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, April 21, 2012

Big and Little Thudd

Tony gets Little Thuddy ready to go while Big Thudd gets a few shots of his boy.

Little Thuddy showing off some of the things he's learned a Camp Bly.

Today Tony had Big Thudd up to see if Little Thuddy was making any progress.  What he saw was a puppy that was being forced to handle like a gun dog.  We all know that Little Thuddy can and will run as big as we’ll let him – he’s done it in the past and he’ll do it again in future.  What he has to learn now is, as Tony puts it, how to have a clock in his head where at reasonable intervals he’s looking up his handler.  The clock is starting to tick but is still keeping time rather irregularly.  Progress is definitely being made but it will still take time.  I was telling Thudd about Lady (Elhew Liebotshcaner dam of Wild Apple Jack et al) who had been allowed to run off as a puppy and once I got my hands on her it took over a year to get her where she was staying with me and could be trusted to range out on her own.

Tony has been doing a lot of yard work with the Thuddster as well and heeled and whoa’d the pup as he walked him to the breakaway of his run.  If  Little Thuddy will pay attention then, when he knows he is about to be cut loose you know Tony is making progress with him.  During LT’s run today we flushed two grouse that he was not involved with. 

LJ and Frankie were up next and both dogs stopped a couple of times but no birds were produced.  In our third brace we took Abbie and Jack into one of our regular fall covers to see what was around.   In the end we moved three woodcock and around eight grouse.  Two of the woodcock were nesting hens that had not completed their clutches yet as they each had three eggs under them.  The Big Thudd was lugging his Nikon around and was able to get pictures of the nests.  As we were driving out of the woods a grouse posed nicely on my side of the road and I grabbed the Nikon and inched forward shooting pictures all the way until Tony yelled for me to stop as he wanted to throw Abbie out on the bird.  Both the bird and I waited until Tony Yelled at us again – the bird flushed and sailed a long ways.  Tony, Marie, and Thudd are coming over later.  I’ll try to get the nest and grouse pictures then and add another post tonight.  The total for the morning was 11 grouse and 3 woodcock.  Two of which Abbie found and flash pointed on her own.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

17 & 9

Seventeen and Nine is not our record – it is the score. Rich Claxton came up this morning to work dogs with Tony and I, and we made our last trip out to one of our training for the last time until July. We didn’t break away the first brace of dogs until 10:09 this morning and we picked up the last brace at 12:45. In between we moved 16 grouse and 9 woodcock on the way out we saw one more grouse in the road to make the count 17 and 9.

Mike backing his big brother Wild Apple Jack

Jack on a woodcock find this morning.

Rich and I started out with Wild Apple Jack and his younger brother Mike. Jack had a nice find on a woodcock and Mike came in to back. We left them down almost an hour and ended up moving 3 woodcock and 2 grouse. While we were off doing that, Tony spent some quality time with his charge Little Thuddy. Thuddy ran well handling pretty good and Tony has been doing a lot of yardwork with him. Today Thuddy had a nice point on a grouse and then ripped it out right in front of Tony. After he took out two more Tony decided it was time to move to the next stage in training. He spent some time heeling and whoaing Thuddy and then adding the bellyband. Now that Thuddy has been introduced to that Tony will start staunching him up with the bellyband. So, now we were at 3 woodcock and 6 grouse (counting the road bird). Frankie was next up and we ran him until he had a piece of bird work. He had a nice find on a grouse but the bird sat tight when Tony walked within 15 feet of it. Frankie bumped it when he was asked to relocate. Now we were at 3 WC and 7 grouse with one brace left to run.

Frankie on one of the 17 grouse moved today.

LJ and Trash were next and were broken away at 11:45 am with high bright sun and rising temperatures. This wasn’t exactly prime bird finding weather and we were running two puppies, but if you’d been up on the road while we made our way down through the cover you would have thought Northern New Hampshire was being invaded. Garmin buzzer kept going off and birds were flushing everywhere as the two puppies exchanged finds. By the time we came out of the woods we had moved another 6 woodcock and 10 grouse. On one of Trash’s finds the grouse sat extremely tight and turned out to have one egg under her when she flushed. Another hen grouse was flushed from a spot where she had cleared out a small depression in the gorund but had not yet laid an egg. If things go according to form, 41 days from now that egg and the rest of the hens clutch will be hatching out. If the weather holds we should have a bunch of both long and short beaked birds in that cover.

