You know things have been a little hectic and you’ve neglected things when a blog follower calls you up to see if you’re still alive. The previous post is dated June 29, almost six weeks ago. So, I guess you are all entitled to know what’s been going on.
Obviously my plate has been full and much of the time all I’ve been able to get to as far as Social Media is concerned is to upload a picture or two and a brief comment directly from my iPhone to FaceBook. There’s a link over on the right side of this page that takes you to my FaceBook page, if your interested in what I’ve been doing or you can read on for an update.
Shortly after my last post, I started going back in the woods early each morning to work the dogs on wild birds. We have been finding good numbers of birds and those numbers, as usually happens, have been going up as the summer progresses. At first, I was a little concerned about grouse numbers for the fall as the broods I was finding were quite small. Historically, that is not unusual as not all the chicks necessarily flush when they are quite small and the little birds don’t thunder out as loudly as they do when the get a little bigger. And, I was seeing good numbers of broods. Lately I have been flushing what I consider medium (5 to 6 chicks) and large (8+) broods that have been feeding in the raspberries in the skidder lanes of many of my training covers. The woodcock are also starting to move around a little as I had seven in one run yesterday in a spot that had been only producing grouse.
It’s interesting to watch the dogs progress at vary rates through the summer. Some have decided of late to start testing a little while others that tested me early and usually lost have started to have things click. All the dogs are hunting well and having wild bird contacts. In the bird field some have gone from not even pointing to close to broke. And these are, until Maggie and Rigby, arrived all young dogs with the oldest being two. Many of them only had limited hunting experience last season but should be ready to go this fall. Those that are here for their first real training will still make a number of puppy/derby type mistakes in the fall but will give their owners plenty of opportunities as well.
As far as the two puppies are concerned they are also making good progress and should be a lot of fun this fall. Pippin is a little bolder and Jonathan is a little more personable and may end up headed to a hunting household. Still haven’t decided on that one yet. They have reached the point in their development where we have started to overlay their desire to run with some basic commands. Frankly, it was getting hard to round them up and get them back in their kennels. They are learning to come when called upon and are being collar conditioned so we can reinforce the command when they are off the check cord. Usually Robin works them first and then at the end of training time we take them around again and give them the opportunity to point some pigeons. Once they’re collar conditioned they’ll start getting some time in the woods away from the kennel. They are very comfortable running around the 100 acres here.
As everybody should know by now, the big project here this summer is the new kennel. When we built this house 13 years ago the plan was to put up a kennel but other things have been the priority over the years and I had added heat to the Scott Kennels I had and it was fine. Now, we need more room. The building will eventually house at least 12 dogs with a separate room for feed and equipment as well as a big loft that will serve as storage space as well as a place we can put some extra guests once in a while.
We still need to attach the six runs on the other side , add the trim, and have it painted, but we are well along to completion. One nice feature is there are guillotine doors on the sleeping boxes so the real barkers can be shut in for the night. Most of the dogs only bark when something comes in the yard or the coyotes start howling on the hill behind the house, but a couple tend to bark just to make noise. It’s much quieter when they are in for the night.
Trial season will be starting early this year as the guys up in New Brunswick have moved the Maritime Grouse Classic to the last weekend in August. Tim K. and I are also planning to put on a single course trial on the grounds of a nearby farm Labor Day weekend with a full slate of open stakes both Saturday and Sunday, this should gives folks an extra shot at qualifying there dogs before the start of the fall grouse and woodcock championship series which will start the following weekend (September 11-13) with the North American Woodcock Championship and the companion Woodcock Futurity.
We are also looking forward to getting in a few gun dog for some preseason conditioning in September before the grouse and woodcock season opens here in October.
Guiding will start Columbus Day weekend and continue through November. Unfortunately I had to turn away a lot of new business lately as I am already booked solid of this fall.