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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started running my lab and setter together last year, when the woodcock were headed through on their northern journey. I decided I would start a thread this year to record what we're finding, and who had the best day.

The flushy dog - Miley, the chocolate lab


The pointy dog - Jackson, the english setter


One of the birds we found last spring
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
05-MAR-2013

We had a sunny day today, melting off most of the snow and the thermometer hitting 37 degrees. As soon as I finished up with work we headed out back to the edge of the swamp. We typically find the first bird of spring in this spot, but today it was a bust. Next up was an area that had been clearcut about 15 years ago and is coming back in small areas of poplar mixed in with lots of pin oak. We weren't too far in when Jackson's beeper went off. The Garmin showed he was 154 yards out. We struggled within 50 yards of him when the beeper stopped, but then started up again 50 yards further on. We repeated this twice more and I'm fairly certain he was on the same "dog-gone" flock of turkeys we found in there two weeks ago in the snow. The turkeys led us out to a regenerating hay field that was last cut over 28 years ago. We hunted most of the way around the field and were working our way along a thin strip of pin oaks in the middle when I heard it. The unmistakable whistling wings of the first woodcock flush of the year. I turned hard to my right to see Miley chasing the little russet fellow across a small opening.

An uneventful walk back to the house leaves the flushy dog Miley ahead of the pointy dog Jackson with one round completed in the 2013 woodcock challenge.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
06-MAR-2013
We headed out after work tonight to see if the lone doodle from yesterday had gotten any company. With temps in the upper 30’s and the eight inches of new snow 70 miles to the south of us I thought we might have a good night. I thought wrong. One of the spots we searched was the golf ball thicket, an area thick with crab apples and for some reason golf balls.


Nearly everytime we go through this thicket, we find another one or two. I’ve been picking them up for a few years now and saving them on one of the beams in the basement. If we ever have an earthquake, I’m in trouble.


With neither dog finding any woodcock tonight, Miley the flushy dog is still in the lead with one round won in the 2013 Woodcock challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
07-MAR-2013
No change in the 2013 Woodcock Challenge standings today since I won’t be able to get out “hunting” tonight. With temps in the mid 30’s and scattered snow flurries, I’m not sure we would have gotten any birds in today anyway. I know the migration isn’t totally related to the weather but it sure appears there is some correlation. Last year we had temps in the 60’s the last week of February and the birds arrived early that year.

Another thing to note is I haven’t seen any robins yet this year. In past years, both Woodcock and Robins seemed to arrive in this area at about the same time. I guess it stands to reason since both rely on earthworms as a primary food source.

What has anyone else found in regards to when the robins arrive versus when there are woodcock to be found?

 

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I have seen the same thing with robin and woodcock Dap. I saw my first two robins this AM. I am looking forward to the weekend now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
08-MAR-2013

Miley extended the flushy dogs’ lead tonight in the 2013 woodcock challenge. She put up 2 birds and had assist on a third. An assist? How the heck does that happen? Well I saw Miley getting all fired up and knew she was on to something. Much to my surprise a rabbit fired out from a little clump of brush but Miley didn’t see it. I watched the rabbit disappear out of sight and a few moments later a woodcock flushed from where the rabbit had run. I also saw a 4th woodcock come in for a landing about 100 yards out. I wondered if it was a new flight bird coming up from the south.

All of the birds tonight came out of the regenerating hay field, though it no longer resembles a hay field.




Jackson better get on the ball pretty soon so he doesn’t let all of the other pointy dog’s down.



On a side note, I also saw the first robin of the year tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
09-MAR-2013 AM

We went out early this morning to find everything shimmering in a layer of frost. A coating of ice on the small swamp we cross allowed the dogs to traverse it without getting wet. Unfortunately all the woodock we located in the last hour of daylight last night were nowhere to be found in the first hour of light this morning.





Jackson the pointing dog is still
trailing Miley the flushing dog in the 2013 challenge.
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
09-MAR-2013 PM

We decided to try a different place tonight, a spot where we’ve found plenty of timberdoodles in previous springs. The dogs hunted hard for almost two hours but we didn’t move a single bird. It certainly has been an odd spring so far this year in Mercer county.