When the Grouse flushed, we found one egg in the nest she left.

LJ on one of his woodcock finds today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10,000 Hits

As of today the Wild Apple Kennel Blog went over 10,000 hits since its inception two summers ago. Thanks to all of you who have taken an interest in what's going on in the woods of New Hampshire and on our travels to various trials.

Today we tried to stay out of the covers that have been productive over the last couple of weeks so as not to disturb the nesting woodcock and the about to be nesting grouse. The question came up as to how long it takes a grouse to lay and incubate a clutch of eggs. Tommy was at a computer and looked it up -- it takes the hen an average of 17 days to lay 10 to 14 eggs then approximately 24 days to incubate them. So, you're looking at 40 plus days from first egg to hatching. With the drummers we've been hearing lately we can assume that some hens have already started the process and the early hatchings will be in late May which seems a little earlier then usual for us. We traditionally think of the first 10 tens of June as the most critical time for chick survival as far as weather is concerned. The situation we want to avoid is an extended period of called and wet weather as the chick hatch out. They can stand a little rain or some cold but the two together at the wrong time can make the difference between double digit broods and broods of one or two.

The dogs we ran today included Frankie and LJ in the first brace. Both Garmin's buzzed at the same time and we found LJ on our left with a woodcock pointed and Frankie about 30 yards further on to our right with a grouse in front of him. Little Thuddy was up next and was run by himself as he is getting a little "special Education" (please, no short bus jokes). He handled well for Tony with only one correction when he had a little glich negotiating a hard right turn in the course. He was in full view when he wheeled and pointed, locked up tight, and then took one step more which flushed a grouse that flew right across an opening in what would have been an easy left to right passing shot. Even with the extra bounce in his step after the grouse he listened and stayed with us for the remainder of his workout.

We then ran Jack and Abbie in a spot just down the road from the house where the dogs tend to really air it out. I use it a lot in summer when I just want then to really run hard and unimpeded. Abbie must have thought she was back in the open fields of Ohio as she matched Jack's first cast of more than 650 yards. Both dogs got a good workout and Jack even dug out a woodcock along an edge on the way back to the truck. We brought Abbie in for the back but the bird was running around in a thicket of chest high firs and I couldn't get it in the air. When Jack was released for the relocation he bumped it which gave me a good training opportunity.

Wednesday is a school day so check back for the Thursday report.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Lloyd Carney was up with us this week and took a number of pictures of birds and dogs. I have included some of them here. The first is Trash pointing what I think was a grouse. We had so much bird work this past week it's hard to keep it straight. The second one is Wild Apple Jack pointing a woodcock. That's followed by the best picture of the week taken Friday while I was at the doctor's. It's a full clutch of woodcock eggs that should hatch at latest during the first week of May. The 10 day forecast calls for unseasonably warm weather (70 plus today mid-80s tomorrow, 60s & 70s for the rest of the forecast period) which should help the success rate of the nesting. The last picture has a woodcock in it. Their camouflage is pretty amazing.

Today was like a lazy summer day with temperatures climbing to the mid-70s with sunny skies and relatively calm winds. It was not a good day for working birds although we moved at leas one bird in each cover with a total of 1 grouse and 4 woodcock for the day. This will be the last week of our spring training in covers that are known to hold nesting birds. They are a far to valuable resource come summer when we are breaking fall derbies and tuning up shooting dogs to risk chasing them off nest or harassing newly born chicks. We have a few places to work dogs that don't have birds, I'll start bikejoring, there's also yardwork, and finally the birdfield. None of it is as much fun as running on wild birds but all of has value and needs to be done.

The last weekend of the month Tony and I are headed over to the Mid-Coast Maine trial to run Jack and the puppies. There new grounds are really and nice and we are looking forward to a good weekend.