Its been a busy time getting ready for a move out East but I snuck out for a quick pheasant hunt with my Dad and son this past week. My Dad did a great write up of it over at the Upland Journal. I think this is going to be a favorite picture of mine for a long time to come!
If you didn't take the time to read the write up, my son is 4 and that little gun is plastic with lights on the end of the barrel and a great shooting noise when you pull the trigger. We shot at that bird at the same time, so no telling who hit it...(although I'm pretty positive it was his) :-)
The day finally arrived. I've got to get on with packing and moving and the weather report said that this week would be in the 50's so I took Goliath on one last hunt before turning him loose. He was already fat from being fed a bunch in anticipation of the release but in typical Goliath fashion he flew well regardless. He nailed the first starling of the day. We tried for doubles but none of the subsequent slips were quite ideal. He may have caught another had he been a bit lower but I was pretty happy with his performance given how fat he already was. I took him to a field near my home, fed him up until he wouldn't eat any more, cut the jesses off and sent him on his way.
One or two more bites as a free bird:
I was actually planning on taking a little video of the release but my camera batteries died right after these pictures! My friend tried to snap a few post-release photo's after he left my fist for the last time but he flew off when my friend approached. That's a good sign. He'll have no trouble out there and will make some female very happy come spring.
Thanks for the memories Goliath. You were a good one.
Chances are good that I won't be posting again on here until next season. There are some pretty big life changes coming up in the next few months and free time will be scarce but I'll be back eventually.
"The reward that comes from practicing falconry is, and has to be, a feeling of your own personal satisfaction; that, and that alone. Chances are no one else will be around when your hawk is at her best. Falconry is a tedious, time consuming effort with long periods of stress and anxiety punctuated by heartbeats of gut-wrenching visceral satisfaction so intense that is impossible to put into words."
--The California Hawking Club Apprenticeship Manual