Gosh, I miss them. My girls at training camp…

Lexi at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Lexi at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018

I spend a LOT of time with my dogs–most of my time, really. I work from home, and so Lexi and Sky are my constant companions: A run in early am, in the office together all day, a walk in the PM, repeat.

But not this July and August. Both girls went to Wild Apple Kennel at the end of June for summer training, and they’ll be there through this month.

I’m counting down the days.

Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018
Sky at Wild Apple Kennels, summer 2018

I don’t care about no stinkin’ ribbons. Until I think we might win one…

Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial, Stark, NH
Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial, Stark, NH

Only one thing sucks more than planted quail: cold, wet, planted quail.

In the best conditions, planted quail prefer running to flushing. When these birds are cold and wet, they’re as likely to fly as a frog or groundhog.

And cold, wet planted quail, plus a handful of well-trained bird dogs, is what Lexi and I faced off against at the Northern NH Bird Dog Club 2018 Annual Trial.

This trial ran from April 27-29. We were in Sunday’s Amateur Shooting Dog stake. It was a cold, cloudy day. Rain shifted back-and-forth from drizzling to pouring.

 

Lexi was in the third brace (there were only 4 in the entire stake). She had a great run, stayed in the pocket the whole time, handled perfectly, and, as you can see in the videos, the didn’t let those lousy quail throw her off her game (or make her break point). By the time we finished the course, I thought for sure we would be taking home a yellow ribbon.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. While I was disappointed, Lexi didn’t mind. She just had fun chasing birds.

You’ve got to see these wild quail flush…

Hifive Kennels, CH Titanium's Jacksin. Pic from hifivekennels.com
Hifive Kennels, CH Titanium’s Jacksin. Pic from hifivekennels.com

I’ve always wanted to hunt wild bobwhites. Watch this video to see on reason why.

Check out hard these birds bust cover and how high and fast they fly. Notice the handler doesn’t need a flushing whip or a Cocker spaniel to get them up and going.

That great-looking pointer is Hifive Kennels’ Champion Titanium’s Jacksin. Hifive is well-known kennel out of Beulah, MI. They’ve been breeding, training, and trialing dogs for 20+ years, and they’ve produced a long list of great dogs.

How my pointer Sky says ” Oh jeeze, I’m really sorry” …

My pointer, Sky, loves chewing up shoes and slippers. Since October, she has chewed, chomped, and torn her way through 4 pairs. Now when I catch her doing it, this is her reaction.

This shows she has a conscious and she knows that if she’s super cute, no one can get mad at her.

Gone to the dogs…

Sky and I headed up to northern NH on Saturday to say “hello” to Lexi and Craig Doherty. Craig runs Wild Apple Kennel, and this is the second season he has worked with Lexi.

Lexi left for training camp at the end of June, and this was the first time the Sky has seen her since then. After they had a moment to reacquaint, we put took some pigeons out for them and ran a couple other dogs Craig has in his kennel this summer. Overall, a great day.

IMG_2941
Lexi pointing a pigeon

Pointers aren’t supposed to do this….

You hear all sorts of “truths” about Pointers: They’re not personable; they make lousy house dogs; they don’t retrieve (not naturally, anyway). Sky is my third pointer, and just like my first two, she has shown me that all these “truths” are total BS. Watch this video to see her dispel the third.

The pointer sisters: An update…

Time flies, and as it does, our little puppy is getting bigger! Here are some more recent pics of Lexi & Sky.

Sky, one of our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky, one of our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky, one of our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky, one of our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Lexi, one our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Lexi, one our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky & Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky & Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky & Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Sky & Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers
Lexi, our Pointer out of Superior Pointers

Meet Sky, our new pointer…

Meet Sky, our new pointer
Meet Sky, our new pointer

A couple Saturdays ago, the latest addition to our team arrived. Meet out new pointer pup: Striking Elhew Sky.

Sky’s out of Superior Pointers. She’s half-sister to Lexi by the father. We’re thrilled to have her, and I’m more excited than ever to have another bird dog for this fall.

