Tomorrow we start going to the woods early in the morning. The grouse chicks should be flying well by now and the woodcock will be more than half-grown. Early in the summer we tend to find more woodcock than grouse as the hens often keep their chicks in heavy, swampy cover that I stay out of. As the raspberries and the soft mast crops ripen, we’ll start to find them up on the hillsides. Later in the summer the woodcock will also start moving around as the begin the process of fattening up for their fall trip south. It’s going to be fun to get some of the younger dogs into their first significant numbers of wild birds. We will also begin to reap the training rewards with our first year shooting dogs Brandy and Sam as well as our coming derbies Spot and Dottie. Brandy and Sam are broke and Spot and Dottie are well along that road. Mollie and Dillie are not far behind and will definitely be fun to run.
All the other dogs have made really strong progress both handling and on their bird work. Go Go is an excellent example. When she first arrived a month ago she really wasn’t that interested in listening to me. I know have her attention and when her owner was up yesterday she looked supper on two staunch finds on pigeons. She’s listening and handling well — ready to give the woods a try. The same with the rest of the team — Axel, Jess, Lexi, and Zephyr. Check back in a few days for some initial bird reports.