Lets here some good dog stories as well.
Can we attach pictures in this forum now?
You cannot have a dog of leash on any public land in northern WI after April 30. Some guys do run on woodcock in the spring,but for banding purposes. Not heard of that being done up here. Not heard a single drum around my house. Nor,a gobble! 2 days ago talking to my neighbor. He said all his turkeys in the bird feeder have been gone since the last big snow. Another big flock normally roosts about 1/4 mile behind my house. Sittng on my back porch for the first hour of daylight every morning. Hear only song birds, and woodpeckers. Still cannot get in the woods to open up my bear baits. Should be able to next week!
I went with a friend today on a drumming survey. He has been running this same transect for over 20 years. You make 10 stops 1 mile apart and listen for 4 minutes at each stop. We heard 8 drumming birds and 15 gobbles. Last year his numbers were 9 & 17. Oneida County.
National forest included. But I would ask you look at the bigger picture. If you are running your dog in areas where any type of bird is nesting, it is generally speaking a bad idea. Some birds, and I think woodcock and grouse fall into this, if they are pushed off the nest, they don't come back and you killed that potential clutch. I run my dogs year round in a CRP type park near my house. Except spring - then I hold off and run them on the road, or not at all. I have an area where the woodcock males do their singing type dance and it is great to see, but once they are a few weeks in, I back off and stay out of there. They way I look at it, the little extra training for my dogs is not worth the idea of potentially ruining the hatching of the birds. I would suggest you work your dogs while the Woodcock are on their way back north, but as soon as you see signs of nesting, back off and stay out of the woods for about 2 mo. That is what I do. Unless of course you become a bander. Something I will do when I have more free time in retirement - but right now can't between work and kids.