Wednesday, December 30, 2009

590 Grams Luscians First Duck Hunt!

With the weather getting a little better this morning I decided to go get Luscain on my lunch break and take him out after work. I had been talking with a friend about a little creek area that someone had talked to me about and this friend lived close. He says that he sees ducks there all the time and discribed the area that I had never seen. He was right on the descriptions. Open field for 20 yards on both sides and houses after that. After work we both went down there and the site looked a little more industrial than I thought but deffinatly workable.

After scoping the area out and pin pointing some ducks down in the gully (the creek is in a canyon like area. The water is a good 20 feet down the hill) we got back to the truck to get Luscian. Walking out Luscian kept bating off as if in a normal hunt for rabbits and perching at the bushes. Once we got to the first site 200 yards in front of the trucks (the trucks are parked paralel to the Creek) Luscian prematurly bated up to one of the bushes near the edge of the hill down to the creek and I think his bell warned the ducks. The ducks launched up and Luscian quickly in Tow but into the wind was the disadvantage to the situation. Luscian quickly gave up and went to a tree and the ducks who where RED HEADS headed off down streem and dove back to the water. I figured we had a bit and got luscian to the fist and put on some jesses as I wanted a little more control. I didnt have my sissors so I couldnt get the bell off at this point. While walking I cut away from the creek a bit and let luscian go as he was bating alot to get away and I didnt want to reinforce a negative thing about being on the fist. while we where walking he took to a tree above the creek. I figured we had a good 100 yards before we saw the ducks again so I left him there to follow as we walked back to the truck to get the wire snipps to cut the zip tie that holds the bell to Luscians Anklet. Soon enough after a good 20 yard walk Luscian takes off of the tree and is hugging the miniture valle wall, Passes us and whips a hard left going down streem against the wind. I told my friend I had no idea what he was after but he saw something. All the sudden 3 Ducks Lift up and take off into the wind with Luscian very close to making a deal. Unfortunatly these ducks had more power into the wind than Luscian. The ducks again went down the creek and dove back down. From there we walked back to the truck and took off Luscians bell. Yes he was wearing Telemetry.

While I cut the bell off my friend scoped out and found ducks down streem a good 40 yards. 3 Birds. We walked around far and started walking in towards the creek a good 10 yards down streem of the ducks. Luscian bated a few times and it felt real nice not to hear bells and I think this saved our future flights for the Hunt. As we got to the edge we couldnt see the ducks. Crouching we both scanned the water and I saw a duck head behind some weeds that where a good 5 feet tall. I motioned for my friend to stay put as I started to go down the hill in stelth mode to get a little closer. Just as I started that some guy in a truck stopped about 20 yards behind us. He wanted to see the hawk so I motioned for him to stop and wait a moment. He was curtious to this and could see what was going on as he snuck to us to see what was going on. Cool dude. Anyhow I get 20 feet down the hill and start walking on a game trail and get with in 10 feet of the ducks! I CAN HEAR THEM! Crouched I jump up and the ducks rise. Luscian has chosen the one he wants and it is the fastest. The first two would have been better as they where slow Mallards. 2 hens and one Drake. The third is the fastest and banks right going straight up stream! Luscian hot on his tail and within a good foot the whole way! At one point I thought all it would take was for Luscian to reach out and grab it but alas he didnt and got smoked after 60 yard flight with the wind! Both birds where in hyper spead and it was amazing.

After that I got 2 more slipps down stream another 100 yards down but the wind was not our friend and those ducks know how to fly into it and make a great escape. After the last flush Luscain took to a tree near a bridge. I started to walk back to the truck with my friend and this guy in tow. Luscian is till in the tree and I hear movement in the bushes down by the creek . Wouldnt you know it a fox jumps out. I started running as it was going towards Luscian and then I started freaking out yelling as Luscian took from the tree and took off after the fox! It was a red fox and Luscian seemed to want it so with my screaming and pulling the lure as I ran somehow I got Luscians attention to come for a DOC instead of the Fox. Thank you Falconry Gods!

I think I need to get a baggy duck just to reinforce the grab. I think he may have stalled a little bit on the one that he should have had. Maybe a little afraid of this other big bird but still fun to chase.

