Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's a Sickness!

The passion for falconry can be like a sickness. It is a cliche, but it many times is true. I have been long from it, and I'm looking forward to wallowing in my obsession. All the necessary details are coming together. I have received in the mail my Texas license. Must say, things are done very differently here in Texas. My license is only good for one year. $120 and all they can give me is one year!! In Wisconsin it is renewed for a term of three years. Also, my falconry license does not also include my small game license, such as it does in Wisconsin. I asked my friend Sharon about New Mexico, and she told me squirrels and rabbits there are considered vermin, so you don't need a license to hunt them. I'll be forking over another $25 so I can pursue the appropriate game with my hawk. It is one of the two final details (OK, three) that I still need to do, but is just a matter of writing a check at my local Fish and Game office. I'll do that this next week, because I need the small game to trap. Not sure why the falconry license isn't good enough to trap . . . . but the letter that came with it specifically said I had to have the small game to trap. Oh, and I have to give a 'courtesy call' to the local offices to let them know I'll be trapping, and where. *SIGH* I'm not much impressed with the Texas bureaucracy!! The other details . . . . print off the Federal permits that I was able to get the office up in Minnesota to forward a copy of in an e-mail. I also need to buy my bait animal, a rat. I'll probably do that on Tuesday. Food for my soon to be searched hawk is on order and should arrive next week. Normally I am able to beg a few bunnies from my falconry friends if I found myself completely out of hawk food . . . . but I am far from them all, and all the stores I had were donated to a rehab organization. You have to have appropriate food on hand, and in the case of a raptor, appropriate is whole-body food. I have a bunch of rats that will arrive, already frozen, and a whole bunch of chicks. The place I'm ordering from had a sale. Feeding your hawk day-old chicks makes them have nice orange legs and ceres. I hope I have ordered enough to see us through until she is flying free and catching her own food. This morning I watched a video I had rented, as it was a short night for me, only 4 hours instead of the usual 12, so I was home by 11:30 instead of working all night. I worked on my hawk trap, my bal chatri, removing old and bent nooses, and tying on new ones into the blank spaces. That done, and the video done too, I was not quite ready for sleep. So, like the obsessed person I am, still in my sweats and nightshirt, I put a light sweater on, and decided to go drive around hawk watching. It was a nice, long and quiet drive around up north of Abilene in the mist. I saw about 9 hawks, maybe more, but they were all haggards. "Haggard" is the word we use to mean an older bird, beyond first year. We only trap first year birds . . . and there were none to be seen this morning. I also saw several kestrels, but I'm not trapping one of those. Because of the warmer climate down here, they probably bred much earlier than our birds up north, so their offspring would be quite independent of the adults . . . and by now have probably been encouraged to move on out of the adult's hunting territories. The migrants don't appear to be here as of yet . . . . but should be here soon. I've been keeping an eye out on the progress up at Duluth, Minnesota at one of the major flyways. The numbers of red tailed hawks going through that pinch point is starting to go up now, so the southward push is beginning now. Those Northern migrants should begin their Southward movement. I've been looking and discovered that there are four major flyways for migration. Abilene appears to be between two of them. The Dallas / Ft. Worth metroplex appears to be on the edge of one of them, and I know there are a whole lot more hawks in that area because I have seen them while driving around there. So, I have already decided that I will be traveling towards that direction, probably on back roads, and trap as I go. Rich will be here next week, so that sounds like a most appropriate activity for he and I while he is here. He fully supports and encourages my hawking activities. It's one of the qualities about him that I like so very much! It's a sickness . . . falconry! I hope to soon be completely overcome with the symptoms, as I search for and capture and begin training a new hunting companion.

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