As of today the Wild Apple Kennel Blog went over 10,000 hits since its inception two summers ago. Thanks to all of you who have taken an interest in what’s going on in the woods of New Hampshire and on our travels to various trials.
Today we tried to stay out of the covers that have been productive over the last couple of weeks so as not to disturb the nesting woodcock and the about to be nesting grouse. The question came up as to how long it takes a grouse to lay and incubate a clutch of eggs. Tommy was at a computer and looked it up — it takes the hen an average of 17 days to lay 10 to 14 eggs then approximately 24 days to incubate them. So, you’re looking at 40 plus days from first egg to hatching. With the drummers we’ve been hearing lately we can assume that some hens have already started the process and the early hatchings will be in late May which seems a little earlier then usual for us. We traditionally think of the first 10 tens of June as the most critical time for chick survival as far as weather is concerned. The situation we want to avoid is an extended period of called and wet weather as the chick hatch out. They can stand a little rain or some cold but the two together at the wrong time can make the difference between double digit broods and broods of one or two.
The dogs we ran today included Frankie and LJ in the first brace. Both Garmin’s buzzed at the same time and we found LJ on our left with a woodcock pointed and Frankie about 30 yards further on to our right with a grouse in front of him. Little Thuddy was up next and was run by himself as he is getting a little “special Education” (please, no short bus jokes). He handled well for Tony with only one correction when he had a little glich negotiating a hard right turn in the course. He was in full view when he wheeled and pointed, locked up tight, and then took one step more which flushed a grouse that flew right across an opening in what would have been an easy left to right passing shot. Even with the extra bounce in his step after the grouse he listened and stayed with us for the remainder of his workout.
We then ran Jack and Abbie in a spot just down the road from the house where the dogs tend to really air it out. I use it a lot in summer when I just want then to really run hard and unimpeded. Abbie must have thought she was back in the open fields of Ohio as she matched Jack’s first cast of more than 650 yards. Both dogs got a good workout and Jack even dug out a woodcock along an edge on the way back to the truck. We brought Abbie in for the back but the bird was running around in a thicket of chest high firs and I couldn’t get it in the air. When Jack was released for the relocation he bumped it which gave me a good training opportunity.
Wednesday is a school day so check back for the Thursday report.