Sunday, November 25, 2012

NAFA Field Meet Day #3 (for us) Thursday Nov. 22

Falconry wise, Thursday was a wash . . . . and frankly, I was pretty pissy about it.  Both of my girls were 'bowling balls' . . . . way too overweight, and there were 40 mph winds that it just was not a good day for them.  However, we were able to make up for it due to others at the meet who did have animals (dogs and birds) that could be hunted.  We had a window of opportunity in the morning before the noon Thanksgiving meal (ya, it was Thanksgiving).  I had tickets for Rich and I so at least we would have a feast since I pulled him away from home and his family who always have a big get-together for the holidays.  While my birds observed a 'religious hawk holiday' ~ weathering and NO SOUP FOR THEM, we went to be flushers, or at least observers for others.

We did manage to get invited to join a team of lurchers.  A lurcher, per Wikipedia, and also an older falconer that I asked, is usually a cross-breed between some kind of a sight hound, and another dog, possibly terrier, possibly herder, to produce a dog with excellent speed used to run down prey.  The two lurchers we got to watch, along with a little terrier named 'Sniff', worked the brush and did kick up a couple bunnies.  Near the end of the time we were with them they did catch two bunnies, but not in an all out run.  We missed that because we left early!  We discovered that we had a flat tire, so we broke away from the group for Rich to change over to my spare.  Fortunately for us (unfortunately for the employees) the local Wal-Mart was open, and we were able to get our tire repaired.  Also, we needed more batteries as everything we had was dead . . . so no pictures of the lurchers or Sniff.  Ah well! 
Later that afternoon I overheard a falconer was going out with his Goshawk.  I quickly asked and was given permission to join them.  It turned out to be a pretty large party come to see 'Hannah' catch a rabbit and make a good attempt at several others.  Her falconer is Paul Domski from New Mexico.  He makes hawk hoods.  I purchased one from him a few years ago for my passage Harris Hawk.  He also has a lurcher who helps out with the hunt, but I did not ask the dog's name.   
The Gos was really nice to see!  I don't often get to see flights with other kinds of birds other than Red Tails and Harris Hawks.  They are very quick off the fist, and can fly down just about anything. 
Here she is with her bunny catch.
The lurcher silhouetted by the setting sun.
I did catch up with Dave on this day, but only for awhile as he again headed out to Kansas to chase jack rabbits, of which he and his friend brought a fair number to the bag.  His Red Tail this year, trapped last year, is Hawquila.  She flies at 1480!!  That's HUGE!  Hit Girl flies around 1300 give or take, and she's considered a big girl.  Hawquila is a MONSTER!!  Dave says she wraps up jackrabbits just like they were cottontails.  She's practically a small eagle! 
A nice picture of her looking like a Golden Eagle!
We also saw Jeff Redig from the Minnesota Club.  He posed with 'Mikey', his Sharpshin.  That is, I think it is a Sharpie.  Maybe a Coops.  How about it Jeff?  If you see this, let me know. 
We went back to our hotel after it got dark, and chose to not go to the social.  I wanted an early start on Friday, the last day of the meet.  My girls had some ground to make up for . . . and I was determined to take home more than just one Nebraska bunny.

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