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First Squirrel

January 18th, 2011

First Squirrel

I got out to the field on Monday for a Hunt at one of my usual rabbit areas. I checked out several large clumps of brush and broken trees that usually hold bunnies and there was plenty of sign around. I knew that rabbits were close, if not out in the open but I never saw them.  Tahoe took a new perch every couple of minutes, matching my pace through the woods.  She was doing really well!  On a flight to a new perch, her flight stuttered a bit, she continued, and then did a spectacular wing-over and pitched straight down to the ground.  Upon catching up to her, she had no doubt stooped on a rabbit hiding in the underbrush. Alas, she had not nailed her quarry, or else I would have heard bells, rabbit cry, and some rustling, but I heard nothing.  I made my way quite far from where I had seen her make her dive and looked hard, waiting for the bells to target my vision.  I found her perched low in a branch, sitting quite comfortably and snapped the photo below.  The snow made for a pretty background, and it seemed like a telling moment for her.

Towards the back of the larger field area that I regularly walk, the forest changes into tall oak trees with the canopy much higher than the typical scrub-brush that populates the open meadow area. The oak trees also hold a decent population of squirrels in this area, although I rarely see them when walking this section of the park.  Tahoe took flight and flew out ahead of me and then took a left. She was quite high up in the trees, and sat for a moment.  I decided that I was following her, and made my way over towards her when she suddenly bailed from her perch, angled towards the base of a large tree, and then made a hard curve around the base of the tree. She was slightly hidden from my sight until I got around the tree to see that she had a fighting squirrel in her grasp!  I hurried and made in with a glove and grabbed the growling squirrel to prevent injury.  I became more worried when I noticed that Tahoe did not have a good head-hold, and the squirrel’s head was buried in feathers, still growling fiercely.  I assumed the worst and dispatched the squirrel quickly.  I later had to remove a mouthful of feathers from the little rodent who appeared to have a hold of Tahoe’s leg when I approached.  I quickly made the trade for the lure and walked back to the truck, expecting to have to open my medical kit and perform some emergency first-aid.  Once cast, I dug through feathers and was surprised that there was no blood. No injury, no tender spots, no bleeding.  I was VERY relieved at Tahoe’s condition and placed her gently back in her giant hood.  A satisfying end to a successful hunt with Tahoe’s first squirrel in the bag!

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