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 28, 2012

Trouble in Bird Dog Paradise

Let's face it, Tony has enough Italian in him that he figures if he just keeps arguing the same point over and over again he'll eventually get his way.  So to avoid further whining and future Italian justice I will no longer be posting the dog of the day on the blog.  I will however continue with reports of our days in the woods and with the progress of the dogs.

Friday we met at the church down the street and left Tony's truck and headed out in search of some new cover and hopefully some grouse.  It's really curious how we saw a lot of adult birds early in the spring and then a large number of big broods early in the training season and then the grouse just seemed to evaporate.  Later in August they will all start turning up in our more traditional fall grouse covers but yesterday may have just been too soon to find them in any numbers.

The first cover we hit is one we had just walked into earlier in the spring and thought it might have potential.  If people ever wonder why grouse hunters (and dog trainers) are so protective of their covers this new one is a perfect example.  Friday we ran Jack and Bee in it and tried to get the lay of the land.  We covered a lot of ground but didn't find the most promising section until the dogs had been down for about an hour and it was time to head back to the truck.  We'll probably train in it a few more times in August and then hunt it some this fall until we get it figured out.  As it was we moved four woodcock and four grouse in just over an hour.  By the time this becomes a reliable training and hunting cover we will have many hours of scouting and running dogs invested in it.

Our second cover of the morning is one of our best late season grouse covers and when we were last in it in April we moved 17 grouse and 9 woodcock.  This is a cover that took us a few years to figure out and we are still finding new sections of it as we continue to explore.  For every good cover we have there are probably 5 or 6 that didn't pan out that we spent time and dog power testing.  (If you want to steal those we'll give you the map;).)  LJ and Frankie got this cover and the shooting started early and continued throughout the hour plus they were on the ground.  When the smoke cleared they had each had 7 woodcock finds and 0 grouse.  Those nine woodcock we found in April apparently we found in April seemed to have had some nesting success and I'm sure we could have found a lot more birds if we'd put another pair down in one of the other parts of the cover, but instead we moved on down the road and ran Trip and Little Thuddy. They ran well together although Trip tended to get to the birds first and the Thudster had a couple of backs on four finds by Trip before he had a bird of his own which provided Tony with a perfect training opportunity.

The total for the three braces was 23 woodcock and 4 grouse.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dog of the Day Conundrum

Wild Apple LJ on one of his finds this morning. 
I knew when I named LJ dog of the day on Wednesday that I get a ration of s**t from Tony.  He felt Little Thuddy should have been named day dog.  He made some valid points as Thuddy did have two finds, but it's my blog and my rules so I stand by my pick for Wednesday.  Although it's fun to have Tony arguing for a pointer.  Today created a whole other set of problems.  After two braces LJ was clearly the dog of the day with two beautiful finds that both looked like the picture above.  On the second he stood high and tight while I stepped in front of him and took the picture below.  Then he stayed put for the flush and shot.
This woodcock sat like a pen raised quail and I almost nudged it with my toe after I had taken its picture.
Then came the last brace in section 4 of Red Barn.  Trip and Frankie were down and Frankie was the first to point with Trip coming for a back.  Tony made a good flushing attempt with no results.  We released both dogs and then Tony saw the woodcock scurrying away on the bare ground below the spruces.  We called the dogs back in and Trip had a stop to flush on the running bird.  While she was standing Frankie came in and backed.  Then a second bird got up.  When I released Trip she had another stop to flush on a third woodcock.  Frankie went on and had a nice find with Trip backing.  At this point LJ is still dog of the day in my mind.  Then comes the problem.  Trip went on point in a spruce thicket that was so thick that I never saw her until I flushed the woodcock she was pointing.  When I released her she went even further into the cover and had a non-productive.  While I was doing this Tony and Frankie went up the road into a part of section 4 that we usually don't get to.  I heard at leas two shots and Tony claims that Frankie had five finds while Trip and I headed back to the truck.  The old adage "you can't judge what you don't see" comes to mind but in this instance I'm going to acquiesce to Tony so I don't have to listen to him whine on Friday when we are scheduled to go out again.  Besides he already threatened to make sure that I didn't get any Scotch and steaks the next time Big Thudd comes North.  (By the way Jack was a lot sharper today and out-birded the upstart Little Thudster two to one.)

