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, August 7, 2010

Work Day

Early this morning I drove down out of the mountains to Fryeburg, ME where the Maine Bird Dog Club held a work day in preparation for the Northern New England Woodcock Championship. We were able to get courses one and two done at Fiddleheads with the help of two tractors brought and operated by Club VP John Short (no relation to Kellie) and the venerable Bob Paucek who is recovering from a heart attack and the insertion of a stint four weeks ago. Club president Kellie Short and our new Sec/treas. Bruce Brunell help Bob on Course two while Rick Despins, Peter Mooney and I help move logs and flag course one. Peter was out ahead with the tape and walked up to good size broods of grouse and a woodcock. I put up another woodcock when I was try to route John and the tractor around a ditch. The club decided that we will hold a derby and a restricted shooting dog on the Thursday September 16th before the Championship begins on Friday. There is also talk of a half hour derby and shooting dog later in September.

After spending the the morning in Fryeburg I came back over the mountains, where the high today was in the upper 60s, hooked up with Tony, and we took Jack and Ginger for a training run. We moved a total of eight woodcock in about an hour. The dogs had not run in about a week and Jack was all over the place as he expended his pent up energy. Thank heavens for the Garmin, on one find he was buried in some raspberry canes that were shoulder high on me. I almost stepped on him before I saw him.

Tony's Garmin was having a problem dropping the signal from the collar and we sent in in for a "repair" and received a reconditioned one back. Today was the first time he'd used it and the new one did the same thing. It looks like another call to Garmin.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

Veronica last winter in Texas.

Spent most of the day mowing and then worked some dogs in the late afternoon. Trey and June went to the bird field along with Veronica who now resides with one of my neighbors. Tommy has some of the best bear hounds around and wanted to try a pointing dog so he and his daughter could do a little bird hunting together. Veronica is perfect for them. She has lots of point and looks good doing it. She's on the small side for a brood bitch in our program and is a little too soft to stand up to the rigors of field trialing but I'd be willing to bet that Tommy and Robin will get lots of opportunities to shoot at birds over her this fall.

Trey and June were worked on quail because June has started creeping and I wanted to introduce her to the belly band in a controlled environment. Trey is getting very close to broke and the bird field is a good place to reinforce what he's doing on wild birds.

Then we took Mariah and Trip up on an old hill farm close to the house. There's a mowed field that's about 20 acres on the top of the hill and it's a good place to continue Mariah's handling program. Today the grass was full of small white moths that she thought were put there just for her to play with. Despite the distraction of the moths, she still paid attention to me as I kept changing direction and "whooping" her to the front. She did have one lapse when I got to do a correction. It's important that they test you and you get to assert control. The jury's still out as to whether she'll stay with me or move on to the horseback game. But in either case she'll have to go with her handler and whoever's blowing the whistle will need to be able to show her in the right places. Some of them do it naturally, others you need that handle on them to help them put on the kind of show that wins.

Trip has been running a lot with Tony's Ginger dog and getting a lot of backing practice. She's doing well in the bird field and I wanted her to have the chance to work some cover on her own. So, after we worked Mariah I took trip into a small corner of cover where I could count on a woodcock being present. She succeeded in finding and pointing the bird and then broke at the flush. There will be many more birds for her as the training and hunting season progresses but at this point she needed the chance to get some work on her own.

A Big Day

Saturday morning the temperature was again in the low 40s as we broke away the first pair of dogs. Kali, one of Bill Branham's pointers started of the day with four woodcock contacts. In the second brace Wild Apple Jack had three finds and "The Missile" had two that we saw. There was some controversy over what went on a couple of times when Jack had stopped at the edge of bell range and The Missile got to him before we did. She's just entering her derby season and may not be fully reliable at long distance. She's doing great when we can get close to her quickly thanks in part to Tony's judicious use of the belly band. This brings up the dilemma of finding the balance with a young dog between letting it run and hunt independently and keeping in close so you know what's going on. Anyways, after two braces we had ten birds moved.

We then went into a part of the cover we haven't been using with the brace of Abbie and June. In less then an hour we moved over 10 woodcock (we lost the exact count which may have been 12) with Abbie finding most of them. With six dogs run we moved over 20 woodcock which is still not up to the numbers we had last summer but is encouraging. Right now the brook is easily crossable and most of the usual spots that have standing water are dry. There's rain in the forecast for the coming week and we should see our bird numbers pick up even more when the ground gets softened up in the main sections of the cover.

Later in the day, Bill and Tony came over to the bird field and we put out some quail. We have been having trouble getting the birds to fly as they would rather run into the patches of cover we have been planting them on. So, Tony developed a new technique for using the tip-ups. We call it the "Tony Toss" where you just scoop up the bird like the tip-up was a lacrosse racket and launch it. It works and Bill claims that Tony learned from playing Women's Lacrosse. I have no comment on that assertion. One dog that is impressing me in the bird field is Trip. Most of the dogs the last couple sessions seemed to need to be almost on top of the traps to scent the birds but trip is winding them from well back and is staunch. I expect she'll be broke by fall.

Rick Despins from Grey, ME stopped by mid-day with a nice looking setter puppy out of Long Gone Boston X Bog Brook Wilma. He'd been reading the blog and is planning to join us for a Wednesday later in the summer.

Bill hangs on to his puppy "Jack"
while I practice the "Tony Toss"