Friday, December 4, 2009

That's a new one

It is supposed to rain - possibly snow - All weekend. Snow would be fun, but rain would ruin my plans. So I went out for another quickie after work today. I had a few errands to run first, but I had an hour to get out before dark and I took advantage of it.

I am constantly amazed at how resourceful squirrels are when hard pressed by two hawks and a ground locked human. This was one of those hunts.

We went back to the spot with the flooded lowlands. I put on my hunting vest, donned my chaps and waded into the cane break.

The birds did much better staying on only one side. We secured our first squirrel in short order with a nice chase and a grab on the ground.

We lost the next one when he crossed two trees, spiraling down a trunk and then popping into a hole. I dropped the squirrel into the game pouch in the vest, adn the weight of it brought a smile to my face as we moved deeper into the woods looking for number 2.

It was getting close to 4:30, my official time to head out of the woods before it got too dark, when the birds pinged on another.

It was a great chase from elm to elm, up to the top of a towering pine, where Gonzo pounced and there was a brief struggle, before the squirrel broke free. The birds were hot on his heels and he was certainly feeling the pressure.

Next thing I knew, the squirrel was scrabbling down the side of a pine. I was beating the trunk, trying it to move back up. It stopped halfway down and our eyes met. He stared at me briefly, but then kept coming, straight at me. At the last second, the squirrel leaped over my head towards a branch behind me. I turned to follow his progress, but the squirrel was gone.

I turned in circles, the hawks peering from the branches above, but there was no squirrel.

Suddenly, I felt my game pouch moving suspiciously. The squirrel was scampering around, inside my vest.... Apparently, he had jumped over my head and dropped down the back of my vest in search of safety. He obviously had very little fear of me.

Gonzo dropped down lower in the branches, when the squirrel popped his head out of my armpit. I knew gonzo could see him and didn't want a hawk grabbing around my armpit, so I grabbed the squirrels head and pulled him from my vest and tossed him into the air for the birds to grab. Gonzo darted in, but the squirrel twisted in mid air, and Gonzo missed.

The squirrel hit the ground, with Tess just a short distance behind,and disappeared into some thick underbrush from which I couldn't shake him. He deserved to get away. We moved on, but by now it was getting too dark to see much more than silhouettes and we turned back towards the truck.

It was going to have to be a one squirrel day.

The birds followed me out of the woods. By this time I was getting leery about Great Horned owls, but the truck was just a bit farther. 50 yards from the truck, Tess drops from the trees and grabs something on the ground. I couldn't see what it was, but I waded in and grabbed what was in her talons.

There it was, squirrel number 2. The birds pulled it off in the end.

Another good day.

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