Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A New Hunting Spot

Today, the next to the last day for bunny and squirrel hunting in Minnesota, I scored a new hunting location!
Rich had a dentist appointment in Caledonia, and I wanted to fly my Girls, especially Hit Girl, one last time in my home state.  I do have a hunt permit for Wisconsin, and can continue to use that for an additional month if I wish, but very soon I expect to hang up the gauntlet for the year.  Hit Girl was at weight, so I geared up and took her along.  I dropped Rich off for his appointment, grabbed some coffee from Kwik Trip, then went driving, hoping maybe to find someplace new to hunt.  There is a woods in Caledonia, but I've hit that several times, and the squirrels are getting wise to our ways.  As I drove around in the areas just outside of the town I came upon a really nice, brushy woods next to a series of farm yards.  Looking at my plat book I saw the same last name repeated, so the area was owned by members of the same family.  I stopped at one house and talked to a nice young man who told me the woods were owned by his cousin, at the house down the street.  Stopping down the street and knocking at the door I didn't get a reply, but someone across the street yelled out "you gotta go around the other side".  I asked if he was the owner, and he said he was, so I explained who I was, and he gave me permission to fly the wood lot.  I returned to town to collect Richard, and then we headed back.
The location turned out to be PERFECT!!  Upon entering the field, in less than about 3 minutes, we had flushed a bunny . . . so there are rabbits!  I was concerned that maybe they may be absent as I did see a cat when we drove up.  Later I was also told that another friend of the family runs his beagles in the wood lot.  Well . . . they didn't get all the bunnies in there.  We did see a few squirrels, and Hit Girl got a few flights on them, but with very minimal leaf nests present, I think the tree rats have plenty of holes to duck into, so they were not easily caught.  We worked the lot for about 40 minutes, with a few bunny flushes, ending with a success.  This is bunny #4 for Hit Girl.  Along the way I also seem to have lost my very favorite leather leash from out of my pocket.  There is a tiny hole that it must have worked out of.  It has a hook on one end, and a small metal clamp on the other, which is usually open.  How it could have fallen out of my pocket and not been noticed . . . I don't know . . . but it has been with me for years, and I really liked it, and am going to miss it!
We walked back to the farm houses and thanked the land owners, Matt and Amy.  Matt called over and had Amy bring a couple of their daughters, the ones that were not in school today due to feeling a little sick, over to see the hawk.  Matt said I could come back . . . so I'll look forward to that opportunity next year.  You'll notice we are posed under one of those wonderful Barn Quilts, which grace their building.  I had this design on my earlier blog post about the Houston County Barn Quilts.  I think this next summer I should hunt out a few more of them, when the birds can not be flown, and I'm 'itchin to get out of the house.

As a side note, Sassy was flown a little later and in the park up town.  She really wasn't very motivated, as I've let her weight go up, and she also didn't seem to be very thrilled with the cold icy rain pellets that dominated the afternoon, so there was no success on the squirrels we saw.  No rabbits were flushed up town either . . . they have all found hiding spots for this late part of the winter.  She was fed up and taken home, and placed into her warm mews, and I then enjoyed a hot shower to get the cold outta my own bones.  We have a winter storm forecast, which may mostly miss us, but I'm still ready for spring to come.  It may mean the end of the falconry season, but I'm ready now.

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