What a fun Day. Next time Im taking video. Though I did get Video of Luscian in the tree and some ducks in the water a good 60 yards apart at one point.

Friday, December 18, 2009

590Grams Luscians first Adult Jack Rabbit

We where out looking for Cottontail chases and maybe a little video and I got lucky and shot this video of Luscian and his first Adult JackRabbit!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

593 Grams

Well finally we have gotten to hunt in the past few days. We had a week and a half with temps so low we couldnt get out. I mean temps that never got above 10 and lows as far as -17. So far for the past few days we have been skunked but we have also been flying with a second Harris Hawk. Luscians brother Gizmo. Luscian wont leave him alone and goes after him constantly. Sooner or later they have got to start to get along. Ill be working more on lowering Gizmos weight and maybe getting Luscian and him together to feed more often hoping that they make nice. In the mean time I have a video I did today of the TPerch that I use for Luscian.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

678 Grams Redtail Attack!

Even though the winds where at 20+ I still took Luscian out to hunt. Traditionally I dont find any rabbits when it is windy but I wanted to take the chance and at least get some excersize. Off to the college we went. The hunt started as normal with the patern that we have grown to find that works hitting certain areas first and working in a path that is almost becoming Deer like only Falconer like. We had only one chase at a cotton tail after we got a good mile away from the truck and Luscian crashed the bush too early and the rabbit took off without him seeing it go. Even with me making the game call he was still too interested in the bush and its possible contents. Like hunts past I have seen this Hag Redtail but it only messed with us a couple times and never seemed too aggressive. I saw once again this bird and didnt think much of it.
With Luscian following me we started to walk back to the truck for the end of the hunt. The spot we where hunting in had some perching spots and trees but it was a good 150 yards to the next spot with them and Luscian took off to the tree line out in the distance. As I walked a hill blinded my view of My little harris hawk but I didnt think anything of it as things have gone so well and he has seemed to figure out the routine in this area. As I got to the top of the hill and still a good 60 yards to the spot I saw a bird hovering above the tree. At first I thought it was Luscian and was proud that he was taking some time to stretch his wings while he waited for me but alas, It was the redtail. It stooped the 5 feet he was from Luscian who was sitting in the top branches of the tree and barely missed my bird. I started Yelling and Running as fast as I could and thankfully the Redtail took off for the next tree and shortly leaving out of my site towards the buildings of the college. I didnt have Jesses with me like an idiot so I decided that I must have scared the redtail away and that we would finish the quarter mile treck back to the truck as normal. Luscian followed nicely as if nothing had happened and landed on a pole as we walked. At this point I had open eyes and soon enough I noticed that the redtail was coming in again and pretty quick despite it was coming against the wind. Instantly I pulled the lure and just as fast Luscian came in for it meeting me at the ground and safe from the Redtail. I threw up my ski pole and yelled alot and the redtail took off half a mile to a tall Radio tower and landed. At this point we where only a good 200 yards to the truck and I decided to make a run for it giving Luscian tidbits on the way as he followed as in this area he doesnt like to stay on the fist. I know i should have just put him in my vest and kept going but I had an eye on this redtail off in the distance and felt safe finishing our task at hand. Luscian followed well and next to the truck is a baseball field with a wall that he likes to perch on. At that point I started to video Luscian flying in the wind and following me while I also kept an eye on the redtail on the pole. As I was 25 yards to the truck I noticed on the tower the redtail come off and Luscian coming in to the truck. At that point I stopped video as I wanted to hurry and open the truck to get Luscian in. Its at that moment that while I was watching the other redtail and Luscian closing in to with in 15 yards of the truck that a SECOND REDTAIL in a full stoop slammed into my Luscian as he was almost 20 feet into the air. This redtail was a female and knocked my bird down pretty hard. Luckily he was able to catch himself before hitting the ground. The redtail didnt bind but smacked my bird pretty good. Luscian came to the fist instantly. I didnt even have a chance to yell really before this other bird hit Luscian and I have no idea where it came from. Thought my eyes where open but you can never be too careful. Next time Ill have jesses in the vest at least and ill deffinatly count my blessings that Luscian came home safe and seemingly un offended. He is still squacky and wanting his food so I think he is just fine.
Last time Ill hunt the College for a while. Scary to think of having a cast and not having the controle that you have of one bird.