Wild Apple Kennel and Guide Service

Wild Apple Kennel and Guide Service
The 2007 Grand National Grouse Champion, Winner 2008 Northern New England Woodcock Championship, Winner 2010 Lake States Grouse Championship, Runner-up 2011 Northeast Grouse and Woodcock Championship, Winner 2011 International Amateur Woodcock Championship, Winner 2012 Southern New England Woodcock Championship

Wild Apple Kennel Training Blog

This blog will try to present a running account of the training and field trialing season for the pointers of Wild Apple Kennel. NOW ACCEPTING BOOKINGS FOR THE 2015 GROUSE AND WOODCOCK SEASON WITH WILD APPLE KENNEL GUIDE SERVICE! PHONE NUMBERS 603-449-3419 OR CELL 603-381-8763.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grouse cover

Thrusday, It was Ker B and Abbie for the "B" dogs and Wild Apple June and Trey for the blog team. Abbie was definitely dog of the day with three finds one of which forced us to cut through a long stretch of heavy, wet cover -- we wouldn't have been wetter had it been raining.
Friday morning we took the A-team of Ginger and Jack and headed out to one of grouse covers to see what we could find. It turned out really well, we moved 11 woodcock and three single grouse then found a brood on the road on the way home. Tony got out and flushed in the dense firs and spruces next to the road and I heard at least 6 young birds and the hen fly. The young birds were just a little bigger than quail.
Everbody got this morning off. The young dogs will porbably get some work over at the quail pen this afternoon. Mariah had another session on Thursday with a technique we are now referring to as "rope-a-dope" I think we're winning although Mariah might disagree.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One, Two, Three

The biggest difference between dogs like Wild Apple Jack and Stokely Ginger B and the rest of the dogs on the truck is their overwhelming desire to find birds. When they aren't in the places where we normally find them the dogs like these dig in and find them someplace else. That was the case this morning as the birds had moved around and were hard to find. We got 3/4 of the way around with Jack and "The Missile" before he started finding birds and then finished the brace with three finds. Ginger dug out 2 woodcock again in places where they hadn't been recently. We brought Trip in on both for backs and you could see the light bulb go off when she found one on her own, pointed it and then bumped it. We were going towards why the bird pop -- it flew right towards us and Tony could have reached out and grabbed it as it fluttered back down into the cover.
Mariah got her third session on the rope. When Tony let her go she came to me so fast that I did have time to reel her in nor did he hit the button. We did it again and she slowed slightly and got a little tickle. We then thought she was ready to go free dragging the checkcord. She stayed right next to me for a few moments and then her desire to see the country started to kick in. When she got a couple of checkcord lengths away I called her back and she turned, saw me, and came straight back. Then we made a mistake. Instead of staying out in the open we turned into one of our trails. and she soon wanted to go hunting. When I called her she wasn't sure where I was and went in the wrong direction and it took quite a bit to get her coming back. So two steps forward -- one back.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

After a big day on Monday with 16 birds, we only found seven woodcock this morning. Jack and Ginger had the day off but it was more humid this morning then it had been for the last couple of days -- it was also very still. Ker-B had the first find of the morning with Wild Apple June backing within 50 yards of the truck. The find of the day came in the second brace when Trey's bell stopped and then we called Abbie in to the area and her bell promptly stopped. I assumed she was backing until we found them both on the old sawdust pile looking into the edge in different directions (see picture) when we went in front of them they each had a woodcock.
After we had run the older dogs we got out Mariah for a little more double teaming on the rope. There are two points to this technique: one is to get the dog to recognize the handler as the safe base and the other is to get it to submit to your authority. Mariah is getting both ideas after two sessions. Tomorrow we will do it again and will let her go beyond the end of the rope. When she will finally come to me every time without stimulation it will be time to let her run in the woods again. When we pair a young dog with an older experienced dog in the woods for training and exposure to birds, they have to stay with you and come when you call them in to share in the birds. We've seen it over and over, after a relatively short period of this the young dogs will be hitting the cover on their own and finding their own birds. In the meantime, they have also learned how to back. With a young dog like Mariah the objective is to get her finding and holding birds well enough to give us shooting opportunities in the fall. We have a couple of covers that are pretty reliable for woodcock throughout the season that we reserve for the puppies -- hopefully Mariah will be ready for prime time come October.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Day

Finally, after a couple of more days with small bird counts we finally had a more typical morning with all dogs getting involved with birds and a morning total of 16 woodcock moved. Saturday our puppy Mariah got her first shot at a wild bird and slammed into a picture perfect point . . . that lasted about a ten count before she moved up to get a better whiff and the woodcock lifted. We then brought her on a find of Ginger's and I was able to get a hold of her. She stood for the flush on this bird and then went a little crazy as far a her handling went. Monday morning she ran all over the place not listening nor staying with us. She's back on the yardwork plan and off the truck for a few days. As you can see from the picture she's pretty stylish on point . . . hopefully we'll be able to get a handle on her soon so she can get the experience on wild birds before the guns come out this fall. Saturday we even had a gallery as our wives came along for the walk.

Trip is starting to get the hang of things and is hitting the cover more each time out. We have been calling her in to have her back the more experienced dogs and today she began stopping on her own and got her nose on a bird. She's been running with Abbie who has pointed hundreds of woodcock and knows how to dig them out. The picture of Trip was when she was backing Abbie.
Sunday we went up on an old farm near here that at one time was good for double digit finds on grouse and woodcock in the early 90s. It grew up and then was re-cut. It's starting to hold birds again although we were only able to dig out a couple of woodcock in locations that are pretty dependable. We expect the rain we're supposed to get today and tomorrow to further improve conditions.
Mariah is going to get the double rope treatment for a few day to help collar condition her and hopefully get her a little more focused on me. the way we do this is to use two ropes. Tony held her close to him and held the transmitter. When I call her, he lets her go and pushes the button which he holds down until she reaches the safety of me. We'll do this 2 or 3 times a session until she realizes that coming to me is the best place to be. I'll try to get some pictures of this for a later post.