Archive for September, 2011

Harris Trapping Fun

Posted in Falconry on September 7, 2011 by ABS

Well after yesterdays no Redtail day, I figured I would work on the indoor perching area for my yet to be trapped Redtail. Around 8 AM, I told my wife screw it let’s go trap as far as Hebbronville and see how many Harris Hawks we could catch. By the time we made it as far as the Hebbronville Border Patrol Checkpoint we had trapped three. All three looked to be small hag female Harris Hawks. All the juveniles would go for the trap as well but only the adults were getting caught.

It was loads of fun and all were released safely after receiving a big dose of mite spray. The Harris on the trap is a lot different then a Redtail. Redtails tend to try to drag the trap then roll over and present their talons to you. Once they are off the trap they pretty much are just pissed but that’s it. A Harris wants to bite and fight the whole time even once you get them off the trap. 

My Sponsor thinks the Redtails won’t come this far south till late November early December after it starts to cool off here. Which seems right to me since I trapped “Noel” last year on December 19th. Hopefully I will afford a nice 9 hour trip up to the Ft Worth area to make that happen sooner.


No Luck Trapping Again

Posted in Falconry on September 7, 2011 by ABS

Well Tuesday the wife and I went down Hwy 359 to Hwy 281 south to Hwy 285 once in Riviera, Texas we travelled all the County Roads near Baffin Bay with no luck. This time out we didn’t see a single Hag Redtail and of course no juveniles. We had a White Tailed Hawk try to hit the trap and several juvenile Harris Hawks but of course we aren’t after them. The majority of juvenile Harris Hawks I have seen have all been tiercels.

Why Do Falconry?

Posted in Falconry on September 4, 2011 by ABS

For me it was a life long dream as a child. I saw raptor presentations at various amusement parks in Florida and at the Renaissance fair. Of course back then I didn’t really understand all that would be involved in flying and maintaining a hawk. Of course now all of it has become a daily routine, from weighing to feeding, doing jump ups, hooding, lure reinforcement, hunting, cleaning the mews and perches, etc.

They are majestic birds that form a hunting partnership with you. You can love that bird as much as you want and she will always see you as a refrigerator. Also, I think that because 90% of wild raptors die their first year in the field that by practicing falconry we help the juvenile we trap to beat the learning curve so that in 2 or 3 years once they’re released their chances of survival are much higher. I know there are many weekend falconers out there but I try my darndest to hunt my bird 3 times a week or more. My bird is definently no pet.

Check the links below for more information on falconry. Also check “The Modern Apprentice” in the links section. That site is a wealth of information.

Scott McNeff’s Video

Falconry, a Living Human Heritage

Meagan Duffee’s Article in Rural Missouri

Sport meets art when birds are the Hunters

Texas Raptor Proclamation

Do you really want to become a falconer?

For those of you interested in Falconry I mainly studied the California Hawking Club Apprentice Study Guide and the New York Apprentice Study Guide. I also bought “The Red-Tailed Hawk” by McGranaghan, “Raptors in Captivity” by Lori R. Arent,  and “Buteos and Bushytails” by Gary Brewer.

If your truly interested join your states Falconry Club and become an associate member. Many clubs hold pre-apprentice classes at their events and take them on mini-meet type hunts where they can beat the brush for falconers and get to know the falconers in their local area. It is a great way to meet a perspective Sponsor. Many general and master falconers are often approached by people claiming interest in falconry but then their passion fizzles out over the long run. So you have to go that extra mile to prove it is in your blood. I am a 43 year old apprentice and it just happens my Sponsor is my age as well. Don’t be surprised if you find a Sponsor younger then yourself, age here has no meaning all that counts is falconry experience. If you do get into falconry always remember that as a falconer you represent every falconer. One bad act tarnishes all.

All I can say is it is well worth it and many years down the road from now when I pass on my apprentice will have to pull the jesse, strike the anklets and release my bird back to the wild.

A male redtail hood.

Posted in Falconry on September 1, 2011 by ABS

I have a large Redtail hood my Sponsor gave me for a female Redtail, which fit “Noel” like a glove, but I didn’t have one for a male. I ordered a nice male hood from Mike’s Falconry which finally arrived. I was surprised how nice it looks and I like the extra long gortex braces which will make opening and removing the hood one-handed a lot easier. Now I am ready if we trap a nice tiercel. (Tiercel = a male falcon. Commonly used for all male raptors.) I keep my hoods in separate tupaware containers in my bag to keep them from getting crushed.

Female hood on left, new male hood on right.