Sunday, January 17, 2010
Group hunting (Part I)
I believe that it is important for falconers to get together and exchange ideas. Falconry meets can be a good place to do this. Anytime you can get together (off of the internet) to talk about issues and techniques can only make you a better falconer.
If you are new to the sport - it is a good way to have your eyes opened to what it is all really about. Hunting.
Now - any ideas or techniques you see or hear - you take the good with the bad and use what will work for you and your situation. Some people make their falconry more difficult than it has to be. That's not for me. I'm not saying it's wrong - it is their thing.
Andrew and I headed out for the falconry meet on Friday night. We drove four hours and met up with some fellow falconers for dinner on Friday night. We talked about issues and politics. Hunting stories and our birds. It was a good time.
We met in the morning to get organized. There were lots of old friends in the room and everyone took a minute to get caught up. We were assigned hunting guides and headed out to the field.
My group had three people flying birds including myself. There was a first year apprentice with us who got out his passage red tail and threw him up into a tree. There were six of us following along and I believe the hawk was put off by all the people.
We ended up chasing him through the woods at first, and the apprentice decided to put him up to try him again in a bit.
Bill got out his pair of Harris. They are a similar pair to Gonzo and Tess and extremely efficient. First squirrel we saw, flush, chase, grab - all done. It was nicely done.
Gonzo and Tess came out next. We'd already been through this patch of woods twice, but we took a different route. It took a bit before we rousted a squirrel, but when we did - the chase was on. Through the hardwoods, the squirrel got snatched from the treetops by Gonzo. As Gonzo was parachuting down, the squirrel nipped his talon and Gonzo dropped him. the squirrel bounced and ran for cover - Under a brushpile, through a vine tangle and up a tree. He crossed to another tree and disappeared into a leaf nest.
The birds know he's in there. First Tess, then Gonzo pounce on the nest and dig tentatively in the leaf ball. Gonzo jumps off and Tess gives it another go. The squirrel squirts out and leaps to the next branch. The hawks were on it.
Tess snatches it off a branch and glides down with it. Sweet chase!
We decide to get the red tail out again. Right off the bat he is doing better. We quickly jumped a rabbit and he dove after it, slamming the briers but missing. We were able to reflush, but the cover was just too thick.
We moved on. The red tail made a big move across the woods. He saw something. We ran to assist, but the bird folded up and rolled off the branch, slamming into the brush at the base of the tree.
Squirrel! The apprentice managed a nice trade off.
We got Tess out again, but she wasn't too keen on hunting again and it was lunch time so we packed it up to meet the group for lunch.
We had three squirrels for three hunters. Not a bad morning in Carolina, where every kill is hard work.
The afternoon deteriorated from there, but I'll save that for post number II.