Spring Training on Woodcocks

LANCE 2 (2)

Appalachian bird hunters can extend their season another month if they are content with practicing a “catch and release” form of hunting. Working your dogs on returning woodcocks without a gun is a great way to get exercise for you and your dog, and extend training time of a young dog on wild birds. Woodcocks are usually found in West Virginia lowlands after February 20, (weather dependent)¬†while hunters are still seeking grouse the last of the season. These are males heading north from their wintering grounds and will not stop until reaching their desired breeding grounds. They perform a courtship display each morning and evening from the time they leave their wintering area. This is a display you must see, if you haven’t. It is advisable to cut off all training by the end of March to avoid causing damage to nests, even though it is legal to run dogs year round in some states.

The Five Families of Ryman Setters

People have asked us why the five families of Ryman setters are not mentioned in the book. For anyone who is not familiar with this, the story is that Ryman had five distinct families of dogs in his kennel (sometimes referred to as lines or types). Each family had its own set of characteristics- some were smaller, some bigger, some had more go, etc. Ryman’s breeding system reportedly used various crosses of these families to produce his ideal type.

The families are not in the book because we found no evidence Ryman did this. In fact, the evidence leads to the conclusion that he did not. The continuous influx of outside bloodlines, the way they were blended into the kennel, and the direction of the breeding program over the years do not fit within such a system, and Ryman never mentioned the families or used them to describe dogs he had for sale. All references to the families we are aware of came after Ryman’s time.


Lisa will be joining Walt for 2 book signings in West Virginia.

Saturday, March 1, we will be in Elkins at the Main Line Book Store, 301 Davis Avenue, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.

Sunday, March 2, we will be in Morgantown, at Barnes and Noble, 3000 University Towne Centre Dr., near the West Virginia University campus from !:00 pm.

We are looking forward to meeting some of our readers.