I almost feel bad for all of you that are still in New England. I was a senior in high school in 1969 when we had a similar weather pattern with one big snow storm right after another. I was living in Cambridge in 1978 when I had trouble finding my car parked on a side street and the city was shut down for a week. here in Kentucky it has been a perfect winter for working dogs with lots of days in the 40s and 50s although we’re in for a cold snap this weekend and next week. As you can see in the picture above, we have had a little snow a couple times this winter.
The dogs with me have benefitted from the work. They have all made great strides but Dillie is my biggest success story. At 14 months old when I picked her up on my way South little had been done with her and she proceeded to escape from the kennel twice once over the top of a six foot run and she tunneled out the second time. Neither escape route is still available. Her desire to escape made me a little leery of giving her too much freedom but in the last week she has gained my trust and has been getting to run like the other dogs. She has also been worked on pigeons and released quail. Tuesday over at the WMA her efforts were rewarded with a find on a pair of Tennessee Reds that someone had released there. It was actually rather comical as she came on them from the wrong side of the wind and actually did a somersault as she tried to throw on the brakes. Wednesday was even better as I ran her at the farm and she was about 80 yards ahead of me when she slammed into a beautiful point. When I got just about to her she took a half-step and a wild covey blew up in front of her. She hopped into the middle of the covey and then just stood and watched as they flew away in a 270 degree arc.
The older dogs continue to spend a lot of their time hunting in the cover at the WMA rather than running the edges. Wild Apple Calvados was rewarded as she found our first woodcock of the season yesterday in one of the tree lines that bisect one of the big fields at the WMA. Annie came in and had a nice back. Annie is a sister to the Bud Bros and belongs to Harold Banks here in Kentucky. I went down to Harold’s last week and worked all the dogs on pigeons with him. Glow is still the furthest behind on her bird work and I thought some extra time in Harold’s program would be just what she needs. So we switched. He kept Glow for a while and I’m trying to get Annie going a little better on wild birds. I’m taking the pack down to Harold’s again tomorrow and hope to get some pictures to share.
There’s another NBHA walking field trial at the WMA the weekend of 2/21 and I’ve got some of the dogs entered. Spot, Brandy, and Sam are running in the derby and Spot and Dottie are entered in the puppy. The ten day forecast is calling for some rain that weekend but that’s still a ways out and the weather is always subject to change.
It’s been interesting to watch Spot this winter as he has adapted to running the edges in the big fields of the WMA. As most of you know, his sire Chase Hill Little Bud has won up and down the east coast in just about every type of trial and venue you can imagine. I judged him at the North American Woodcock Championship when he won it a few years ago with finds on both grouse and woodcock. And he’s won in the piney woods of Georgia as well as just about everywhere in between. Hopefully Spot’s ability to adjust to the cover here in Kentucky is an indication that he’ll have the ability to win wherever his field trial career takes him. He probably won’t ever get the number of opportunities that his illustrious father has had and I expect it will be a long, long time before another dog even comes close to Bud’s record. but it’s good to know that some of Bud’s great attributes have been passed along to Spot and the other Bud Bros.
Dottie is still three weeks away from her first birthday but is showing that once again the crossing of Guard Rail and Elhew blood often results in strong running and classy bird dogs. At times, when she’s chasing song birds or pointing field mice I’m reminded she’s still very much a puppy but then I’ll see her stack up on a quail or a pigeon and know we’ve got potential for another good arrow in our field trial quiver.