Rained out yesterday but got out today. Headed out deeper in the woods with a dim hope of finding a Tritronics collar that Frankie shed from his belly last fall. Didn’t find the collar but Frankie and LJ had a heck of a workout that included a pair of woodcock and six grouse. Frankie was the first to go on point at about 212 yards dead ahead. As we started to him LJ pointed nicely in a small clump of alders and poplar whips and I flushed a woodcock. We then proceeded to catch up to Tony before he got to Frankie. LJ ran by him (he is only a puppy) and while we tried to produce a bird for Frankie LJ went on point about 40 yards away. I went to LJ and flushed a pair of grouse that had most likely walked away from Frankie as we weren’t exactly able to sprint the 200+ yards that we had to cross to get to him. Another grouse got up in a little bit as both puppies were working in an area. Frankie’s find of the day was pretty exciting as he staunchly held the bird until LJ and Tony got close. The bird flushed and momentarily got hung up in a small fir tree. It was almost his last mistake as Frankie (he’s only a puppy as well) made a mad leap in the air and just missed sinking his pearly whites into the bird. So as we headed back to the truck we were pretty happy with finding a woodcock and 4 grouse. Almost beside the truck LJ pointed in some alders and allowed me to flush a woodcock which he then followed into the cover when his bell stopped about 40 yards down the road from the truck I thought he found the woodcock again. Much to my surprise, A grouse blew out in front of him, he took a a couple steps locked up again and a second grouse busted out. (that was six in a row for finding birds by going beyond the truck on the way back). That made 6 grouse and two woodcock with a pair of puppies in an hour and a bit. Not a bad outing for the middle of the day in April. As we worked the dogs today we could hear grouse drumming on the hillsides all around us. Now all we have to do is get a break with the weather when the grouse start hatching in late May and early June.
The second brace had Abbie and Jack down in a cover that has for the most part has gone by although there are still some productive pockets. But today nobody was home and both Jack and Abbie had a good run but no birds even when they made a final cast that took them a couple hundred yards down the road beyond the truck. It looked like the streak of finding birds beyond the truck had come to an end. That was until we got to the last cover of the day.
Little Thuddy and Trip ran in a cover where we could keep a keen eye on the youngster. His Houdini days are over and he’s in the program. This is a really nice moving pup who shows a lot of potential like his many 1/2 siblings (Bud, Maggie, Clifford, Zeus, Cocoa, etc). the key now is to get all that potential going in the right direction and coming back every time when called upon to do so. Building a winning puppy is a tough endeavor that requires a certain amount of ruthless willingness to make it do what you know it has to. If they can take a correction and keep running as Thuddy has then you know it’s time to win the battle of wills. Tony should be up to the task as he has worked numerous dogs of his own over the years that were a “little” headstrong. We’re also pretty sure that the Thudster was under at least three grouse in his workout today (the last one was after we had past the truck to start a new streak). That’s another big plus in his favor — he’s always hunting and seems to be able to find some birds.
Final bird count for the day was 2 woodcock and 10 grouse (we saw one in the road between covers) for the dogs Tony and I ran. Tommy ran Veronica today in some of the other local cover and we can add her woodcock and three grouse to the total.
Rich Claxton found a drumming log on his place with Jack’s little brother Mike and set up the Grouse Cam to get this picture of the grouse sneaking away as Mike was pointing it again the today.