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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Counting the Days

It really felt like fall this morning with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.  The season opens here in 11 days and we can hardly wait.  We're still out working dogs as we have a few more trials to go to.  This weekend Jack is running in the Northern New England Woodcock Championship and LJ and Frankie are running in the companion wild bird derby stake.  The Following weekend is the Mid-Coast Maine Grouse and Woodcock Championship then it's back to New Brunswick for the Miss Leslie Derby Classic and the International Amateur Woodcock Championship.

This morning we ran Zack while we were waiting for Brian Kelly to arrive from Vermont to see the dogs and he had a bunch of finds -- I think the total was 5 woodcock and a grouse.  Once Brian arrived we went out to one of our favorite spots and the dogs put on a show for him.  Within 100 yards of the truck Jack had a woodcock and Little Thuddy came in to back.  Then we got separated.  Thuddy went on to have a number of grouse finds high up in the cover while Jack went lower and picked off a bunch of woodcock.  We the went down the road to try a new spot and moved a half dozen grouse with Trip. The final brace of the morning was LJ and Bee.  we soon got separated but it sounded like October as LJ carded three grouse and five woodcock finds (one of which would have given me the opportunity for a double).  I also walked up a couple of woodcock.  Bee and Tony stayed high again and had a number of grouse finds.  The total for the morning was 18 woodcock and 20 grouse  -- Brian is interested in getting his first pointing dog puppy and I think the hook is firmly set after the show the dogs put on for him this morning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back in the Woods

The Woodcock Futurity winners -- top left, Wild Apple LJ, first -- top right,  Stokely's Trash Can, second --
bottom left, Stokely's Frankie B, third -- bottom right, Woodcock Haven Stella, fourth.
We spend an evening basking in the glory and then Tony and I were back in the woods Monday morning working the dogs that didn't make the trip to New Brusnwick.  Jack and Zack ran for an hour and half in the Barn and Jack dug out two woodcock with Zack backing on both.  Up in the orchard, Bee and Trip carded four woodcock between them before we made a trip to the bird field to work a couple of other dogs that  are close to getting broke.

This morning (Tuesday) we loaded up the truck again and headed out to scout more cover.  Before we got into uncharted territory we ran Zack on some of our "tame" woodcock and he had a Stop-to-Flush on the first one then went on to point three in a row perfectly. We then went to the area that I showed on a google earth map last week and proved that there's more to this then just studying the maps.  One of the roads in that picture was blocked with big rocks and we couldn't get up it.  The other put us on more of a slope then we normally like and when we ran Trip and Bertha the woods were the right age but too dry to be holding much in the way of birds.  We heard one grouse flush wild and that was it.  More exploring might find a sweet spot where there are some wet areas on the hillside that will be more productive.  The one positive aspect of this cover that may be good in the future is that there are a lot of beech trees mixed in with the other hardwoods.  There are zero beech nuts in our area this year in fact there is a very light mast crop of any type so we'll file this spot away to try again next year.  We did have a brood in the road that we threw Little Thuddy out on and he pointed one from the brood right off the road and handled it well.  He had a stop-to-flush on a second bird from the brood which had at least five birds in it.  We ran LJ and Little Thuddy for an hour off the rocked road and saw some decent cover but only had a stop-to-flush on a grouse with LJ and we heard one go when Thuddy was quite a ways from us on a good strong cast.  For the morning we had 4 woodcock and nine grouse and saw a lot of the country.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Lucky Loonie

It was a good weekend in Nakawic, New Brunswick at the North American Woodcock Championship and the Woodcock Futurity.  Judging with Tony worked out well and we had no trouble choosing the winner and runner-up, but then some one who had never been to a field trial probably would have found it obvious that Chasehill Little Bud was the winner.  He ran in the last brace as a front was coming through and we held up the start for the first line of showers to pass over but we heard thunder during much of the brace.  Bud ran like the champion he is (14X Ch, 14X R/U CH).  I had commented to John Stogitis earlier in the stake that it would be hard to show a real running dog on the courses but Bud showed us all how it could be done.  When you judge you always hope that somewhere along in the stake you'll get a performance or two that rises to the highest level and Bud gave us that and more.

As sometimes happens the winner and runner-up come from the same brace as the two dogs and their handlers seem to feed off each other.  I have seen Magic Mist Bandit run many times as judge, scout, and spectator and she is a really nice dog that as had some bad breaks and hadn't had it all come together for her in the past.  Saturday it came together very nicely.  Had we not had Bud we would have had no qualms giving Bandit the top slot.  Tony and I were both please that we were there to see Bandit have her day right next a great champion like Bud.  She knocked out Chasehill Ben Franklin who we had carried from the third brace.  He's another dog who will have his day and then some as he handled three flawless grouse finds but just came up a little short on the ground.

The folks in New Brunswick are great hosts and made arrangements to have Angela Sangster, who is getting interested in bird dogs and field trials, play her guitar and sing both Friday and Saturday nights.  After the banquet Saturday night the singing and other revelry went on well into the wee hours of Sunday morning.  I left well before the witching hour but some looked a little green around the gills on Sunday at the Futurity.

The Futurity is steadily working its way back from the brink of extinction under the capable hands of Austin Parsons from Nova Scotia.  This year they drew 11 to run on the wild bird courses that the championship had used.  These are not easy grounds to show a young dog on but a number of the derbies proved they had the potential to compete at the next level.  All four dogs used had work on wild birds and acceptable races.  The hard luck dog of the stake was Little Thuddy, he had an exceptional race for a fall derby but failed to connect on a bird.  The judges could have called him back but decided to go with what they had.

This was Wild Apple LJ's second start as a derby and his second blue ribbon.  At this point he's one of those young dogs that is exciting to watch.  He hits the cover hard, handles to the front, and so far is finding birds.  He had two grouse finds yesterday.  One was well out on the limb and it took us a couple of minutes to find him.  On the second find he was closer in to the gallery and we were able to get right to him.  He didn't get as good of a look at this bird and stood for flush and shot.  I have received a lot of compliments on the dog from those who have seen him go and can only take partial credit for his success.  My part is making sure all that drive is directed in the right way -- the rest of it is a synergy of genetics and exposure to wild birds and the places they live.  He's an eyeful on point and a handful on the ground -- it's a long way from a 16 month old fall derby winning in New England to being competitive against the likes of his sire but he does give one hope.  And besides, now I have a Luccky Loonie.  For those of you who don't get to Canada the Loonie is the Canadian dollar coin.  When I went to the McAdam trial Labor Day weekend I took an old Canadian dollar bill with me.  They are out of circulation but I thought I might find a way to get a spendable dollar for it.  Turns out that both Bob Little and his wife Sherry work at a bank.  Sherry took the bill and this weekend at the North American she brought me a Loonie in exchange.  She handed it to me and said, "here's your lucky Loonie."  I had it in my pocket when I ran LJ yesterday and I'm just superstitious enough to make sure I have that Loonie in my pocket every time I run him in the future.  Along the lines of superstitions, I have an antique New Brunswick bell that has a fiddlehead fern engraved in it.  I was really concerned when it cracked because it had been a lucky bell for many years, but Mike Flewelling took the bell and fixed it (he claims my dogs crack more bells then anyone else).  He brought it this weekend and LJ tested it out in the Futurity -- he now has a lucky bell to go with his Lucky Looney.