Friday, October 30, 2009

Log Day 44

Not much to report today. She was at 1070 grams when I weighed her around six. Went and drove around a little bit, half way looking for birds, but didn't come up with any. That was just as well, b/c I don't think I would have had any type of good response out of her. Went down to the expo center, b/c they are having some big horse show or something, and there where a lot of people and cars. Went to a grassy strip in the middle of the parking lot, and did a call down to the lure. I traded her off to a huge portion (like 50 grams) on the lure, and then I hopped her to the fist for a couple tid bits. She ignored the cars, and did well. I'm probably going to fly for a little bit tonight to work some weight off of her, but am going to feed her a pretty small ration tonight. That should put her pretty keen for Saturday's hunt.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Double Digits!!!!! (Log Day 43)

I'm so proud of my lil girl! She's making me look like I actually know what I'm doing......got you all fooled!!!!!! I got an e-mail from Lindz in the afternoon, telling me that she was going down to Bartlesville to hangout with Katie and the girls, and that I should join her on the drive down there. Sounded like good times to me, so I ducked out of work around 4:00 PM, and we pulled into B-ville around 5. Kent's job got in the way of good times again (don't they know Hawkin is more important!?!?!?!), so I was roling solo for this session. The wind was kickin it pretty darn hard out of the South when I got there, so after getting her weighed (1042 grams) and beeped up, we started heading South toward the road. She did exactly what I was hoping, and as soon as she felt that wind hitting her chest, she spread her wings, and swung straight up in the air about a hundred feet or so (I LOVE soar hawking!!!!). She set her wings right above me, and followed along perfectly, as I wove my way through the cedars and brush, trying to kick up a rabbit. Flushed out a barn owl from one of the cedars, which was neat to see. I havn't ever kicked one up while out in the field, so she was neat to watch fly away. After about 20 min or so of no bunnies, Dee Dee decided she was done flying, and coasted down to the top of a cedar above my head, which was right next to the road that runs along the south side of the field. We have been kicking up quite a few rabbits in this area, but they where not as plentiful yesterday as they had been (I think it has to do with all the leaves falling off of the bushs, and them just not feeling as secure there anymore). Got a couple flushs in short order though, One of which she put a half-@$$ed attempt on, and the other one she ALMOST nabbed before it made it's hole. Kicked around for a little bit longer, and after a dry spell of five or ten minutes, managed to get one moving. It headed out through a small clearing in the brush, and was hastily heading toward a bush on the other side. Dee Dee had taken a REALLY high perch in a tree a little bit away, so she had a pretty long approach, which had her closing in on the rabbit right as it made the cover. I didn't think she had a chance of nabbing this one, but as she crashed into the bush, I hear a squeel! I rush over there to help out, and find Dee all twisted up in the bush, with only one foot holding onto the back end of the rabbit! The rabbit is screaming, and kicking everywhere, and doing it's best to try and run the other direction, and I start crawling underneither so that I can secure the rabbit. It's just too thick to get into, so I end up reaching through the bush, and pushing the front end of the rabbit back toward Dee. She was pleased with this, and shot her other foot out, and secured the rabbit's head in her grasp. I then go around to the other side, and have to crawl under the bush from behind her. Her tail is facing her head, one wing is shooting out the side, while the other one was pinted straight back....to say she was all tangled up would be a pretty big understatment. After unwinding her for a minute, and still not being able to get her out, I end up having to reach in underneither Dee, grab ahold of the rabbit, and then pull them both out backwards. She DID NOT like this approach, and got pretty pissy for a minute, but calmed down eventually. Unlike the trade off on number nine which was great, this one was pretty bad (though not as bad as Woodward...there will NEVER be a trade as bad as Woodward!!!!).
I can attribute it to two things...one was all the comotion and what not that it took to get them out of the bush, and the other has to do with the amount of food I had on the lure. I keep jumping the gun on things, and I was wanting to leave the option open to try for a double, but being that she had only traded off to this lure three times now, the piece just wasn't big enough (i don't think). In her eyes, the trade was not fair, so she didn't want to go for it. After a bit, I finally got her traded off, and she was out of sorts for a good minute. By this point I was like....well, i already made her mad...what's done is done....may as well try to kick up more rabbits, so that she can maybe score a second, and then she will have a better idea of why she didn't get much on the trade (not that she thinks this way....just my thought process). So I get her back up in a tree, and we start heading back across the field toward "the rose bush." The wind had switched directions AND had picked up intesity, and it was now howling in out of the east. It's starting to get later in the evening, so I was wanting to get there pretty quickly, but there are a lot of briar patchs between the road and "the bush", and I kept kicking up rabbits on the way. She made three or four really nice chases by the time we made it to our destination, but didn't connect on any of them.....I think if she hadn't been flying into the wind on most of those slips, she maybe could have grabbed one. Beat around "the bush" for a minute without any flushs, so I decided to head toward the road that runs along the east side of the field with the hopes of kicking up one more before it got completely dark, and if not, I would fly her a long way directly into the wind for the rabbit lure for a little bit extra exercise. Kicked one up that bailed out into the open field, which I think she could have caught, but she refused it. I think it was just getting too dark, so I ran her on the lure, and she was breathing REALLY hard by the time she caught up to it. Traded her off to a front rabbit leg on the lure, and then jumped her to the fist for a back leg. Had a nice meal with Lindz and the girls afterwards, and then we headed back to T-town. Weighed her around 11:30 PM, and she was at 1150 grams. I have decided that I need to take a step back as far as the trade off goes, so I'm probably not going to fly tonight, and give her a BIG feed on the lure (enough where she won't eat on Friday), which should set us up for a very nice session, and a good trade off on Saturday. We shall see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Log Day 42

I need to listen to Ryan better...........period. That is all......WHAT!?! I don't have anything else to say! Stop reading........











Alright fine, I will let you know why. I'm pretty thick headed, so it sometimes takes me a minute to convert information that "I know," to information that "I do". Ryan has tried to engrain it into my brain that, just because a bird "weighs in" at a certain weight, does not mean she is "actually" at that weight. If I feed her up an oz higher for a day, she isn't actually an oz higher...it takes time for that food to be converted into actual body mass, and one can't judge any type of response at that weight until the bird has been there for a few days and ACTUALLY becomes that weight. I know this....it's one of those Duh things, but like anything else, I have to experience it, before it actually gets set into my brain. Dee Dee was at 1025 grams when we caught rabbit number 8. She hadn't cast before that, but I knew that I hadn't given her hardly any casting material, so that weight was probably about spot on (minus a gram or two). The next day, she "weighed" 1067 gram and still hadn't cast, and knowing that she had been given a TON of casting material from rabbit number 8, should have realized that she was actually between 1040 and 1050 grams. Took her out, had the best session thus far concerning focus, intensity in flights, etc, etc, (which makes sense, b/c 1040/1050 is around the weight range she has been catching the majority of the recent bunnies). Anyways, I concluded that 1070 range was her "new" hunting weight area, and I was going to keep pushing it up until she started dicking off. I fed her another big meal (that's two days in a row now...so it's gonna start sticking), and after she cast yesterday afternoon, she was at 1064 grams when I weighed her at 4:30 PM. Got her in the GH, and she started chirping as soon as we started driving down the road and i cranked the tunes up (I think she has connected the groovy vibes on the way to the field as part of her pre-hunt routine just like the hooding/weighing thing...which got her talkin). Anyways, day two in a row for talkin pre-hunt, and she was supposedly 4 grams lighter than she was the day before, so I was expecting perfection. In all actuality, she was probably about 20 grams heavier than yesterday, and about 15 grams higher than I have ever flown her at. It DEF showed in the field. She had a lack of focus, her following was still good, but she was def further away then she usually is, and she was all about self hunting rats. She would come from a mile away for an easy tid bit on the glove, but had no desire to put forth any energy actually hunting. Luckily, she didn't catch any of the rats (b/c she just wasn't trying that hard), so hopefully the behavior wasn't enforced. The whole situation was probably made worse by the fact that I didn't kick up A SINGLE FREAKIN RABBIT THE WHOLE SESSION!!!! Had that happened, I may have been able to get some of the focus back on me, but the combo of no flushs plus higher weight equated to a self hunting bird that was screwing off. That is one thing that puzzles me though....went to the field by the train tracks, where I had kicked up 6 or 7 rabbits the day before, yet yesterday, I saw nothing. The temps where the same, I was only flying about an hour early than the day before....but nothing. The only difference is that it rained yesterday morning, so the ground was soft, but the grass wasn't "wet", so I don't see that keeping the rabbits holed up. I don't know...it was just an over all bummer day yesterday (did I mention I got pulled over at lunch for my expired tag, and the jerk wrote me a ticket for that, one for my insurance (b/c I had left the updated copy at home, and only had the copy that expired a month earlier in the car...come on...just freakin call them and they will tell you it's current, AND it seems my drivers liscense had expire FIVE DAYS AGO, so the dude wrote me up for that too.........three freakin tickets! Sure, my car can get broken into five times while at work, and they can't seem to do anything about that, but lets go ahead and pull me over for expired tags and write the law abiding citizen three tickets......screw cops!!!!!!!!!! That made me late on my lunch break, so I wasn't able to check out that new field I had been given the heads up on, so I didn't fly it yesterday (b/c I always like to do pre-game before I take the bird there....), I probably would have kicked up a thousand rabbits there, and then Dee would have had some focus and maybe had tried some..........GOSH yesterday sucked! It's all the cops fault! So the moral of the rant....listen to Ryan, he is smarter than I am, update your tags cause the cops are trying to make their quota for the month, and don't fly fat hawks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Log Day 41 Rabbit # 9


