It seems hard to believe that half the winter has gone by. January was great for working dogs and was capped by a great hunting trip with Tim to Kansas. Now were getting ready for field trials here in Kentucky and have been able to work around a couple of snow storms. Although there was about 3 inches of wet heavy snow out at the WMA yesterday and I gave everybody short work outs. I think I minded the snow more than the dogs did. The first trial is here this weekend (Feb. 20 and 21) and Ive got everyone entered.
To get the derbies and shooting dogs ready for this weekend and a number of ABHA trials in March, I picked-up some Tennessee Reds to train with. They are just a color variant of the Bobwhite. This particular batch of birds has proven to be strong fliers. I’ve got another bunch of quail due tomorrow and hopefully they will keep us going through March.
The line up for the trials will give me enough dogs to keep busy. Both Molly and Jonathan are entered in the puppy stake which will be good experience for them. I usually run them together and they are both hunting independently with Jonathan getting a little too independent at times. A tone from the collar is usually all it takes to get him back on track. Molly just continues to impress me as time goes own. When she joined the team last September she was pretty tentative but really birdy. After we killed a grouse and a few woodcock for her the light came on and she has matured a lot. They both have big shoes to fill as last years puppies, Spot and Dot, were pretty impressive. Jonathan is still kind of a big goofy boy learning to run with his gangly body but is really making progress. The fact that he’s no Spot really shouldn’t be held against him as very few young dogs I’ve seen in the last 30 years are comparable to Spot at this age. Spot is still a derby and will be running in both derby and shooting dog stakes this spring. I even ran him in a couple of wild bird championships last fall. In Maine he had a beautiful grouse find but I picked him up when he slowed due to the heat. A more experienced dog would have come in for water sooner or found it out on the course. Spot showed he could do that on the Kansas trip and never let down even when on the third day he and Little Thud ran for over two hours.
Wild Apple Calvados (Brandy) is Tim’s first year shooting dog. She and Wild Apple Samantha had some first year mistakes last fall in cover dog trials but show great potential for the future. Making the transition from wild birds to planted birds is tough for our dogs as they tend to have little respect for birds that don’t fly strong and sometimes take a lot of effort to get in the air. Hopefully the work on planted birds now and during the rest of the time here in Kentucky will get them some opportunities. Brandy already has both amateur and open derby and shooting dog placements so she’s good to go for the future.
Sam’s biggest problem in the past has been her pattern as she tended to check all the way back in especially at the beginning of a brace. She seems to outgrowing that habit and has increased her range as well. As the only offspring of Wild Apple Jack in the kennel, her spot on the team is pretty secure. We had hoped to get puppies from her by Spot this winter put she has not come into heat that I’m aware of. It’s probably too late for this year and I’ll just wait until next winter.
Check back next week for a report on how everyone did at the trial. I also got word this week from Derek Caudill that his bitch Diamond has finally come into heat and will be bred again to Chasehill’s Little Bud. this a repeat of the breeding that Wild Apple Spot On is out of and I’ve already got a few on order.