Monday, February 6, 2012

Bunny Hunt at Brandon's

On the Sunday after the falconry meet, we routed our way home to so I could meet up with Brandon at his home and let him see the girls hunt.  He promised bunnies at his place, wild ones (he has domesticated ones as well) . . . and he was good to his promise.  Both girls had good flights and put a bunny each into the bag.  I'll return here soon to finish this story.  Some of these pictures were taken by one of Brandon's four daughters, his second oldest, Ayla.  I'll indicate which ones as we go through this.  Thanks for letting me use them Ayla!

(Seriously . . . I have taken just too long to get back to this post, so finally on a terribly early Sunday morning ~5AM~ I'm awake, so will finish this up.)
Just behind Brandon's house is a perfect "rabbitat" area.  There are piles of branches and wood, and extensive burdock growth, and briar.  The rabbits seem to appreciate the proper environment and have moved in.  There was sign everywhere of their presence (bunny poop, tracks) as well as Brandon's report of having seen them extensively.  Well, we moved into the patch, after putting the chickens away . . . I'm sure Sassy would have just as happily had chicken for dinner.  We didn't have to work the area very hard before our first flush, but Sassy was not well placed so missed it.  Also, she is not a red tail, so does not crash the brush hard.  She's also an older bird, so perhaps wiser, or maybe just not at a really sharp weight so doesn't try as hard as she would if she was more hungry.
It didn't take long before we were moving other bunnies.  A bit of a chase ensued, before one was flushed down the hill, and caught just before it almost escaped into another pile.  It was a pretty big bunny, and Sassy was all ready to tuck into it, when I traded her off for a smaller snack.
After her snack she looked back up at me wondering where that huge bunny had gone.  She was sure she had a much larger meal.  This girl is no dummy!
This is one of Ayla's pictures above.  That's her on the far right below in our after hunt pose.  Her big sister Alexis is to her right.  They were great bunny flushers.  You too Brandon!
Next it was Hit Girl's turn.  For her we moved further away from the house, and almost immediately encountered squirrels . . . lots of them!  Ayla caught this moving picture below of Hit Girl flying between trees.
We moved those tree rats around, but just didn't corner one well enough to catch it.  Also, as we moved we kicked up rabbits, and the hawks prefer those easier rabbits as they don't fight back too much.  Squirrels can be tough customer's when it comes to defending their lives.
The video above catches the action of the final bunny flush.  Ayla then got a lot of extensive kill and eating shots . . . which her dad later posted to his Facebook page, much to the disgust of some of his friends and relatives.  Ayla was fascinated!  So was Brandon.  His family lives pretty close to the land, raising their own meat, and hunting deer.  His girls are getting to grow up wise to these ways.  It's a good way to grow up!  Good job Brandon . . . and to your wife, Elizabeth too.
I'm pretty certain I'll be going out hunting with him again, at least one more time this year.  He is very interested in falconry, so seems to want to stay in touch.  I enjoy meeting people, sharing my passion, and also finding friends who would like to share this experience with Rich and I.  The more the merrier!!

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