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, September 29, 2012

Northeastern Grouse and Woodcock results.

As it turned out the Casehill dogs swept the stake with Chasehills Little Bud being named Champion and Chasehills Ben Franklin named runner-up both dogs ran on course three Franklin yesterday and Bud this morning.  Bud's record is approaching the stratosphere with this being his 15th championship title to go along with 14 runner ups.  I'm pretty sure this is Franklin's first piece of a championship but should not be his last as he is one heck of a bird dog.

Tony and I didn't have the trip we had hoped for -- WIld Apple Jack ran in the first brace and stuck a woodcock within the first two minutes and then had a nice piece of work on a brood of grouse where we flushed the grouse and then took a couple of minutes to find the dog in heavy cover before I fired.  Not a flawless piece of work but definitely usable especially since he had already had the woodcock find.  He ran to the front and went on point as I was catching up.  Then he did something he hasn't done in a trial or a workout for a really long time -- he moved up and rooted out the woodcock which flew right at me.  That was the end of his bid which was unfortunate as he was definitely laying down what would have been the race of the stake.

Zack really ripped it up as well but failed to produce a bird as he ran in a steady drizzle that made it hard to keep track of his bell at times.  You'd rather win then lose, but even the best are out of the money far more than they are in it, so you have to be able to enjoy the time with like minded people and watching all the dogs run.  The grounds and people of the MidCoast Maine club are top notch and I hope they can continue this championship well into the future.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Northeastern Grouse & Woodcock Championship

Getting up real early and driving over to be in the first brace with Jack in the morning.  Then we're staying over for Zack in the second brace on Saturday.  Monday we start hunting for a few days before we go to the Leslie Anderson Derby and the Amateur Woodcock Championship next weekend.  If today was any indication Monday ought to be a lot of fun.  Ran LJ by himself in a relatively new cover and he had four grouse finds (one brood, three singles) and six woodcock finds with a total of 10 woodcock moved.  Then I ran his mother and she had five woodcock and a grouse in a shorter run.

I'll let you know how Jack does when I get back Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Three in a Row

Wild Apple LJ earlier this summer.
Competed in the Northern New England Woodcock Championship this past weekend with Jack and ran LJ in the derby.  The championship drew 44 dogs and ran into yesterday.  Judges Bobby Phillips and Jimmy Wade named True Patriot (Kellie Short) champion and Straight Forward (Hughes) runner-up.  I didn't see either but I'm sure they were worthy performances.  Jack ran in the 20th brace and I thought he might get a piece of it.  He made some big moves early rounding a big swamp off the breakaway and then crossing a lot of water to get back to us on another occasion.  He carded two nice woodcock finds and a back then late in the hour he pinned a grouse.  He received mention as closest to the winners from the judges but did fade a little towards the end.  He had some sort of stomach infection early in the month and isn't 100 percent yet.  He's getting stronger each day and should be peaking just in time for next weekend at Mid-Coast and to defend at the Amateur the first weekend in October.  

The Derby ran yesterday and Frankie set the bar pretty high as he looked the best I've seen him since he ran into a stump in a work out in late August.  He's a knockout on point and is getting his speed and confidence back as he's attacking the cover once again.  Bob Lang's John Dillinger dog had a nice race again and received an honorable mention (he was third in McAdam Labor Day weekend) for his ground effort in the second brace.  LJ ran in the third brace to once again knock one out of the park.  He drew the first half of the number one course that is the densest cover on the grounds with head (dog head that is) high ferns and patches of alders and other brush with an over story of mature hardwoods.  It was also very wet as the grounds had received a couple of inches of rain just before the trial last week.  LJ spent a little time in the path but was soon attacking the cover with his usual abandon and power.  This was rewarded first with a stop-to-flush on a grouse.  He then dug in on the left side of the course which borders a huge swamp.  He stopped in there and judge Cal Robinson and I went in looking for him.  He moved up a couple steps as we were trying to find him and when we got to him he was high and tight.  I flushed thoroughly to no avail and went back and tapped him on the head.  The high ferns make it easy for both grouse and woodcock to escape on foot.  He moved up and I flushed again.  On his third try he stopped to flush on a grouse that had run about 20 yards out directly in fron of him.  Before we made it all the way back to the course, he stopped again to a similar situation with another running grouse that he pointed and then bumped on the relocation -- more then acceptable birdwork for a fall derby.  He finished going away.  His bracemate, a setter named Studley run by Hughes, put a woodcock in the book.

The Little Thudster ran in the fourth brace and really had the race of the stake laying out to the front and responding to Tony when called upon, but he failed to handle a bird adequately in three chances and was left out of the money again.

