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Double Deuce Molly Claims 2019 Title; Daddy’s Little Boy Butch is Runner-Up

New England Open Grouse Championship

By Ryan L. Frame | Nov 05, 2019
The Winners. In foreground, from left: Brian Dix with Double Deuce Molly and John Stolgitis with Daddy’s Little Boy Butch. Standing: Dave Hughes, Judges John Malone and Brian Ralph, and Adam Dubriske.

Berlin, N. H. — The historic New England Open Grouse Championship took place on the Kilkenny Management Area grounds in the picturesque White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire.

The Championship dates back to 1927 and the likes of Hall-of-Famers Mike Seminatore and Lee White.

The Championship ran on wild birds for some forty years at several different venues in New England before becoming a walking planted bird event, then a horseback championship which runs under the title “New England Open Championship” to this day.

Back in the 1990s, a group New England wild bird enthusiasts laid out multiple courses in likely cover back at Kilkenny and, with the name “New England Grouse Championship,” restored the title to its original purpose. The venue hosts several championships including the Grand National, which will run at Kilkenny in November.

We truly missed Bob Lang as stake manager this year. I’m told he was off on a bird hunting expedition. That he would choose bird hunting over four days of dealing with us whiny field trialers, though, is quite understandable.

Tony Bly picked up most of the slack and filled in admirably. Lloyd Murray was hand for day No. 1, and helped out greatly with the many tasks required leading up to the trial such as placing ads and taking entries and such.

Many thanks to our friends at Purina for their support of this Championship, other grouse/woodcock championships and other field trials. Their unwavering support over many years has been remarkable.

Finally, many thanks to Connecticut native John Malone of Bolton, Conn., and Brian Ralph of Freeland, Pa., who judged the 2019 event. They spent three long days of walking in tough terrain, logging nearly forty miles under foot, and, not only did they accomplish the task without complaint, but were downright positive.

Judge Malone, who more often trials on a horse, expressed several times how much he enjoyed watching good dogs working wild birds in their native habitat.

Brian Ralph, too, seemed to enjoy the task and both worked together in the spirit of getting it all right; a sincere shared goal of naming the two most deserving dogs by observing the performances and hashing things out between them.

The Winners And Others

Named champion was Double Deuce Molly, eight-year-old white and orange pointer female owned by Doug McMillen of Dubois, Pa., and handled by Dave Hughes. Runner-up was Daddy’s Little Boy Butch, five-year-old white and liver pointer male handled by John Stolgitis for owner Paul F. Scott of Wallingford, Conn.

Each had one good grouse find and it came down to small hairsplitters. Butch was hard to top for an hour of pure drive and power, but Molly was forward and at the limits of bell range throughout most of her heat, and drove hard as well throughout.

Both dogs exuded style and it was only a couple of small holes in Butch’s race and an unproductive that separated the two.

Hot on their heels was setter female Long Gone Juicy (Hughes) and pointer female Chasehill Little Izzy (Stolgitis).

The Running

The trial got off to a good start on Lonesome Ridge with a very nice brace of pointers. Braggabull (Hughes) and Wild Apple Spot On (Doherty) looked good going, hunted well and applied themselves to the course without excessive handling and both finished strong. It was an enjoyable brace but no birds were seen in the hour.

Stokely’s Frankie B (Bly) and Game Changer (Hughes), two setter dogs, were up next on Deer Mountain. Frankie laid out well and handled kindly for Bly, though occasionally finished from the side. He was off the trail and applied himself well. Changer was handy the first 15, checking back on the trail frequently but then began to reach more and sustain his casts better. At 40 Changer was hunting along a small brook to the right of source and his bell fell silent about 70 yards out. A grouse roared out as Hughes and Judge Ralph approached the stand. All was in order for the shot. Both dogs stood at 45 near each other but both corrected with no game seen. Both finished well to the front with no further incidents.

