Monday, November 30, 2009
I don't think I'm going to fly today.....I have been out a lot, and I think the wife is getting a LITTLE bit irritated. Just gonna chill around the house and hold my son! Nothing else to report...she was in the upper 1060's this morning, and it's in the 30's, so PERFECT flying weather....oh well. Gotta do the shout out to Chris! Apparently, he tore it up at NAFA, and Eric shot a sweet video of his bird scoreing either it's first or second rabbit......OUT OF A SOAR! Lucky! I have been trying to get Dee to do that ever since OFA. I'm gonna have to figure out his ninja tricks, and see if I can get her to do that. CONGRATS BROTHER!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Got the day kicked off around 7:30 this morning, and Dee Dee weighed in at 1039 grams. Headed back over to Jeff's house, and the four of us loaded up in his car, and we went and did a little car hawking. He trapped his little girl early on this season, and is already racking up a pretty nice head count. He said she was a little bit high this morning, but I knew we would still have a good show. Headed down toward the shopping district, and there where quite a few starlings out and about. The trouble was, that most of them where either not in a slippable situation, located on concrete, or up on wires. Drove around for a good minute before we found our first slip, and she bailed out the car window pumping hard! She smashed the starling on the ground, and we where at 1 slip, 1 catch. Drove around for another bit, but just didn't manage to find any slips. Got one more before we called it quites that was pretty neat....it was on a big group of starlings, and they saw her coming pretty early on. They all took off, but she kept chasing, and followed one up a good ten feet or so, before she pulled off, and landed on a pole. Decide one starling was good enough for a fat bird, so we headed back to the house, where Jeff's wife had already prepared a nice breakfast (THANKS!!!!). Grubbed down on that, and then we headed out to "Lowes" to chase some bunnies. Greg and Tasha both brought out their nice cameras, so of course, we didn't catch anything. The rabbits didn't want to come out and play, and we only managed five or six slips the whole time. She chased well, but was again, one step behind. We started out hawkin in a new section, and it was REALLY thick, so that may have contributed to the lack of success, but she did make one notable chase, and she crashed the bushs right in front of them. Gave up after a little bit, said my good byes, and headed back home to my babies.
GOOD DAY! Headed over to Gary's house in the morning, and we headed out behind his house to chase some squirrels. She weighed in at 1045 grams at 8:30 AM, so I was hoping for a stellar performance. Up until this point, Dee really hadn't had to "chase" squirrels that much, but had just smashed them off the trees, or else stayed at the top most of the time. Today was different. We managed to kick up a nice sized fox squirrel, and she chased it up and down the tree for at least fifteen minutes, and you could tell she was pretty wasted by the end. The squirrel played his chess match well, and ended up finding an opening, and bailing out of the tree. He made it to cover, pulled a houdini, and no reflush was to be had. About this time, Gary's kestrel was ready to fly, so we headed back to the house, and went and did a little car hawkin. Now car hawkin is still very new to this bird, but after a slightly hesitant start, he began chasing hard, and had some really nice flights. Had a couple where he just barely missed, but then he ended up connecting with a nice sized starling in a grassy section, right on the edge of a parking lot. That was good times for sure, and on the way back, scoped out a new squirrel honey hole, that I'm going to ask for permission to fly on Monday (or whenever I can get into contact with land owner....). Watched the first half of the $HITTY OSU/OU game (I hate OU!!!!!!), and then headed home for some Parker/Lindz time. Got home, and discovered that she had headed to her mom's house to put up Christmas Decorations, so after a couple good time brews with Tommy, headed out to "Lowes" for some more hawkin. Bunnies where poppin like CRAZY, and I managed 10 or so slips for her before dark. I'm not sure if it was b/c the cover was so thick, or if she was still tired from earlier, but she was just one step behind, and didn't manage to score. Got to expore a different section of the field (which was good), and I'm starting to figure out what type of cover THESE rabits prefer. Jeff was kind enough to invite the family over for dinner, but Lindz was tired, so I was the only one who ended up makin it....had a GREAT time, and stuffed my belly full of some really good grub. Hadn't seen Jeff for a while, so it was good getting to talk to him, and pick his brain about all things falconry related....I have said it a thousand times, but I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many gifted falconers (Jeff, Mark, Ryan, Gary, etc, etc) and to have them be so open and receptive to me. There is no doubt that my early success is a direct result of and all these guys helpful advice. Got the pleasure of making a couple of new fiends...Greg and Tasha where in town for NAFA, and had swung down to T-town for some chillen, hawkin, and good times. Both of them are extremely nice, and we all sat around talkin for a cool minute.Had the opportunity to see my first finnish Gos which was a treat, and being that both of them are VERY tallented photographers, got to see tons of great pics from the NAFA meet. Could have hung out till the wee hours of the night but I missed my babies, so I headed home at a decent hour
Eventful day for sure.....Katie and Matt (Ryan's bro) where running a 5K here in T-town, so we met up with them afterwards, for a little breakfast and java. The invite was extended, so we packed the bird and Parker up in Lindz jeep, and we headed down to Bartlesville for some good times, and some hawkin. The girls chilled at the house for the afternoon, and all the boys (minus Parker) went out flying. Ryan had the honors, so we took his hybrid out for a little duck hawkin. Found a nice slip, and and his bird ended up scoring a nice sized drake Gadwall. He made a really nice stoop, and though he didn't get it on the initial one, he put three of them to the ground, and he quickly grabbed up one on the reflush. Now, I know you all are checkin out these pictures, and are probably getting all hot and bothered by that glorious stache he is rockin (LOL!)....but calm yourselves....he is a happily married man, so you all are just gonna need to chill out....take a cold shower or something!!!!!! Clicked off a few victory photos with Matt holding the bird, and then we headed on back to the house. Decided it was just too warm to fly the Gyr, so he stuck the falcons up, and it was time to fly Dee. Jumped in the Jeep, fired her up, and we are on our way?????? NOPE! Started her up, and she died. Tried again...same result. I feather the gas, and she keeps running, but then when I let off.....she dies. Weird! No warning lights on, temp is fine, etc, etc, etc. Start checking out all the usual suspects, and Ryan discovers there ISN'T ANY OIL IN THE CAR!!!!! OK....so I know what your thinking....your the husband....your supposed to keep track of the fluids in your wifes car.....................................you're right! Gosh, stop rubbing it in! I know, I know...I dropped the ball on that one! Ryan was kind enough to help me out with the Jeep (cause I HATE working on cars, and tend to be pretty bad at it), and 5 quarts of oil and a new filter later, she was running like a champ. By the time we where finished, it was already dark, so no flying for us.