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, August 22, 2013

Brood Size

It's been a somewhat disappointing summer for grouse.  We've had plenty of grouse contacts but they've been a lot of single birds and relatively small broods with 3 to 4 chicks on the average with an occasional brood of five and one of seven.  Today Peanut pointed and then took a couple steps and three quail size grouse got up.  She chased them and then circled back to the spot and pointed again.  I could see birds on the ground but they weren't in front of where she was pointing when she moved three more got up.  She circled back and repeated the process twice more until she had put a total of 10 grouse chicks in the air.  I'm pretty sure they were all from the same brood as they matched size-wise and most of young birds are close to full size now.  She also had two woodcock contacts that she pointed briefly and would have given me shots at.  Ruby had run just before her and pointed a woodcock and ran into at least two grouse that I heard go.  So that was 3 woodcock and a dozen grouse for the puppies.

Lj had a pair of woodcock and a real nice relocation on a running grouse and I walked up a grouse.  Lucy had a find on one of each and Pete backed Will and then had a grouse and a woodcock of his own.  Frankie had a big morning as Tony wandered into a new part of the cover I ran Lucy in and found 13 grouse and a woodcock.  Tony reported that the grouse were all feeding in the raspberries.  That ran the count to close to 30 grouse.  Tony and Bruce went of and moved some more grouse in another area to put our grouse count for the day somewhere around 35 birds.  Ad that to the 16 or so woodcock we moved and you have a 50+ bird morning when it was in the high 50s at 6:00 am and was already in the mid 70s when I got back to the house with high humidity.

Front is supposed to come through this afternoon and evening to cool things back down.  Frankie should probably get dog of the day but I didn't see him find all those grouse so I'm giving the nod to Peanut!!!
Peanut earlier this summer on a quail.  Today on grouse her tail was straight up at 12:00!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Natural Dog

Back in the the late 1990s Bill McFadden introduced me to Earl Crangle and helped us publish Earl's book Pointing Dogs: Their Training and Handling.  One of the chapters in the book is titled "The Mexico Method" in which Earl describes his program of running young dogs on the abundant wild quail in Central Mexico where he lived for a number of years.  In the chapter he talks about letting a dog bump birds and chase them until it finally realizes that they always get away and starts standing them.  It's a method that most trainers are unlikely to have the opportunity to use.  But it's something I always thought made sense and have used with the young dogs here at the kennel.  We have genetically programed our modern bird dogs to point game birds and if given enough opportunities they will do it on their own.

Maggie had obviously had a lot of work on planted birds when she got here and was very dependable as long as I was on the other end of the checkcord.  But it can be dangerous letting a dog drag a cord in the woods unless you use a harness.  So, I decided that I would let the birds teach her.  At first she put every woodcock and grouse she found into the air with hardly a pause to the point that I was beginning to loose faith in what I'd learned from Earl.  But I hung in there with her and in the last few workouts it's starting to pay off.  Her first good day she pointed and let us get to her on 2 out of 6 woodcock and it has improved with every workout and has pointed some grouse as well.  Today she pointed 7 woodcock the furthest one away was almost 90 yards and held it until I got to her. Had it been October we would have had good shots at most of them.  Brandy is making the same sort of natural progress and even stood the other day while one of the older dogs came in behind her and backed.  Both of them are starting to stop on their own when there is a backing opportunity.  Jagger is another one who bumped a lot of birds earlier in the summer and will hopefully make the same kind of progress before he heads home in a month.

The little puppies are on the same basic program.  I work to control their range and spend a little time on planted birds but they all want to and have pointed wild birds.  They are still puppies though as Peanut proved today when she pointed what appeared to be a baby thrush on the ground in the woods today.  I lead her away and the baby bird was unharmed although probably pretty traumatized.

Earl introduced field trials to Mexico and is still remember fondly by those he mentored.  He trained on the grounds where the Mexican Shooting Dog Championship is run.  I still have copies of his book if anyone wants one.  They originally sold for $15.95 plus shipping.  Send me a check for $15.00 and I'll take care of the postage.
Craig Doherty
Wild Apple Kennel
1500 East Side River Rd
Dummer, NH 03588