Saturday morning the temperature was again in the low 40s as we broke away the first pair of dogs. Kali, one of Bill Branham’s pointers started of the day with four woodcock contacts. In the second brace Wild Apple Jack had three finds and “The Missile” had two that we saw. There was some controversy over what went on a couple of times when Jack had stopped at the edge of bell range and The Missile got to him before we did. She’s just entering her derby season and may not be fully reliable at long distance. She’s doing great when we can get close to her quickly thanks in part to Tony’s judicious use of the belly band. This brings up the dilemma of finding the balance with a young dog between letting it run and hunt independently and keeping in close so you know what’s going on. Anyways, after two braces we had ten birds moved.
We then went into a part of the cover we haven’t been using with the brace of Abbie and June. In less then an hour we moved over 10 woodcock (we lost the exact count which may have been 12) with Abbie finding most of them. With six dogs run we moved over 20 woodcock which is still not up to the numbers we had last summer but is encouraging. Right now the brook is easily crossable and most of the usual spots that have standing water are dry. There’s rain in the forecast for the coming week and we should see our bird numbers pick up even more when the ground gets softened up in the main sections of the cover.
Later in the day, Bill and Tony came over to the bird field and we put out some quail. We have been having trouble getting the birds to fly as they would rather run into the patches of cover we have been planting them on. So, Tony developed a new technique for using the tip-ups. We call it the “Tony Toss” where you just scoop up the bird like the tip-up was a lacrosse racket and launch it. It works and Bill claims that Tony learned from playing Women’s Lacrosse. I have no comment on that assertion. One dog that is impressing me in the bird field is Trip. Most of the dogs the last couple sessions seemed to need to be almost on top of the traps to scent the birds but trip is winding them from well back and is staunch. I expect she’ll be broke by fall.
Rick Despins from Grey, ME stopped by mid-day with a nice looking setter puppy out of Long Gone Boston X Bog Brook Wilma. He’d been reading the blog and is planning to join us for a Wednesday later in the summer.