our lunch break and Carl and Debbi Coffey were presented an award for their continued support and willingness to let us have our event on their beautiful property. Words can't adequately express our appreciation for all they do to help us.

We want to thank the spectators for attending and buying merchandise, 50/50 tickets, and tickets for the rifle we gave away.  This raffle was drawn and the winner was Janice Sprinkle.  Winner of the 50/50 was Allen Hensley.  Thanks to vendors Mike Montgomery for bringing his dog supplies and to Aaron's Smokehouse for the food preparation.  But nothing is more appreciated than all of you who bring your dogs and enter the different contests.  It makes for a full day but "Thanks" to each and every  person that make our events succesful.

A few of our youth participants are shown below; all competition event winners follow:


Youth Bear Bay
15 Entries
1st Eli Rosser Tigger
2nd Eli Rosser Little Jazz
3rd Eli Rosser Gunner
4th Evan Pack Max
5th Carter Alley Katie
1-Dog Bear Bay
23 Entries
1st Wayne Hensley Little Jazz
2nd Cody Nester Minnie
3rd Wayne Hensley Tigger
2-Dog Bear Bay
23 Entries
1st Wayne Hensley Little Jazz, Gunner
2nd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz, Tigger
3rd Chris Spencer Cash Money, Leon
3-Dog Bear Bay
19 Entries
1st Cody Nester Minnie, Russle, Psycho
2nd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz, Tigger, Gunner
3rd Mexico Big Boy, Penny, Rosso
Bear Treeing
42 Entries
1st J. C. Asbury Katie
2nd Jacob Schmitt Cletus
3rd Al Heil Heino
Dash Race - Line
21 Entries
1st J. C. Asbury Katie
2nd Joseph Quade Bubba
3rd Al Heil Joe Joe
Dash Race - Tree
21 Entries
1st J. C. Asbury Katie
2nd Karen Davis Jack
3rd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz

Dogs eligible for the Top Dog award must have entered the 1-Dog Bear Bay, the Bear Treeing, and the Dash Race.  The winner of the TOP DOG award for this field trial is Katie, owned by J. C. Asbury.

VBHA 3rd Quarter Membership Meeting and Annual Jamboree

was held on Saturday, July 29th in Tazewell.  The meeting room was full as the officers and directors updated the membership on Association activities including
  • efforts to mobilize members to successfully help defeat anti-dog bills in the 2017 General Assembly
  • two meetings (Staunton and Wytheville) to inform members of VDGIF's regulation proposals regarding bear hunting.  All proposals supported by the VBHA were approved by the VDGIF Board in May (read more......)
  • continuing participation in National Forest opportunities for stakeholder feedback where improved wildlife habitat is our goal.
  • awarding a $1,000 college scholarship again this year
  • community involvement in youth-related outdoor events, National Forest clean-up, Adopt a Highway, and more.
After agenda items were covered, the floor was opened to members.  Items discussed included National Forest access, statewide elections this November, and the wishes of some for a year-round training season like in West Virginia.  The meeting adjourned to our drawings for Chinese auction items mostly donated by Double U Hunting Supply. Thanks to DU and to the members who also donated items for the auction.  As soon as the auction was over, it was time to eat!  The Thompson Valley Bear Hunters once again hosted the annual picnic with some of the best bear and pork you ever tasted.  The tables were full of salads, beans, breads, everything a first-class picnic has, including lots of desserts to satisfy the sweet tooth.

May 24, 2017 VDGIF Board Meeting

This VDGIF Board meeting was attended by Richard and Janice Sprinkle, Steve Nicely, David Steger, Lacie Hale, Wayne Ball, Scott McGlaughlin, and Barney Bolter.  Richard, Steve, and David addressed the Board.  We were pleased with the Board's decisions, especially to lower the original bear population reductions (from 25% to 14%) and the new bear hunting opportunities that were granted to meet these objectives.  Most gratifying was the fact that the new bear hunting season is for ALL bear hunters, not one group.


