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, February 18, 2012

snow training

Thursday and Friday the temperatures were in the 40s here in Northern New Hampshire and Tony and I got out and ran dogs. There is about six inches of corn snow that was soft enough to let the dogs run. We even moved some birds. Jack had a find in some hardwood whips where three grouse got up in front of him. We heard another grouse flush wild to give us four birds on the course for the first brace. The rest of the dogs ran over the same ground (snow) and did not have any birds. We ran a total of seven dogs and Jack was dog of the day. Among the seven were our three puppies -- Wild Apple LJ and Tony's two setters Frankie and Trash. All three put down nice ground efforts with the edge going to Trash on this day. She is by Quail Trap Tom out Stokely's Ginger B and will hopefully follow in her parents' rather large paw prints. Frankie is by Stokely's Al-B who may have been the best grouse dog (until I got Jack) that I ever hunted over. He had the advantage of being born during the last time our grouse population peaked here in NH. We didn't have tracking equipment then and I can remember many memorable hunts when we spent lots of time looking for Al-B on point and then getting a crack at a grouse when we finally found him. LJ, Frankie, and Trash had a great start last fall with all three having numerous grouse and woodcock finds and rarely were put on the ground without having multiple finds. You can read all the training books you can get your hands on, do countless hours of bird field and yard work, but there is no substitute for lots of wild birds. These three puppies all hunt hard, find birds, and gave us the chance to flush and shoot at many of them. We even shot a few and there's nothing better then warm feathers in the mouth to kick puppies up into an even higher gear.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

International Amateur Woodcock Championship

In the fall of 2003, I was looking around to breed Elhew Liebotschaner (Lady) and was excited by a derby dog, Wynot Ace, that had just won the Amateur Grouse here in Kilkenny. I went to New Brunswick and watched him run in and win the International Amateur Woodcock Championship. I set two goals then and there -- the first was to breed Lady and get a dog that would run like Ace and bring that dog back and win the Amateur in similar fashion to the old man. Lady came into heat later that fall and I sent her over to Andy Cook in Maine to be bred. Almost the day the litter was born I made my pick and Jack has been one of those dogs of a lifetime. It took him until this year to achieve the other goal and win the Amateur Woodcock. Deb Kennedy, who placed him in the Leslie Anderson Derby Classic when Jack was a Puppy, was the reporter this year in Debec and for all of you who might not see the write up in The Field I have included it below.

An excerpt from the "International Amateur Woodcock Championship"
by Deb Kennedy

Pointer male Wild Apple Jack (Doherty) and setter female Old River Glory (Parsons) drew the last brace of the trial. They broke away in the deep woods on the upper half of the Wishart land. The ‘birdy” part of this course tends to be later on, and Jack had read the play book, taking off at a blistering speed. He ran beyond his bell and then came in just enough as if to say, “Of course, I’m still here!” This was really wonderful to watch. Once in awhile you get a chance to see someone who raised and trained his own dog, who knows and loves his dog, who knows and loves him back. They put on a show that demonstrates not just a well-trained dog and his man, but the love they share made visible in the way the dog and the man sing and dance through the woods. There is an intimacy that comes with trust, trust that the dog will run to hell and back, find a bird, stay there for as long as it takes for his person to find him. Jack always knew where Craig was; he knew where the birds were, and he knew how to get everyone in the same place when it really mattered. Jack ran hard and big for the first 40 minutes. His bracemate ran much closer, making it difficult to hear Jack’s far flung bell. Austin picked up his charge well before time, so Jack had the remaining course to himself. At 40 Jack stopped in some young popples that always hold a woodcock or two. Craig flushed for awhile, sent Jack on and then Jack stooped again. Craig did another cursory search and moved Jack back to the course. At 44 Jack stopped again and was found on point by scout Mike Flewelling. Jack remained rooted to the ground as Craig flushed. Ever vigilant, Mike saw the bird sneaking away and called out to Craig, who finally flushed the woodcock and fired. Once released Jack exploded forward over a rise and then, nothing. The bell stopped before 50 and the search began. Both judges, Craig, his scout Mike Flewelling, and this reporter fanned out into the woods looking for the dog everyone knew was there somewhere, but where? Craig walked fast and kept up a quiet patter, “I’m coming Jack, I’m coming.” Finally there was a ghostly whisper of a bell next to a beaver pond where the alders grew thick as grass. Craig waded into the stand to find the bird hew knew was there. The hour had run out. After several minutes Mike Flewelling joined the group starting at the far end of the grove and found Jack standing. Craig ran to his dog, the woodcock flushed, the shot was fired, thus capping a championship performance by man and beast.

A short list of Jack’s notable placements includes the 2007 Grand National Grouse Championship (winner); 2008 Northern New England Woodcock Championship (winner); 2010 Lake States Grouse Championship (winner); 2011 Northeastern Grouse and Woodcock Championship (runner-up). Jack is a full littermate to Autumn Moon which is also a multiple (5X) champion. When not competing or hunting, Jack lives in the house.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

skijoring and birds

Today temperatures were close to freezing at noon and well above a few hours later. Got out with Jack and LJ in harness before it got too warm and skied with them for about 30 minutes. It's great as the up and down terrain has them alternating between pulling hard and almost free running, there are even a couple of places on our loop where I have to actually ski. The first loop around today was pretty eventful as LJ stopped shortly after the halfway point and was looking off to the field edge about 50 yards away. There were a lot turkey tracks as we made the turn and when I starting urging him to go on about 25 of them erupted from the field edge. Once they were gone, I thought we could get back to the house without further incident. However, about a hundred yards later as we entered a small field dotted with apple trees I noticed something move under a fir tree on the edge, about the time I realized it was a grouse, it blew out right in front of Jack and the puppy. Jack and I stopped to flush but LJ thought it might be fun to see where the grouse was going. I guess he forgot that he was harnessed to me and tethered to his father, about the time he came to "the end of his rope" I yelled whoa and the three of us watched the bird fly away. The grouse must have known that the shooting season was long over because it flew right out in the open providing able opportunity to empty both barrels. Either that or he was one of the birds we'd flushed many, many times during the late summer and fall and never tried to kill. I literally had more than 100 grouse flushes in training and hunting on my own property in 2011 -- I think I shot two birds for the puppy here during the season -- when we were elsewhere we may not have been such good conservationists. There are still lots of birds around and expect there will be plenty of hens to nest this spring. If we have good weather in late May and early June it should be another strong grouse year. Hopefully what little snow we have will clear out early and we'll get a stronger woodcock nesting season then we had last year.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Wild Apple LJ in front of his brother Pi.

This is one weird winter here in Northern New Hampshire. We have a foot or less of snow pack in the woods and have had rain a few times in January. What snow there is is crusty and there is lots of ice underneath. I have started conditioning dogs for the spring trials but have been limited to a very short loop skijorring in the areas that were mowed last summer. If we get a little more snow we'll be able to take advantage of all the snowmobile trails around here. Tony and I have been talking about taking a trip to southern New England to try and get our dogs on the ground. Fortunately Jack is at an age where it will not take a lot of bird work to get him sharp for the Invitational. With the puppy classic taking place before the Invitational we plan to enter a couple of pups in that including Wild Apple LJ pictured here in a Chris Mathan photo. You can see more of her work at www.chrismathanphoto.com