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November Hunting 2013

November 18th, 2013

November Hunting 2013

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Usually the middle weekend of November is reserved for Deer Camp, and while I’ve enjoyed some years of success, I was unable to make it this year. The camaraderie and traditional mens weekend would have to take a back seat this year.  This allowed for some additional falconry time  this weekend, and while beating the brush is a whole lot more work than sitting in a deer blind for the weekend, it was much more satisfying.

Friday Hunt

In lieu of sitting in a deer blind today, I spent the morning taking care of a few things around the house, and then catching a quick lunch before dashing out to the field.  Another falconer accompanied me on today’s quest, and we hit an older spot that had not been hunted in a while.  The downside to this place was that the development of the area had increased to the point where the subdivision road was opened up and now went all the way to the back of the lot.It’s amazing how forward progress of civilization can be observed by watching the rate at which fields and forests are mowed down in favor of new housing developments.

So, the first hunt involved the a Red-Tailed Hawk that specialized in Squirrels.  The beech tree forest was quite mature and had a high canopy.  The perfect habitat for the little squirrel buggers.  The first hawk took a few high perches and moved through the forest with ease.  There was one good plunge after a squirrel, but she was unable to connect.  We put her away after calling her down. Cedar was up next.

Cedar wanted out of the box as soon as I opened the car door.  I let her off the leash as quick as I could, and then gathered my gear for our hunt.  A local resident Red-Tailed Hawk came over as soon as Cedar took up her perch.  She didn’t seem to mind the visitor, but the resident clearly took offense to Cedar’s presence in her territory.  I called Cedar down and we drove down the road about another 1/2 mile to give the resident some room.

We were not 10 minutes into the hunt when I put out the first bunny.  It jumped out from a small cluster of briars and seemed to stop after a few hops.  Cedar observed the commotion and took her next perch a few trees up ahead, just in the right spot for a flush.  A few more steps spooked out the rabbit from it’s second hiding spot and Cedar dropped out of the tree and pounced on her prize! Our fist bunny of the season!

Saturday Hunt

After a successful hunt the previous day, it was nice to be able to get out again to enjoy the outdoors!  Today we hunted a spot to the south of our normal areas in order to stay well away from any possibility of running into any Deer Hunters.  Our adventures continued in grand style today with lots of action right from the start of the hunt.  Cedar got off to a great start, taking two plunges for something moving in the brush. After recovering from those attempts, we moved away from the marshy area and into an area with several good cover spots for rabbits.  The wood-piles and logs are plentiful in this area, but difficult to navigate on foot.  I started looking closer at one, hoping to spring a rabbit out.  By this time, Cedar had taken up a perch on the opposite side of the field.  I expected the rabbit to go out the opposite side and away from Cedar, but in a stroke of luck, the rabbit came out of the brush slowly, and moved towards the center of the area.  Cedar saw it.  She took off from her perch high up in the beech tree and started flying towards me. I expected her to keep flying over my head and further into the woods, but she folded up in a wingover and dropped on the rabbit like a stone with a heavy thud.  I knew she hit her mark when I heard the rabbit and I rushed to help her with her bounty.  The rest of the hunt was equally exciting with a squirrel chase, and a few more stoops after rabbits. Another successful hunt today and a great day out in the woods.

Pictures from the first hunt are shown below:

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Winter Hunting and Tracking Prey

January 11th, 2010

Winter Hunting and Tracking Prey

It’s been almost two months of hunting, waiting for a good amount of snow to cover the ground.  A good snow makes it easier to track rabbits and squirrels out in the woods.  It lets you know if they are around, where they hide out, and how active they are.  What’s more, is that when you move one in the woods, you can track them down easier through the snow after they flush. Unless of course if the tracks lead you to a hole, in that case you are out of  luck.

I’ve walked through a few of my hunting spots in the past week that looked good earlier in the fall. Earlier fall hunting turned out to be fruitless, but I was certain that there were rabbits inhabiting my favorite areas.  My suspicions were confirmed that they are good rabbit areas by hunting in the snow and being able to see the activity left behind by the residents.  Tracks, sign, and droppings were plentiful at my top sites.

So, as I trekked around the woods for the past two days, I watched closely for the signs, tracks, and other clues as to where rabbits and forest critters spent their time.  The snow also helps pick out movement, as brown / black bulky figures really pop out against a white background.  Tahoe easily saw a squirrel bolt down a tree towards the snow, and then she barreled after it.  The squirrel survived after dashing under a log and then disappearing down a trunk, or a hole, or some hideaway that I could not see. I did my best to track it through the snow, but the signs eluded me on this little guy.  It was a good chase for a minute, and Tahoe seemed excited about it after she took a high perch.  She may have been disappointed, but it wasn’t obvious, as she followed right along to the next tree and we walked deeper into the forest.  The remainder of the hike left my game bag empty and my legs tired from clomping through the deep snow.  The sunshine made it a bearable afternoon, although the wind picked up and chilled the cheeks a little bit.

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