Archive for December, 2012

Hunt 12/22/2012

Posted in Falconry on December 22, 2012 by ABS

My daughter, Jasmine, followed Elia and me in the brush again today taking photographs of us hunting. She is taking a Photography class in college this upcoming semester. Oh on a side note my daughter is a straight “A” student in college so far. I am definently a proud papa. Elia is improving almost every hunt and all of her misses are coming from being out of position, so soon I believe she will be staying even closer to me and flying ahead to catch them flushing rabbits. My daughter got some really good pictures of Elia today. We ended the hunt with a lure toss and a nice fat rat since I won’t be able to hunt her for the next few days.

I have a house full of girls coming over to hang out with my daughter tonight so I squeeze in hunts when and where I can. Because I know the girls will have me cooking or baking or doing something else. I am kinda looking forward to my seven day detail coming up on December 28th since I am taking Elia with me. A full seven days straight of hunting without breaks.

Hunt 1 12-22-12

Hunt 2  12-22-12

Hunt 3  12-22-12

Awesome shot of Elia with Hunting Jesses.

Hunt 4  12-22-12

Hunt 5  12-22-12

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Harris Hawk Cast

Posted in Falconry on December 21, 2012 by ABS

Today, my Sponsor and I flew our Harris Hawks together at a ranch here in Laredo. I was amazed at how well they did together. Alot of nice stoops and chase and they really started working together amazingly. They were riding together sometimes on the t-perches even. I was very happy with my birds performance and I could tell my Sponsor was as well. Elia was 684 grams and it was about 45 degrees and she still did very good. She was following along real well and started flying out ahead hunting with his hawk. He is going to submit my upgrade letter so I guess I will be upgrading to General soon.

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THA 2013 Event

Posted in Falconry on December 21, 2012 by ABS

Well the family and I have decided to try and make it to the THA Event in Waco on January 18, 19, and 20th. We have reserved the rooms at the hotel and paid for everything. I did the same thing last year and all my bosses at work okayed it then bam the day came and “Oh we need you to work!” So I had to cancel. I am looking forward to meeting other falconers but I do have some trepidations.

Down here we fly with bells only and no telemetry and I feel some falconers may comment about that. At least that is how my Sponson and I fly. As for me it is mainly a financial issue down here but really in this low creosote and mesquite brush the bird stays in sight for quite a distance. I don’t have 1100 dollars to just drop on a receiver and transmitter. Wish I did but if I did I would use it to help pay for my daughters college or her car repair.

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Another Hunt

Posted in Falconry on December 21, 2012 by ABS

Figured I would post a few pictures of Elia hunting from a couple of days ago. She is following great and everynow and then she will fly ahead hunting. When she does that I will call her back for a tidbit to the glove or t-perch. I am only tidbitting maybe three time during an entire hunt. We have seen alot of beautiful stoops and amazingly enough it seems she is trying to catch birds. I have only seen her stoop a rabbit twice.

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General

Posted in Falconry on December 21, 2012 by ABS

Elia is progressing in leaps and bounds. We try and hunt at least four times a week. I work a 4PM to 2AM shift and ussually get to bed around 3AM. Which means I am up by 10AM and we are hunting by 11AM till around 1PM then it is time to get ready for work again. On days we don’t hunt we do bunches of jump downs and lure strikes to keep her in shape. Alot of my friends thought being a falconer would be cool and fun until they saw what all is entailed. I have to admit though I enjoy it and couldn’t see not having a bird to work with everyday.

Well as of 12/6/2012, I have been an apprentice falconer for two years now. Megan in Austin says all I need is an application for my General and a letter from my sponsor and pay the application fee. I am actually not in a hurry to do it. To me General is just a title and no reflection on what I am. I know for a fact 10 years from now all I will be is a 10 year apprentice. I learn so much from speaking to other falconers online and over the phone and of course the birds I fly teach me something everyday. After three birds showing me everyday what was wrong with the interior of my mews and the tethering system I use, I think I finally have it right. Elia took to the mews with no issues and no injuries.

I tend to keep my birds tethered during hunting season because they all seem figity and jumpy. During the summer molt I free loft with no issues.

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Hunting

Posted in Falconry on December 20, 2012 by ABS

I am keeping her at 680 grams for hunting which means everyday I feed her up to approximately 730 grams and the next day around hunting time she is 680 grams. She is burning roughly 2 grams of weight an hour except that changes a bit when temperatures drop. So I make sure to increase her weight by 5 to 10 grams on colder nights but I am in Laredo so that happens rarely.

She is riding the t-perch alot more now and using it often which makes me happy. You can instantly tell when she is hunting and not focused on me. We had a few begging issues with her landing on the ground near me when I wouldn’t offer the t-perch or my fist. All I do is keep walking off ussually that is enough to get her back up and following or flying ahead. She stooped at a rabbit today and we tried to corner it in some brush to flush it for her. Somehow it got by us….darn. Just a matter of time now.

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Elia

Posted in Falconry on December 20, 2012 by ABS

Well on October 13, 2012 we trapped an 832 gram female juvenile Harris Hawk on Hwy 16 near FM 659 coming out of Zapata heading towards Hebbronville. I think there must be about 12 or so family groups of Harris Hawks in this immediate area. She hit the trap very hog fat and aggressive. Usually on all birds I can detect a bit of a keel, I swear this bird had no keel it felt as hard as an apple. We sprayed her down with mite spray and jessed her up and I got bitten on the finger pretty good for my troubles.

When we got home I logged on and completed the take form. I contacted Megan in Austin and she told me that record numbers of Harris Hawks were being trapped by falconers down in my area. I really was praying for a 900 gram plus bird but I decided to keep this one. While manning the bird she would bate and act stupid like the other redtails I had trained but she was very grippy. She would crank down on the glove relentlessly. Since she was so mean I named her, Elia, after my mother-in-law. We use the waking technique and held her on the fist for almost a straight 22 hours. I know a lot of people don’t do that but we do and we exposed her immediately to the dogs, cats and sights and sounds of being in a house immediately. It took her dropping to 740 grams and almost six days for her to decide to finally jump to the fist. After that things progressed pretty normally except she always acted aggressive at the beginning of every training session. She would spread her wings aggressively; try and wing slap me and/or kick at me. Which the redtails I had trained usually stopped that after the first week. She was just plain mean.

At 740 grams, on the creance she would take her time responding to the fist and one out of every four flights was away from me instead of to the fist. So I slowly brought her weight down and at 690 grams all of that cleared up. She was acting responsive and striking the lure both on the ground and in the air. When just sitting the fist she stopped bating and her aggressive display at the beginning of training sessions stopped.

I didn’t get to start hunting her till November 16th due to work. I had to go out of town on a detail for seven days though I did take her with me and we did jump downs, creance flying and lure training to keep her strong. At 690 I went hunting with my sponsor and his bird and at 690 she hung back and used the t-perch rarely and was non-responsive to the fist. Though my bird and his did go after his ducks thank god for the netting over the pens he keeps his ducks in. He told me to cut back on her weight slowly, hunt her more and do hundreds of jump downs to the fist and t-perch.

Well at 680 grams she seems to have turned into a different bird. Now in the brush she is beginning to stay close to me and is starting to work out ahead of me in the direction I am going. Her response to the fist in the brush is 100% better and she is using the t-perch a lot. I am really happy with her progress. We have had a few nice chases and stoops and I believe she will close the deal soon.

Elia

Elia

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