Saturday, November 24, 2007

N.A.F.A. アメリカ全国鷹狩大会

Every year over the week of Thanksgiving the North American Falconers Association (N.A.F.A.) holds a national meet where falconers from all over the nation get together to socialize, listen to speakers, tell stories, and HUNT! This year the meet was held in Alamosa, Colorado, a short 3 hour drive from my apartment. Unfortunately, my family wanted me back in Utah for turkey day so I could only stay a few days but the following are some pics from the meet:


This is the weathering you can see, there were lots of birds!!

The first day out I hooked up with some falconers from Minnesota that were gracious enough to let me tag along. This gentleman had this 3rd year female coopers but unfortunately wasn't flying her that day. We had a good number of people with us and ended up flying 8 or 9 Harris hawks together. We had a few good slips but only ended up with one white-tailed jack in the bag for our efforts.


Even though we only got one jack the scenery was beautiful!


The second day, and my last, I went out with a friend from the Internet to fly his male golden eagle.

We had a few good flights but only ended up managing to catch a rat. You'd expect more from such a vicious bird. Look at the fear in those kids eyes!

I really wanted to stay the whole week but my 104 year old great grandma wanted to meet my son so off we went to Utah. There's always next year...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good luck to my friends in Japan! 皆頑張れ!

The season opens today for all my friends in Japan. It's a short season running from November 15 thru February 15 and there's a general lack of game there that makes catching anything doubly tough but I know they'll all try their best. Good luck guys!


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Falconers are so WEIRD! 鷹匠って可笑しい!

On Saturday I met up with Richard and his goshawks and we headed to an industrial park where we hooked up with a couple of his apprentices. Billy Bob, the tiercel goshawk from a couple weeks ago was up first. We'd spotted a bunny creeping into some bushes near a building so we thought we'd give that a try to start things off. The bunny bolted out of the bushes and made it to a drain pipe before Billy could get to him but since we knew where the bunny was, and it was a big enough (2.5 ft. in diameter?) drain pipe, I offered to climb in from the other side to scare the bunny out. It was a fairly long pipe, maybe 150 ft. from one side of the road to the other but I could see the bunny sillouetted against the light at the other end. I threw a couple rocks down the pipe to see if I could get it to move that way (and I really didn't want to climb into the pipe) but it wasn't moving so after brushing a few cobwebs out from the entrance I climbed in. The pipe was only slightly larger than my shoulder width, but by commando crawling on my elbows and pushing with my feet I could move pretty steadily so off I went. I was making quite the ruckas as I went pushing a short piece of PVC pipe in front of me that clattered along the dry cement as it went but the bunny just wasn't budging! About half way through the pipe I hear a voice from the other side say, "Isaac? You're in the wrong pipe!" The "bunny" that I could see at the end of the pipe I was in was a rock! I guess 150 ft. of dark pipe obscures vision just a bit! But with no where to go but forward I pushed on and finally emerged from my experience as a ferret with scrapped up elbows, but none the worse for wear and we continued hawking. When I got home I told my wife the story and she says, "You did WHAT? Are you that desperate to catch a bunny? If I saw a bunch of superfreaks climbing thru drain pipes and chasing bunnies in an industrial park I'd laugh at you. Falconers are so WEIRD!!"...and ya know what, in this instance I have to agree!


Billy ended up catching a bunny coming out of a pipe in a short flight. Richard told the bird he should've let it run a little more and Billy released the bunny! He caught it again in 20 feet but we told Richard he probably shouldn't say that again!


Richards apprentice then took his red-tail out for his first real hunt. While the bird didn't catch anything it flew wonderfully, barely missing a couple times and chasing a good while. It'll be a good bird in the near future. Here's some of the flights: