Monday, February 22, 2010

End of Season

Snipe season has come to an end and birds have been tough to find so I hung up my glove for the season. But, what a season it was. My good friend Joel Volpi, from GA, joined me for the last few hunts and as usual Doc flew great.
Doc caught his first snipe on Dec 6th and in the following 50 hunts he went on to take 32 head of game, including: 24 snipe, 2 doves, 1 Bob White quail and 5 Misc birds.

I'm looking forward to a speedy molt and another great season.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amazing Hunt

The weather was cold, the skies were clear and the wind was calm, the forecast called for pain. Doc flies at his best in these conditions, and this hunt was no exception. Doc left the fist and rang up in small circles, following the dog and I out into the field. When we were 100 yards out from the truck Doc was up 500' and waiting patiently. There was a slight breeze and Doc was staying just up wind of us, when he circled he was come right over head and then circle back upwind and come right over again. I saw Duncan begin to get very birdy and looked up to see where Doc was, he had just begun to swing away from us when a snipe flushed out of the cover.

Doc immediately folded up and 100 yards out, just before impact the snipe slammed into high cover and Doc pitched up. Duncan and I made our way to the spot while Doc rang back up. he was 200' when the snipe reflushed and this time he followed it into cover fast and hard. He missed the snipe and they were both on the wing. The snipe got a good jump on him coming off the ground but Doc tried to make up the distance. He chased the snipe up 300' and eventually gave up chase after a few minutes.

Doc headed back toward us while we made our way back to the the spot we flushed the first snipe. We worked the area again with Doc 500' overhead and soon flushed another snipe. It headed to a saw grass pond with head high grass and shin deep water. Doc stooped but the snipe made it to the pond. Not to let another get away Duncan and I headed into the pond to find the snipe. Doc circled overhead and we soon reflushed the snipe. It headed out of the pond but swung around trying to come back to safety when Doc struck the snipe with a loud thump. He knocked the snipe back into the pond and I found it floating in the water. I picked up the snipe and looked up to see Doc climbing again.

When I got out of the pond Doc was 300' up and climbing so we headed out to find another snipe. After 5 minutes of looking for birds I was running out of field and started to tie a piece of meet to my lure to call Doc down. Duncan swung around towards a patch of tall grass and flushed out a small covey of quail. Doc was now 500' up and straight overhead. He came sizzling down and plucked a quail out of the air 50 yards out and 30' up. Doc set his wings and glided to a high patch of ground.

I've caught a few quail with my merlins but this is the first one with a big falcon. I never find them in hawkable situations here. One snipe and one quail, not a bad day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snipe 2-6-10

Isaac Nichols, a falconer from Colorado was in Florida for a week of training. He rented a car to come over and see Doc fly and he was not disappointed.

We flushed a snipe while driving in the field and parked 50 yards from the spot it landed. Doc took a nice 500' pitch and we headed in to flush. We over shot the mark and we ran around in the wrong spot for several minutes. We lost sight of Doc and finally had to stop and search the sky. While we were looking for the snipe Doc was climbing, he was WAY up and directly overhead.

On a hunch I moved back towards the truck and kicked up the snipe. Doc came sizzling down and the snipe bailed into a small patch of cover with Doc right behind. The snipe flew out and the chase was on. Doc put it back in a few hundred yards away.

Doc mounted back up over the spot while we ran to flush. He was a few hundred feet up and we reflushed the snipe. With a thump, Doc claimed snipe #21.

Now for a little Fishing

The shad run beginning on the Saint John's river. A few weeks ago we gave it a try and came up empty handed (a little too early). But last Monday Diana and I headed over and I hooked 8 shad and landed 6 nice fish. I also caught 3 nice size Speckled Trout.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winding Down

I fear the season is near the end. I'm having a tough time finding snipe and Doc has given up on me a few times and flown off to chase distant birds (successfully one time).

Doc did fly great today he waited on patiently and nice and high and eventually caught a miscellaneous bird that we flushed while walking through the field.

Last weekend Mike Dupuy was visiting for the weekend, we had a great time and Mike got to see Doc and Bubba fly. We flew in a very stiff wind (close to 15mph) that I probably wouldn't have flown in if Mike wasn't down.

In typical fashion I had a minor screw-up while gabbing with Mike. I had my yearly telemetry malfunction (I didn't turn it on). Naturally, Doc saw something downwind and we lost sight of him chasing a flock of blackbirds. This is when I realized that my telemetry wasn't on. But luckily we drove down and he flew right in and landed on the lure.