VBHA 2nd Quarter Membership Meetings

...........were held in Staunton on April 6th and in Wytheville on April 9th.  Both meetings were well-attended with 50+ attendees at each location.  The purpose of these meetings was to inform our membership of the VDGIF bear regulation changes being proposed and the process for submitting individual comments on the proposals.

2017 Spring Field Trial

WOW!  What a great field trial we had on March 25th at the Montgomery Farm in Botetourt County.  Several hundred people and dogs were there and the weather cooperated with a warm, dry day.  The VBHA merchandise trailer was fully stocked (at least it was at the beginning of the day) and Creekside Supplies (Doug Zimmerman) and the Dog Box Man (Mike Montgomery) had everything the hound hunter could need or want.  Chuck Aaron brought his barbeque cooker and provided tasty breakfast and lunch for the crowd.  Someone said VBHA operated like a finly oiled machine.  Many worked hard all day to give that impression.  All officers and all-except-one directors were there (and we'll forgive Barney Bolter who would have had to travel 3 hours).  However, the event would not have been possible without all the competitors who entered their dogs.  VBHA thanks everyone who attended, competed, bought merchandise, generally supported VBHA.

For this event, the youth bear bay was limited to those aged 8 through 12 and the event was judged and tropies awarded for the top 5.  The competition events winners were:

Youth Bear Bay

29 entries
1st Carsen Sims Gunner
2nd Kenzy Falls Miles
3rd Carsen Sims Little Jazz
4th Kenzy Falls Savage
5th Carsen Sims Tigger
1-Dog Bear Bay
39 entries
1st Wayne Hensley Little Jazz
2nd Wayne Hensley Gunner
3rd Wayne Hensley Tigger
2-Dog Bear Bay
26 entries
1st Tanner Underwood Sledge - Junior
2nd Wayne Hensley Gunner - Little Jazz
3rd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz - Tigger
3-Dog Bear Bay
17 entries
1st Andrew Gilliam Rattler - Ace - Sally
2nd Tommie & Robin Amos Meg - Runner - Dixie
3rd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz - Gunner - Tigger
Bear Treeing
48 entries
1st Al Heil Heino
2nd Erik Sanders Minnie
3rd Rex Dooley Rainbow
Dash Race - Line
29 entries
1st Kaylee Wright Cash
2nd Wayne Hensley Little Jazz
3rd Rex Dooley Booger
Dash Race - Tree
29 entries
1st Cy Byer Carolina
2nd Wayne Dooley Si
3rd Mason Smith Shady

Dogs eligible for the Top Dog award must have entered the 1-Dog Bear Bay, the Bear Treeing, and the Dash Race.  The winner of the TOP DOG award for this field trial is Little Jazz, owned by Wayne Hensley.

Kenzy Falls Carsen Sims
Wayne Hensley Richard Sprinkle presenting Appreciation Trophy
to Susan Steger

After the bear bay events and before the treeing event, the 1st Quarter VBHA Membership Meeting was held.  After brief business was conducted, the VBHA Board honored Susan Steger with an appreciation trophy for her support of the VBHA (newsletters, website, field trial registration, and other things over the years).  Richard Sprinkle, President, talked about the VDGIF Regulation cycle now underway and encouraged everyone to submit comments during the public comment period that ends on May 10th.  Richard also announced that 2 special meetings have been arranged to help VBHA members understand the regulation change proposals.  The meetings are as follows:


April 6th - 7 p.m.

American Legion Post 13

 357 Cedar Green Road

Staunton, VA 24401 

April 9th -  2 pm

Wytheville Livestock Market

3561 Stoney Fork Road

Wytheville, VA 24382



February 2017 VDGIF Board Meeting

The VBHA President and Vice President attended and addressed the February 22nd meeting of the Board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  VDGIF Staff presented their proposals for regulation amendments and the Board tweaked the proposed amendments.  The process now moves to a public comment period.  The proposed changes to bear hunting regulations are shown on our NEWS page.