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Slept in till TEN O'CLOCK this morning!!!!!! It was great! Went and did family stuff all day, and then I got the kitchen pass to go flying around 4 or 4:30. Dee had weighed in in the 1040's around 1:00 PM, so I knew she would be keyed in and ready to go by the time we flew. Headed out to a new spot that I hadn't checked out yet, which I will refer to as "Lowes" from now on, and had a great session. I hadn't walked the field yet, or even been back there, so I was a little nervous about being able to find the pockets of rabbits....because of this, I decided to bring Maggie into the field with us. Though the bird is used to Maggie, and had been introduced early on, this was the first time to go fly with both of them. Stuck the bird up in a tree, and then I let Maggie out of the car. Dee was watching her REALLY hard, and I'm not really sure how this initial interaction would have gone down, but I managed to kick up a rabbit within 30 seconds or so of entering the fields, and that snapped Dee's attention back to the game at hand. Maggie was being useless at this time, and I was pretty much paying more attention to her, than I was the bird. LUCKILY though, this field was AMAZING, and I managed to kick up four rabbits or so in short order (maybe....ten minutes). Still no connects yet, so we started making our way down a two track that led straight throught the center of a wooded section FULL of squirrel nests. There where quite a bit of briars in there, so being that I had Maggie and what not, decided she should crash them instead of me. I told her to "find them bunnies", and she took off into the brush with her nose to the ground. I kept walking, not really expecting anything to happen, when all of a sudden, I hear the brush rustling, and Maggie starts crashing through the brush in that direction. I stop walking, b/c I can tell that Maggie is running straight toward me, and all of a sudden, a rabbit pops out of the brush and onto the two track. I must have surprised the rabbit, b/c it jumped really high, and turned to go back into the bushs. About that time, Maggie comes breaking through the bushs, and cuts off the escape route, so the rabbit takes off down the road. It makes it a little bit down the road, and then is looking like it's about to go back to the bushs, when Dee shows up, and hammers the rabbit into the ground. The squeel was cut really short, and in the 3 seconds it took me to get to them, she had already killed the rabbit. Killed it already you ask???? Ya....well.....it was a pretty small rabbit. In fact, it was just barely longer than my lure, but a rabbit is a rabbit, so it counts. The trade was perfect AGAIN (I think the tid bit thing is workin!), and then I hopped her to the fist for both back legs. I usually do a front and a back so that she doesn't get too heavy, but it was so small, I was thinking it would be alright. I'm not sure if I just cut the legs with too much meat, or if the piece on the lure was bigger than I thought, but when I got home, she was in the 1120's....which is a bummer. Doesn't look like she will be at killer weight tom, but we shall see what happens. LINDZ FOUND THE CAMERA CHARGER!!!!!! So no more boring blog posts without pictures....thanks hun! These are the pictures of the triumphant Maggie after she finished "hunting"...(she ran around being rediculous and got lucky!)..thinks she owns the darn place!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The boys in charge called it a half day, so it was time to do some hawkin! Met up with my REALLY good buddy Judah, and we headed out to Lil Germany to see what was going on. Got a couple slips while we where out there, but didn't manage to score anything other than a big fat wood rat. She didn't cast today, so I'm thinkin she was just too fat to fully commit to the job at hand.....she was just a step behind, and didn't have that extra bit of motiation that she needed. Left there, and after a quick stop at bueno, we hit the dump site. Again, rabbits where not wanting to play, and we ended up empty handed. Swung by Gary's house, and we have a tentative plan to go check out those new rabbit fields on Saturday. Fingers crossed that I will get the kitchen pass, and we can find some good fields, so I can start doing this bird better justice.
Dee was still high when I weighed her this morning at 6 (1085 grams), but she had a lot of casting material yesterday, so she should be at weight after she casts. Just finished taking a coffee break outside, and got to see a nice little show. There where three or four sparrows pecking around in one of the grassy dividers in the parking lot, and out of no where, a hag coops comes blasting in, and snatchs one a few feet off the ground! She carries it up to the top of a pecan tree, and I get to sit there and watch her eat her morning meal. Got the day started off nicely, and I have my fingers crossed that I can get a good day of hawking in. I'm swinging by Gary's house this afternoon, b/c I'm letting him borrow a perch, and hopefully I will catch him before he flies, and try and get in on that! A good session of car hawking is always enjoyable, and hopefully that will set the tone for another good day with Dee. Gary was telling me about some possible rabbit fields, so I may get the heads up on that, and try and fly one of those. The whole crew is in town for the holidays, so I'm pretty geeked about that, and am VERY ready to see all my friends! Gonna have a lot of good times over the break, and we will hopefully catch a bunch of rabbits and squirrels as well!!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Woke up early this morning, with the plans of heading to mowhawk park to chase squirrels. I started heading that way, and then realized that with all the construction, there would be no way I could make it to work on time. So I headed back out to Little Germany, and walked through the woods for about forty five minutes or so. Dee Dee had weighed in at 1060 grams at 6:00 Am, and she was def in hunting mode. Didn't manage to move any squirrels, and due to the possibility of deer hunters in the field in the back, never went and tried for any rabbits. Headed back out there on my lunch break, hoping that the deer hunters would be gone, and their cars where no where to be seen! Put on the hunter orange, and I carried her through the trees, to the field in the back. Sruck the braces on the hood, and it was off to beating brush. I kicked around in a pretty large (but low) briar patch for a few minutes, thinking that it may just hold a rabbit or two, but none where seen. Moved on, and we headed through a really open section, and came to a little clump of trees. Everything else around it was pretty open, but there where quite a few of the bushs with the little red berries (that seem to always hold rabbits) there, and some viney bushs, so I decided to kick around in there for a minute. Moved all the way through it without seeing a single rabbit, but as I approached the edge, one makes a break for it. It barely gets a hop or two outside of the tree line, when Dee drills it to the ground, and I run in to secure the rabbit. Next comes the trade off, which is what I struggle with the most. The day we got the double and the wood rat, she traded of perfectly, and I had been offering her tid bits on the kill before I would present the lure. When I caught the rabbit at the dumpsite with Jonathan, the trade off was horrible, and I didn't offer tid bits. I was wondering if there was a corolation, so again, I offered tid bits on the kill before I offered the lure, and she traded off perfectly. I will have to catch a few more things before I'm confident that I have figured something out, but if i can fix her trading off problem, then I really don't have anything else I can possible complain about. Anyways, hopped her to the fist for a front and back leg, and let her eat the front one, before I stuck her and the back leg in the GH, and headed on back to work. Good day, and a good learning experience.
At 6:30 Am, Dee Dee weighed in at 1043 grams. Austin and I headed out to a field that I had checked out once before, that is located behind one of my climbing areas. The area will be refered to as "Little Germany" b/c of the climbing area, and this was the first time I had actaully flown it. The approach is pretty long, but it goes through the woods, so I was hoping to get some squirrel flights on the way. Made the treck through the woods without seeing a single squirrel, and arrived at the "open" section with about 30 min of hawking time left. We kicked around in the briars and sumac, but only managed to kick up one rabbit. She made a couple trys for it, but ended up empty footed. Ended up calling her down to the lure, and then had to head back to work.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday was pretty weak! Got out to the Field around 3 PM or so, and nothing was moving. Flew for a good couple of hours, and only got one rabbit slip, and no squirrel sightings at all. We where at the dumpsite, so I'm not really sure what was going on, but it is what it is. She got a good work out in, and I fed her up to 1087 grams. Saturday was better. I met up with Jonathan, and we headed out to the dumpsite to do a little hawking. I offered to let him fly first, but he graciously declined, so we beeped Dee Dee up, and headed into the field. Again, the rabbits just where not jumping, and we only got two or three slips in the first couple of hours. Eventually, we made it back to the front part, and started walking the fence line, and she made a nice flight at a squirrel in a tree a little bit aways. I headed in that direction, and found her on the ground, looking around all confused like. Got her back up in the tree, and I started beating around, hoping to get a reflush on the squirrel. I heard the brush rustle to the side of me, and she came buzzing in, and slammed the ground near me. Got to her, and she didn't have anything, so I got her back up, and went to see if I could reflush it again. The brush was really high in this section, so I just started wading through it, when I hear the bells jingle, and she comes shooting past me, toward the open field that I was about to get to. I stop and listen, and then I hear a rabbit squeel!!! I twist my way through the rest of the brush, and made in for the dispatch (#17!!!!. Apparently, the squirrel had just dissappeared, and there just happened to be a rabbit over there that I kept kicking up. It was a nice sized bunny, and interestingly enough, it had a black head. Pretty weird to see, but it def put up the most fight of any rabbit she had caught thus far. Got Shaung out next, but we only managed a few slips for her. I was hoping to show Jonathan a good time at the dumpsite, but they just didn't want to come out and play. Had to head home, so we called it a day, and when I weighed her later at 8:00 PM, she weighed in at 1101 grams. Woke up Sunday around 5:30 AM, and she weighed in at 1083 grams and had yet to cast. Loaded her up, and we headed down to Bartlesville. The goal for the day...meet Raul, go fly some ducks with Ryan's hybrid, and then get a little flying in with Dee, before I had to be home by 12:30 PM. Got there a little early, so I drove around scouting for new fields out there. Found one potential spot that I think will be REALLY good, so I'm thinking about checking it out next time I'm there. Got to Ryan's around 7:30 AM, and we headed out looking for ducks. Found a GREAT setup at one pond, so he put him up, and we ran in for the flush. She took a pretty decent pitch considering she is still a young bird and learning (around 700 feet or so), and came down and smacked a gadwall pretty good. It managed to make it back to the pond, so we let the hybrid take another pitch, and then we flushed them again. Ryan and Raul came from one side, and I ran across the dam on the other side. This worked, and two ducks took off low right across the dam, and I got a front row view of the the falcon coming in, and slamming the duck. It bounced off the ground once, and she pitched up, and then dropped straight back down. The duck made a flap or two trying to get back up, but the hybrid drilled it on the ground, and the struggle began! You never know how people are going to react to you reaching in on their bird, so I waited for a moment till Ryan and Raul got into view, and then after getting the go ahead, reached in and secured the duck until Ryan got there. It was a pretty bad @$$ flight to watch, and duck number 4 is in the bag! Had a quick lure session with the jerkin, and then it was off to fly the broad wings. Jonathan had made it up there, so him and the crew headed off behind the mall, and I went to the school. Rabbits again, where not wanting to play, and only got a couple slips for her. I headed back to the woods, and we started looking around for squirrels. Got a nice session on a fox squirrel that lasted about 15 minutes or so, but it eventually made it to the ground, and dissappeared into the bushes somewhere. Continued on, and we eventually kicked up a grey squirrel in a dense section of vines. It bailed toward a tree and got a little ways up the trunk, before Dee slammed it off the side. Somehow, it got out of her grasp, and bailed back into the vines. She took her perch, and I beat around in the bushes, and tried to get it moving again. Eventually it kicked back out, and she tried to nab it on the ground, but it evaded her, and made it up into a tree. The flight went from tree to tree for the next five or ten minutes, and she almost grabbed it another time or two, but missed. Eventually, they got further in front, and I was trying to catch up, and the squirrel took advantage of this and bailed to the ground. It cut back in my direction, and I made a ton of noise, and turned it to the side toward some cedars. She barely missed again, and the squirrel made it to one, and vanished into thin air. Called it a day, and we headed back to town. at 2:00 PM, she was at 1082 grams, and I left her out to weather for most of the afternoon. This morning, she weighed in at 1043 grams, and I'm going to squeeze in a session over the lunch break.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
GOOD day today! Got released from the hospital around noon, and I must say, it is GREAT to be home! Parker and Lindz are doing excellent, the temps where nice, and Delicious was at perfect hunting weight! Weighed her in at 1037 grams around 2 PM, and we headed out to the dumpsite for a quick session around 3 or so. Got her beeped up, and she took a nice perch in a pretty large tree above me. I started kicking around in the bushs, and she hops again to the tree above me. We had been in the field for about five minutes, when I hear the brush rustleing far out to my right. She takes off, and leaves the section of trees we are in, cross over an old abandoned two track, and dissappears into the bushs on the other side. I hear the squeel, and take off running in the direction I saw her last. I had no idea where she was, so I start walking around, listening for her bell. Can't find her for a few minutes, and then I kick up a rabbit, that runs off JUST a little bit in the other direction, and then stops. I go back the other way, b/c I didn't think there was any way she could have gone any further, and after another three or four minutes, I decide its time to get the receiver. I get on the old two track, and start running back toward the car, when I hear a little jingle off in the brush. Took another minute, but I found her eventually mantleing on a nice sized rabbbit. I pull her out of the dense stuff, dispatch the rabbit, and we have a really nice trade off to part of a rabbit leg on the lure. Hop her to the fist for a tid bit, and decided that just wasn't long enough. Put her back up in the tree, and I decide to go see if I can find that other rabbit. I head in that direction, and she stays put in the tree she initially went to. I started kicking around, and then she popped up to the tree right above me, and started looking HARD at the brush in front of me. I start banging on it, and then I see it pop off right at my feet. She drops like a rock, and crashs the brush and I hear a load thud. I listen intently, but hear nothing, so I'm thinking she had missed it. I'm still standing in the same spot, waiting for her to pop back up, but nothing happens. No jingle...nothing. I'm thinking hmm.....so I start tromping through the bushs, and find her all tangled up in some vines, with ANOTHER nice sized rabbit in her feet. I dispatch that one quickly, have ANOTHER great trade off, and then I hop her to the fist for another few tid bits. It had just now been 30 minutes, so I'm like "what the heck....lets keep going". Toss her up to a tree, and we take off toward the back part of the field (which was where we were heading in the first place...just hadn't made it there yet)...kicked around for about 15 minutes or so, without a single slip, and I decided we should head to a spot that I knew we could kick something up. SO we leave the field, and head through the woods, toward the front section. She is following along nicely, when she suddenly takes off, pumping pretty darn hard through the trees. I have seen this flight now a couple times, and I'm thinking she sees a squirrel. I start looking ahead of her, and what do I see....I stinking HUGE wood rat running along some branchs. It sees her coming, and jumps from the branch its on to a smaller one below it, and is about to run to the next tree when she slams it off the branch, and prachutes down to the ground. SINCE she didn't catch it in typical "ratting" style, and instead caught it out of a tree, I decided it was alright, and had YET ANOTHER great trade to the lure, and then I hopped her to the fist for a rabbit leg. Called it a day, and we headed back to the car in high spirts....well, I was at least!!! Now, I know a wood rat doesn't really count as game, so it's ACTUALLY a double.....but I'm still going to call it a triple b/c it's my blog, and I DO WHAT I WANT!!!!! Hopefully, I can get the camera back tonight, and I can start taking pictures again.
Didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night, but the little I got did wonders! Did daddy stuff for the beginning of the morning, and then Lindz was kind enough to let me head to the house to shower, eat some food, and grab the dog/bird. Stuck her on the scale around 12:15 PM, and she weighed in at 1015 grams. I was pretty surprised she had dropped that much considering she had eatin squirrel, but it had gotten pretty darn cold, so it made sense. Went into the field behind the hospital, and headed to the spot that I thought looked most condusive to hawkin. My good buddy Jeff had joined me for the afternoons hunt, and we both started hitting on the briar patch, hopping to kick up peter, or one of his buddies. About 20 min went by, when Jeff started yelling ho, and SOMETHING took off through the brush. She hopped to a closer tree, but didn't really move that much closer. Jeff said that it didn't go too far, so we headed back in the direction we had heard it last, and started beating around. I hit one side of a dense bushy section, and missed what happenend next, but Jeff had an EXCELLENT view, and so this is his account. He was beating around a tree, and heard the Jingle of the bells behind him...about that time, he sees the squirrel shoot up the tree right next to him, and she starts twisting through the tree tops, on her way HOT. If i understood him correctly, she came in and twisted sideways, and slammed the squirrel off the side of the tree. She flared her wings immediately, and got stuck in the tree, and then she started dancing around. She had a bad grasp on the head, and then a foot on the back.....The squirrel breaks his head free at some point, and starts trying to bite at her. He pulls his head back a little bit too much one time, and she slams his face with her foot, and she has him under control. I get there about this time, to see my bird flared out up in a tree about 15 or 20 feet off the ground....squirrel twisting around in the air, with it's head in her feet. I throw everything down, and start heading up the tree, hoping that it doesn't fall over (did I mention it was a dead tree? If not....it was VERY dead) on the way up. There where a ton of vines all over the trunk, so it took me a minute to get up to them, but once there, I put the squeeze to the squirrel, and it was all over. I untangled her from the branchs, and threw her (and the squirrel) down to the ground, where we had a PERFECT trade off to the lure. She got three bites on one of her feet...two where on each side of the tallon on the back toe, and the other was on the bottom of the foot. None of them where bad at all, but I went ahead and put stuff on them anyways (b/c it's better to be safe, then sorry!). Headed back to the hospital, and chilled with Parker and Lindz for a minute, and then we headed back to the house, and she weighed in at 1107 grams. Getting cold again tonight, so that should put her pretty much spot on. No pictures again, b/c the camera was with Lindz
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I'm about to fall asleep, my head is hurting, and I would normally be in a pretty pissy mood....not today though! Introducing, my newest climbing partner, and the latest addition to my hawkin team! He weighed 6 pounds, and 10 ounces when he got her around 11:30 this morning (we got to the hospital at 3 AM!). Still just soaking it all in, but it was an incredible experience. He is perfect!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Ducked out around 11, and headed to "the dumpster." Got her beeped up, she took a nice perch high in a tree, and I began beating around the brush. This is a relatively new field, and I was heading toward the back section that we hadn't flown yet, with hopes of kicking up a bunny or two. The wetness was keeping them in tight though, and we only kicked up one rabbit in the first 15 or 20 minutes. She chased it hard, but it made it into a patch of thick vines, which she managed to get VERY tangled up in. Kicked around for another 15 or 20 minutes with no luck, before I arrived at a really large briar patch which looked like it may hold a bunny or two. Dee Dee had been ignoring me for a minute or two, and looking pretty intently in the direction of a couple trees, but since I had just finished kicking around all the brush in that area, I decided it was time for her to move on. I call her over to me at the briar patch, and after a reluctant moment or two, she took off in my direction. About half way to me, she veers off toward the trees, and starts pumping really hard. It looked like a rabbit flight to me, but when she crashed the brush at the base of the tree, she was a few feet off the ground. I walk over to her, and am about to hop her to the fist, when I see the squirrel twist toward the top of the tree. This was a pretty small tree in the middle of a field, with the only one nearby being a pretty large cedar. She hops to the ground, and starts walking toward an open spot, so I'm thinkin she is about to fly up to the cedar, and I'm gonna move this squirrel. I start hitting the tree, and she flies up to the top of the tree, and I guess this was just a little too much for the squirrel....it bailed out of the middle, and hit the ground running within beating stick length of me. I try to score one for me, but just barely miss with my beating stick, and then the squirrel does a crazy side step, and dodges the feet of Dee, as she slams into the ground next to it. Dee then decides the best course of action is to try and chase it down on foot, so she takes off at break neak speed (smile), and wadles after the squirrel. SOMEHOW, the squirrel out ran her, and made it safely into the branchs of the cedar tree, so I hop her to the fist for a tib bit, and then get her to fly up to the top of the cedar. I push the lowar branchs of the cedar to the sides, and I crawl inside the tree, to find a HUGE wood rat nest surounding the trunk, on the first level of branchs. I start poking around in that for a while, knowing it's the only possible place it could have gone, but didn't manage to move it. Dee Dee is peering really hard down the tree, so I go to the other side of the trunk, and start poking that section. Dee then hops into the cedar along the top row of branchs, and starts looking around really hard. About that time, i see the squirrel coming back toward the nest, and I start beating around above it. This turns the squirrel, and he starts hauling up the tree. She watchs it till it gets pretty much underneith her, before she drops off the branch, twists once, and snatchs it off the trunk!!!!! She fans out, and stops right there in the top of the tree. She is held up by her wings, and immediately starts switching her feet back and forth on it's head, with the body dangling in thin air. I drop my beating stick as soon as I see her drop, and am already part way up the tree before she snatchs it. I shoot the rest of the way up to them, and grab the squirrel's body, and quickly put "the squeeze" to it. Once I'm satisfied that the squirrel was gone, I break the branchs that she is hung up on, and down climbing the tree, bird in tow. I finally make it to the ground, and set them out in an open spot to calm down. She takes an exceptionally long time (which can be expected), but eventually starts trying to pluck the head. Produce the lure, and we have a nice trade off to part of a bunny leg, and then i hop her to the fist for both front legs, and the organs. I'm pretty darn psyched! The overall session was good. For one, she eventually got the squirrel secured firmly in her grasp, with a back tallon going straight through the jaw into the head, thus sealing its mouth and preventing a bite. Also, because of the situation she caught this squirrel in, she directly associated me with keeping the squirrel moving, the hunt in general, and the eventual kill. That is hard to accomplish with squirrel hawking from what i've been told, and I'm pleased that I had I was able to do that with the first one. Swung by home to change cloths, and I get Lindz to snap off some victory photos. Good session!
