Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It was one of those days.
The birds were loaded up in the car and waiting. But work was long, we had a meeting after work that went over time, but I scurried out of there as fast as I could and cruised to a nearby hawking spot. We hadn't had a kill in over a week, and last Saturday we hadn't even seen a squirrel. I was anxious to break the streak. The hawks seemed to be ready as well.
I had to get the birds out quickly as my sons soccer practice was over in 45 minutes and I had to pick him up, trade him off with mom so that I could take our other son to wrestling. I'm a coach, so I needed to find time in there to swing by the Y and catch a quick shower.
I didn't expect a whole lot in 45 minutes. Every squirrel in this part of the country is a hard fought success, and you appreciate every one. Maybe it would be enough time to get something in the bag.
Tess was on the low side and highly motivated. Gonzo was within striking distance of his hunting weight - so he was willing.
They were hot. First squirrel flushed and crossed to a new tree. He didn't like the heat high in the trees with both birds closing in, so he bailed quickly to the ground for a short foot chase.
Both birds barreled in, crabbed, lost it, chased - then closed the deal.
I waded in and traded off. Quick kill - awesome.
We went for two. Flushed another one from a hole in the tree and the birds were off. We lost it briefly in a hole, but it must not have liked it there and bailed. Both hawks plummeted down like guided missiles, but the squirrel jigged, then jagged, and the hawks had to abort.
The squirrel found sanctuary in a rotted log on the forest floor, but I closed in and shook him loose. The squirrel bolted, but didn't make it to the next tree.
Two in the bag, fifteen minutes to get back to the car.
We didn't make it.
We flushed two more squirrels on the way back, lost one quickly but followed the other into an old, hole riddled tree. The squirrel disappeared, but there may have been another squirrel in there because he popped out the top, then quickly disappeared into another hole.
It was like Whack-a-mole. Squirrel in, hawk nails the hole, squirrel pops out another hole. Hawk nails that hole - squirrel squirts our somewhere else.
The pressure got to be too much and a squirrel made a break for it. Like F-15 fighters, the hawks strafed through the trees after it. The both piled on. 3 in the bag, two minutes to get to the car.
We made it. And had time to pose for a jeep ad.
With a closing shot for Isaac. (7 t0 go)