 

 

 

The Pointer Sisters: Lexi & Sky
The Pointer Sisters: Lexi & Sky
The Pointer Sisters: Lexi & Sky
The Pointer Sisters: Lexi & Sky

Good Sat for Lexi at Setter Club Field Trial….

Lexi and I headed down to Cape Cod on Sat to check out the Setter Club of New England’s spring field trial. I entered Lexi in two stakes: the Amateur Derby and Gundog. She took 3rd in both. Here are some pics from the day.

Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 Field Trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 Field Trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Lexi took 3rd place, Amateur Derby, Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial
Lexi took 3rd place, Amateur Derby, Setter Club of New England Spring 2016 trial

Latest Lexi. Some shots from the weekend…

Warmer weather has come early to New England, and Lexi and I have been out taking advantage of it. Here are some shots from the weekend.

Lexi Pointing. Her tail is not showing much confidence.
Lexi Pointing. Her tail is not showing much confidence.
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Saw this truck on my was out of one spot. I think he's a bird hunter.
Saw this truck on my way out of one spot. I think he’s a bird hunter.
Persistence and patience
Persistence and patience
Shagbark Hickory tree
Shagbark Hickory tree
Old rock wall, younger trees
Old rock wall, younger trees

An interview with Ferrell Miller, legendary pointer trainer & breeder…

Paul Fuller of Bird Dogs Afield just posted this great interview with legendary pointer breeder and field trialer Ferrell Miller. If you’re into bird dogs, you should make time to watch the whole thing.

And if you don’t know much about Pointers, this short video is a nice introduction to the breed. It also features Ferrell Miller, and is worth watching just to see Mr Miller in the field working his dogs.

Ferrell Miller and CH Miller's Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/
Ferrell Miller and CH Miller’s Happy Jack, from http://www.phantomkennels.com/

Chasing chukars at Addieville …

Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville

Lexi and I made it down to Addieville East Game Farm yesterday to chase some chukars along with some friends of this sight.

Lexi had never seen a chukar. She’s hasn’t done much hunting in fields, either. So I was a little worried about how she would handle things.

She bumped two, but overall, she handled the chukars like a champ. I even has my first retrieve-to-hand from her.

Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville
Lexi at Addieville

Power duo: Quail hunting with a Pointer and a Cocker …

Here’s something I’ve always wanted to try. From what I’v read, this is how folks hunt quail on a lot of the plantations down south.

This video just shows a great looking Pointer doing what these dogs do so well.

Popped! Lexi’s first wild bird …

Lexi checking out her first dead wild bird
Lexi checking out her first dead wild bird

It finally happened: Yesterday, I killed my first wild bird over Lexi.

It was a woodcock, and I shot it after she gave me a nice, solid point. The one I shot turned out to be part of a 3-bird cluster. They were all together in an alder tangle, and after I shot the first birds (it took me two shots), the other birds went up.

Today we hit some other alder covers, but it was real cold last night and everything was frosted up. We hit another spot on higher ground and found several woodcock and a grouse. Lexi did her job, but I didn’t.

We have another week to hunt and the grouse are starting to move, to I hope to kill one of those for her soon.

Some highbush cranberry in one of our spots. Grouse love these.
Some highbush cranberry in one of our spots. Grouse love these.
A frosted over alder cover. The frost drove the woodcock out.
A frosted over alder cover. The frost drove the woodcock out.

 

A few good points about Pointers …

Pointing a Spring Woodcock
Puck pointing a spring woodcock, many years ago

I never set out to be a Pointer guy. Back before I got Puck (my first pointer), I had never even seen one, except for in books and magazines. Then one day I was flipping through an issue of the Pointing Dog Journal, and I noticed an add from a Pointer breeder near me.

This was Autumn Memory Kennels in Bolton, MA. Ten months after my first visit there, Puck was mine. Today, I can’t imagine owning any other breed of pointing dog.

In The pointers of Northwoods Bird Dogs, you can read a bit more about what makes pointers such great dogs.

Lexi's perfect point. This was the woodcock I flushed.
Lexi’s pointing a woodcock the other day.

