In case no one has heard me bitch yet this year about this . . . I am so sick of deep snow!!
I have been doing what I'm supposed to be doing . . . getting out several times during the week to fly my bird. We have been focusing on small areas, farm yards, brushy spots along RR tracks, and today a nice place outside of Winona, where I work. This last week I've brought several people along for the experience. Bailey has flown nice, kept near me pretty good, had a few slips, but not nearly as many as I would like. I am constantly finding myself sunk into snow drifts up to my waist, stuck in brush and briar that I can't see under all the snow, tripping and crawling on my belly to try to get traction. It's very frustrating!
On Monday I took out a couple of young ladies who live in Rochester. Bailey had 4 good slips. He caught the first one . . . better than the 'tag' that I've been crediting him with most of this winter. He had this bunny and it was wailing. It had fled with the hawk hot on it's tail and squeezed between an outdoor kennel and a canvas hung to provide a wind break. It wailed for like 2 to 3 minutes as I struggled to get through the drift, as this was on a hillside. Just as I reached and went to grab, my traction below me gave out, and I fell. The bunny did a flip in reverse, twisted the hawk, hopped over him, and over my hand . . . . and gone gone gone!! It was the closest thing to a bunny in the bag this week.
On Tuesday we flew the field and farm of the man who owns the bowling alley that Rich has a men's league on Thursdays. We had about 4 slips there too . . . but it was a hard slog and dig . . . the bunnies are under some pretty heavy snow drifts. This man also has a 'bunny fortress' across the street . . . a huge brush pile the size of a couple houses. The tracks in the snow and the turds on the edges are just mocking . . . there is NO getting these bunnies out.
Today we flushed one rabbit for sure, just as we entered the field, after I managed to get Bailey to come away from the backyard where I heard quail putting up a fuss because of the hawk eying them. I'm glad he didn't try for any of them, though I'm pretty sure they were securely housed. He chased that bunny down the hill and under the RR bridge. Sometime shortly after that he disappeared again, and came back wet, with the water freezing on his feathers, and his bells silenced. I think he made a go again at a bunny, and missed hitting the creek.
The rest of the afternoon was spent struggling through deep snow, and finding nothing. We were followed into the field by Justin, who works at the hospital I work at. I believe he may become my first apprentice . . . . and he seems very appropriate for the sport. He is going to take his test next week . . . and I'm sure he will do fine! This summer he'll get his equipment put together. So, hopefully, next fall we can trap together. He has his home along the Mississippi river, close to it, so should be a good place for a bownet setup.
The hawking has pretty much sucked this year!! Rabbits are hard to find, and I'm tired of deep snow. I've been wanting to get a hawking dog . . . . and was looking at a pup at a shelter near here . . . . but I think now I will pass on the mini dachshund for now. Next year I need to make sure I trap a large female hawk. Maybe over the summer I'll raise up a Jack Russell Terrier. So many ideas to improve my hawking . . . . I hope for the best.