After work today I had about an hour to get Tess out and hunt with her before it got dark and I had to resume my child taxi'ing duties.
It was still warm, high sixties, and even with winds over 20 mph for the last few days, the leaves are holding fast to the trees. Thick, hot, and hard to see, but it is the best I could do. Tess was a tad higher than I would want her with it being warm and early in the season, but she is still very biddable. Gonzo is ready to go, I just need to get them together when I have a bit more time (maybe Saturday).
We flew on the edges of a small airstrip where the live oaks grow close, and all of the recent rains have made the ground soggy. We wandered for a bit beating at the brush and pulling the vines. In here we could find either rabbit or squirrel, though squirrel is more likely.
It didn't take long before the sweat was flowing and the daylight was waning. But no squirrels. Tess followed from tree to tree, her manners perfect. Then she put her foot down, set her shoulders, and was off, obviously after something.
I sprinted to catch up. I found Tess spiraling down the side of a tree, hot on the tail of a gray squirrel. It lept from the side of the tree and Tess grabbed it on the rump. They hit the ground, bounced, tusseled, then the squirrel was free. It bolted for the nearest tree, Tess, Talon over talon, half running half gliding, on its heels.
The squirrel cut left, leaping for the trunk of another small elm. Tess cut the corner, her talons out front. She snatched the squirrel from the side. The squirrel squealed and the two tumbled to the ground.
When I found them, Tess had it securely held by the head and back.
I finished off the squirrel and traded Tess to a tossed mouse. Then we kept hunting, looking for a double.
We didn't get in another chase. The sun was going down and the squirrels were holding tight, so we called it a day. If this is a shadow of what is to come, I am looking forward to a great season.
Here's to number 2.