Summer 2016 Update
As the summer draws to it’s peak heat indicies, my activity level with falconry is also reaching a zenith. This summer has been a time of change and growth on a personal level, as well as another challenge to my falconry career: getting ready for the next stage of falconry life. The next level for falconry for me comes at a time when change is a constant and being ready for the curveballs life throws at you becomes a mindset. All the preparation and readiness mindset in the world cannot prepare you for everything, but it can give you the ability to adapt better. Here’s a few things that I’m working on in preparation for ‘The Next Stage’.
With time and resources both at a premium for me right now, it’s become a challenge to construct a new mews. I need a new mews for the next level, so I’m in the process of converting an existing shed into a mews. The next stage for me is the next bird. “What is the next bird?” is a fair question here, but truthfully, I don’t know. It will be a bird of opportunity and when the time comes. I believe that God has a way of working through others, and provides each of us with the right thing at the right time. So when the right bird is ready for me, she will find me, I just have to be ready for her. There’s no sense in going trapping for a new falconry partner if you don’t have all the amenities arranged.
For the first time in my falconry adventures, I am taking on an apprentice. At first blush, this seems like a simple thing to do, being a falconer of 7 years, and varying levels of experience. It’s about time I passed on all my falconry knowledge and skills, right? However, taking on an apprentice is not something I take lightly, nor would I want to undertake the training of a young falconer haphazardly. This experience is going to take additional focus and a re-examination of my own skills as a falconer AND a teacher. The teacher in me always strives to give my best to my students.
Hunting Companion – Small Munsterlander
I’m going to add a four-legged companion to the hunting party this year. With ‘Wink’ (old English Setter, beyond his years) out of commission for bird hunting, I’m adding a Small Munsterlander puppy to the team, ‘Kida’. This is another feat that is no small measure of consideration, but I’m getting some extraordinary assistance from my apprentice. The training of a great hunting dog is another undertaking that should be given the greatest consideration. The additional training as a falconry dog will be an extra change for Cedar, as she is not used to hunting with dogs in the field. This too shall take some adjustments. Great Teams were not formed in a day, so we are going to work together on training as a team in the hopes of having some great falconry adventures together in the coming season.
I continue to work hard for the falconry community in Michigan and continue to provide assistance in special areas as necessary for the betterment of the sport in the State of Michigan. This sometimes involves long meetings on Saturday mornings, but it’s with some terrific folks and the topic is captivating. The outcome of our team’s work will provide the falconry community in Michigan additional confidence in our partnership with the authorities.
General Info PDF
Rolled Leather Anklets
I was introduced to rolled anklets the other day and worked out a pattern. The full templates are attached at the bottom of this post as a downloadable PDF. The patterns are drawn to scale.
Raptor Anklet Patterns (Downloadable PDF)
Outdoorama has always been my favorite event for many reasons. The Outdoorama show venue out in Novi is well done and has been a proven outdoorsman crowd pleaser for many years. I also got my first introduction to the Michigan Hawking Club at this event many years ago when I started out as an apprentice. The educational fun is also a big plus with many folks stopping by the Hawk Club booth in order to check out our raptors and to learn more about falconry in Michigan. Many folks are surprised to learn that the sport of falconry is alive and well in the state of Michigan and that people actually practice falconry.
Happy New Year 2016
This past Sunday I had the pleasure of an all-you-can-hunt area with several other favorite personality falconers. We started early in the morning to ensure a full day of falconry and time for everyone to fly. The area was large enough for each hunt to take a new, and separate area of fresh hunting ground to kick out the bunnies and squirrels.
Cedar was the second hunt of the morning, and it’s always a challenge to hunt her when you change up the normal routine. Usually we hunt in the afternoon at close places around the house, and that provides for a good routine: empty crop, no food for a day, and an urgency to hunt before the dark. So, when we get up early and begin the hunt around 10:30 am, that tends to change up the routine that requires a little more patience. Cedar was put up in a tree, and took several minutes to cough up her pellet from the previous day. Raptors usually produce a casting several hours after their last meal, so in this case, she hadn’t cast yet from the previous day and needed to do so before hunting. She usually takes a few minutes in her first tree before hunting anyway, but today it took *extra* time.
Once that nasty business was out of the way, she took to a higher perch and settled in again, but higher, and with a commanding view of the surrounding area. The first rabbit flush was a quick one, and due to her height, and the obstructing tree branches, she missed a quality slip. With the additional people in the field, it was also possibility of confusion for her and missed where the action was. Not to be deterred, she moved up in the field ahead of the group and proceeded to await the next flush. The second flush was not too far afterwards, and she took a good swipe, but pulled up and took another perch out of sight. At this time, I’m thinking that the early morning routine is too unsettling and the additional folks in the field are too much for her. I pull out the lure to end the hunt once I found her another 50 yards away up in a tree. I pulled out the lure right under her, and she wouldn’t come down. She’s never refused the lure before, so this was perplexing. She jumped from her branch and wasn’t coming in my direction. She took a wing-over right into a bush and crashed the brush hard. I was rewarded with the success sound of her connecting with a bunny. I laughed at the disobedience for a second and immediately ran to give the assist on her capture. I quickly got a good picture and rewarded her for her efforts!
The remainder of the day was followed by two other successful hunts for the other falconers and we ended our afternoon with gratitude for our hosts for the day.
Hunting, Rabbit Hunting PDF
Fall Hunting Success
The warmer weather late this fall has been so far welcome from many Michiganders who have experienced some pretty good cold snaps over the past two winters, including additional snowfall. These days are great for falconry and the small game hunting season. The rabbits, squirrels, and even the mice are out in the fields, plenty active for a hunting raptor in search of it’s next meal. When Cedar is out hunting, anything small, furry, and scurrying about are not safe in the woods. Cedar is hunting really well this season and caught this rabbit 10 minutes into todays hunt. The expanded brush-beating crew got the assist and enjoyed a good walk in the woods with Cedar. I hope to have many more hunts together with my family!
Hunting, Rabbit Hunting PDF