Bird count for today, including a bird I spotted on the road on our way in, was 18 woodcock.  Next week we plan to move out of our woodcock covers and start looking for grouse especially for the derbies that are all doing well on woodcock.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Little Thuddy Outbirds The Old Man

Some days are better than others and Jack had a bit of an off day this morning.  He and Little Thuddy got run together in section four of Red Barn.  Jack had a heck of a limb find.  He was about 150 yards away when the Garmin beeped and I headed right to him only to discover that he was on the opposite side of an old oxbow of the brook.  The water was too deep to wade and it was a long way around with out any trails.  After bushwacking almost 200 yards I got to the end of the canal and started up the other side.  I finally got to Jack and he was still standing tight with a woodcock right in front of him.

Little Thuddy had two broke woodcock finds and might have earned dog of the day honors except for one little screw up.  Tony and I were crossing a small opening in the woods when the Thudster came running across in front of us.  Just as he got to us a woodcock popped out of a little fir stand and flew right at us.  I was in front and literally had to duck out of the way as the bird was obviously more concerned about what was in hot pursuit behind it than what is in front of it.  Tony also had to duck so it took him a moment before he could hit the button on the Tri-tronics and get Thuddy to stop.  If he'd been running with one of the other derbies it would not have been a grave error but since he was being judged by the higher standards of his bracemate dog of the day honors went to LJ.

LJ ran in the first brace with Trash and had three nice woodcock finds as well as a two backs. On one back Trash had a bird on the other she didn't.  I also heard a bird get up as we were walking along to give us five in the first brace.  The second brace consisted of Frankie and Trip.  She had two finds and Frankie had three but it was a bit of a cluster thing with each dog have a breach of manners at least once primarily in situations where there was no bird but a dog had stopped and the other should have stayed put after establishing a back.  The total for the day was 14 woodcock, O grouse.  We met at Tony's a 5:30 and had finished the third brace by 8:45.  It was already starting to warm up and it was pretty humid with no air moving.  We're supposed to get thunderstorms tonight and a cool front moving through behind them.  Should be even better dog working weather later in the week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nine Pointer and 47 Woodcock

This nine point skull was found in the ferns in front of Jack on Friday.
It's not always just about the birds here at Wild Apple Kennel.  There are lots of other critters in our woods.  The other day LJ pointed a fawn in its bed and It ran out right in front of Katie and Marie.  On Thursday my son-in-law Jason and I were running Jack and Trip up at the dam just for exercise.  Jack pointed and when we went in I couldn't get a bird up but Jason looked down in front of him and saw part of an antler.  When he picked it up it was the slightly battered but still intact nine point pictured above. Jack went  on to have a woodcock and a grouse find.  We then took LJ up to The Orchard and he had 7 woodcock on four finds.

Although it's still July you can tell fall isn't all that far away.  It's not unusual for woodcock to start moving around and bunching up in some of our covers.  The literature claims that this is a common occurrence from now until the birds leave in October and early November.  On Friday, while I was shopping with the family, Tony and Lloyd Carney ran dogs.  They moved 25 woodcock in Red Barn then ran in two other covers and added nine more, to give them a 34 bird morning.  Tommy ran Veronica up at The Orchard and she had 13 woodcock to give them a combined total of 47 woodcock with four dogs.  Not a bad mornings work.

Someone asked on one of the message boards where all the grouse broods they were seeing earlier in the summer went.  From experience and reading, I can tell you that when they were first hatched they had to stay in cover where they had ready access to large quantities of bugs.  The rapidly growing chicks need a diet of almost 100% protein.  As they grow they begin to transition to the myriad plant foods that grouse eat.  At this point they disappear from those open edges where we find them early to back in the swamps and dense forest where they are more protected from predation.  Tony and I will soon start working dogs away from our woodcock covers and expect to start finding all those grouse again.