I woke up really early to an overcast morning. Temps where great, the wind wasn't blowing that hard, and a big storm was making it's way into town. I stuck Dee in the back yard for most of the morning, hoping I could burn a little more weight off of her, before I went and flew. Grabbed a cup of coffee from down the street, and when I finally stuck her on the scale, she weighed in at 1044 grams. It had rained during the night, which normally makes the rabbits hold tight, so I wasn't expecting much out of the session. Just fly her around for a bit, and then call her down. It was drizzling by this point, and I knew it was going to start coming down really soon, so I rushed out to the feild, to get a quick 15 or 20 min flight session out of her. Apparently, rabbits know more about weather paterns than I do, b/c they knew a storm was coming through. They where EVERYWHERE! I kicked up the first rabbit before I made a single step into the field, and managed 5 or 6 slips before it started pouring down rain (which was about 15 or 20 minutes into the field). I can fly her higher if I'm producing a lot of slips, but if I'm not kicking many up, then she has to be keyed in better.....IF I had known the rabbits where going to be out in force like they where, i would have come way earlier and not worried about her weight as much, and we probably would have scored a rabbit. Since I waited so long, I just didn't give her enough time. Bummer. Called her down to the lure, and she got a squirrel leg, and some rabbit tid bits. This morning, she weighed in at 1033 grams, and is going to be geekin for a kill. Now, I know that the rabbits come out BEFORE storms hit, but they usually don't inbetween (from past experience). That being said, it's not going to start raining again till this afternoon, so I'm going to get in a session at lunch anyways, and I have high hopes. Maybe I shouldn't.....they probably won't be out in force, but I'm going for it anyways, and we shall see what happens.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Headed out to the new spot, which I have lovingly dubbed "the urban dumpsite"....."dumpsite" for short, and I took along my good buddy to help flush. He is in town from Ohio, and was pretty psyched to get to join us on our session. Weighed her around 12:30 PM, and she was at 1036 grams, so after making a few stops, made it to the field around 3 PM or so. We started kicking around the bushs, and after a short scare where Christian thought he was going to get killed by a crazy hawk, we managed to kick up a rabbit, which took off across the two track and into some dense bushs near a fence. We decided to walk all the way down to the beginning of the fence line, and then I would walk through the middle, and he would go along the fence beating the brush. We got a couple nice slips, one of which included a pretty tight wing over, but had yet to connect to anything. We where getting antsy for a kill, and I guess Dee Dee was feeling this way as well, b/c the next rabbit we flushed, she came in HOT and slammed the ground...we heard the noise we where waiting on, and I went running in there pretty psyched. If you have not been keeping up with Dee Dee and our progress, then I must point out that when she catchs stuff, I generally get too excited, and temportarly loose track of pretty much everything going on. I have lost beating sticks, lures, jesses, etc, etc....it's pretty bad. Well, yesterday, it caught up to me. She was all twiseted up beneath a fallen tree, and I needed to break a bunch of branchs, and then pull her out to more open ground. I break the problem branchs off, and it's now time to grab the rabbit. Well, my retarded self decided it was a good day to reach in there with my bare hand, and she shot a foot out and got me good. Had a pretty bad trade off after that, but that was due to me rushing her, and not letting her calm down after the little "altercation." My fault, so we won't hold it against her. We had only been in the field about twenty minutes or so, and hadn't even gone to the "honey spot" yet, so we decided to go for two. Put her back up in the tree, and gave her a moment to collect herself. We then continue along the fence line for about 30 yards or so, and then she flies up into a tree above us, and looks down pretty intently. I beat around in the brush for a little bit, but don't see anything. Since I left my hawkin bag where we made the first kill (she had spilled the guts, and I was using the bag to cover them up.....), I decided this was a good time to go get it (since we had been hunting again for ten minutes or so). I looped back to grab the bag, and then I made my way back toward Christian and the bird (moving along the fence line). As I made my way toward the tree that Dee Dee was sittin in, I heard a rustle in one of the dense sections of bushs, that ran along the fence. She hopped to the branch directly above me, and I started hitting on the fence. I heard a little bit of movement, so I reached over and hit the other side of it. This must have been too much for the rabbit, b/c he bolted from there in the direction of a head high mass of vines. She dropped off the tree and hauld toward the rabbit, and I lost sight of them as they went around the bush. I then hear the squeel!!!! I flip myself over the fence (which I get hung up on, and end up face planting on the other side), and then stumble around the bush sorta "dazed" like. I find her about a foot and a half in the mess, COMPLETELY tangled in vines, holding the rabbits head firmly in both of her feet. I have to pull the game sheers out, and clip about 20 or so vines, before I could pull them out! I fed her the head on the ground, and then hopped her to the fist for a front leg. When I got home, she weighed in at 1175 grams, and won't be doing anything for the next couple of days. Unfortunately, since I manage to loose everything, and the wife doesn't trust me, the camera is on stand-by in her purse, so I wasn't able to get any pictures. Lame! We didn't even make it to any of the section we had kicked up rabbits last time, so it's looking like this field might be pretty good! Time will tell. DAY 60, she weighed 1123 at 9:00 AM, and 1085 grams at 6:00 PM.
I get the phone call from Lindz while at work, and she says it's time to go to the hospital....I run home, and Dee Dee weighs in at 1046 grams and is ready to go kill something. I tell her sorry, and give her 45 grams of squirrel meat, and head off to the hopital. After a long afternoon of sitting around waiting and not much going on, they decide he isn't coming today, and send us home....bummer. On a positive note, while I was there, I noticed a nice wooded section at the end of the parking lot, so I headed back there to tromp around, and to see if I could find any rabbit spots. Luck was shining on me, and I managed to find a couple areas back there, that should be pretty darn condusive to rabbits. I didn't have any shoes with me, so I wasn't able to kick around and try and find them, but I'm thinking I will be able to get some moving when I fly it later on.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Went to check out the new field, and I really think it has a lot of potential for this winter. The underbrush is still really thick, but we managed to have 5 or 6 good flights on rabbits, before I had to head back to work. She was in the upper 1050's, and was pretty intent on hunting, but kept coming up short due to all the brush. She was crashing well, but just couldn't make it through. I walked around for a bit, and expolored a couple of the sections we didn't go to the initial time out there. I found one spot that I think is going to be REALLY good, and I'm going to head in the other direction today, to see what I can find. I didn't feed her a whole lot, and she was really jumpy last night. I'm hoping for a stellar performance today!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Didn't get to fly again! She was at 1075 grams when I got home last night. It was already dark, so a session wasn't going to happen anyways, but I think she probably would have flown well, (just b/c of the amount of time btw feeds....) even though she was high. I liked where she was at though, b/c that will put her super keen for a morning hunt. Got to work this morning around 6. I pull into the parking lot, and there are two rabbits just sitting in one of the grass planters in THE MIDDLE of the empty parking lot....right under a light! I'm thinking this is just too good to be true, so I pull into my parking space, and I creep around to the back of my car. I open it, pull Dee Dee out.......and the rabbits are STILL sitting there! I unclip her leash, pull her jesses out, and am about to strike the braces on the hood.....and then I remember the telemetry. Rabbits are still holding tight, so I turn around, and grab the receiver. Flip it on, touch the magnet on the transmitter, strike the braces and remove the hood, and turn around....The rabbits are GONE!!!!!!!! I was pissed! If I had just remembered to turn it on right when I pulled her out of the box....we would have had a dead bunny, and I could have gone for a double today with ease! Had the sun been up, I would have just slipped her without turning the transmitter on, but if she had missed (highly doubtful) and flown up to some tree in the dark....it would have been a bummer. Anyways, gonna take an extended lunch this afternoon, and try and fly one of the new fields Ryan and I checked out the other day. Fingers crossed for a catch!
Side note.....the baby is going to be here any day now!!! I'm getting pretty psyched, and am rushing around all crazy getting all the last minute things together. There is a possible honey hole about 30 seconds from the hospital, and Lindz told me I could hawk it during the days while she was sleepin! I have the best wife in the world!
