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Posts Tagged ‘success’

2016 Deer Hunting

November 23rd, 2016

Successful Deer Hunter

Deer Hunting.  A northern Michigan tradition.  Many years of history, stories, and hunting adventures passed down in the generations of family hunters. Another year of tradition within my family has passed, and it has been a very memorable one.  This year, the weather was warm through opening day and a few days though the hunt.  I talked to several folks with mixed reports of deer movement activity; some reporting lots of movement, and other reports of little or no movement. Whichever your experience or theory, plenty of deer were harvested this season in Michigan.  Winter came in quickly by Saturday, and I’m sure that held up some of the movement for the next couple of days after that.   

I started my hunt this year two days late.  That’s not unusual for me, I was unable to make it a four-day hunting excursion away from work and falconry responsibilities.  So as I arrived on Wednesday eventing to a temperature of 58° F, there was nothing on the buck pole.  Not surprising, given the warm temps.  The two deer that had been taken at deer camp so far were hung, gutted, and processed as quickly as possible to save the meat. My first evening was filled with laughter and stories with family and friends, as we packaged up some of the bounty harvested the day before.  Always a good time.  

I awoke abruptly out in the camper to the sound of a started pick-up truck.  It seems that my alarm did not go off as expected. No worries, I had plenty of time to get a cup of coffee, pack up my lunch, and head out to my blind.  The preparations this year were very easy, as I had planned everything to make it especially easy.  I suited up halfway and drove out to the *NEW* Death Valley deer blind that had been restored the previous month.  

The morning started like every other one: dark. The exception to this morning was the left-over “SuperMoon” was waning and still brightened up the landscape a little.  The beauty of sitting out in a deer blind so early in the morning is the solitude that you get when you finally get your gear settled.  The silence of the woods early in the morning is incredibly peaceful and it’s one of the few times where you can hear the trees whisper. As the morning progressed, a few deer crossed my viewing area across the meadow.  Typically, a doe, followed by her yearling were the usual visitors through the valley.  Occasionally, there was a spike-buck following the pair, or a larger 4-pointer.  The key to watching deer cross the valley is to be keen to the bucks trailing the does a few minutes later, after they pass. Always be ready for them, for they are walking with a purpose.  So with a total of 10 deer spotted before lunch time, I was satisfied with the activity and movement in the area,  and still hopeful to be successful on my first day.  The lunch period was slow, and there was no activity until about 2:30 pm.  A pair of does ran up the valley from behind the blind and veered off to the right.  I was ready for the buck following them, but he never appeared.  I waited intensely with my gun to the ready, holding out for the buck that should have been pursuing them. After a little while, I heard some rustling off to my right.  The river runs through the area, about 150 yards off to the right of the blind, and I noticed a deer browsing.  It wasn’t until he lifted his head up that I could see the 8 points above his ears.  I lined up the shot, and waited until he showed me his shoulder, and I pulled the trigger. 

I gave him enough time to lie still, dragged him about 30 yards or so out of the woods and drove back to deer camp with an 8-point buck on the trailer. What a great day of deer hunting!  The next day,  a couple of us drove into town for some provisions at the local market.  We stopped by the DNR office the next day, even got my successful deer hunter patch! 

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Halloween Hunting

November 1st, 2016

Halloween Hunting

Happy Halloween!  The evening is full of tricks and treats.  Cedar’s first successful TRICK was to catch a rabbit on an afternoon hunt and the TREAT was to have him for dinner.  The whole team, Kelly, Kida, Cedar and myself went out for an afternoon hunt before all the spooky creatures came out in the evening.  We flushed the first rabbit within the first 10 minutes and Kida was hot on the trail.  She’s getting better at following along with the hunt and is definitely keyed into flushing game.  Cedar gave chase after the “HO-HO-HOOOAAAH!” game call but had to pull up due to the thick underbrush.

After exhausting the effort to flush him again, we moved on to another part of the forest.  The dog was on scent and Cedar flew ahead of the crew.  The rabbit flushed, and Cedar hit the brush hard and connected with the bunny!  After pulling Kida back so as not to crowd the hawk, we soon had a bunny in the bag!  A great coordinated effort by “Team Austringer!”

Bonus props to my lovely apprentice, Kelly, for the great assist out in the field and for the great photography!

 

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Happy New Year 2016

January 4th, 2016

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 , , ,

Winter Squirrel Hawking

December 29th, 2014

Winter Squirrel Hawking

The Christmas Holiday provided some additional field time this past weekend and on Saturday, Cedar was successful at catching her first fox squirrel this season. Be hunting in the afternoon started like any other as we traveled to one of our favorite hunting grounds near the house. I was doing my job dashing through the woods and shaking trees for squirrels. Cedar did her part and came over to a stand of trees where I noticed a squirrel jumped out of a nest. Cedar rang up in the tree and the Hawk versus squirrel chess match began. Cedar corner the squirrel in the crook of a tree and sat and waited until the squirrel made it’s next move. After about three minutes Cedar decided the game was over and took a swipe at the squirrel in the crook of the tree. Cedar made an aerial maneuver, locked her talons on the squirrel in combat as they tumbled down to the forest floor from canopy. I arrived at the crash site just-in-time to pry the squirrel off of Cedar in order to prevent injury to my hawk. I quickly dispatch the squirrel and Cedar earned her food reward.

 

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Squirrel Hawking with Cedar

December 30th, 2013

Squirrel Hawking with Cedar

Three days ago, Cedar had yet to catch a squirrel while out hunting in the woods.  In the last two days, she’s caught two squirrels and has the fine makings of an excellent squirrel hawk. I could not be happier with her performance in the last couple of days, as we’ve had opportunity to go out each day after Christmas to go hunting.  Cooperation from both the weather and vacation days, we are trying to fit in as much Hunting as we can before the weather turns colder this weekend.

On this day, we had some additional brush beaters in the field able to help with flushing rabbits and Terry provided some additional footage of our hunting excursion.  You can view the full set of pictures over on flickr.

* Photography courtesy of Terrance Robb

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