Elia is a jumper in her mews and always has been. If I did not keep her leashed constantly she would be all banged up instead of feather pretty. Pretty I said, not perfect. Well she quickly wears out all sorts of the leashing systems I have used. So I picked up a 33 foot long thin dog lead leash and cut it down to use as her leash. Then Jasmine and I hit the youtube videos to learn how to stitch leather using a hand awl/stitcher. We stitched it into the mews on the eye bolt nice and loose so she has freedom of movement to get to her feed stump, water bowl and her window perch. Just to make sure the stitches hold we zipp tied the top and bottom where we stitched. Hopefully this will work well.
Well my son, AJ, his wife, Denver and my grandkids, Tristan and Liam, came down this June to visit. Damn little ones are growing like weeds. Thank god they got them “Sutton Good Looks”. Of course my ex-wife disagrees and come to think of it so does my wife, hmmmmm. Well they seemed to have some fun and we did alot of cooking while they were here. Not like I need alot of excuse to be cooking though. It is always good to see family just wish Lance would visit. UPDATE: Lance has left the Marine Corp and joined the Civilian work force. Say a prayer for him because civilian life is HELL.
The Grandkids, AJ and Jasmine.
The Grandkids, AJ and his wife, Denver.
Liam and his parents.
Tristan and I got into trouble for rough housing to much so my wife put us both in TIME OUT, damn it has been many years since I had to stick my nose in the corner. But damn if I am pissing off my wife.
Below we took them to the lake and Jasmine and I tried to teach Tristan to swim. I took the kayak along because WATER AWESOME!
Of course once we left the Lake that wasn’t enough for them, so my wife through a kiddie pool out in the front yard for them, while I cooked lasagna in a dutch over over the fire.
My neighbor has access to several ranches and has friends with feeders all over. He tends to take alot of people hunting. Alot of people think hunting is awesome fun; they get a gun, go out early and kill something with a loud bang. Afterwards they are done excitement is over. Then they find out holy crap I have to clean this thing, damn that will take hours. Everyone wants to pull the trigger, no one wants to wield the knife.
I see this happen all the time. Well when my neighbor calls and says, “Hey I have four pigs to clean that people have shot.” My daughter and I grab our knives and run over. Half the pig in my freezer was shot by someone else. This is also good practice for my daughter as well.
Here she is hard at work, butchering.
Posing for the Camera.
I sure raised that girl right. Mighty proud ‘o her ::spit::. If’in yer interested in a fine wife, she is on da market. Be sure an’ enclose a picture o’ ya ranch when ya send fer inquiries. Just joking.
I received a comment a while back asking why is hooding so important especially when flying a Harris Hawk or a Red-tail. I believe Gary Brewer said it best is there any good reason not to. Below are just a few examples:
1. You’re hunting late and it gets dark you can hood your bird and walking through the brush to your vehicle isn’t so bad when she gets hit by twigs and other things.
2. If you ever need to tether your bird down to a limb in the brush hooding it first is best.
3. If you decide one day to trap another Harris to fly a cast, then it is a simple matter of making in trading one bird off to a tidbit or using a lure then trade it off and hood one bird set her down then work on the other bird to retrieve the downed game.
4. When you are around other falconers with Red-tails a hooded bird is much safer when in close proximity to them.
5. You have a ways to walk through an area with people to get to your hunting site. A hooded bird is alot safer around all the barking dogs and kids runing around.
6. Why not train them to a hood.
It is a simple matter of every day when you go pick your bird up off the perch hood her, weigh her and put her on a perch while you get your tidbits and daily ration together. Then put her in the giant hood to go hunt. Then un-hood her for a tidbit to go hunt once you are at your hunting site. After the hunt or training session you can re-hood her place her back in the giant hood to head back home. Once at home un-hood her for the remaining rations however you serve it, jump ups or lure.
That way you make hood training part of each and every day. It becomes a routine. Now remember I am just a three year apprentice and really don’t know squat so this is just how I feel and what I have learned from others. So take it with a grain of salt.
Training a hawk or any raptor can be a little tricky. In my first two years as an apprentice I tried multiple methods to train my Redtail to rely on the t-perch for hunting. None of them worked very long. The result was usually like this; I took the bird from the giant hood tossed her up to the t-perch and off I went into the shoulder high Laredo, thorny brush. After a few minutes the bird would take off towards a telephone pole a ¼ of a mile away to sit. About 10 feet later I would kick up a rabbit and the bird was out of position. My work around, I used my daughter to carry a second t-perch and we hopped the bird between us about a 100 yards in the brush continuously working the bird back and forth. This resulted in us starting to get some decent kills in the brush.
I usually train my birds to the t-perch by having them jump up to it for a tidbit (chicken gizzard/neck) garnishing the t-perch. After about 10 jump ups I begin tossing the tidbit to the ground and when they drop to it I call them up to the t-perch. I do this jump up training repeatedly over a few days. Then when I am out hunting and they leave the t-perch to take another natural perch (i.e. a telephone pole, tree, etc.) I call them back to the t-perch every so often to a garnished t-perch to reinforce them coming to the t-perch. The negative to this is these birds will quickly learn that your right hand has the food and watch for it. As we all know this can eventually lead to a painful conclusion. Also the bird can get in the habit to taking a high perch thinking she is being rewarded to the t-perch for it. Which is the exact opposite of what I want. These birds are smart and they have trained me very well before.
I spoke to the President of THA, Chris Davis at the 2013 event and he gave me an awesome training tip. Cut you about 10 or so 1 to 2 gram tidbits. Take your bird to your hunting sight but leave her in the giant hood. About 5 feet from your car place a tidbit on the ground. I usually make a mark in the dirt I can easily find near the tidbit so I don’t lose them in the brush. Every 10 feet or so in a straight line or whatever pattern you wish place another tidbit till their all on the ground. Then go get your bird and perch her on the t-perch. Walk up to the first tidbit and using the toe of your shoe kind of tap the ground near the tidbit. It will only take your bird a few second to see it and come down to get it. Call her back to the t-perch and keep walking. She will quickly find them on her own and return to the t-perch after each one. You will notice she will begin to find them further and further out as she scans the ground further in front of you.
We tried it today and I was amazed. It helped glue her butt to the t-perch and made her scan the ground out in front of me. We ended the training with a short 40 minute hunt in the brush and she was scanning the ground all around from the t-perch. She had two chases and stoops but missed both in the deep brush. All in all I was very happy. We ended the day with a garnished lure.
My t-perch is just an extendable painters pole with a 14” long ¾ inch pvcround pipe epoxied on the end wrapped with long leaf grass mat.