Side note.....the baby is going to be here any day now!!! I'm getting pretty psyched, and am rushing around all crazy getting all the last minute things together. There is a possible honey hole about 30 seconds from the hospital, and Lindz told me I could hawk it during the days while she was sleepin! I have the best wife in the world!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
FINALLY!!!!!! Geeeesh...took long enough didn't it? You probably where starting to pick up on my negative vibes, and your right....I have been bummin pretty good lately. Reason why....I have been doing my bird a disservice. OBVIOUSLY, my bird is a natural rabbit catcher, and she is to a point where if she doesn't catch a rabbit, it's MY fault...period....there is no other excuse I can give..it's just how it is. It's either because I'm a) flying her too high, b) I'm not kicking up any rabbits, c) I'm impatient in the field, and kick up the rabbits when she isn't in position, or d) I get out to the field too late, and don't give her enough time to catch one....again...all of these are MY fault. I was REALLY down on Friday (DAY 52), and was bitchin about it to Jonathan on the phone. He is a good friend, and patiently listened to me moan for a bit, before he told me I was over reacting. Knowing that I was down though, he invited Dee Dee and I out to "the great expanse" for a little early evening hawkin. We ducked out of work around three or so, and after taking care of some business at the house, made it to the field around 4:00 PM. Dee weighed in at 1054 grams, so I beeped her up, and walked to the Southern most edge of the field (b/c the wind was blowing CRAZY hard) and got the session started. She took a nice perch, and it was on to the brush beatin for me. Kicked around for about 30 or 40 minutes only getting one slip, and was starting to get that negative feeling back again (I'm at a good rabbit field...why am I not kicking up rabbits....). Jonathan got there around 5, and we moved to a different section of the field, and the rabbits started poppin off. I have slept a few times since then, so I'm a little fuzzy on details, but we got a few slips, and had a couple really nice flights that almost resulted in a squeeling bunnies. It was starting to get dark as we crossed the two track heading toward a clump of trees running along the main road, and I think Dee Dee was starting to get desperate. A rabbit got kicked up, and it started running HARD down the two track with Dee Dee hot on it's heels. She came down, missed, and then remounted and kept chasing. I was psyched about this, b/c this was the first time she has gotten back up, and kept chasing after the initial slip. She put the rabbit into the clump of cedars/brush, and Jonathan and I headed in for a reflush. Jonathan took the side facing the main road, while I headed in through the center. A few moments later, I hear the jingle of bells, and hear Jonathan yell "There she goes!!!!" I make my way out of the brush on the side with the two track, and start walkin back down the tree line, with Jonathan doing the same thing on the other side. No jingle, no bird...I'm like "Where did she go?" Keep walkin, and make it to the end of the tree line without finding Dee. I kick up a rabbit in the open, and it takes off across the mowed grass that runs along the main road. I'm like "there goes the rabbit she was chasin" and Jonathan just roles his eyes and says "there is more than just one rabbit in the field" LOL. It's pretty much dark by now, and Jonathan suggests I go grab the receiver. I turn and start walkin in that direction, when I see Dee Dee sitting on the ground in the grass just on the other side of the two track. Relief rushes over me, and I slowly start walkin up, grabbing some tib bits to hop her up to the fist. I get closer, and suddenly realize she is sitting on a rabbit!!!! Pop the head off, and she munched that down, and then we headed back home. It was too dark to take any pictures, so I snapped one off in front of Bob again....she likes her picture taken with Bob! Woke up the next day, and stuck her on the scale, before heading to Bartlesville. She was still fat at 1111 grams, and I knew that it was going to be a struggle getting her down to weight today (DAY 53). Picked up Jonathan, and we pulled into B-ville just before 7:00 AM. It was warm, windy, and over all POOR conditions to fly longwings, but we convinced Ryan to go look for some ducks anyways, so we did. You can read about the adventure on his blog (http://ryanvanzant.blogspot.com/), but ultimately, his new bird scored it's 1st duck (which was it's first head of wild game) on the opening day of duck season!!! Nice!!!! He wasn't too impressed with the flight, but I thought it was bad @$$, and it was a great way to get the day started. A fun filled day of falconry continued on after that, and we met Kent and a couple of pre-apprentices out at the rabbit field behind the mall. Kent had flow his young bird before we got there, and was pulling out his older one as we got there. Introductions where made, and then we headed out into the field, with Bronc (GSP) taking the lead. I'm not sure if Bronc was running to far ahead, and pushing all the rabbits out in front of us or what, but we didn't manage to kick up more than one rabbit or so during his entire session. Kent is making adjustments with his birds weight right now, so that combined with no flushes, resulted in the bird not flying the way he wanted, so he decided to give him a break for a little bit (which would hopefully flip the "reset" on his bird), and to pull him out again later in the afternoon. It was Shaung's turn to fly (Jonathan's bird....I think I spelled that correctly.....let me know if I didn't though), and let's just say we where in for a treat. We had a whole crew that day (6 people), so we decided to head to a really thick section that no one had been to since last winter. We kicked up TONS of freakin rabbits (a few of the slips where two rabbits at a time!), and only had minute or two gaps btw slips. Shaung was all over the place, crashing brush, chasin the hell out of them, and got a CRAZY good work out. The most notable flight (and HANDS DOWN the coolest thing I have seen a RT do thus far) went a little bit like this. We had just been beating on this pretty large briar patch, and we where all walking from that one to a section of briars that go on for a good bit. We must have kicked a rabbit out of that first briar patch, b/c Ryan came upon it out in the middle of the field. Pretty much everyone (besides Jonathan...he missed the flight which SUCKS!!!!) was within five feet or so of each other, and saw the rabbit bolt toward the briar patch we where heading to. Shaung (with the wind pushing hard on her back) came hauling all sorts of crazy balls out of a tree and SLAMMED the rabbit on the ground, making both of them do cart-wheels! From what everyone saw, she didn't really even stick her feet out, but just knocked the crap out of it like a falcon. If she did get a foot on it, the momentum from their spins must have ripped the rabbit out of her grasp, b/c it got away somehow (which blows my mind...it HAD to have internal injuries!). It was, hands down, the hardest hit from a RT that I have ever seen (both in real life, and on videos)! Everyone started screamin and laughin, and doing the whole "did you see that!!!" thing. It was pretty tight to say the least. A break was taken, a sharpie got some feathers imped, Kent's young bird got a new tail mount, Shaung got some new anklets, and it was back to the field with Dee. 4:30 PM, she weighed in at 1065 grams. She flew like crap, didn't listen, and pretty much just sucked. Got a couple of slips, but she was either out of position, or screwing off somewhere, and missed/refused the slip. Called her down to a squirrel leg on the lure, and then hopped her to the fist. Had some drinks, laughs, and some good times, and then it was back to T-town we went. Sunday morning (DAY 54) found Jonathan and I at "The Great Expanse" around 8 in the morning. Dee Dee still weighed 1082 grams (squirrel burns WAY slower than rabbit...I knew this, but didn't even think about it when I fed her up the night before.....), so she didn't join us for the morning session, and instead, all focus was on Shaung. There was quite a bit of dew on the ground, and the rabbits just wheren't wanting to come out and play. We kicked around for a GOOD minute, and had a few slips, but none of them ended up with a squeeling rabbit. I headed down to Owasso to drop something off with Mark, and hung out shooting the $hit for a minute. It was good times getting to see him, and I'm hoping we can get out for a session sometime soon! After that, I swung by Austin's house and picked him up, and we went and scouted out some potential fields. We where disappointed by what we found.........NO RABBITS GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, and we made it back to my place around 2 or so. Ate a litle lunch, and stuck Dee on the scale, where (at 3:00 PM) she weighed in at 1061 grams. This is only 4 grams lighter than she was on Saturday (where she performed terribly), but I was hoping she might respond better (b/c she HAD been fed less squirrel than she would have gotten if it was rabbit...so I was hoping she would "think" she was hungrier than she really was) than she did Saturday. We where semi hoping to get a session going on with Kent and Jonathan, but the best laid plans and all that, so it didn't end up panning out. All my fields are bad, but we decided to head to THE ONLY one that has produced so far.....the train track field. We got there, and started kicking around the bushes, and got a rabbit moving in short order. The rest of the day pretty much panned out like the first time I flew this field. Unlike recently, we where kicking up rabbits pretty consistantly (don't get it....tons of rabbits.....NO RABBITS AT ALL for like three or four sessions....then TONS of rabbits again....my mind is blown!). Anyways, got some nice flights in, which was cool b/c (other than car hawking and training sessions) this was the first time Austin has gotten to come fly, but none of them where very close. She just didn't seem fully committed, and I could tell she was flying heavy, b/c she kept pulling off instead of crashing brush. I hooded her up, and we chilled for a moment hoping to get her head back in the game. Went to a different section of the field that I hadn't flown yet, and when I pulled her back out, she was WAY more focused. We kicked around for a little bit, and she dropped out of the tree and landed on the ground. It looked like a rat flight to me, but when I got there, she was tearing at a deer carcus...slut! That's twice in a week! I pulled her off of that, we we walked a little ways away, and then I put her back up in a tree. Flushed a rabbit out in the open, but she was out of position still, so she just flew to where it went, and landed in a tree. This section was on the side of a hill, so I started walking the top and through the center, while Austin walked along the bottom beating the brush. Got a reflush on the rabbit, and she crashed the briars hard, but came up empty footed. Kicked up another one, and she did a half hearted flight at it, but didn't really get close. We both kept heading down the bushes, and then Austin started yelling ho, and the rabbit took off up the hill. Dee Dee flew to a perch right above Austin, and was looking pretty intently at the ground. I pushed through the center of the briars (which was about half way up the hill), and I got a reflush on the rabbit...it headed up the hill and went over the top with Dee Dee hot on it's heels. She went over the top of the hill and we both lost sight of them for a moment, and then we hear the squeel!!!!! I fight through the bushes, and get to the top to find her securely holding the rabbit, waiting for me to come in for the dispatch.. She gets a bit to eat off of the rabbit, and then I trade her off to the head, which I let her eat on the ground. I then hop her to the fist for a front leg, and we head to the car to take a few pictures. Called it a day, and we headed back home. At 7:30 PM, she weighed in at 1197 grams, so there will be no session today. That works out well though, b/c Ryan is coming to town this afternoon, and we are going to try and find me some decent rabbit fields. Fingers crossed that we are successful, and hopefully, I will be flying in a new field on Tuesday. Over all though....had a GREAT weekend!
