Wild Apple Jack entered retirement after his appearance at the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational last spring and has been laying around the house all summer. I do plan to hunt him this fall so after I came back from working dogs this morning I threw him and Brandy in the truck and took them up to the dam for a run. This is a spot that Jack has run many, many times in his going on 10 years of life and seems to enjoy the fact that he gets to just run down the gated road from the truck. Today was no different. He went over 600 yards before he came back and started hunting. Ant just to prove that he still has a few tricks up his sleeve, he dug into the edge of the woods and pointed a grouse with the same style and intensity that helped him win 5 coverdog championships and a runner-up. He doesn’t have the foot speed he once did but he still seems to love his work.
Earlier this morning birds were tough to find. There is one honey hole I think we’ve used too many times because this morning Maggie only dug out a couple of woodcock where there has been as many as 9 or 10. The birds are starting to move around and conditions have been very dry which probably contributed to their absence. LJ had a good run with a tough piece of work on a grouse that kept running up the mountain until he finally pinned him a hundred yards away from his original point with a couple more relocations in between. He went on to have another grouse and a woodcock. Pete got a relatively short workout as it was already warm when we started and getting warmer. He had two nice pieces of bird work on woodcock.
Max ran next with his usual full head of steam and was rewarded with what I consider an exemplary find on a brood of grouse. I heard his bell stop and then a bird flushed. He was off to my left in fairly open woods and when I was almost to him another grouse lifted, then another and another and another until I lost count at somewhere close to ten. The birds were all around him and in sight as they thundered out one by one and he stood for all of them. Pretty exciting. He then went on to have two nice woodcock finds.
Yesterday, I spent the day working on my next PDJ installment (which is already late) and have that just about finished up. Friday I ran puppies. Everyone had bird contacts and Brandy, Glo, and Sam each had a woodcock down in Red Barn. It was dry as a bone Friday morning and barely enough dew to wet the very bottom of my chaps. It was nice to not be wet but the rain we had Friday and Saturday night was needed. The star of the day Friday was Ruby as I ran her in a small cover just down the road from the kennel. She proceeded to stick three woodcock and I would have had good shots on all of them. She should be a lot of fun this fall.