January 2017 VDGIF Board Meeting

Several members of the VBHA Board (Sprinkle, Nicely, Steger) attended the January 11th meeting of the Board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  VDGIF Staff presented an overview of the public scoping period for the wildlife regulation review and amendment process.    At this point it appears that the VBHA recommendations are moving forward for consideration.  After listening to input from our membership, we asked that (1) training season be consistent across the entire state, (2) training season be extended to begin the first of August and go through the Friday before bow season opens, (3) a short early season (2-3 days) following our youth day, and (4) that the bear license must be purchased 24 to 36 hours i n advance of actually hunting bear.

VDGIF Staff will present their recommendations to the Board at the February 22nd meeting, and we are hoping our proposals will be included.  Board members can tweek the recomendations before putting them out for a 45-day public comment period.  That is when we need VBHA members to get involved and submit their own comments.  We will keep you iinformed through newsletters, alerts and this website.

2016 Fall Field Trial

We enjoyed a beautiful fall day and a huge crowd for our Fall Field Trial held on Saturday, October 15th in Nelson County at the Coffey farm.  In addition to VBHA merchandise, Creekside Supplies (Doug Zimmerman) and The Dog Box Man (Mike Montgomery) were onsite with their hunting dog supplies.  Breakfast and lunch were provided by life member, Darrell Cash, with help from Jeanie Weade and Carla Coffey.  Gracie Huffman once again had a table of jellies and other homemade goods that she sold and, once again, she insisted on donating a portion of her profits to VBHA.  Pictured is new VBHA President, Richard Sprinkle, thanking Gracie for her generosity.

Carl and Debi Coffey were wonderful hosts, as usual.  They always go "all out" to make us welcome to their beautiful Flat Farm.  We appreciate all the time and effort donated by officers, directors, and members to make this Field Trial successful.  The sights and sounds of the many children and young people attending made it all worthwhile.  We would love to see this many youth attending and enjoying all of our meetings and events.  Also, a special thank-you to all those who entered their dogs in the competitions.  The Youth Bear Bay opened the competitions with 31 young bear hunters participating and each getting a trophy. 

The adult competition results were:

1-Dog Bear Bay (25 entries) 1st High John Triana
2nd Eli Jacob Schmitt
3rd Roscoe Danny Stevens
2-Dog Bear Bay (23 entries) 1st High, Gator John Triana
2nd Mike, Eli Jacob Schmitt
3rd Spy, Mack Carl Coffey
3-Dog Bear Bay (22 entries) 1st Mack, Spy, Carno Carl Coffey
2nd Doc, Penny, Eli Danny Stevens
3rd Big Boy, Penny, Roscoe Carl Coffey
Bear Treeing (38 entries) 1st Sugar Ryan Wilhelm
2nd Dixie Danny Stevens
3rd Georgia Danny Stevens
Dash Race - Line Finals (25 entries) 1st Timber Rebecca Groah
2nd Lucky Katie Fitzgerald
3rd M J Ryan Miller
Dash Race - Tree Finals (25 entries) 1st Daisy Danny Stevens
2nd Raven Ryan Flynn
3rd Reba Jacob Schmitt

TOP DOG, HIGH, with John Triana (owner) and Richard Sprinkle (VBHA President)

2016 4th Quarter Meeting

A brief 4th quarter meeting was held during a break at the Fall Field Trial on October 15th.  The results of the 2016 election ballots were disclosed where the 3 positions of Director for Region 3 were contested by 4 candidates.  The new officers and directors assumed their terms at this meeting (see Contact page for a full list).  Before Field Trial events continued, the new President, Richard Sprinkle, presented an appreciation trophy to outgoing President David Steger.

2016 3rd Quarter Meeting

The 3rd quarter meeting was held on July 30th at the Thompson Valley Community Center in Tazewell.  A roomful of members participated in the meeting.  Following the business portion that included nominations for the October elections, four people were inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Members then discussed the upcoming 2017 regulation change cycle, and were encouraged to contact their regional directors if they want to add something to our "wish list."