“Perhaps no other breed of bird dog has had more selective breeding based solely on their performance in the field than pointers. Even so, pointers are also excellent hunting companions and house pets.

In addition to our English setters, Jerry and I always have owned pointers. We’ve bred, trained, competed and lived with them for more than 20 years and are now producing our fifth generation.”

Read all of The pointers of Northwoods Bird Dogs now.

Elation & frustration. Day 6 of our fall hunting trip …

Fresh woodcock splash in the alder cover
Fresh woodcock splash in the alder cover

So far, it’s been several days of ups and days. We’ve been finding birds, but not many. Some of the woodcock have been holding for points, but the grouse have been flushing wild.I saw these birds flush on their own, so I know Lexi was not pushing them up. I’ve never seen such skittish grouse.

It wasn’t until today that we got into a significant number of woodcock. They were right where they should be this time of year – in an stand of Alders – and in about 30 minutes we put up 12 birds. Lexi had solid points on three of them. I missed them all. On the others, a couple flushed wild and Lexi bumped the rest.

Lexi standing over the splash
Lexi standing over the splash

Bumped birds are one of the frustrations of breaking in a dog, and it’s hard for me to remain calm and patient when I see Lexi pushing birds into the sky. She’s also had her share of long pauses/false points. After a while, these things drive me mad.

I strapped my pointer cam on her so I could get a better look at what she was doing in the woods. The videos below are what we shot. There’s a long and short version. Take a look and let me know your thoughts.

We’ve got ourselves a bird dog …

Lexi's perfect point. This was the woodcock I flushed.
Lexi’s perfect point. This was the woodcock I flushed.

You can’t hunt on Sundays in Maine, but you can run a bird dog. So Lexi and I made it out this AM for a little photo safari/training run. Lexi hit birds the first place we stopped, and in about 45 minutes she pointed 2 grouse and 2 woodcock.

I saw the grouse flush wild before I could get all the way to Lexi’s point. The same thing happened with one of the woodcock. I flushed the second woodcock out from under a perfect point. Talk about proud.

I can tell Lexi is still figuring out how to handle these birds, and she may have pressured the first three a bit too much. Compared to how she did yesterday, she’s learning fast. With a little luck, I should kill her first wild bird for her tomorrow.

Enjoy the pics.

Leaping Lexi.
Leaping Lexi.
Brilliant fall red, flashing against the blue sky.
Brilliant fall red, flashing against the blue sky.
Maple leaves.
Maple leaves.
Lookout over a local pond.
Lookout over a local pond.
An old rock wall. The woods behind it were cleared farmland at one time.
An old rock wall. The woods behind it were cleared farmland at one time.
Brilliant fall colors on this tree.
Brilliant fall colors on this tree.
A real old tombstone -- maybe original.
A real old tombstone — maybe original.
Tombstone of a American Revolutionary War veteran
Tombstone of a American Revolutionary War veteran
Crazy looking white pine tree.
Crazy looking white pine tree.
Old meeting building. Classic New England architecture. Check out the details!
Old meeting building. Classic New England architecture. Check out the details!
Nice window!
Nice window!

Lexi’s awesome summer finishes with a big win …

Lexi, back home again with me.
Lexi, back home again, and right back in my lap.

I’m not a big fan of the summer. Heat and humidity are my Kryptonites, so by the middle of June I’ve had enough of  it. Lexi was up at  Wild Apple Kennel in Dummer, NH, from end of May to last week. Her absence made the summer feel even longer. I work from home, and it was a lonely home without her. But enough of my bitchin’.

Here’s the good part:

At the New England Bird Dog Club’s Labor Day Weekend Trial, Lexi won Sunday’s Open Restricted Derby Competition. I’m super proud of her – – and very thankful for the great job that trainer Craig Doherty did with her.

This was Lexi’s third time in a field trial. Her first time was on August 29, and her second was on the Saturday before her win. So she’s 1 for 3. Not bad.

So am I psyched for October? You bet. It’s going to be an awesome fall. More to come on that.

BTW: Derby stakes are for dogs 6-24months of age and no more than 2 years of age. A “restricted” derby is for dogs that have not already placed in a derby stake.

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