Saturday Big Thudd was with us to run dogs. He and I started up into a cut with Max and Rigby and we’re soon getting a thorough soaking as a gentle shower turned into a downpour. It didn’t seem to bother the two setters as they covered a lot of ground but it may have hampered scenting conditions as Max was the only one to come up with a bird — a nice find on a woodcock.
Tim and Tony then went off to one cover to run Little Thudd while Dave Hawke and I went around the corner to another one. Jagger and Daisy hunted well in a cover that had been consistently producing both grouse and woodcock. Jagger was feeling his oats and got behind a hill to the tune of 400 + yards before I climbed up to the top where I had better GPS signal and e-collar connection. Once I got him rounded up and we headed back down through the cover he had a picture perfect find on a grouse. She didn’t sit long and Jagger went in hot pursuit. When he came back around he flash pointed and then chased a 1/2 size young grouse.
After breakfast Katie, Tim and I took Brandy up on Sanderson Hill for a run. She hunted hard but couldn’t dig out a bird. This cover is suffering from too much cutting and clearing. It will probably be a few years before it fills in and starts holding the number of birds it did in the past.
Today Tony, Dave and I joined a group of 20+ people out at the Kilkenny grounds to clear courses for the Grand National in November. We got the Lonesome Ridge course that Jack won the Grand on in 2007. It was fun to go around and remember his run. It was also amazing how much the cover has changed in the last six years and even more dramatic when I think back to first cutting the course in the early 90s. You can really let a dog roll on that course but you’re going to have to be lucky and get a bird in the last 15 minutes when the course drops down along the Upper Ammonusuc.
The really amazing thing today was the number of people who turned out to answer Joe Dahl’s request for help. Joe is very generous with his time helping other put on trials and today he got reap what he’s be sowing. People came from all six New England state, New York, and New Brunswick to pitch in and get six courses ready in one morning of work. Many hands do make light work.