Friday, April 2, 2021

This Springs Woodcock Wanderings

 Just some pictures from this springs Woodcock Wanderings.  The birds were scarce again this year until late March then I began to find some, but I always stop looking April 1 as they begin to nest.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

A Walk Along Piney Creek

Took Bliss for a walk in the Piney Creek Bottom yesterday, but no woodcock were found.

 An old apple tree with several trunks growing on an old bank barn foundation.  The multiple trunks are a sure sign that's it's a seedling apple tree.  One fall several years ago I picked several small red apples from it. Surprising they had a good flavor.  I returned in late winter and found a single piece of new growth wood that I could use to graft with. I now have a 2 year old 6 foot tall clone of this old tree that I call the Piney Creek Mammoth growing in my orchard.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Orchard Work

 I've started pruning my apple trees. A chore that I enjoy, shaping each tree, deciding which limb stays and which limb goes.  Limbs that grow inward or cross other limbs are the first to go.

The end result, a nicely balanced tree.

It's also time to collect scion wood, the one year old branches used to graft onto rootstock to produce new trees. Apples do not reproduce true by seeds.  Because it takes two different varieties of apple trees to produce fruit, each seed carries a mixture of genes so each seed produces a distinctly different apple often times nothing like the "mother tree" it grew on. But by grafting a small piece of branch called a scion from a certain tree onto a rootstock (which is basically a "baby apple tree" ) you will produce a tree identical to the tree you cut the scion from. 

The tips of the scion have been dipped in wax to prevent it from drying out.  Labeling is crucial to keeping the scion "true" to name so that the tree you graft is "true" to name. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

RIP Pinecoble Emma

 Emma passed away several days ago.  She left behind many wonderful memories of past hunts.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Unexpected Ending to My Season

I had hoped to find some flight woodcock during the last week of the season, but instead I'm quarantined at home with the possible covid 19 virus.  Waiting for test results that should have been available several days ago I guess the system is swamped. Janet was exposed to another caregiver who tested positive. We both are suffering body aches, coughs, and chills but no fever yet. Grouse and woodcock come back in after deer season for 2 weeks. Hopefully I'll have the stamina for a few short hunts.  If not I'll be looking forward to the spring flights to give Bliss and Thicket some bird work.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

This Weeks Hunts

 Bliss and I hunted the Church Hill covert earlier this week.  Started off good with a solid point on a hen pheasant who held for the flush.

But the day went downhill from there.  The covert has full of recently stocked pheasants who kept running from Bliss's points and soon she was chasing and flushing them.  We finally found one woodcock in a stand of hawthorn. It held nicely for Bliss but at the flush it dodged behind a hawthorn tree and escaped without a shot fired.


Today I traveled north with Bliss to the Blandsburg covert only to find it covered with an inch or more of snow and stocked pheasants everywhere.  After several bump and chases I decided to try the Black Snake Ridge covert that I had found last spring. Covered nicely with aspen, maple and locust it looks like good cover but no birds were found.

Tomorrow if my knee permits me I'll take Thicket and try the Shawnee Creek Covert.
Time is running out with  next week being the last week of the season.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Finally Success

 Bliss and I finally had some success today in the Harrier Ridge covert.  Her first point was in some open pines that proved to be a hen pheasant. Growing up in Pa hen pheasants were protected but now their legal game and I broke a wing with the left barrel with Bliss making a nice find and retrieve. 

The 16 gauge Model 51  Husqvarna  built in 1912 did it's job.

We worked our way to a series of small ponds with some scattered aspen cover.  And found some woodcock.  The first bird held nicely for Bliss but had it's escape route planned ahead and I missed with both barrels.  Soon she was on point again and I hurried in and flushed the bird.  Lady luck was with me and I dropped it with the left barrel.

We found one more woodcock but it ran out from her point and flushed without a shot.  

Here's hoping that the flights have begun and we'll find a few more birds before the season ends.