Long Gone Porky (Murray) and Duck Hook (Stolgitis) were up next on Goldenrod. Porky, a setter dog, drove hard at good range and hunted. He stopped near the half but Murray saw something he did not like and whistled him on without incident. Less than five minutes later, Porky stood again, rigid, intense and clearly drinking in scent. A large grouse boiled out near the stand with Porky’s manners perfect. Pointer male Duck Hook drove hard, hit the cover well but was wide with a few short absences early. He moved well and always showed up in time but it was not pleasing Stolgitis who took him up at 40. Porky continued with a nice charging effort to the end with no further incident.

Chasehill Baby Bella (Stolgitis) and Doodleridge Huckleberry (Hughes) were up next on the Pancake Course. Huckleberry made a few nice moves, then drifted right at 20 and was not returned to judgment. Bella was enjoyable to watch, hunted well on a tough course, was stylish in motion and responded well to her handler. It was one of the better ground races of the stake but with no contacts with game.

Ruffed Grouse Lilly (Christopher), setter female, was stylish and hunted but at moderate range. She looked good going and did not avoid cover but just did not reach today. I’ll Be Back, a setter dog with Dave Hughes, reached well, crossed nicely and hunted his way in the course in a commendable manner. He was forward and strong to the end but with no game contacts.

Wild Apple Jonathan (Doherty) and La Sombra, pointer males, were loosed on the Ammonoosuc Course, the last brace of the first day. Doherty warned everyone that the dog had been under the weather coming in. They gave it a go but Jonathan was still out of sorts and taken up at 5. La Sombra was strong but inconsistent on the ground mixing some nice forward casts with a few that were not well directed. Hughes took him up after a second unproductive.

Day No. 2 began cool and partly sunny. Good dog weather. Up first on Lonesome Ridge were Stokely’s B Jack (Bly), a male, and Anna Lake Sophie (Hughes), a female, both setters. Jack set out well with good range, forward, always in cover and stayed in touch.

Sophie ranged to a fault, was wide at times, always showing in time. Both dogs hunted around the course and looked good going but the brace had no bird work, no unproductives or any other incidents. Both finished well.

Wild Apple Polka Dot (Doherty), a pointer, and Single Shot Barley (Hughes), a setter, both female, were up next. Barley set out with plenty of enthusiasm but was lost to judgment at 8. Dot hunted the course well and looked good going. At 54 she pointed and looked good but moved at the flush and was taken up.

Rock Solid Tucker (Dix), a setter, and Double Deuce Dexter (Hughes), a pointer, both male, were next. Tucker worked hard, hit the cover with enthusiasm but at a moderate range. Near the half he had a run-in with a grouse and found himself on a leash. Dexter reached well and hunted in a forward manner at good range. He stood at 52 and looked good but without results. He had a short sinking spell down the stretch but picked up and finished strong.

Double Deuce Molly (Hughes), a pointer, and Rock Solid Casey (Dix), a setter, both females, were up next. Casey hunted around the course at good range and looked good going. She was not as wide as her bracemate but her range was acceptable and her application good. Molly laid well to the front, often to the edge of her bell but rarely beyond and then not for long. She was forward and stylish in motion. She tagged a grouse nicely at 25. She had it well located and her style and manners were perfect as it roared out and the shot was fired. She laid out to the front the rest of the way around, hunting the edges and always in touch. Casey hustled and finished well but had no game contacts. Molly was on the edge when the hour expired but came in kindly when called.

We knew that some bad weather was on the way and it arrived just in time for this brace. The wind kicked up and rain fell steady. Elhew Snake Charmer (Doherty), pointer dog, and A Distant Speck (Hughes) were loosed on the Moosehorn. Charmer was wide shortly after the breakaway and not returned to judgment. Speck was putting down a solid effort but Hughes, wary of the worsening conditions, took him up at 15.

Full Breeze (Hughes), a setter, and Chasehill Little Izzy (Stolgitis), a pointer, both females, were next. Both were stylish and moved well. And the rain had eased a bit. Breeze was scouted to the right at 15. Izzy stopped at 20, looked good. Stolgitis called a bird but it was not officially seen. With Hughes and Judge Ralph still searching behind them, Stolgitis and Judge Ralph saw Breeze motionless and called back. Before Hughes and Judge Malone arrived, Breeze corrected, no game seen or heard and Stolgitis moved on.

