|This nine point skull was found in the ferns in front of Jack on Friday.|
It’s not always just about the birds here at Wild Apple Kennel. There are lots of other critters in our woods. The other day LJ pointed a fawn in its bed and It ran out right in front of Katie and Marie. On Thursday my son-in-law Jason and I were running Jack and Trip up at the dam just for exercise. Jack pointed and when we went in I couldn’t get a bird up but Jason looked down in front of him and saw part of an antler. When he picked it up it was the slightly battered but still intact nine point pictured above. Jack went on to have a woodcock and a grouse find. We then took LJ up to The Orchard and he had 7 woodcock on four finds.
Although it’s still July you can tell fall isn’t all that far away. It’s not unusual for woodcock to start moving around and bunching up in some of our covers. The literature claims that this is a common occurrence from now until the birds leave in October and early November. On Friday, while I was shopping with the family, Tony and Lloyd Carney ran dogs. They moved 25 woodcock in Red Barn then ran in two other covers and added nine more, to give them a 34 bird morning. Tommy ran Veronica up at The Orchard and she had 13 woodcock to give them a combined total of 47 woodcock with four dogs. Not a bad mornings work.
Someone asked on one of the message boards where all the grouse broods they were seeing earlier in the summer went. From experience and reading, I can tell you that when they were first hatched they had to stay in cover where they had ready access to large quantities of bugs. The rapidly growing chicks need a diet of almost 100% protein. As they grow they begin to transition to the myriad plant foods that grouse eat. At this point they disappear from those open edges where we find them early to back in the swamps and dense forest where they are more protected from predation. Tony and I will soon start working dogs away from our woodcock covers and expect to start finding all those grouse again.