Friday, November 6, 2009
It gets dark really quick now! Went and checked out a new spot yesterday after work, and it seems like it has potential. It's this little wooded section/old parking lot that's now blocked off that is completely surround by office buildings, and then backs up to a school. Before I pulled Dee out, I did a little walking around to investigate. I hadn't made five steps before I started seeing all the rabbit droppings, and was continually hearing things rustle in the underbrush (though it could have just been a lot of birds bouncing around). I only had about a half an hour to fly, so I beeped her up, and started hitting the brush. Didn't see any rabbits, and she didn't chase anything. I waited till it was completely dark, and then I called her down to her illuminated lure. She had great response to that, so I guess that's one good thing about yesterdays session, but that's about all. Due to some servers going down, I had to go to work really early this morning. Ducked out for a minute to go grab some coffee, and I got a really nice slip on a crow which she ALMOST caught. Swung by a park on the way back, and the squirrels where running around everywhere. She half heartedly flew at one, but once it got up into the tree, she just sorta looked at them. She didn't try to fly them at all, and they weren't even trying to hide from her. They would just sit there and chatter at her, and twitch their tails around. I'm not really sure why...I guess I'm gonna need to do the dead squirrel on a string thing, and pull one up a tree to get her going. May try to do a little car hawking at lunch, but I'm really wanting a rabbit, so I may hold off, and just fly after work. We shall see how the day goes. 70 degree weather is not helping.....Jonathan is continueing to be a big pimp, and scored rabbit number 6 this morning! NICE!!!!!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Not much to report except that Jonathan and his bird scored rabbit number 5 yesterday!!!! Big congrats to both of them for being out their handleing their business! Dee weighed 1074 grams yesterday at noon, and then 1045 grams around seven in the evening. Was busy takin care of a bunch of stuff yesterday, so we where not able to make it out hunting, so I used this opportunity to work on her lure response in the dark. Cut all the lights, and then illuminated the garnished lure with a pen light. After a little hesitation, she hopped down there and started eating. I then called her up to the fist for a quail leg, and that was about it. Fed her up to 1098 grams....she did pretty well considering this was the first time she had done this. I will probably do this a few more times over the next couple days, and will try and remember to end each hunting session with this activity . I don't plan on needing to call her down in the dark, but it will be nice knowing that I can if the situation arises. It's freakin 60 degrees outside, which is keeping the weight on her, but hopefully she will be at weight after she casts, and we can head out for some hawkin this afternoon.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Noon time, she weighed in at 1032 grams and was spot on. First slip on a squirrel, and she went at it alright. Drove for a few minutes more, and found a couple of them sitting in a yard. She bailed out the window HARD and smashed a big old male fox squirrel off the side of a tree. I hauled toward her, but she got bucked off before I could get to them. She was def more focused as far as "actively" looking for game as we drove around, and her bating inside the car is lessening each session. Got another slip a little bit after that, which she chased pretty hard. It bailed out of the tree onto a roof, and she almost snagged it as it jumped off the edge into someones back yard. She then followed it along through the trees for a little bit, before I was able to call her down to the fist. I'm thinking this was the last session that I can "safely" fly her on squirrels, b/c she has now figured out that unlike rabbits, the chase isn't over after the initial flush, or the second one. I can't be having her nabbing squirrels in peoples back yards, so it's on to "real" squirrel hawking now. Headed up to Bartlesville to pick up the fridge, and I flew her for about an hour or so. Only got a couple of slips before dark, but no connects. One notable flight....she took off over the wide open expanse, and flew for about 3 or 4 hundred yards, before she did a wing over into the grass. I heard the squeel, but she must have lost hold of it before I got there, b/c I found her sitting on the ground with feet full of fur. I'm thinking I need to sharpen her tallons, cause that's two things in one day that she has bound to, and then ended up losing. I'm getting irritated with my lack of productivity lately, and am going to need to figure out a new "game plan", as far as putting consistant slips under her, and doing my part. Ended the night on her block weighing in at 1100 grams.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Yesterday around noon, she was in the the lower 1040 gram range, so off we went to do a little car hawking. Apparently squirrels like to be foraging on the ground around lunch time, so we decided it was a great day to see what Dee Dee thought about them. We found our first squirrel within about 20 seconds of getting into the car, but it wasn't just one...it was two!!!! I slipped her out the window with fingers crossed, and she, well...."sorta" went after it....she did a few wing pumps in that general direction, but then landed on the ground. She still doesn't like flying back into the car, so I step out to call her up, when she notices the other squirrel (that I had completely forgotten about) sittin next to a truck wheel. Well, she decided the best course of action was to chase it down on foot, so she starts running at it going underneithe the truck. Of course, she didn't get it, but I guess that sorta made it "click" in her mind, b/c as soon as she got on the other side, she flew straight up the tree at it, but really didn't have a chance of nabbing it. Drove for another minute maybe, and then we see another one. Drop the window, and she is out pumping HARD toward the squirrel immediately. Obviously, this guy had played this game before, and just sat there and waited for her to get in striking range, and then slipped to the other side of the tree, leaving her empty footed on the ground. He then scampered up to the first branch, and turned around and started yelling at her. She just sorta looked at it for a minute, flew up into the tree, and watched for a minute, and then decided to come to the glove for a tid bit. You could almost see the wheels turning in her head, and the light bulb must have started to flicker or something. Next squirrel we see, she comes pumping out the window, but instead of heading straight for it, she goes to the first level of branchs (which is above the squirrel), and starts stairing straight down the trunk. The squirrel is flattened on the trunk, stuck between killer bird, and crazy haired hippie that's running up toward the tree, so it just sorta freezes up trying to dissappear. I run to the side the squirrel is on, and it just looks at me, so I jump in the air, and try to smack it with my hand, which causes it to scoot to the other side of the tree. This pleased Dee Dee, cause she shot straight down the trunk, stuck a foot out, and just barely missed nabbing it off the side of the tree. I'm getting all geeked around this point, cause I realize I'm having one hell of a great time, so we head off for another one. Drove for another minute or so, and we see another one....this one was a little too close to the tree, and blew her away by a mile. Called her down, and we went heading for another. Found a REALLY nice slip on a squirrel that was in a corner lot, and she lunged out the window really hard for it. She initially tried to nab this one off the ground (b/c it was pretty far from the tree), but at the last moment before it got to the trunk, shot straight up into the lower branchs of the tree (SEE!!!!!! She is learning!!!!!!). Same sorta thing goes down, except for on a much bigger scale. I go to move the squirrel, and Dee comes off the branch (which is much higher than the first one she took) and starts cork screwing down the trunk. She makes maybe three twists around, and then shoots her foot out and I swear, I thought she had it..........but she missed. Had one more slip that was alright, and then we had to head back to work. Total, we drove around for about fifteen minutes tops, and I was pleased with how quickly she was catching on. Got back to work, and I was pretty darn psyched to say the least, and couldn't really focus the rest of the day! Ducked out early, and met up with my good buddy Jeff, and we headed out to "Ahava" to see if we could kick up some squirrels. Not really sure if it was time of day or what, but we didn't kick up ANYTHING for most of the session. There where a bunch of squirrel nests through out the trees, but nothing was moving. If she did see some, then she ignored them....but no flights where had. Managed to kick up a couple rabbits (which happened to head right toward Jeff both times, so he got to see a couple nice flights on those), but she didn't manage to connect. Ended the session on the lure, and I only fed her up to 1080 grams last night. Gonna try again for squirrels at lunch, and if she doesn't score, then I'm going to introduce her to ducks this afternoon. Though the hawkin day was sorta a bummer with no scores, my best friend in the world Brian flew into town for the night, and we got to sit down and do some chillen. It was good times getting to see him, and I stayed up WAY too late last night talkin. Oh, and if your wondering if that is Bob Marley in the back of the second picture.....it is......that is where Dee Dee draws all of her inspiration from!