I arrived in Kentucky last Friday with six dogs for our winter training. Ten minutes into the first run on Saturday Spot and Sam were into a wild covey that was out feeding in one of the many vegetable plots on the farm I train on. The farm is 450 acres that is used primarily for the growing of organic vegetables and most of the flat spaces are cultivated. There is currently no livestock on the farm and much of the land is fallow pastures that has grown up in weeds that provide great habitat for quail. Last winter I was pretty sure that I had a half dozen coveys that I would find periodically considering some of the mowing done this past year they might even be a few more this year. The high Saturday was 58 but it has gotten cold for a few days. Today we’ll be lucky to hit 32 but by Thursday and Friday the temperatures will be back in the 50s. Yesterday we ran everybody over at the field trial grounds and it is again well manicured for bird dogs. My sources tell me that they have reinstituted the feeding program with the hopes of keeping the quail there out on the edges more. Last year there were quail left from the fall release and the various trials but they were rarely out where the dogs could find them.
It was a long fall hunting season and the dogs did great but even the best dogs can get a little sloppy after all those wild birds. So, today was a yard work day. For the dogs that have been with me for awhile, like Wild Apple Spot On in the banner above and Dot and Sam, this should just be a quick refresher. For the puppies, Wild Apple Jonathan and Elhew Unsinkable (Molly) this the beginning of their more formal training after both getting a lot of work this fall that included pointing both grouse and woodcock long enough for us to kill some of each for both of them. Mel Pfiefle also sent down Partner, a littermate to Dillie, may not be a field trial prospect but looks like he will make a really nice gun dog.
Somewhere on Facebook or maybe one of the other sites that I visit, there was recently a discussion about tricolor pointers. They do happen. Most notably was Strut, a multiple All Age champion that had distinctive orange cheek patches and eyebrows. In Jonathan’s case his dam (Wild Apple Faith) is lemon and white and his sire (Nelson’s Van Max) is liver and white.