Her weight is going up, and she just keeps getting better and better! Got home around five, and had a phone call from my good hawkin buddy Jonathan. We where discussing the game plan for the morning, with the goal of scoring rabbit #2 for him and his girl, and what does he hear in the midst of our conversation???? Chirp...chirp chirp chirp....chirp chirp chirp! I'm like, "what the heck is she talkin for????" Up until yesterday, my lil girl had been pretty much silent. Jonathan said she was tellin me she was ready to go hunting, which in hind sight, sorta made sense. I have a routine. Get home from work, rush around getting all my gear ready, hood her up, stick her on the scale, and off we go hunting. It makes sense that she has picked up on this routine, and got all geeked out when she got hooded (it's time to go kill something!!!!!). She WOULD NOT sit still on the scale, and prefered to just turn in circles, rouse, lift legs....do whatever it takes to NOT get a good reading. Eventually she calmed down, and she topped out at 1067 grams. This was DEF heavier than I had ever flown her at, but she seemed psyched for the session, so off we went. I decided to hit the field that I had found by the train tracks, and after getting really irritated by the fact that my five minute drive to the field is now 15-20 minutes (b/c of all the stupid construction), I arrive to find out that the one night of freezing temps had done WONDERS for my field. The underbrush was def less dense, and what I had "thought" would be just an alright field, had transformed into very nice lookin rabbitat. Crossed the tracks (after looking both ways of course), and entered the field. Beeped her up, and took all her gear off, and she immediately flew up to a tree (incase I havn't discussed this....Dee Dee prefers to chill on my fist, and only goes up to trees when I start bouncing her around everywhere on my glove, whack her in the face with bushes, etc, etc...and she gets tired of the irritants.) Anyways, headed straight for a tree, and then turned and looked at me like "come on dude...I'm waiting" (though animals don't think like that, i'm personifying her behavior for all of you "visual" readers, who picture what's going on in their heads like I do). Anyways, that was a good sign to me that she was ready to go, so I start hitting the bushes that run along the tracks. I kick up a rabbit in short order, and she flies off after it putting in a really nice chase, but ultimately pulls up and lands in a tree. I hear the rabbit take off through one of the more "denser" sections, so I start kicking around in there hoping for a reflush. I get it moving, and start yelling HO, when a hag comes out of no where and slams her off the tree branch. She starts yelling (which is now the second time I have heard her speak), and takes off after it, and makes three or four stoops on it, before she is satisfied, and then returns to the tree above me. With that out of her system, it's time to get serious on this hunting game again. I start pushing through the thick section again, and I kick up another rabbit pretty quickly. That one bails out into the open field that runs along the "rabbitat", and I'm thinking that one is dead for sure. Unfortunately for Dee Dee, this rabbit had ninja moves, and put the jukes to her, and left her on the ground footing grass. Got her back up into the tree, and I kick up another rabbit, but she refused it. I stood there for a moment or two to let her collect herself, and then I started kicking around a briar patch that was just to the south of the tree she was in. Kick up another rabbit, and she ALMOST snags this one, but comes up with a foot full of fur. Back to the tree she goes, and I kick out another rabbit, which she chases HARD for about three hundred yards. At the end of the flight, she sorta does a two twist cork screw straight up into the air, then (continueing with the rotation), does a SICK wing over (with an extra twist...we are up to like 4 or 5 three sixties by now) and starts drilling straight for the ground. At the last moment, she pulls up and lands on a branch about ten feet in the air, and is looking straight down. I run over there, and there is a sheet of metal laying on the ground. I hit it with my stick, and the rabbit pops out for a moment, and then tries to bail back under it. Unfortunately for the rabbit, I was now standing on top of the metal, and his fat @$$ wouldn't fit back under it, so he takes off in the other direction. Bad move, cause as soon as he bailed out the first time, Dee Dee was already on her way. She goes over my head MAYBE six inchs above me (but it felt like she was brushing my hair the whole time), and slams the rabbit about three feet infront of me. They do a summer sault (sp?) and land in the little creek that is next to me. I step over, and grab them out of the creek (she was holding it's head under the water), and stick them on dry land, where I quickly dispatch our furry friend. The trade off was EXCELLENT, and she ended up getting a front rabbit leg on the lure, and then I hopped her to the fist for another front leg, and a back one. I, of course, can't manage to leave the field with all of my gear as usual, so will be returning this afternoon to get my flushing stick and lure (shut up I know!). Luckily, this catch was in a very obvious area, so I won't have any troubles finding them. Total, I kicked up 6 or 7 rabbits the whole session (I left some of them out of the story obviously), and she ended up scoring within about fifteen minutes of being in the field. Got home, and she weighed in at 1150 grams, which is perfect, b/c it should put us another 10 grams higher for our session tonight. I'm going to keep pushing her up, until she starts screwing around. It was raining this morning, so no session was to be had with Jonathan, but hopefully he will be down to join us for our session after work. He went and checked out a new field yesterday afternoon, and said the rabbits where poppin everywhere! I also, was given a heads up on a new field, so will probably try and hit that one up this afternoon. This pleases me, b/c I now have AT LEAST three good fields that I can contribute to "the cause." Not that Jonathan insinuated in any way that I was stepping on his fields or anything, it's just nice to be able to contribute ya know. So game plan....get my stuff at lunch from the "train field", finish out my Tuesday work day, and then see if Dee Dee can get into the double digits catagory!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great weekend!


Had good weather for hawkin all three days, caught rabbit's # 7 and 8, Jonathan scored his first rabbit with his new bird, and boulder fest 2009 occured! (Day 38) Friday at 3:00 PM when I took my lunch break, Dee weighed in at 1039 grams. The work day finally drew to a close around five, and I headed out to the great expanse to meet up with Jonathan for a little bunny hawking. I beat him there by a little bit, so I started the session heading toward the front part, where there are a lot of briars for the bunnies to hide in. Didn't kick up any rabbits, but all it took was Jonathan showing up with his rabbit finding skills, and we started kicking them up in short order. We beat along a rose bush sorta near the road, and I guess we kicked a rabbit that quickly made cover, cause Dee Dee flew over, and landed on top of a tree just passed us. We walked over there, and started beating on that bush, and the rabbit shoots out the side, heading back toward the bush we had just been hitting. Dee Dee comes out of the tree really strong, and slams into the side of the briars. We hear a squeel, and run over, to find her holding the rabbit on top of it's hole. A split second later, and it would have made it to safty! She had a hind leg and it's head in one foot, making it twisted into a little ball, and the other foot has securly attached to the main body. We dispatched the rabbit in short order, and then had an alright trade off to her new lure. I fed her the head, and a front leg, and at 8:00 PM, she weighed in at 1114 grams. After the hunt, we went and checked out a different field, that we hadn't been to since last season. Managed to kick up a few bunnies, and I snapped off a few sunset pictures while I was at it. Field def has bunnies in it, so we will have to go fly it sometime soon. That night was the kick off to boulderfest, and we got the comp started off right! Lots of tasty beverages where consumed, and I met a gentleman named Sean Reed, who is falconer from Kansas. His daughter was competeing in the comp, and it was just crazy neat to meet a fellow hawker at a bouldering comp. Saturday (DAY 39) started off late for me. I was feeling pretty slow, due to the good times that where had the night before, so I didn't end up making it back out to the comp till around eleven o'clock or so. This was a big time bummer, b/c I missed out on an incredible hawking session at "the expanse." Jonathan's new bird scored her FIRST RABBIT!!!! Apparently, it was a pretty sweet flight along the side of the road, and she just drilled it into the ground! He got a lot of pictures, so I will post those as soon as he shares them with me. His bird has REALLY turned it on now, and flies with an intensity that I wish Dee Dee had. Even when she is flying from tree to tree, she does it at a speed that looks to me like she was flying on a rabbit. It's nuts how many times I say "here she goes!!" thinking she is after something, when she is just changing perchs. Anyways, spent the afternoon at the bouldering comp, and had a freaking GREAT time. Ryan C swung through on his way to Stillwater to drop a GH off, and we got to do a little bit of chillin there, and we exchanged some recent hawkin stories for a bit. 6:00 PM hit, and it was time to do some flyin. She weighed in at 1030 grams, and I had high hopes for a sweet session. Went to a new spot, that is located behind some industrail areas, and was able to kick up a few rabbits. There are a lot of trucks parked back there, old machinery, and a lot of parking lots, that are split up by grassy stretchs. Kicked around in there for a bit, but she just couldn't seem to connect on any of the slips that I put under her. Ended the session on the rabbit lure, and then she traded off well to the new lure. DAY 40. My phone died! I was pissed! I hadn't talked to Jonathan since he scored his first rabbit, but I new I had had a missed call from him early on Saturday morning, so I had a feeling that they had gotten one. I was thinkin that he would probably go out again to try and score a second in short order, so I weighed Dee Dee in at 11:30 AM (she weighed 1025 grams), and headed down to Jonathan's house, to see if he wanted to get a session going. Got to his house, but the Jimmy wasn't there. I was hoping he had maybe already headed to the field, so I drove on down to "The great expanse", but he wasn't there. I chilled around the car for a minute, hoping that he would show up pretty quickly, but after 10 or 15 minutes, I decided that I may as well fly. Got Dee Dee beeped up, and we started walking down the side road. I hit on the briar patch right by the parking lot, but didn't get a slip, so we continued down the road. The wind was coming out of the South, so I decided to walk the road all the way down, and then hit the field coming back North. I was getting toward the end, when I hear Jonathan's bird whistle, and am like "SWEET!" I do the typical Daniel, and toss my flushing stick in the excitement (come on...my hawkin buddy is here!!!! And it's not funny that I had JUST found it from when I lost it the other day either!) and call Dee Dee down before the chance of an altercation between the birds could occur. Stick her back in the car, and we head out into the field. This is the first time I have seen his bird fly since the rabbit, and it was so apparent how much more keyed in she was. We got six or seven slips for her, and she pumped those bunnies so hard it was rediculous! The last slip we got for her, she actually pulled some fur, so she was SOOOO close to doubling up those rabbits two days in a row it wasn't even funny. Had a lot of really nice flights out of her, and she def got a nice work out. After that, we headed to a different section of the field, and we pulled Dee Dee out. We started out kicking through a rose bush, that we had hit the time that Gary joined us for the session. Jonathan, with his Jedi rabbit tricks, kicked up a bunny within a minute or so of entering the field, and she flew over and landed right above him. A few seconds later, Jonathan got a reflush, and she dropped off the cedar, and hit the brush pretty hard. She came up empty footed, and took a new perch in a higher tree a little bit south of where she had been. I was beating on the other side of the rose bush, and managed to move one that took off toward the tree line. Dee Dee put a nice chase on this one, and just barely missed it, as it entered thick cover. We headed down the side of the hill, and I'm thinkin we kicked up another one while going through this section, but I don't really remember. Started heading in a more Southernly direction, when we decided to cut back North, through an open field that has a lot of dumped trash in it. We kicked around out there for a little bit, but didn't move any rabbits at first. As we where drawing to the end of a stretch of briars that run along the fence, Jonathan kicks up a rabbit that she comes at pretty hot, but it juked her with some moves, and she ended up on the ground footing the grass. We get her back up in a tree, and I start beating around the backside of the briar patch. Jonathan heads around the other side, and kicks up a very foolish bunny, that takes off across the open field. Dee Dee comes crashing in on it, and we hear the squeel of bunny number 8! Jonathan assists with the dispatch, and then we have an alright trade off (it was def better than the ones she has been doing...) to her new lure. I then hop her up to the fist for both back legs, and then I feed her some of the organs when we get back to the car. I hadn't given her a big feed up for a while, so I was pleased that she weighed in at 1141 grams when I stuck her on the scale at 7:30 that night (though had she been lower, I would have been able to do a feed up on the lure, to help strengthen her connection to it). Not thinking she will be at weight today, which is alright considering it's supposed to rain....but she hadn't cast yesterday, and that combined with all the stuff she got yesterday, may equal out to be a 30 or 40 grams casting....so who knows. She probably won't be though, and if the weather somehow pans out, maybe we can go score number two for Jonathan and his bird! That would be GOOD times!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Log Day 37

Dee Dee is being very resistant to becoming a bird hawk. I'm not helping either, being that the only days we car hawk are ones with breaks in bad weather, with NO quality slips available. She was a little bit lower than combat weight yesterday, so I was hoping to have a really good car hawking session. Headed down 71st to the new shopping center that they built right off the high way, hoping to find a pigeon or starling eating on some rubish left in the parkin lot. No birds where to be found, so we headed across the high way to the church that has been holding a bunch of pigeons. Again, no slips. Drive around in West Tulsa for a minute, and then we hit Southwest boulevard, and cruise around by all those industrial areas. Thousands of starlings are up on the wires, but the only ones flying down to the ground where back in the tank fields behind very high, and ominous looking fences. No luck there, so we cruise down Avery drive, and try around all of those industrial areas. Again, no slips, but I found a really nice lookin rabbit spot, that I'm going to kick around this weekend during boulderfest. Cruise around for another good bit, and then we decided to head to the soft ball diamonds in the back of Chandler Park (there are ALWAYS crows back there).....of course....nothing. So if your keeping track....that's again, another car hawking session with NO slips (good thing I don't have a Kestrel right!!?!?!??). Fed her a starling, and then gave her a quail breast and leg once we got home.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Log Day 36


Well, the cold front finally came through, but it brought with it a lot of rain. I'm hoping to catch a break in the weather today, and do a little car hawking, so I made her hit target weight yesterday at noon. I did this, so that I could feed her a little extra, and have 36 hours between feeds. Hopefully, that will make her a little more focused on food, and we can have a productive session today. So, yesterday at noon, she weighed 1028 grams. I did a hundred or so jump ups, for 95 grams of tidbits, and then stuck her outside to weather a little bit in the rain (gotta sharpen up those tallons!). For some reason, a starling decided to fly into my garage about this time, so I snatched him up, and will be giving Dee Dee fresh starling to end the session on (unless we catch something else that is!). Last night at 7:00 PM, she weighed in at 1095 grams....that should put her just about right!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Log Day 35 (6th Rabbit)


All photos from this log entry where shot by my beautiful wife! That's right...she came hawkin with me!!!! Now before anyone starts hollerin and what not....I didn't have my prego wife out running through the briars and beating brush....she just came along so she could see what I have been doing with all my free time, though I'm sure she would have flushed hundreds of bunnies had she tried ;-)! Anyways, headed out to Bartlesville after work, b/c the wife had been observing/helping out with KT's class, and was already out there and what not. Decided that a quick session was in order, and then a little grillen out wit Ryan and the girls afterwards. I was planning on meeting up with Kent and his Harris hawks, but we just ran out of time. Sooooo, we decided to go fly a new field yesterday, and it was not too shabby. Got Dee Dee beeped up, and she weighed in at 1036 grams, which meant we where in store for some great flights. Walked into the field, and Ryan kicked up a rabbit within a few seconds of being in the field. Dee came out of the tree really fast and crashed into the ground pretty darn hard, but for some reason, missed her mark. She flew back up into a tree, and we started kicking around somemore. I was pretty focused on the ground directly under my brush beating stick, so only just looked up as she left her perch, pumping really hard in the direction of some cedars that where to the south of us about 30 or 40 yards. She dissappeared from sight, and I hear what I believe to be the shortest squeel yet. I take off in her direction, and Ryan says he didn't hear a thing. I start looking around everywhere, but can't hear her bell or anything. I'm starting to think I'm going to have to go to the car and grab the receiver, when Ryan walks up to the area I'm looking in, and promptly finds her under a cedar, holding onto a struggling rabbit. Since he was already there and what not, he quickly dispatched the rabbit, and moved her out to a more open area. We had a less than stellar trade off, and so we decided to go with the "hold onto the rabbit, throw the tid bits to the side" thing, and it worked in the end. Since we had only been in the field for about five minutes, and I was hoping to get a nice warm bunny for Kent's your Harris to feast on, we decided to try for a double. She sulked for a minute or two up in a tree, so we gave her a little time and some space, and then she got her head back into the game. We ended up kicking up another couple rabbits, and she chased them pretty hard. Unfortunately, we didn't snag a second, which would have been GREAT as far as showing her the name of the "new" game we where trying to play. She did a little bit of soaring above us (not nearly as high as she did at the OFA meet, but still soared), and was focused on our actions, and actively looking for the bunnies to jump out the sides. Again, didn't manage to get a slip under her to enforce that behavior, but I have a feeling it's just a matter of time. A few brews, some dank food, and some good times where had, and then we headed on home and called it a night. Ryan suggested that I don't try for another double for a minute, just until we get this trade off thing fixed. As always, that's good advice, and I will be doing just that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Log Day 34

Not much to post today. She didn't cast yesterday, and the temps being in the upper 70's, kept her from burning many calories. She was still at 1077 grams at 7:00 PM last night, so we did jump ups to the pole perch. I checked the weather, and fed her 25 grams accordingly, but it stayed 10 degrees warmer last night than they said it would, so she may just be too heavy tonight too (BALLS!!!!!). If so, then it's all about Maggie training tonight.....I'm getting tired of leaving her at home, and her energy level is at an ungodly amount right now. Need to get her into the field and hawkin ASAP, just for mine and Lindz' sanity.

Monday, October 19, 2009

OFA 2009 meet weekend! Rabbits Number 4 and 5


This was my first field meet to go to, and I had a GREAT time! Got to see a ton of friends, and made some new ones as well, and had the opportunity to scope out some of the fields we have access to fly on for the NAFA meet. Took Friday off (DAY 31), met at Kent's house, and where on our way by about 6:30AM. The drive was only about 4 hours or so, and we had the campsite set up, and where at the wildlife expo by around 12:30 or 1:00. Chilled there most of the afternoon, as more and more people started to show up, and just relaxed and chatted with people and friends. We finally broke away around five thirty or so, and headed out to a possible rabbit field near where Greg used to work. Since we where short on time, Heather and I decided to bring both birds into the field, and just hold one hooded, while the other flew...then switch. Well...the best laid plans and all that stuff, but it just didn't work out. We flew Heathers bird first (1X intermewed PMRT), and only managed to kick up one rabbit. He wasn't responding the way she would have liked, so she cut her session short, and it was my turn to fly. Dee Dee was at 1037 grams, and followed along alright (not the best though). After a few moves through the trees, and no rabbits kicked up, she takes off pumping hard at "something"....I start running that direction, and then I hear "THE girls" (Heather and Raegan) making some noise. Apparently, Dee Dee saw Heather's bird hooded on her fist, and thought he looked tasty. Apparently, she slammed him right off of her fist, and when I got there, had his head firmly in one foot, with her other tightly around his leg. It took a moment to break them up (and it would have taken longer, had Chris not stepped in and showed me the "proper" way to get things done). They decided to take the bird back to the car, so Kent, Ryan C, and I went to see if we could kick something up. No rabbits where to be found, so I decided to end the session on the lure. Now, it's a little known fact, but I can run with the speed and grace of a young gazzel, so I took off through the field dragging the lure at an ungodly speed. Dee Dee was coming in fast, and I glanced back to see where she was.....well, about that time, this stupid mound of sand reached up and grabbed my foot (that's right...it grabbed my foot...can you believe the nerve of that sand mound?!?!?!?), and I went head over heels roling on the ground. Too bad no one caught it on camera, cause it would have gone in the bloopers highlight reel for sure! Got back to the cars, had a good laugh at my expense, and then we headed back to the hotel for a little chillen. The ho bo juice was flowing like water, stories where shared, and good times where had by all. We where pretty tired by the time we made it back to the campsite, and I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Woke up the next moring (DAY 32) with a killer head ache....it was sorta a bummer. Kent and I went to the hotel, and we hopped in the car with Chris, Ryan C, and Puff Daddy (1st year male imprint kestrel), and we went looking for starlings. Puffy was pretty excited, but we only managed to find a couple slips (apparently, starlings out there enjoy sleeping in or what not), and he wasn't able to connect. Made it back to the hotel, and we met up with "THE girls", and we headed out to a lake around Ft. Supply. Kent had the honors this morning, so he beeped up his "old" harris, and we started kicking around for some bunnies. Made a pretty big loop throught he cover, but didn't manage to kick up ANY rabbits (at least, not that any of us saw...the cover is still pretty thick being that we havn't had a freeze yet). After a bit of brush beating, we head back to the cars, and are met by Glen and his sons, Rob R, Mitch, and his new apprentice Jake (good guy BTW...he is wanting to trap a kestrel!). Rob has a good buddy who lives out there and knows where a lot of potential fields are, so he gave us the heads up on some to check out. We split into a a couple groups..."THE girls", Glen and his crew, Kent, Chris, and Ryan C head off to "cooper" something or other to fly Kents young harris, while I jump in the car with Mitch and Jake, and we follow Rob and his buddy to go check some other fields out. Being that these guys fly Gos Hawks, some car slips HAD to be taken advantage of on the way, and I got to see a pretty sick flight....the gos bailed out FAST (this is the first time I've seen a gos fly, and it blew my mind)and threaded through the strands of a barb wire fence, almost connecting on the other side. Drove around and checked out some other fields, and then we went and hooked up with the other crew. Walked around with Mitch's gos for a minute, but didn't kick anything up, so we headed back to a section where they had kicked up some "meadow birds" while flying Kent's young bird. Got to see an INCREDIBLE flight on one of those, but it dumped into a hole under a cedar, and we weren't able to get a reflush. Headed back down to the cars, which where parked next to some junk piles, and we kicked up a rabbit out of there. The Gos should have had it, but I think his "A" game had been thrown off, due to all the travel and what not. Next, we got out Heather's bird, but he was being a lil $hit again, and didn't want to fly properly. Chased him around for a bit, but then we decided to call it a day at that spot (being that we only kicked up a little bit of game, and wanted to check out more spots). Heather has a dynamite little bird, and I'm thinkin she will have him back to hunting weight in short order....should be slaying bunnies again in no time! Side high light, Ryan flipped three coach whips under a water troff (sp????) that where AWSOME! The ones that I catch at "the honey hole" are the black ones, with the rose colored tails.....these three where super light colored. Apparently they where the typical color variation for this area so not as big of a deal to them, but I hadn't ever seen any that looked like these, so I thought they where pretty tight. Quick lunch at McDonnalds, and then we headed back to the expo to regroup, and Greg gave us the heads up on one of his old "honey holes" for rabbits. This place was GREAT, and had quite a few rabbits in it. It appeared to be a storage place for a bunch of old construction equipment and other stuff, and the ground was littered with tons of "rabbitat" forming junk. One cool thing, the field had a old crane right in the center of it, which created a really nice vantage point for the birds to sit on. Got Dee Dee weighed in (which apparently is weird....I guess people don't weigh their birds before the hunt...they just do it in the morning and go with it???? I don't know...I'm still getting her keyed in, so I'm gonna keep doing it...), and at 3:00 PM, she weighed in at 1026 grams. "THE girls", Chris, Ryan, Kent, Myself, and Dee Dee headed into the field and started kicking around, and after a short stay on a perch, she flew right up to the top of the crane (NICE perch!). So much happened this weekend, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I think we had one or two flushs pretty quickly....one of which was a Jack rabbit, but she was out of position. One of the rabbits that we kicked up ran under a pile of old telephone poles. Ryan and I started moving them around (well....we where trying to move them...I couldn't budge them cause I'm a lil weakling, but Ryan moved a few), but then hercules (Chris) comes in and starts making stuff happen. He starts tossing them around like they are match sticks, and gets part of the pile moved away in short order. The rabbit couldn't stand it anymore, and ends up bailing out of the pile. Dee Dee comes in hot, and they both go under a piece of equipment and then......SQUEEL!!!!! The video is pretty funny....we are all sorta standing there anxiously watching, and then as soon as that squeel happens, its like someone hit the play buttone, and every gets excited and starts running for it at the same time (I will have to post it if I can get a copy from Kent). I try to slide underneath the equipment to get to them, but the gap was just WAY too small. Chris says he can get to them from the other side, so I go around, and pull them both out. I'm all geeked, nervous, and what not, and end up popping the rabbit's head off while I'm dispatching it. I let her sit on it too long, and she started eating on the neck. The trade of was HORRIBLE, and I'm going to be paying for it for a while. The whole situation was bad, and had I not had all my friends around to take care of me, I think I would have lost my flushing stick, the lure, my glove, my bag....pretty much everything I came to the field with other than the bird. I really need to start calming down on these kills!!!! Afterwards, we pulled out Kent's "older" bird, and we get a bunch of slips for him, but with no connections. Kent decided that he needs to come down about ten grams or so, and that will hopefully motivate him to try a little bit harder. Head back to the hotel after a bit, and we introduced my bird to crows (she was at 1049 grams....I'm thinkin she is going to have to be lower in order to get her serious about car hawking. Consumed some pizza, and dranks some brews, and we called the day to a close. DAY 33 (Sunday).....it was CRAZY windy!!!!! Not really sure how strong it was blowing, but it was kickin full force. Gathered the crew, and we headed back out to the field we caught the rabbit in on Saturday. Heather didn't feel comfortable flying her bird in that much wind, and Kent wasn't up for it either, so I pulled Dee Dee out and beeped her up. At 8:30 Am, she weighed in at 1058 grams. We managed to kick up a couple rabbits, and she made a really nice attempt on one of them (almost catching it), but that was about it. She got a GREAT work out though, and was breathing really hard by the time i called her down to the fist to end the session. After that, we headed back out to the cooper whatever it's named area, and met up with the other crew (Mitch, Rob, Jake, etc), and tried to get some rabbits going for Mitch's Gos. We managed to kick up one that he chased pretty well, but it ended up pulling a houdini, and dissappeared for the reflush. The Gos ended up catching a house sparrow in a dump shot off the fist, and though I thought it was cool, wasn't anything to write home about as far as flights are concerned. We all loaded up, and headed off to a different spot, and we decided to fly my bird again. The wind was still howling, but I was hoping for a nice performance out of her (being that EVERYONE was there, and I had to make my sponsor look good and what not!). Well, as soon as she spread her wings, the wind pulled her straight up into the air. She doesn't flap or anything...just starts going straight up in little circles. I thinking OH $HIT she's gone!!!! She then finishs rising, and starts hovering over us, looking straight down VERY intently!!!! I'm like what??? She is focused and hunting. Everyone is beating the crap out of brush trying SO hard to get a rabbit moving (so that we can enforce her great behavior), but no luck. At one point, about half was through her "soar", she banked the other direction, and my heart almost stopped again. I'm thinkin "great, she was doing so well, but has now lost interest, and she is going to be off in another state in a heart beat!" She then turns back toward us, and starts hovering again (apparently, she was just adjusting her position or what not). After about five minutes of "Soar hawking", she decides to fly down and land in a tree.....and THEN we kick up a rabbit....DANG IT!!!! Call her down after a bit, and it's time to head on back home. We get back to Kent's house around 5:30 PM, so i decide that, since I'm passing the rabbit field and all, I may as well fly her for an hour before dark. I get there, get all my brush gear on, and beep her up. At 6:00 PM, she weighed in at 1038 grams. She flies up to one of the cedars directly north of the Parking lot, and a little bit west of "the" rose bush. I decided to head out West of the bush into the open field, where there is a clump of bushs that tends to have one rabbit slip in it. I start making my way that direction, and kick up a rabbit at my feet after being in the field about 30 seconds. She comes out of the tree pumping REALLY hard, and is about to crash the brush, when she pulls off, and uses her momentum to shoot her straight up in the air about 20 or 25 feet....she does about three hovering pumps with her wings, and then does a crazy wing over twist, and slams straight down into the ground and SQUEEL!!!!!!!! I could see the rabbit when she hit it, and she drilled it's head straight into the ground on impact. I run in there and dispatch the rabbit, and then I have an alright trade off to the lure. I then hop her up to the fist for a nice warm feist of two hind legs, and stick her back in her GH very pleased. Nothing compares to the first rabbit, but other than that, this was probably my favorite catch so far. The wing over was SO sick, and it was also neat b/c it was the first rabbit we have caught by ourselves. Though I wish we had had a few more slips, just so I could have done more hawking, it was neat that she slammed the first one I kicked up. She is starting to turn it on!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's the new brush pants baby! # 3

Ryan had an extra dog kennel laying around, and being that my car is always NASTY from Maggie after we go running, was kind enough to let me borrow it for a minute (have I mentioned lately how much of a gentleman he is?????). Soooooo, I headed down to Bartlesville after work to pick that up. Since I was making the journey and what not, we thought we may as well go flying, so that's just what we did. Got to the field, looking esp sexy with my NEW brush pants on :), and got her weighed in. At 5:30 PM (DAY 29), she weighed 1013 grams....a little bit lower than I would have liked, but over all, not too bad. Got the lure loaded, and Dee Dee beeped up, and we headed off into the field. Today was the day that she discovered wing overs!!!! The session started off slow, with Ryan kicking up a rabbit with Dee Dee out of position, and she ignored that, along with the reflush. After an attempt at a rat (I HATE ratting!), she finally decided that she would get her head in the game, and start paying attention to us. She got up in a tree above us, and made a REALLY nice attempt at a rabbit in the middle of one of the briar patchs. She made maybe two or three pumps out of the tree, and then tucked and SLAMMED the bush! It was really neat to see her figuring out the fundamentals of a good wing over. We still where not getting a lot of slips, and just for confidence sake, swung by "the" rose bush (where she keeps catchin her bunnies). Had another slip or two out of there, where she did some more nice wing overs and crashed the bushes....even with them still being SOOOO thick (b/c we havn't gotten our first freeze yet), she still managed to crash all the way to the ground on a couple of them. Didn't want to stay there very long (cause we don't want to make the rabbits leave), so we headed off east toward the main road. There is a batch of Brambles running along it, and we where hoping to kick some bunnies up from there. We start heading in that direction, and she flies up onto one of the big telephone pole over head. We kick around for a minute, and then she makes a pretty decent flight at a rabbit, but comes up empty footed. I hop her up to the fist, and continue walking toward the road/bushs, when I kick up a rabbit directly at my feet. She takes off after it from the fist, and follows it really well, with the rabbit doing it's best to dodge and manuever out of the way. She misses, and flies back up to a dif telephone pole. Ryan said that that was pretty good, b/c those where the types of flights that she would be getting this weekend in woodward....wide open, where the rabbits get away b/c of their "moves", as opposed to making cover. Anyways, kick around in the bushs somemore, but we don't manage to move around anymore rabbits. We decide to head off accross the field, and try and hit one of the bushs in the back that we hadn't hit since last season. We start walking, and Ryan was a little bit in front of me. He was holding the top of his stick, and I guess she assumed he was calling her over. Dee Dee flew over to his glove, and he makes a step or two.. About that time, a rabbit decides to bail about ten or fifteen yards in front of him, and she bails off of his fist pretty hot. She pumps toward it hard, and then slams into the brush. I wait for the squeel, but nothing. We meander towards her, and when we get to her, Ryan is is like "she got it!" I said no way, but then get closer, and sure enough, she has two feet holding it's head, and the rabbit is sorta curled up in a ball. I dispatch the rabbit, and we clip off a few pictures. I give her a moment to calm down and let her start plucking, and then I trade her off to the lure. I think I gave her a little TOO much time and she broke in a little bit more than I was wanting, cause she was sorta reluctant on the trade, but we managed. Hopped her up to the fist afterwards, and she feisted on warm front and rear legs, along with some organs. Got back to the car by dark, and after a few more pictures, stuck her in the GH and headed on home victorious. Put her on the scale at around 8:30 PM, and she weighed in at 1119 grams. Decided she needed a little bit more, so I fed her another 20 grams of rabbit, and then stuck her on her block for the night. This morning, she weighed in at 1087 grams, so I'm thinkin she should be good to go for our session tonight......Good times!!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Log 28

It was pretty darn rainy yesterday, so we didn't end up getting out to fly. This wasn't bad though, b/c she decided to have huge castings two days in a row (even though I didn't give her hardly any yesterday), so she was pretty darn low.....Lindz was nice enought to run by home depot for me during the day and pick up supplies, so I built her a T-perch when I got home from work. We just did an indoors session with that. I fed her 105 grams of rabbit meat, and am hoping for clear weather, and rabbit number three this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Log Day 27

Had the pleasure of Gary's company for our session last night. I was hoping for a stellar performance from my bird, and a nice bunny to end on, but this was not in the cards for us yesterday. We headed out to "the great expanse" around 4:30 PM, and met up with Jonathan. Like always, it had been raining all day yesterday, and we went flying during one of the brief lapses in rain. We where hoping that, since another storm was moving in, that the rabbits may be out foraging for a little bit of grub during this break in the weather, but this was just not the case. We flew Jonathan's bird first, and the session lasted for about 45 min or so. We started off the day at the "usual" spot that we hit, and didn't manage to see any bunnies. His bird seemed very focused, and was following along pretty well. After a bit, we decided to go back across the gravel road to the other side, and I managed to kick up a rabbit out of one of the briar patchs that ran along the road. The bird was in a bad position, and didn't even see the rabbit moving. Little more brush beating, and then we ended his session on the rabbit lure. His bird had great lure response, and traded off well. Next, it was my turn to fly. After a short scare involving me locking my keys in the car (don't ask), we finally got my bird beeped up, and we headed off toward a dif section of the field, that we had yet to fly. This section was a little bit more "heavily wooded" and we kicked up a rabbit it short order. It bailed for the dense section of cedars, and the bird didn't even chase it...just sorta flew over and landed on top of the trees. I kicked around in the cedars, and I guess managed to flush it out the back end, and Gary started yelling HO. Again, it headed toward a really thick section, and Dee Dee didn't even try for it. Got into a dry spell after that, and didn't kick up any rabbits for a good minute. Got one more flush later, but she was out of position, and we decided to hit one more briar patch before calling it a day. Kicked around in that for a while, and Gary moved one rabbit, but again...she didn't fly for it. We ended the session on the rabbit lure. One thing that I have noticed, is that as we are getting more successful (i.e. catching rabbits), her fist response is waning dramatically. She was doing ALRIGHT after the first rabbit, but there was a dramatic difference between Sunday's rabbit, and the session yesterday. She didn't seem interested in flying in for the easy tid bits, and her response to the fist was FAR from instant. I discussed this with Gary, and he thought that it had to do with the fact that we have now changed the "game" that we are playing, and this tends to be a common occurance in RTs. Initially, we where just flying through the trees for tidbits and what not, but now that she knows we are out hunting, she would much rather get a nice warm bunny, then waste her time flying down to me. This sorta makes sense, but is unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. We are going to do an indoor session tonight, and I'm going to introduce her to the pole perch (in preperation for Woodward and killing some jacks this weekend!). I will probably begin the session outside, and do a lot of calls to the fist in an attempt to strenghthen back up her response to that, and then end the session on a bunch of jump ups/downs from the pole. We shall see if this has any effect on our hunt tommorow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Log Day 25/26 2nd rabbit!

I left my log book at home today, so I don't have any specific weights for the weekend, but it was a good one!!!!! Headed out to Bartlesville on Friday, and met up with Ryan and Mario, and ran the dogs for a minute. Maggie has been pretty crazy latley due to the fact that I have been really busy, and havn't had much time to run her. Now that I'm getting this bird going, it will free up sometime to work with her agian, and hopefully, I can get her back to where she needs to be as far as conditioning, and response to commands goes. Grabbed a little more coffee at Taco Bueno while those guys grubbed down a little bit, and then it was off to the rabbit fields! Kent and Jonathan had gotten to the fields earlier on, and we caught the tail end on Jonathan's first hunt with his bird. She seemed to be responding well to him, and she put in some good chases on a few rabbits. Next, it was time to fly Kent's Harris hawks in a cast for the first time. This was a HUGE learning experience for me, and I was glad that I got to be there for it. Because of a little too much crabbing at the beginning, we ended up not getting to fly them together that day, but the ball has begun to role, and I'm looking forward to some great hawking with them in the future. Ended up taking his "old" harris hawk (you really need to name them Kent, just for my sake....it will make talkin about them WAY easier:)!!!!) out, and we got a few good flushs in, but he didn't end up connecting. Took a break for the afternoon, and went and did some road trapping with Ryan. Saw an INCREDIBLE dark morph RT (it wasn't a Harlins, b/c it had the red-tail, but it was freakin black!!!) that was amazing, and another really neat light morph bird....it had the white head like a Krider's, but the wing tips where black....I'm thinkin Ryan said it was "western" bird. After trapping, and a quick trip up to the center to feed some birds, it was time for Dee Dee to do a little flying. We went to a new rabbit field, that no one has flown yet, and I'm pretty psyched about the potential that it holds. It's a really large field, and though we probably should have scouted it better before we flew it (just so that we would know where the "honey" holes are and what not), we ended up kicking out a few rabbits. One of which was right as we entered the field, and the bird was still on my fist. She took off after it, but the rabbit made it to a hole pretty darn quickly. Had she been on a high perch, I think she may have connected. Anyways, we walked through the field beating on brush, and discovered a nice "red-tail duck pond" if you will, and we flushed two wood ducks off of it. The pond is surrounded by really tall trees, and has a high bank on the north side of it. I'm going to have to go over stratagy with Ryan, but if I can get the bird to take a perch in one of those trees, and then sneak in from behind the high bank, I think I will be able to set my bird up for some GREAT duck flights. I love flying feather, so this would be REALLY cool for me! Anyways, after checking out the pond, we started heading toward a different end of the field, and I kicked up a covey of 15 or 20 quail. It scared the crap out of me, and I jumped pretty high at the explosion of wings at my feet (Gonna need to take the dogs and Gary's sharpie back to this field!). Anyways, kicked up one more rabbit during this session, but over all, it wasn't that intense. The bird, however followed VERY well, and I think she has figured out that whole aspect of "the following game." As of right now, she follows really well, and will usually take a perch either above us, or a tree just a little ways behind us. It's only going to take a few more slips where the rabbits makes it to cover, before she realizes she either has to take a perch abover us, or in a tree INFRONT of us. I don't think it's going to take long for that to click though. On Sunday (Day 26), my buddy Tommy and I decided it was a good day to go climbing at Sand Creek (the BEST sandstone bouldering we have around here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), so he joined me on my journey out to Bartlesville. We met up with Ryan around 7:30, and watched him fly his hybrid. Tommy got to see a pretty nice stoop on a pigeon, but he missed, and tail chased it down under a tractor. Got the the kite and everything roled back up, and then Tommy and I headed to the rabbit field, while Ryan swung by the center to grab something. I got Dee Dee beeped up, and then we headed to the rose bush by the parking lot, to get the session started, while we waited for Ryan. This is the same bush that she caught her first rabbit over, and i was hesitant to fly it, just b/c we ALWAYS hit this bush, and I don't want to move the rabbits out from this spot....BUT we didn't want to get too far away, so that Ryan could easily meet up with us, so we hit it anyways. Well, we weren't at the bush for more than 30 seconds, before Tommy kicked up a rabbit. She came out of her cedar tree (the same one she caught the first rabbit off of), and she crashed hard into the briars, but didn't make it through. Hopped her up to the fist, and then she flew back up to her cedar. Hit the bush somemore, and we got another rabbit (or maybe it was the same one) moving through the bushes, and she again tried to crash through them with no success. She flew off the ground back up to her cedar, and I can DEF tell that she is starting to build her muscles back from observing that "jump up". I'm not sure if all the holes where full of water or what, but we kept flushing more rabbits from this bush. Had another couple/three flights on some bunnies, and then Ryan showed up at the field. Because of the way the wind was blowing, and since she hadn't been having much luck connecting, she decided her perch wasn't condusive for catching rabbits on this day, so she switched to a dif cedar that was more west of the briars. I guess this was a good call, b/c as Ryan walked under her, he kicked up another rabbit, that started hauling balls toward the briar patch. She came off that cedar hot, and she slams into the brush about three feet infront of the briars. I hear a squeel, and just like the first time, do my jump for joy, and throw my flushing stick into the air (which I really need to STOP doing!!! We lost my flushing stick for two days last time.....one would think that I would have learned my lesson about throwing it....but I'm a slow learner apparently:)!!). Dispatched the rabbit, and then traded her off to the lure. The trade off was a little rough compared to the others, just b/c the part of the rabbit leg I had on there had a lot of meat, and she kept pullin tid bits off, instead of committing to the trade. Lesson learned though, and She eventually traded off fine. Hopped her to the fist after the lure for a nice warm rabbit head, and she spent a good minute munching on that. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead, but Ryan was kind enough to snap off some pictures with his camera phone, and those are the pictures seen here. Over all, we where probably only in the field about 20 min hawking, and I was pleased that we gave her so many slips, and that she ended up connecting. When I weighed her last night, she was in the low 1100's, and I'm thinking she is going to have a pretty large casting. Hopefully, she will be at weight for a session tonight (though it didn't get very cold, so she may still be WAY too heavy) at "the great expanse" with Jonathan. Our goal for the night....Get Jonathan's new bird it's first bunny!!!!! Second goal......bunny number 3 for Dee Dee. Fingers crossed that it stops raining, and the weather clears up.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Log Day 24 continued

Took her out at lunch time for a session. Since it had been raining all day, and I just happened to catch a break in the weather, I decided going out and trying to catch a rabbit was sorta pointless. I decided it was a good day to introduce her to the fundamentals of car hawking, so we pretty much just flew in and out of the car window during our session. Wasn't too exciting, but she responded well, and I introduced her to pigeons for the first time. I could tell she had never seen one before, but once I started yelling ho, she took off toward it. Traded her off to the lure, and then hopped her to the fist for a pigeon breast. She got quite a bit to eat, but being that she was a little low, i think that it will put her at a good flying weight for tommorows session.

Log Day 24

It got cold last night! I was wanting to have her around 1030 this morning, but she was down to 1024 grams. It was raining, so I stuck her in the GH, and am going to do a session at lunch if it's clears up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Log Day 22/23

Ducked out of work again early yesterday (10-7....DAY 22), and went and picked up Jonathan. We then headed down to Bartlesville, and met up with Ryan and Kent. Kent got out to the field earlier than we all did, and had already flown his new bird for the first time. He said that the bird flew well all things considered, and put in some pretty hard chases on some bunnies. I was pretty psyched for him, and we then flew his "old" harris hawk up until around 6:30. By this time, it was raining slightly, and was starting to get a little dark, but I still wanted to fly, so we beeped the girl up, and headed over to the rose bush where she had caught her first rabbit. She weighed in at 1053 grams, and you could def tell that she was higher, b/c she wasn't really that focused, and didn't want to follow AT ALL! She took her position in the same cedar tree as yesterday, and we kicked up a rabbit in pretty short order. She took off after it, but came in too low. As she was closing in on the rabbit, she started hitting the wet grass, which slowed her down a ton, and she ended up missing. I'm not too bummed about this though, b/c it was a good learning experience for her (considering the previous few free flights where probably her first time chasing rabbits....that's what Ryan thinks by the way she is trying to fly them...anyways), and hopefully she will pick up the fact that she has to come in higher, and then do a wing over, in order to be efficient. Walked over near the road, and we ended up kicking up a couple more rabbits. She was up on a telephone pole, and had the perfect position for one of the slips, but a hag RT came out of no where, and tried to knock her off the pole (I was too busy chasin the bunny, and didn't see this happen). The rabbit was a young one, and obviously very inexperience, cause it was only flushing about five feet in front of me, and then stopping. I was running at it, trying to knock it down with my brush beating stick, and had three or four swings where I only missed it by like an inch or so. I have a feeling that she could have snagged it, had she been paying attentnion to me. After i finished trying to score my own rabbit (it would have been bird 1, Daniel 1!), I hear everyone talkin about the hag, and see (what I thought) was my bird fly off a long way into the field, and land on a pole. I start walking toward it, trying to call it down to my fist, but the bird was ignoring me (I was like....what the heck!!!!). I start to think that she is a little sketched out from the hag (plus it was starting to get dark), so I got a little worried about her nonresponsiveness (being she was high and what not). About this time, I hear Ryan yelling Ho ho ho cause he flushed another rabbit. I yell over that my bird is way out of position (thinkin the one I'm calling is my bird), and they all have a good laugh at my expense, cause I'm trying to call down THE HAG!!!! I then see my bird sitting right above all them on a pole, and felt pretty dumb LOL! Apparently, she was still a little shaken up from the encounter with the hag though, cause the rabbit Ryan kicked up was a great slip, and she just ignored it. Oh well. Tried to call her down to the rabbit lure, but she completely ignored that too (too high in weight!). I ended up calling her down to the fist, and put her away. This morning (Day 23), she weighed in at 1048 grams @ 7:00 AM. Took her out to one of my fields that runs along some train tracks. I have scouted the area before, and though I didn't see any rabbits that time, def saw A TON of trails running through all the brush and bushes. I'm HOPING this field contains a lot of rabbits, but the trails could just be from big rats and what not. Anyways, it was really foggy this morning, and sorta misting as we enter the field, but she was def more keyed in than she was yesterday. She followed along nicely, and I flushed "something" that she chased pretty hard, but ended up empty footed. I was pleased with the short session, b/c she followed along REALLY well this morning, and was watching me very closely. kept the session short (20-25 minutes), and then I pulled out the rabbit lure. I took off dragging it yelling "HO", and she IMMEDIATELY came out of her dead tree hott on my heals. She did a really tight wing over, and slammed the crap out of the rabbit lure. I then traded her off to her new lure (cause i somehow lost her other one...not really sure how....I'm gonna call Ryan and see if he by chance remembers me doing something with it........I'm pretty sure the day we caught the rabbit, I hopped her to the fist and stuck it in my bag, but MAYBE Ryan was being helpful, and picked it up while I was putting her jesses back in, and then i never got it from him.....here is to hoping, but I have a feeling he didn't, and I'm gonna get some $hit for this! Anyways, I digress)...traded her to her "new" lure, and then hopped her up to the fist. Put my very wet bird back into the GH, and made it to work EXACTLY on time (NICE!). I'm going to have to check the weather, but i'm pretty sure it's supposed to rain the rest of today and tom, so I probably will have to have an indoors jump-up session tom...maybe I will go to a buddies house, and do some jump ups to his second floor...that would be some good conditioning! If it's clear though, we will be heading out for some more bunnies!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm a REAL falconer!!!!!!! (Log Day 21)

WE CAUGHT OUR FIRST RABBIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it either! I'm still geekin as we speak, and this stupid grin won't leave my face! Ducked out of work early yesterday (4:00 or so), and after taking care of some "business," jumped on the road to Bartlesville. The original plan was to meet up with Kent and Ryan, and we where going to fly his Harris hawks, and then have my birds 3rd free flight. Unfortunately, Kent got caught up in some work nonsense, and had to head down to Texas on a spur of the moment trip. I was a little bummed about this, but being that I wanted Ryan to watch her fly and tell me what he thought (as far as strenght, how dialed in my weight control was, how she was doing following, etc, etc), I shot him a line to see if he was still down for a little dirt hawking. He said he was still in, and so I pulled into Bartlesville a little after five. Swung over to Steve's place b/c Ryan had to feed his falcons, and then after eyeing a nice Krider's hawk for a cool minute, made it to the rabbit field around 6:00. The birds where out in force yesterday, and there was a nice passage female coops chilling on one of the power line poles by the field. She had to be investigated (of course), so Ryan went and did that, while I beeped up the bird, and got her on the scale. At 6:15 PM, she weighed in at 1045 grams, which was 3 grams lighter than she was on our 2nd free flight (which was Monday), so I felt confident she would fly well. Unhooded her, and we headed out into the field. I stuck her on a low branch in a tree (cause she is still having a hard time deciding that flying off of my fist to a tree is a GOOD thing), and we started beating some brush. She laddered up to a higher perch, and then flew over to the top of a large cedar (We had only been out there for maybe a minute or two, but I wanted her to get closer to us, so we hid behind the cedar, which worked like a charm in getting her to come over). After a little bit of time, we decided to head over to the other side of the dirt road, and go to a huge rose bush, that seems to ALWAYS hold a bunny or two. As we crossed the road, and got into a more "open" section, Ryan kicked up a rabbit, and she flew at it pretty well. She missed, and headed back up into a tree.
Ryan was really psyched about the turn of events (he was saying that's exactly what I wanted...kick up some rabbits for her quickly (we had only been there maybe ten min total), get some chases, and to start solidifying my purpose in the field), so I was already pleased about our session. We kept walkin, and I got a reflush on the same rabbit, but she didn't pay it any attention the second time (it was pretty close to a rock pile by this time, and I'm sure it was down a hole by the time she saw what was going on). Anyways, make our way over to the rose bush, and she flies up into the big cedar that stands right above it (GOOD BIRD!). Ryan flushes a bunny in short order, but it retreats into it's near by hole instantly, and the bird just stared at it hard. We keep beating on the rose bush, and another rabbit is kicked up. She comes out of the tree pretty hott, and slams into the rose bush, but didn't have enough momentum built up to crash through it. I hop her up to the fist, and then she flies back up to the top of the cedar. I make my way around to the other side of the rose bush (which is facing a huge field with little cover), and I kick up two rabbits that are sitting in the grass...maybe 15 feet from the rose bush. Both of them head off into the field, and the bird sorta flies in their direction, but then pulls off, and heads back to her tree. By this time, we had been in the field about 30 min or so, and Ryan said it was time to end the session (he wants me to keep all these initial free flights breif and to the point..20 to 30 mins tops...fly to the fist, give a few slips, and end the session before she gets distracted, and has the urge to self hunt). We decide that we should make our way back to the car, and I should call her to the fist for the rest of the tid bits (there was about 8 or 9 flights worth), and then end the session on the lure like always. We decide to give the bush one more "go around", and Ryan heads left, while I head back right (toward where I kicked up those two rabbits).. I get around to the other side of the bush, and I guess I got a reflush on one of the two rabbits that had headed out into the field. I hear the brush moving, and the bird comes out of the tree, pumping pretty hard into the grassy field. She dives into the ground....and then...........SQUEEL!!!!! I'm in shock, and just sorta freeze, and then I hear Ryan screaming "Get your @$$ in there!!!!!!" I haul balls in her direction, and run in there and grab hold of the rabbit (with the thoughts that I would be helping her out)....it was unneeded, b/c she had the rabbits head FIRMLY in her grasp, along with the other foot holding tight onto the shoulders. I dispatch the rabbit, and we step back to let her calm down a little bit. I'm laughing, jumping around hollerin, and cheesin out like crazy! Once she calms down, and starts tearin at the neck, I trade her off to the lure (which she did great at like always!), and then I hopped her up to the fist for a nice meal of some fresh bunny legs (hind leg, and a front leg).. The bird flew great, and though she is still building back her muscle to where she should be, is getting stronger every session we have. I can't wait to get her back on her "A" game, b/c I have a feeling that I lucked out with a really good bird (or maybe I'm just partial, cause she is my first!!!!). We get back to the car, and take some victory photos, and of course, I have to start callin all the friends. I'm so psyched, and end up making my phone die from all the calls I make. I can now honestly say that I'm addicted to this sport, and all I could think about on the ride home, was getting back out there, and kickin up some more bunnies!!!! I'm not sure how much food she got exactly (b/c I was WAY too jazzed when I tried to weigh her after the hunt, and the weight that I got was WAY off). This morning (DAY 22) at 7:50 AM, she was at 1111 grams, so I probably won't get her out for a session tonight (though I will probably do some jump ups at home later in the evening), but that's fine. Heading back out to bartlesville after work, to fly with kent and his Harris hawks. It should be GOOD times, b/c it's going to be the first time I get to see his new bird fly. Hopefully, we can catch a bunny, and we can get his new bird a solid "entering" into hunting life. Thanks go out to my sponsor, for putting up with me and all my BS, and for all the advice and tricks that I have picked up from my fellow hawker friends. Now.....on to bunny number 2!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Log Day 20 (2nd free flight)

