Michigan Sportsman Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't posted much this season, I am Hawker's apprentice, but we are back in the saddle again. After a hiatus of six weeks since knee surgery, excepting the very brief, very painful attempt two weeks ago, the bird and I are back out in the field today. The location I have been skulking around for probably 5 of those weeks was ideal for my purpose today. Armed with a knee brace, a crutch just in case (the brush beating stick does not give enough support in a pinch as I found out in my last attempt) and sling shot, oh did I mention that I have been practicing in my basement on my impromptu range for the last four weeks, we hit the woods.

This is a nice two acre parcel in an industrial area near the dump that they conveniently cleared out all the underbrush for aesthetic reasons, was chosen as it is dry, not habited by people and as crutch-friendly as a place could be and not be a certain park – the other place I have been watching. As I drove up I had seen a squirrel feeding just over some pampas grass that screened the parking lot from these woods. The day was fabulous, 34, about three inches of snow instead of the 6-7 that had been expected, branches rimed with a light coating of snow with a transparent film of ice on top of that. Between the broken clouds and sunshine, it was like a fairy tale forest.

I tossed the bird up and made my way down the gentle incline, happy in the back of my head that the ortho last words had been, “No you won’t mess up anything permanently if you go out, but take it easy,” when I pressed him. I was not all the way down the incline when the bird smacked into a tree that had vines encasing the slim trunk and I see a squirrel squirt around the side, about 12 feet off the ground. While Strider extracted himself, I made my way up through the only briars and multiflora in this whole lot to the tree. Now it is my turn to work a bit, I take the crutch and put it to a good purpose, hitting the vines trying to force the squirrel up as these vines only go up about 20 feet, muttering under my breath, “Damn crutch is two foot shorter than my beating stick”. But this did not daunt my vigor in whapping and waving it about, but Sir Squirrel was having none of getting up in the exposed top half of this small tree. So I got out my trusty slingshot and started plinking just below him, he kept moving up and was almost clear of the vines and in comes the premature freight train, another miss.

Seeing no nest or holes in this tree, I switched tactics and walked away, sure enough, the squirrel bailed and headed into the trees. He made it, avoiding another ground strike from Strider. As I made my way over to the tree where he went up, I start whopping trees with my crutch, but don’t see anything. So I hold and watch the bird. I don’t have the sights on our quarry, but he obviously does, head snaking, vertical to the branch, ready to rocket. I work to the opposite side of the tree and yep, there he is bellied out to the tree below a branch. With a hearty Schuuuuu, and whopping of the tree, the squirrel moved, Strider launched and ripped him off the tree, coming down about 25 feet away. I made in, well more of a gimp in, and grabbed the part of the head that the birds foot was not already on, the coup de grace not needed. Strider transferred off well to the turkey neck on the lure, and the small fox squirrel was transferred to the bag. Oh happy day. Squirrel number three out of the last four hunts in the bag.

Now I have to give a brief history of this season. I started trapping on the first day of the trapping season, but due to leaves, migration, lack of passage 'not mature) birds, whatever, it was the second week of October before I got the nice sized bird that I was looking for squirrel hawking. Strider manned quickly and we were in the field in a little over two weeks with a bunny and two garter snakes in the bag in the week before we headed to Vernal, Utah where the National Falconry group was having its field meet during the week of Thanksgiving. The plan was to take the trailer, bird and dog and spend some time hunting on the way out. So I left two weeks before the meet.

The first day in Illinois at a very nice spot we ran into a local redtailed hawk that took exception to us on his turf, and within 10 minutes, we had a confrontation that resulted in a trip to a vet 80 miles away and stitches to repair the pad end of the toe that had been left hanging, and a no hunting period that lasted till Vernal . We had a great time there where we hunted, slowly due to a bad knee, and took two rabbits and a ground squirrel. Then a 3-day race back home ahead of the snowstorm that was rain by the time we got here. Back at home we got in a couple of hunts where he took his first gray squirrel and chased many others in fine style. Then the field meet the next weekend after I got home, with the knee surgery scheduled Monday after the meet. He took another gray at the meet, and then I got laid up for six weeks. So in all, this bird has had some very limited field time, but I am very impressed with him, I think given some more time, he may get as good as Choc. Thank goodness there is still season left.

Happy hawker.
Apprentice
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That is one of last years bird, who is back hunting with Hawker. Don't have one of the new bird on game yet. Hands are to busy to take pictures when dealing with quarry. This one is my first bird finishing up a rabbit he caught.


Apprentice
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,666 Posts
That is so cool!!!! Where do you get a bird like that???
Are they brought up just for a specfic owner?? :)

Always thought Falconry was really neat.;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
690 Posts
Too Cool!

Never thought about falconers running into Red Tail Hawks. Glad your bird recovered. When you check out a new area and spot a Red Tail, do you automatically nix the area?

Very interesting sport. Thanks for the story and pics. Keep 'em coming!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top