It would seem this year’s high-water mark for us is set to happen early this fall. A week long trip is planned to some of the best grouse and woodcock hunting in North America and all efforts are being continually made to make sure it’s a successful trip; success being defined as having lots of bird finds and broke work displayed by three of my four setters. Ideally, a good amount of bird contact acquired “up north” (for potential hot-spotters) will set each dog up nicely for the remainder of the season here in Pennsylvania.
The dogs ages at 3 years-3 months, 2 years-4 months, 2 years-2 months, and 6 months are all at various stages of development. Tipper, my oldest male, needs some backing and stop to flush work as well as some additional broke work over shot birds. Annie, the next oldest and the only female needs continued work on broke yard finds, the chase for the bird is gone but cemented feet are still to be found. Backing work never needed, she is an absolute natural in that regard. Blaze is off at a professional getting a good deal of work standing his birds, the last update I received had a photo of him still on a barrel. Hopefully he’s ready to make the transition to broke work before the season begins. He is missed. Pop, the pup, has shown me everything I need to see from him on birds. His lot right now is getting run in the woods, providing him an outlet to expend some of that boldness he’s got. 30 chukar are set for delivery in September when its time to start shooting birds; Pop may get a few earlier. I’m converting the ”old wooden beast kennel” into a flight pen for them.
I’ve been running two dogs in the woods on certain nights after work. Annie always filling one spot while Pop or Tipper take the other. On nights that it’s Pop, Tipper usually gets a consolation prize in the form of a pigeon hidden in the woods or field behind the house. As of late we’ve gone exploring a few new woodcock haunts, sure to hold birds but have yet to find more than a handful or signs of their presence. With the amount of rain we’ve had, the biggest downpours thankfully happening post-hatch, most covers have been a jungle which should really boost chick survival. As of today, August 1st the state’s WPRA units are opened back up for dog training. This opens up several thousand acres in different places to run dogs in rattler-free areas on those goofy little long-beaked birds and their more popular yet struggling non-immigrant alien associates- no relation.