Paul Garrett and I have been in NE Montana working dogs since August 3rd. We have had good grounds on which to run dogs, thanks to several local ranchers. We are making progress and so are the dogs.
The long cold winter followed by a wet Spring resulted in some rank growth and many farmers were not able to get wheat in the ground until mid-June or later. Where we are most of the wheat is still standing, but finally browning off, so it should be harvested over the next week or two. This will redistribute game birds and make more ground available for dog work.
Cover on CRP ground here is very heavy and tall, It has been difficult to get much done in this cover – a mix of grasses and yellow sweet clover. It is tough on the dogs and it is hard to get birds pointed in this type of cover.
We have been concentrating on hay/alfalfa field edges that have had the first cutting, edges of wheat fields, and prairie ground. We have been finding adequate birds for training – sharp-tails and more Huns than I expected. Pheasants are scarce. The weather has been hot, so we are working dogs morning and evening.
I am excited with Cody. He has been running well from horseback, staying to the front, responding to voice and paying good attention. He is very appealing on the ground. I have also been check cording him on wild birds and he is pointing Huns and sharp-tails – and becoming a bird monster. He was the primary reason I came to Montana and his progress is well worth the trouble and expense of making this trip.
Ted is getting fit and finding birds. He is hunting birds near camp and running hard. Tommy is still crazy. I still don't know if he is going to be a bird dog, despite the progress we made late last season.
Paul has several nice setter pups on his string that are starting to hunt and run well. They are starting to point game birds and look good doing it.
I will try to post some pictures next time, but I have to get in the truck, drive to the top of a hill a mile and a half away and post via a cellular connection.