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Bummer weekend....went sorta like this. (Day 45) Got home at five, and she weighed in at 1049 grams. Headed out to the field by the train tracks, to see if my bad luck on bunnies was going to continue to be a trend, or if it was just a fluke. Well....it's a trend :(....Beeped her up, and we heading into the field. She was really focused, and following well, but i just couldn't manage to kick up any rabbits. Beat around for a cool minute in the "rabbit" section, but then headed out into the open field, following the creek bead that is full of briars. Kicked up 5 or 6 snipe, one of which she put in a half hearted flight at, but other than that...nothing. Snapped a few pictures on the way back to the car of the sunset, and then we called it a day. Saturday (DAY 46)at 10:00 AM, she weighed in at 1053 grams. Put her anglo hood on her, with the hopes that she would cast by the time we started hunting (which she did!), and headed to Jonathan's house to pick him up. Off to Bartlesville we went, and we hit up the field behind the school. I gave Jonathan the honors, so he pulled his bird out, and we went for rabbit number three. He unhoods her, and she flies up to a tree, and then immediately does a pretty focused flight over to a cedar, and starts looking around. We enter the field, and head to where she is, and kick up a rabbit within a few seconds. Short flight out of the tree, and the bird had scored rabbit number three......total hunt was about sixty seconds long, and I think it's fair to say that she knows the name of the game now FOR SURE! Dee Dee's turn to fly, so I get her beeped up, and she flies up to the same tree to start her hunt off. Just like Jonathan's bird, she immediately looks focused on something, so I go and start kicking around that area. I get a flush in short order, and she comes out of the tree and slams the ground....I get over there, and find her tearing at................a VOLE! Little slut! I try to get it away from her, but she gulps it down before I can get anything done, and I'm pretty irritated by this point. I'm like, well....lets keep hunting before she puts that into her stomach, so I get her to fly up to a pole, and we continue to beat the brush. We continue on, and she hasn't "perched up" yet, so I give her the signal to move closer, and she flies up to a closer telephone pole (which we had previously bumped a hag RT off of). She lands, and immediately starts bending down and eating something. I'm like "what the heck is she eating!!!!" Jonathan says she is eating a rabbit leg, and I start getting even more irritated. She gulps down TWO rabbits legs that where on this pole, and I'm thinking my hawking day has come to an end....I mean really.....one vole and two legs....that's pretty much a full feeding.. Alright, I'm lieing.....I WAS PISSED! I was looking forward to a GREAT day of hawkin, and it's in shambles. I send Ryan a text, looking for some motivational words to get us back in gear, and to lift our spirits, and his response is "such is falconry..." Dang! We head off to the field behind the mall, and meet up with Kent and a couple of his buddies. They came out to shoot pictures, and to join in on the brush beating, and it was nice getting to meet them. We flew his young bird first, and got quite a few nice slips for him, but he is still very leery of crashing brush hard, and still picking up "the game", but over all, flew well. Next, it was decided that Jonathan was going to try and double it up, so we pulled his bird out, and we headed off toward "the bush." We get a few slips for her pretty quickly, and she got pretty darn close to connecting with a few of them. Honestly, had she not already connected that day, I'm pretty sure she would have snagged at least one of them. Headed up toward the road on the east side of the field, and then cut back toward the parking lot, getting a few more slips, but nothing that was really "catchable." He decided to cut his session short b/c of her response, so next it was time to fly Kent's older bird. He seemed VERY intense during our session, but seemed more focused on rats than on bunnies. We didn't manage to kick up as many rabbits for him as we had been for the other birds, but he made one or two decent attemps, while he refused a few other ones. About this time, Dave E shows up, and it was GOOD times getting to see him again. We shot the $hit for a minute, and apparently he had kicked up a Great horned, a barred, AND a Barn owl on his way through the field, when he was coming to join up with us. Pretty neat the amount of raptors that are all pushed into this little area. After a bit, we put his Harris up, and I'm like screw it...let's fly Dee. So I get her out, and after having to call her down immediately b/c i forgot to turn her transmitter on, headed off into the field. We walked east toward the road, and then cut back north, heading to an area that we hadn't explored since last winter. Got a slip or two in between this, but she was either out of postion, or really far away (due to the lack of proper perchs in this section). She got close to connecting on one, where she flew a LONG ways off of a telephone pole, and was following it perfectly through the open field, but just got juked when she came in for the connection. Finally made it to the other end of the field, and we started kicking up quite a few rabbits. Had some GREAT flights, and she almost connected with a few, but she was just one step behind them all (had she not eaten, she would have caught I'm sure....just didn't have that extra motivation to put out the full 100%). Flew her butt off, and by the end of the session, she was REALLY tired! Called her down to the lure, and when i weighed her that night, she was at 1102 grams (She must have been FAT after the vole and rabbit legs, to still be that high after getting her balls flown off!). (DAY 47) Sunday was dedicated to car hawking. Weighed her in at 1:30 PM at 1032 grams, and Austin had a game plan already. We headed to some spots that he thought would be popping with birds, and he was absolutly correct. Got a nice slip on a pigeon which she ALMOST got, some grackle slips, and a REALLY nice one on a crow which she chased hard. Had to pick up the parents dog from the kennel, so we paused for a little bit while taking care of that, and then we decided to swing through the fontana shopping center to look for birds. There was a really nice slip on some starlings, but she only did a half hearted attempt at them. She flew up to to a flag pole, and then got mobbed by a ton of crows. She flew off over some appartments, and the chase was on. Saw her in a tree, but she wouldn't come down to the fist, so I was about to pull out the lure, when she took off again. Lost sight of her for about ten minutes, and drove around with the telemetry out and finally found her again. There was a big group of kids around watching her, and as I was about to get out of my car to call her down, when she spooked off again, and I lost sight of her. Zeroed in on her location, and we found her up in a tree. One positive was, that she stayed in the same general area, and she kept making circles looking for me I THINK, but I was just one step behind the whole process, and got to her location just as she was wanting to leave. Did somemore searching with the telemetry, and eventually found her in the tree next to the flag pole she had originally flown up to after the slip. Swung the lure, and she came down instantly. My thoughts.....I extended the session WAY too long. Should have been satisfied with the five or six really nice slips that I had had before we picked up the dog, and should have just ended on a big feed up on the lure. Instead, I kept pushing, and it ended in a telemetry chase. Lesson learned.....I HAVE to score a rabbit in the next hunt though, just to get her back in line. I fed her a little when I got home last night, not thinking about the fact that day lights savings had hit, and so she is going to be at weight TONIGHT, which does me no good. Should have just left her where she was, and flown this morning, but I didn't. Oh well....may try to do some car hawkin at lunch. It has now been four days since she has scored....none of which was her fault (other than the vole and rabbit legs...slut!), and I'm going to HAVE to step it up, and start giving her more slips. Right now, it's just me that is holding her back.