Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hawkin Posse

Today I got out hawking with my former apprentice, Justin (on the right) and my current apprentice, Greg (on the left).  Justin is holding his new passage hawk for the season.  He (and his kids) have decided to call her Chomps.  She has been particularly destructive to her equipment.  Greg is holding his new (and first) passage hawk, Desperation.  They are calling her Desper.
We started the day by checking out a brushy spot I've seen, but not walked.  It turned out to be a no-go, as there was a substantial creek alongside it.  So we moved our posse off to my best hawking field, in Byron.  Justin and Chomps went first, and we hadn't been beating brush for much more than a couple minutes when she nailed her second bunny.  Justin indicates he had entered her to bunnies the previous day.  She is now on her way to a successful career as a falconry bird.  He says he has to be careful trading her off, as she is quite footy on her prize.
He told me today he will be going to Kansas in a couple weeks to hunt with Dave and his friends.  He'll probably enter her to jacks while there.  I'm sure it will be a great time.

After Chomps' success, I got Sassy out and beeped up.  It was a very high wind day, and she showed some signs of difficulty flying because of it.  She was also quite distracted by the mice and voles in the field, preferring to chase these, rather than the multiple bunnies we kicked up.  We continued down the field with her following mostly behind.  At one point, when she was ahead of me, I kicked up one rabbit which ran under and behind her.  She completely ignored it.  I looked at her demeanor, and noticed she was staring intently down to my left.  I walked forward slowly and kicked up a rabbit, which she had been watching, and she caught it before it could escape into a pile of rail road ties.  This was bunny #2 for her for the season.
We broke for some lunch, then relocated to an isolated and somewhat sheltered valley to fly the two new birds.  Even here the wind was quite brisk.  Greg flew Desper on the creance for a few flights.  Her response was OK, but then she looked longingly up into the trees, and headed for them.  Greg then pulled the lure for her, but she still is not tightly wed to it.  She would not fly free today, and needs a bit more work.  We then flew Wasp.  He did fly free, but doesn't follow tight, as he doesn't really have a clue about what we are doing.  Where we were at does not have any game to speak of.  I wanted to fly him in Byron, where there are many mice, but the high winds discouraged this.  After awhile I pulled the lure for him.  His response was also slow, though I know he has a good condition for it.  He is still too high.  Regardless, I cropped him up as well, as the following evening I let both Harris Hawks spend time on the "Getting to Know You" perch.
Justin and I posing with the birds that were successful today.  Sassy had thrown her hood while I was getting them out, so got an extra snack off her bunny she had caught.

It was a Great Day with a couple of Cool Guys . . . and some Wonderful Birds.

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