A lot of preparation, time and hard work have gone into
preparing Chuck Hutchason’s dog-training facility, Mountain Plains
Kennel, just south of Newell on S.D. Highway 79. The complex covers
150 acres of water, river bottom, marshland and fields that is kept
in pristine condition and ready to help hunting dogs learn the
business. There is also a 5,200-square-foot indoor/outdoor kennel
with heated floors in the winter to accommodate a large number of

The facility handles all aspects of raising hunting dogs,
including breeding, whelping, training and, finally, release to the

Hutchason, an avid hunter and professional guide — his clients
include Dick Cheney and the son of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
— has worked to provide a facility where he can train for hunt
tests, field trials, waterfowl and pheasant specialties. The ponds
are groomed and have mounds, inlets and areas where flooded timber
training can be accommodated.

Hutchason focuses on the needs and temperament of the individual
dog and the dog’s owner. Basic training includes teaching
obedience, training commands and hunting basics such as hold, fetch
and release. The owners can spend anywhere from two weeks to as
long as they feel necessary. Hutchason teaches how to mark — having
a dog retrieve a bird after it sees it fall — and blind — where a
dog is guided in the retrieve by hand and voice signals.

Hutchason raises hunting dogs and tries to match the temperament
of the dog with that of the owner.

“It starts with the breeding,” Hutchason says. He believes that
sound breeding makes an easy student. “We breed for good hips,

elbows and eyes,” he said. He gives a two year guarantee on the
dogs he breeds. They are certified excellent. “Our goal is to have
genetically sound, highly trainable animals.”

Hutchason was introduced to hunting by his father, who taught
him hunting skills and ethics. He began training his own retrievers
in the ’70s. He has guided waterfowl and upland hunting since the
’80s in five states. Also in the ’80s, he began running UKC/HRC
hunt tests and soon was running AKC hunt tests. He began running
field trials in the mid ’90s. He graduated from the University of
Wyoming with a degree in wildlife management.

Hutchason has trained in Texas for two to three months with 20
dogs at a time. He also spends time in Missouri, Louisiana and
Colorado. He teaches by drill, and dogs in his facility are worked

Hutchason currently has room for more dogs and is now working in
cooperation with Tracey Miller of Billabong Border Collies, who
trains dogs for herding, agility and obedience, as well as raises
purebred Border collies.

Mountain Plains will also train advanced skills required of the
fully trained hunting dog and custom train dogs for individual
hunting needs whether working waterfowl from a tree stand in
flooded timber as in Arkansas or upland hunting on the northern

“We pride ourselves in using only a minimum amount of pressure
along with attrition to achieve our high standards with meticulous
results,” Hutchason said. All training programs include private
sessions with the retriever and the handler to fully utilize

“We continue as far as you and your retriever want to advance,”
Hutchason said.