Loaded up a truckload of dogs to work this morning that included Pete and Maggie that arrived Saturday afternoon. I know some have accused me of at least hyperbole when reporting bird counts during the training and hunting season do I don’t want to sound to pretentious about covers, etc but this morning was a perfect example of what I have to put up with. Here at the kennel I’ve got a 45 minute loop that is a perfect place to let a dog hunt while working on pattern and handling but the puppies boosted a grouse off a nest 10 days or so ago so I’ve been staying off that loop and keeping the puppies lower down in the woods around the bird field. Today I wanted someplace to run where I wouldn’t disturb any nesting birds and that’s not as easy as it may sound (really). Just up the road from me is a place I like to let the dogs run, it’s bordered by a wide canal on one side and the main river on another. It’s a good safe place to let a dog run and usually this time of year you can make a short loop without finding any birds. Pete was first out of the truck and handled great, made some good casts, and looked great on the ground. His application was a little erratic and at times he came all the way back in to check in but I’m sure once he spends more time with me and gets into birds on a regular basis he’ll apply himself with more intensity and consistency.
Pete popping out of the cover after a good cast into the alders and poplar cover along this gated road.
Maggie was up next and showed a willingness to listen, and good application, as she hunted her way around the loop. This cover usually has woodcock later in the summer and can be unbelievable if you hit it just right during the woodcock flights. There are usually a few grouse in here as well but they’re on the other side of the canal and we didn’t go over there today.
Maggie passing in front of me this morning as she crosses from one piece of the cover to another.
Brandy was next and this was the first time she’s run with a bell. It freaked her out a first but she did got used to it. Finally I took LJ out for the same loop. Now he’s run here many times and reached out further then the new dogs as one would expect. That’s when my plan went astray. LJ’s bell stopped down in a little basin next to the river and I flushed a woodcock when I went to him. I didn’t see a nest (they should already be hatched out) nor did I see any chicks. If there’s woodcock in this cover now they should be around most of the summer which will be handy.
Ran the puppies before the big dogs and the apple trees are getting close to full bloom. It was very wet this morning and I didn’t want to put out any quail as wet quail often become dead quail when little puppies are in hot pursuit. The Belle pups still had a find on a bird that had stayed out from a previous day’s release.
Some of the more than 200 apple trees here at the kennel. Kind of makes the name of the place obvious.