Our annual auction was changed this year to a Chinese auction consisting of items mostly donated by Double U Hunting Supply including a new Garmin TT15 Track and Train collar.  Members purchased tickets, viewed the items, and placed tickets with items they were interested in winning.  Immediately following our business meeting, a ticket was pulled and each item was "won" by the person holding that ticket stub.  Everyone seemed to enjoy this type of auction.  Our usual 50/50 raffle was won by Patricia Walke who donated her winnings back to VBHA.  You'll remember that this young lady won our 2015 Big Bear Contest.  She and her family are dedicated bear hound hunters and suporters of VBHA.  Thank you, Tricia!  Then, our new mechanical bear was displayed before we all enjoyed a wonderful picnic with bear and pork prepared by the Thompson Valley Hunt Club and supplemented by tables full of side dishes and desserts.  Great weather, great fellowship, great help......another great VBHA event!

2016 2nd Quarter Meeting

The 2nd quarter membership meeting was held on May 22nd at Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke with  standing room only.  In addition to an informative meeting, plaques were presented to the youth who harvested a bear during the 2015-16 season and to the winner of the Big Bear contest.  We were pleased that one of our youth, Patricia Walke, who harvested a 561 pound bear won the big bear award.  We were also able to surprise the winner of our 2016 college scholarship at this meeting.   The $1,000 scholarship for 2016 was awarded to Allison Paige Vass, a graduating senior of Craig County High School.


2016 Spring Field Trial

We had a beautiful day and a big turnout for our Spring Field Trial held on Saturday, March 26th in Botetourt County at the Montgomery farm.  This was our first time using our new mechanical bear.  A 400+ pound full body-mounted bear was donated to VBHA by Al Richardson and we worked with an animator to have sound and silent movement added.  We wanted the bear to look, sound and smell like a live bear.  (The "smell" was enhanced by some bedding from a bear research center.)  VBHA Officers and Directors were pleased with our new field trial bear, and we hope the competitors agree.

In addition to VBHA merchandise, Creekside Supplies (Doug Zimmerman) and The Dog Box Man (Mike Montgomery) were onsite with their hunting dog supplies.  Breakfast and lunch were provided by Aaron's Smokehouse (of Buchanan).

Our field trials are fund-raising events to supplement our treasury and allow us to send newsletters, maintain a website, hold quarterly meetings, contribute to other related organizations, etc.  A LOT of work goes into field trials and we appreciate all the time and effort donated by officers, directors, and members.  A special thank-you to all those who participated in the competitions.  The bonus for all of us is a day spent together, catching up with friends, getting dogs out during the off-season, watching dogs and kids, just having fun!

One thing we need to work on, if we continue to have dash races at our field trials, is a better way to mark the dogs.  Most dogs were already wearing 2 collars - their normal collar and a tracking collar, so the colored collar we added to distinguish the dogs for the judges simply added more color to the dog's neck.  The judges did their best, and the judges' decisions always rule, but we did hear some complaints and will try to improve our contests in the future.

The Youth Bear Bay opened the competitions with 35 young bear hunters participating and each getting a trophy. 

The adult competition results were:

1-Dog Bear Bay (56 entries) 1st Rattler Andrew Gilliam
2nd Little Jazz Wayne Hensley
3rd Lace Dennis Painter
2-Dog Bear Bay (29 entries) 1st Lace, Savage Dennis Painter
2nd Conway, Maggie Stanley Coffer
3rd Tigger, Little Jazz Wayne Hensley
3-Dog Bear Bay (20 entries) 1st Gunner, Little Jazz, Tigger Wayne Hensley
2nd Ace, Rattler, Sally Andrew Gilliam
3rd Creasy, Shady, Diesel Mason Smith
Bear Treeing (50 entries) 1st Little Jazz Wayne Hensley
2nd Rainbow Rex Dooley
3rd Eli Jacob Schmitt
Dash Race - Line Finals (35 entries) 1st Timber Charles Montgomery
2nd Hambone Charles Montgomery
3rd Skeeter Mason Smith
Dash Race - Tree Finals (35 entries) 1st Rover Gary Bowen
2nd Eli Jacob Schmitt
3rd Little Jazz Wayne Hensley