It was the perfect day for hunting. The temps were in the twenties and the wind was still. The weather over the last week has been cold, wet, and windy so seeing the sun today was a nice change.
The hawks' weights were good, though Gonzo was on the high side at 670 grams. I usually hunt him around 650.
Tess was right on.
I got permission this year to hunt on a tract of land in Nags Head that I have been wanting to hunt for ten years, but I have never been able too. The terrain is great, mixed hardwoods, with oak, pine, and hickory. Some old growth maritime forest with areas that had been cleared in the last twenty years mixed in. There was a bunch of squirrel sign, stripped pine cones, middens, and squirrel nests up in the trees.
At the base of the ridges that run through the woods are small ponds and vernal pools that are home to lots of animals in the summer; duck, otter, turtles, but they were freezing over today.
The sun shone in spears through the pines.
There were no squirrels.
I walked for over two hours (it was gorgeous), without seeing a single glimpse of a squirrel. The hawks did dive at something, once, over a hill ,where I couldn't see, but that was it.
I made it back to the truck somewhat crestfallen.
We tried another spot. This one is tried and true. I hadn't been there in a few weeks, but here I can normally walk out with doubles, or at least a single.
The hawks played great. We spent some time talking to a group of mountian bikers at the end of the hunt. They'd heard the bells as they were riding. The hawks sat low on the branches as we talked giving everyone a good view. They don't get spooked easily. Good birds.
We'll try again on Monday.