Wednesday, August 3, 2016

High Ground

I have been wanting to secure a new location to set up a bow netting trap station.  In years past I have mostly done road trapping, and it is something that I enjoy very much, and I'm pretty good at.  However, the biggest and most aggressive hawks can be better trapped while they soar, down the Mississippi flyway, following the river, and using the bluffs to give them lift.  Road-trapped hawks are usually searching for mice in the grass, hence they are perched along the roadside.  Now, while this does not preclude them from becoming great squirrel hawks, those birds which naturally keep to the woods and hills tend to be more suited for squirrels.  These birds can be "fished" from the sky using a bow net trapping setup.

Bow netting takes a lot more preparation and equipment.  You also have to get land access.  I've wanted to secure a site along the river, and recently a situation presented itself.  I found out a co-worker of mine owns a large tract of land with her husband near the Zumbro Bottoms State Park, which now that I have measured it, is about 10 miles from the Mississippi "as the crow flies", and due South of Lake Pepin.  It is cleared off and flat on the top of the bluff, where some farming is taking place, corn and alfalfa.  These clips are not the best to give perspective, but from the vantage point, looking North and North-East, and especially the second one, you can see for miles, to include several bluffs in the distance.  Behind the direction I am filming is a tree line or down slope, where a blind can easily blend into the background.  This is a pretty good setup to attract migrating hawks from a long distance.

Go full screen for the best image.

A pretty handy elevation tool I found on the Internet reveals the place I have selected to be 1060 feet in elevation.  The surrounding hills go as high as 1100 to 1150 feet.  This still affords a pretty good view, and an excellent place to go hawk fishing,

I will have to dust off my bow netting gear, and maybe buy some new things (maybe I'll treat myself to a brand new bow net) and fashion a few supplies that have gone wandering away from my hawking gear.

I would like to try to snag a monster red tail for this next season, and I'd like to get one that I could keep for a few seasons.  I've got a couple of apprentices that might be able to help me man the station, and they both need a bird this year as well.

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