 

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Hi all,
I'm a new member , a Ryman setter owner ( she will be two in July) and want to find her all the woodcock and grouse we can in the next month for training .... DAP, please PM me as I am from Hermitage also! I tried to PM you but I was unable to . I have checked last week around Shenango Dam,Orangeville Flats,and Shenango River near New Hamburg to no avail....I'm hoping these couple of warm days will get them here...my buddy reflected last week on the robin/wookcock arrival similarities. Will keep posting and looking.
thanks,
Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
10-MAR-2013

Nothing much new to report again tonight. Jackson did have a woodcock flush about 50 yards ahead of him, but he never saw, heard or smelled it. We did find a little splash in the area from where it flushed. I was hoping that I’d be showing pictures of dogs on point and possibly blurry pics of woodcock flying , but just like the year so far it’s been nothing but this . . .


Jackson’s beeper went off as he worked in the vicinity of where the bird landed. I think I heard the whistling of a woodcock lift off when we were still quite a ways out, but I wasn’t sure enough about it to count it as a find.

Three weeks left in the 2013 flusher pointer challenge with Miley still up two rounds to zero.
 

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This is an A+ thread! I am quite impressed with your lab, as Jackson seems to be a bird finding machine.

Hopefully with the time change, I will be able to get my springers out looking for some doodles in the evenings. With the warmer weather and the big push of waterfowl, they should be here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
11-MAR-2013

The rain and windy conditions kept us housebound on Monday the 11th. Hopefully the front that went through moved some fresh birds along with it.
 

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Dap and others,
Am looking in earnest...went today near Pulaski along Shenango River and found some whitewash doodle droppings I think, but no birds....they have to be starting...seeing some robins today. Question, since this is the first spring I have really looked in earnest (trying to check daily) to help develop young setter....are there any patterns relative to stop over points or cover around lakes/reservoirs? I live 5 min. from Shenango Dam, so if there are any stop over/resting cover near reeservoirs that you all seem to see repeated, that will give me some help. We hunted them last October in Wisconsin and found lots of birds on the woodsy edges of alder swamps. So I know a place loaded with alders near the reservoir here I'll check tomorrow...in the meantime, any help apprciated in general patterns/locations.
thanks,
Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
12-MAR-2013
At long last . . . we got into a new flight tonight. Miley and I were still crossing the little swamp when my Garmin rang indicating Jackson had stopped. I couldn’t hear his beeper going off, but given my poor hearing it’s not all that surprising.


Miley and I worked through the edge of the clearcut to find Jackson in the southwest corner of the old hay field. I was able to take a few pictures before what looked to be a big hen woodcock lifted off to our right and flew back into the clearcut. (I never thought to try snapping a pic of it.) Jackson had finally gotten the monkey off his back


Finding the bird must have really fired Jackon up because he was soon out at 300+ yards. Miley and I headed his direction and hit the mother lode. She had one “hard” flush, where she was right on the bird and another “soft” flush from getting one nervous by walking to close. I also had 2 more close flushes, within 50 yards of where Miley had found the first bird.


We worked the field for a little longer and I heard another bird lift off wild, though I think it was one of the 4 we had already flushed. On the way back towards the house, Jackson locked up again just off the trail separating a row off mature pin oaks from the little pin oaks in the clearcut.


This bird flew back up the trail and landed in the edge of the clearcut 50 yards away. We went back to try to find it again but only ended up with a “stop to flush” by Jackson when he nearly stepped on the bird. I’m not sure what the story is with him not being able to find woodcock that have just landed but I’ve seen him have the same problem at other times in the past.

Overall today’s outing ended in a tie all the way around. Jackson had 2 points, Miley had 2 flushes, I had 2 flushes and we had birds in the air 2 other times. Miley’s record in the 2013 challenge climbs to 2-0-1, while Jackson comes in at 0-2-1 for wins, losses and ties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I seem to find the spring birds in "brushier" areas than where I've typically found them in the fall. I don't know how best to describe it, but they are places without any leaves on the ground. I think it's best not to share any specific spots in an open forum, so I'll PM you for further discussion.
 
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