Moments later Breeze was again posed up and motionless across the trail behind them. Again the forward party called back but to no response. Again Breeze moved on and this time was taken up and held for Hughes. Despite the conditions Izzy was doing a nice job on the ground, driving hard and laying out to the front nicely. She had an unproductive at 35, then a dandy grouse find at 40, everything done with style and perfect manners. She worked hard down the stretch, finished strong and forward and was carried as runner-up for a spell.

Day No. 3 began crisp and sunny, temperatures in the mid 40s to begin. Double Deuce Megan (Hughes) and Grouse Hill Annie (Stolgitis), both pointer females, were up first on Lonesome Ridge. Megan was fancy and hunted well though at moderate range. Barren stands at 15 and 30 had her on the leash. Annie was wide but showing periodically the first half, then was lost to judgment at 32.

Stokely’s Willie B (Bly), setter dog, and Suemac’s Sashay (Hughes), pointer female, were up next on Deer Mountain. Willie B was all bird dog. He posed up near the trail at 10 and looked good. A grouse blew out behind him, then another in front of him and his manners true. Willie had an easy way of going and hunted his way around the course at good range. His bell fell silent at 58 and it was six minutes until he was actually located in the cover. Nothing flew, but relocated he worked carefully and stopped again about 30 yards from the original stand. A grouse boiled out from a nearby knoll and Willie stood firm at the flush and shot; a nice piece of work. Sashay was very pretty to watch, drove hard and hunted at medium range. She worked well the entire hour but had no contacts.

Phillips Moon Light (Hughes), setter female, and Wynot Atom (Stolgitis), pointer dog, were up next. The judges reported Light with a very good race, flowing forward at good range and easy handling. Atom had a nice race as well, also working the cover well, but lacked some punch as hard. Both went the distance and neither had any contacts with game, though not for lack of effort.

No. 16 featured last year’s champion, setter female Long Gone Mersadies (Hughes), and the winner from the year before in 2017, pointer male Daddy’s Little Boy Butch (Stolgitis). Both dogs impressed with drive and style. Mersadies was a bit inconsistent the first half and showed from the rear a time or two. She went deep into the swamp near the half, was searched for unsuccessfully but showed after a 12-minute absence. Butch then tagged a grouse with great style and perfect manners at 35. Both dogs drove hard the second half. Butch was particularly powerful even in the thickest cover. He came from behind once and from the side once but was generally forward and rangy. Both dogs finished strong and forward.

Setters Long Gone Juicy (Hughes) and Stokely’s B Ricky (Bly) set out well and hunted hard. They both looked good on a shared grouse find at 14. Juicy then had a nice grouse find at 35 where she had the bird located right and her manners were perfect. Both dogs continued to work hard down the stretch and, in a remarkable act of sportsmanship, Bly took Ricky up at 55 so as not to hamper Juicy’s bid. Juicy finished strong and her performance challenged the winners.

Pointers Wild Apple Calvados (Doherty) and Spring Brook Maximus (Stolgitis). There was some tonguing toward the beginning by Calvados but not for long and it only detracted slightly. Both dogs moved well and stayed in touch. Maximus had a nice woodcock find at 20 and though he was doing a pretty fair job Stolgitis felt that he was not challenging some of the other dogs he had finished himself and picked up at 38. Calvados was taken up early too for largely the same reasons.

Berlin, N. H., September 23

Judges: John Malone and Brian Ralph

NEW ENGLAND OPEN GROUSE CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 36 Entries

Winner—DOUBLE DEUCE MOLLY, 1642562, pointer female, by Cover Charge—Double Deuce Casey. Douglas E. McMillen, Jr., owner; Dave Hughes, handler.

Runner-Up–DADDY’S LITTLE BOY BUTCH, 1655649, pointer male, by Chasehill Little Bud—Richfield Stella. Paul & Maria Scott, owners; John Stolgitis, handler.

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