In the end, Studley was placed third, Frankie was second, and LJ was first for the third time in row. Now, these have not been big stakes.  McAdam had nine derbies, the Woodcock Futurity had 11, and there were nine in derby yesterday.  That said, you still have to be impressed with what LJ has done this fall.  It's like a kid coming into the minor leagues and hitting a homerun his first three times at bat.  He's not facing major league pitching but he's still getting the job done.  The other part of this is how he's done it -- it's been all on wild birds and all with multiple finds on grounds where the shooting dogs are not finding a comparable number of birds.  In Maine Jack had three birds in his hour which I think only a couple other dogs equalled.  The winner and runner-up had two each.  LJ found three in half hour.  In Nakawic at the woodcock Futurity he had two grouse finds and in McAdam he had two woodcock.  It's a long way from winning a few derby stakes to amassing the kind of record that his father has but when I try to compare LJ to Jack as a derby it's hard not to be hopeful.  Having a great dog like Jack has been thrilling, seeing him pass on those traits to LJ adds to the expectations for future litters.  I see some attributes in LJ, the ability to take training and the consistency day-to-day and trial-to-trial that have got me really excited about breeding him.  Tommy's bitch Veronica is by Wynot Ace out of a bitch on the hunting string in Texas that is especially nice and a great bird finder.  Bob Whele always bred his top males early, we're planning a Veronica and LJ breeding this winter as well as a repeat breeding of Jack and Trip.  I'll try to get a picture of Veronica in the birdfield to post later this week.

Bird season opens Monday and then I'm going back to Canada for the Leslie Anderson Derby Classic and the Amateur Woodcock Championship.  That will be Jack's last trial of the fall.  I'm still debating the possibility of taking LJ to the Grouse Futurity in Pennsylvania.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alpha Update

If you are into technology at all you know that most products are sent to the market in a Beta format and the software that runs it is usually evolving.  That is the case with many computers of all types.  The Alpha is a very sophisticated computer that receives signals from satellites and the collar on your dog and then computes the location of both.  It then displays this information in a variety of formats -- primarily the directional compass and the map tracks.  It will also keep track of where you left your truck, found birds, and any other waypoints you enter as well as your hunting partner if he or she is also carrying an Alpha.  In addition, with the optional BirdsEye imagery, it will display satellite images of the terrain you're hunting.  To access all this information and more you navigate through the various functions using a very intuitive touch screen.  

The reason I bring this all up is that when a company like Garmin brings out a new unit like the Alpha they first send it out to field testers who use it in real world situations and give the engineers feedback.  Most companies start out with their Beta units with the software having a number of 1.0 (I'm assuming Garmin followed the same pattern).  By the time I got an Alpha earlier this month the software was up to version 2.20.  After I wrote my initial review I started having problems with the compass dial. It was flipping so that north was actually pointing south and if you tried to follow the arrow to a dog on point you actually went in the opposite direction from the dog.  Fortunately, my dogs wear a bell so I quickly realized what was wrong and switched to the map view which was still oriented correctly.  I re-calibrated the compass and it was fine again for awhile.  But the compass flipped a couple more times.  When I got home I emailed Garmin and they quickly answered with a patch that took me to software version 2.21 and a note that there were a couple other issues and that a complete update would be on their website via there WebUpdater software this weekend.  Now I'm at software version 2.3.  This will continue as an ongoing process for as long as the product is on the market just like Microsoft and Apple are constantly sending out updates to their various operating systems and other software.  The software engineers can't anticipate all the problems that actual users might face and need to adjust their programming as they become aware of problems.  If you rush out and buy new technology the first day it's on the market then you can expect it to need a little debugging.  One problem that has been reported by some people and I have experienced to a certain degree is the touch screen being moved to another screen when the device is in your pocket.  I have had this happen but I don't see it as a major problem as you can quickly get back to the map or compass with a couple of touches on the screen and the correction buttons above the screen always work no matter which screen you're on.

That said, the Tritronics part of the unit has worked flawlessly.  you push the button and you get stimulation or a tone.  You can always see what level it's set at and easily adjust it higher or lower as needed.  The convenience of having the capabilities of a Pro 500 and a better version of the Astro 320 in one unit both for me and the dog far outweigh any shortcomings with the screen or early glitches in the software.  I'll keep my Pro 500 and my Astro with all their assorted collars in my gear bag but after three weeks of using the Alpha I don't want to go back.

On other matters, the  Northern New England Woodcock Championship is currently going on down in Fryeburg, Me and as of last night they had completed 13 of 22 braces.  Barring any unforeseen delays Jack will run in the last brace today and they'll finish up tomorrow morning and then run the derby on parts of the championship courses.  LJ, Frankie, and the Little Thudster are entered in the derby.

Finally, I took LJ out for a run here at the house during the hottest part of the day and still found a half dozen grouse.  It seems that there starting to feed in the apples.  We have a light crop this year but still have enough for the deer and grouse.  We got a bunch of deer that are feeding in the yard and we often see them coming out of the woods just at dusk.