Had a great session yesterday. Got home after work, and she weighed in at 1048 grams. This was 12 grams heavier than when I flew her free the first time, but her response has been getting better at higher weights, so I was confident that she would fly well. Headed over to Jonathan's house, and we headed out to one of his rabbit fields (which is AWSOME! I wish I could find some rabbit fields THAT good). Beeped her up, and did a quick creance flight just to be sure, and then we headed into the field. She was way more focused than the first free flight session, and I had great response out of the trees. She flew to me further than she ever has, and even "followed" a couple times, without me having to motivate her. It was starting to rain while we where flying, which made the rabbits hold pretty tight in their holes, so we only ended up seeing one. The bird was on my fist when this happened, focusing on what I was doing, and didn't even see the rabbit moving....which was a bummer. She flew stronger than she has so far, and I introduced the new rabbit lure to her, and she did alright. It took a little bit of prompting (but less prompting that the first session, when we dragged the dead rabbit), but then she came in from the top of a tree....hovered over it for a minute, and then came down and grabbed it. We bounced her around a little bit on the lure, and then transfered her off to her "other" lure. Transfer was great just like the first time, and I hopped her up to the fist after she was finished. I fed her 50 grams total, and when i put her on the scale when I got home, she weighed in at 1097 grams. It didn't end up getting as cold last night as they had predicted, so this morning at 8:00 AM (DAY 21)(10-6) she was at 1073 grams. Yesterday at 7:00 AM, she was at 1070 grams, so we are about an hour behind yesterday. Heading out to Bartlesville after work to fly with Kent, and by the time it's my turn to fly, her weight will proabably be right around the same spot as yesterday. Her response is great, she is flying strong, and she seems focused, but I may only be messing with her flying weight now....will see what Ryan says tonight, but I may have to bring her down another ten grams or so, to get her at her "hunting weight", just b/c she was mainly focused on me the whole session, and wasn't "actively" looking for game. Today's session will tell a lot.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Log Day 18/19/and start of 20 (1st free flight!)

Had a NICE weekend! Headed up to Bartlesville on Saturday morning (DAY 18), and the weather was great! Met up with Ryan and Kent, and we headed out to the rabbit field around 8:00 AM. Def kicked up more rabbits than we have been so far this season, and got some really nice flights out of Kent's Harris hawk. I ended up kicking up the rabbit that the bird caught, and got a front row view of the flight/capture (it was only about five feet in front of me!!!). It was pretty nice! He came in pretty hot, and bound to the head, and immediately had control of the rabbit. Kent was super psyched about his first "official" bunny of the season (b/c the baby rabbit just doesn't really count!!!!), and was in there for the dispatch at a running pace. Went up to the center for a little bit after the hunt, b/c Ryan needed to show some people around, and Steve showed us his slide show from when he went to the Houbara Bustard breeding facility. I must say, there programs over there is AMAZING, and sets a good example for how projects should be conducted, as far as organization, sanitation, etc. He then showed us the blue prints, for the future prairie chicken breeding project that he (and some other people) are setting up, and I'm pretty excited about what the future holds for this species in Oklahoma. Maybe someday, we won't have to go down to Kansas anymore to hunt chickens! That would be pretty tight! After watching that slide show, we did a short creance session with Kent's new harris hawk, and he did pretty darn well (for his first outdoor creance flights).. After that, we headed to a different rabbit field, that is out behind a housing edition, and it was my turn to fly. Weighed my bird, and at 2:40 PM, she was at 1036 grams. Ryan felt her keel, and said she is DEF doing better than she was, and that she wasn't near as sharp as she had been (which is def a good thing). Did three creance flights just to make sure she was good to go, and then I unclipped her, pulled her jesses out, and we walked into the field. She flew up into a tree, and was watching us pretty well. We where only in the field about a minute or so, before we kicked up a rabbit. We yelled ho ho ho, and she came out of the tree pumpin straight for the rabbit. She crashed some brush, but ended up empty handed (or footed I should say), and then she flew back up into her tree. She didn't have the amount of "pep in her step" that I would have liked, but couldn't really expect too much more, considering she is rebuilding her muscle, and has to have some days of flying, before she is back in the drivers seat (if you will). Did a few calls down to the fist out of different trees, and then we managed to kick up another rabbit. She must have missed seeing this one, cause she only did a half hearted flight in the general direction, and then pulled up into a tree. Another call or two down to the fist, and then we set up the bunny that Kent's harris had caught earlier in the day in a semi-real situation, and I "flushed it" while Ryan took off dragging it in the other direction. She looked pretty hard at it, but didn't want to come out of the tree and chase it. After a while of dragging the bunny and yellin ho, she finally decided to come down onto the "rabbit lure". We let her settle down for a moment, and do a little bit of plucking, and then I traded her off to the lure, which she did perfectly. After she finished up on the lure, I hopped her up to the fist for a rabbit leg. Things that I learned on Saturday....my tidbits are way too large, and I need to cut those in half. I also learned how to key in my telemetry receiver, and discovered that parachord doesn't make very good flight jesses (at least the style that I'm doing...they fall out). Ryan also lent me his big rabbit lure, with the hopes that she will like coming into that one a lot better (b/c she wasn't very responsive to mine as far as recalls go...she trades to it fine...but won't come in for it). Anyways, I was pretty pleased as far as the whole outing is concerned, and think that she should be flying well in the 1025 to 1030 gram range (she was just a tad too high as far as her "response weight" goes, though I'm working toward that goal slowly now, b/c she needs to convert that new meat on her bones, to some serious muscle). Because of ALL the huge tidbits I was using, combined with the rabbit leg she grubbed down, she got A LOT of food (about 100 grams....which is a bummer). Put her back into her GH at 3:00, and she weighed in at 1135 grams. DAY 19 (10-4) At 3:30 PM, she weighed in at 1073 grams, and we did some quick creance flying (b/c she was 35 grams heavier, I didn't want to fly her free) in the back yard. She did AWSOME! Her wing beats where stronger, she was completely focused, and her response time was instant....over all...it was probably the best creance session I have had since I got the bird. I asked Ryan if this was because we where in the back yard, and she just felt more "comfortable" there, but he said it probably had more to do with the fact that she is getting way more confident coming to the fist, and that she is starting to figure out this whole "game" we are playing. I think the big feed up helped some too, b/c (combined with the flying we did Saturday), may have built up a little more muscle than I had thought possible (being that we only flew her for 20 min or so). I was talking to Waller, and he said the best way to tell if a bird is still flying weak, is to get at a forty-five degree angle to a tree that doesn't have many lower branchs, and to watch how they fly up to the top. Doing this in the field, was where I could tell she was flying a little bit weak on Saturday, and the big test will be when I fly her this afternoon, and see how she compares to Saturday. I have a sneaky suspicion that she is gong to look a lot stronger today. Total during our creance session, she got 20 grams of food (and about 20 flights....see I cut the tidbits down....getting more bang for my buck now...I'm learning!), and I put her up at 1091 grams. For some reason, she didn't hardly burn anything last night (I guess it didn't get as cold as I was thinking it would), and this morning (DAY 20), she weighed in at 1070 grams at 7:00 AM. Being that she was so heavy, I decided to forgo our session until this evening, and I went scouting for some new rabbit fields. Found a few "potential" fields, and then a few more that I will call on today, and see if I can get permission to hunt. I'm hoping to have her down around 1050 grams for the afternoons session, which is still high as far as her "hunting weight" is concerned I think, but we will mainly just be workin on following in our session today, so that will be alright. By her response yesterday, I am hoping for a pretty good session tonight.