Monday, January 18, 2010

Group Hunting II

I had a great time at the NCFG meet the other day. I've already posted the mornings events.

After the morning hunt we all met back at the restaurant for lunch. More time spent with old friends, swapping stories about our morning.

People had been flying all different types of birds. Harris, red tails, gos hawks, kestrels, merlins - and I don't even know what else. Spirits were high at lunch and it sounded like everyone was having a good time.

My plans for the afternoon was to hook up with Chip and put his two harris hawks up with my two and really gang up on those squirrels. We'd done it in the past and had a great time. The running, screaming, and chaos can be addictive!

We got out to the woods and launched all four of our birds. There were some face offs at first as the birds established a pecking order and then we started walking towards the woods. It ended up that there were about 16 people hunting with us all together. That was too much for Gonzo - he held back by the truck as we trundled off.

We quickly jumped a rabbit. The birds dove from the trees like kamikaze pilots. The rabbit jinked, avoiding the stoops, darted onto the dirt path and was off. Another bird angled in from the side and grabbed the rabbit, tumbling across the ground, but lost it. Then the rabbit was gone.

We kept walking. There were people everywhere and the birds had a hard time figuring out who to follow. We jumped a squirrel and the chase was on. The chase led around and up a giant pine, across the tree tops - then the squirrel bailed 60 feet to the ground. A barrage of 3 hawks followed, but they all missed. There was a short foot chase with a legion of spectators following.

The squirrel escaped in a small hole.

I'm thinking he won this one - but the rest of the group had other plans, they worried at that hole until the hawks got bored and wandered off.

The squirrel never appeared, but I don't think he had a good time of it inside that hole.

We finally gathered all of the birds and the spectators wandered back to the cars. No game on this trip, now it was time to watch the falcons fly.

We stopped by chips house to see his education birds.

Chip and Ben both got out their falcons later on to show us how the whole thing worked. The birds were amazing.

I had a hard time of it when it seemed the falcons were winging for the horizon, but they came around and started circling.

The spectators would fan out across the field until quarry was served. Both falcons connected - Whack. It was cool.

In the end, it was a great meet. I've got plenty of memories, and it is always good to see old friends. I even learned a thing or two.

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