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2014/2015 - Cisco's 10th Season, Farrah's 4th in Houston

The previous season log can be found at Cisco's 9th Season
The 11th season will be hosted on Google's "Blogger", an experiment for 2015/2016. URL is
Please email me:
Newest Updates at Top - If you want seasonal tallies going back to 2006, send an email. .
If you want to see my apprentice Amy's blog at Tumblr, click this link:
Cisco and Farrah in April of 2014:

Cisco last season finishing cottontail (Amy Forster)

Farrah with rabbit head in November of 2013 (Amy Forster)

Not me, honest........... all Amy's fault

4/7/2015 - All over for this season
A good season overall, with my two hawks performing well. Farrah caught more rabbits this season than Cisco ever has, and put in great flights. I would be willing to bet no falconry hawk in the greater Houston area has done this well for decades. This is however, Houston. A season here may be equivalent to a good week in some locales. Cisco caught an almost even number of birds, rabbits, and squirrels. The hawks caught a pile of cotton rats, about 130 between them.

My apprentices did OK too. Amy had a good season with her little red-tail, Cooter, who flies at nearly 200 grams less than Cisco, about 750 grams. The hawk is very aerial, just a blast to watch fly, especially if there's a breeze.  His field response is perfect. He took a rabbit, a couple of birds, and a pile of cotton rats. We trapped Cooter south of College Station.

Amy and Cooter

Doctor Joseph Sedrak is now a general falconer - I sent the letter to Megan at Texas Parks, on March 1. He released his red-tailed hawk, Airwolf, and plans to trap a tiercel Harris's in the fall or possibly another red-tail.

Corby Turle has a scrappy little red-tail who took a couple of rabbits. His hawk goes by Carpophorus, "The Beast Slayer." Both Carpo and Airwolf were trapped on November 1.

Cisco and Farrah in my Honda Element, pre-hunt..................

2/17/2015 - More Updates

It was very cold this morning, windy and overcast. In the high thirties. I took Farrah out around 0800. She chased rabbits, and ended up catching three cotton rats. I allowed one to escape as I was trying to trade Farrah off. She has a tendency to carry rats, not atypical for passage Harris' hawks. I have been working on the problem following Mavrogordato's prescription of making in quickly "before she has a chance to think about carrying," paraphrased. It is the opposite of what my friends do with their merlins, which is back off and let the bird break in. With Farrah I find that getting in while she's focusing on the freshly caught rat works well, though she still occasionally takes off with cotton rats. This morning I gave her the trade because she had a limp rat in her grip. Limp until it ran off that is. Her rabbit flights were good. She has caught more rabbits this season than any hawk I have flown on them.

Cisco has been steady on the cat squirrels, but he raided a couple of dreys last week, plucking out some tiny squirrels. I'll avoid the woods for a few weeks and close the season with Cisco's hunting squirrels. I have been flying Cisco without anklets or jesses, or bell on his legs. Been fun, and I have been using "jesslets." I got a solicitation for an article on it, which I submitted to a friend of mine, the publisher.

Later today I took Cisco out to west of Katy. Like Farrah, he chased rabbits to no avail, and picked up a cotton rat. He also caught a small bird out in middle of field. In the past he has caught a fair number while we rabbit hunt.

Lynne's MHH, Dart, finally caught a rabbit last week; then within days, two more. Until then Dart caught nothing but cotton rats this season. See picture below.

Amy's red-tail, Cooter, continues to be great fun to fly in the open field, taking readily to the air, hovering and soaring overhead.

Farrah with rabbit, tying her own season record this picture is on the L.L.Electronics website

Max and Dart up in Chappell Hill

Cisco with jesslets

Aftermath of a cotton rat bite


Cisco in trapping anklets after flying naked. Used these before the jesslets

Cisco with cat squirrel flying naked

2/2/2015 - Amy's stellar hawk, and Cisco keeps snagging cat squirrels

It was cold and windy this morning. Amy and I met out west of Katy. In my mind was giving the the hawk some field time, let "Cooter" catch something, and warm up over breakfast. Cooter had other ideas. From the parking lot he took off and sailed across the field, a typical beginning. Today he took to the wind, drifting downwind, then coming back to the field. Cooter pounced on a number of things in the brush, diving from the sky, but we could not put up any rabbits. He caught a couple of mice from some tree sitting. He was probably no more than 150 feet above us at any time, but what a sight to watch! My guess is that he spent the majority of the hunt flying above. I took some video and will post on YouTube and add links on a future update.

Afterward, I took Cisco for some squirrel hawking. The woods were fairly quiet today, but we had some chases, and Cisco caught a good sized buck cat squirrel when it bailed from the tree with him less than a foot behind. That would have made for a nice video too.

1/31/2015 - Amy's hawk takes a sparrow and a cotton rat

Big surprise: Amy and I met out west of Katy. We put her RT, Cooter, up on the T pole. At some point he stiffened up and stared out into the open field. No head bobbing. He blasted off the pole and flew very fast across the open close cut field and disappeared. I said, "Uh oh, trouble," believing that he was chasing another red-tail. I headed back to my car and got my receiver. When I came back, he was riding the T pole again. Amy told me that he flew back, she looked up and saw feathers on his beak. She felt his crop, which had just a little in it. I guess we have a sparrow hawk..........  later he caught a cotton rat.

I put Cisco out on the T pole instead of taking him to woods. He chased and nearly caught a rabbit, and grabbed a cotton rat. I fed him up. and we went to eat. After breakfast, I changed my mind and took Cisco to chase squirrels. That was boring...................

1/26/2015 - Time slips by

In the last month close to 500 people have visted this web site. Thanks to all. The least I could do is keep it updated, but I haven't. Since last update, Dr. Joe Sedrak's red-tail, Airwolf, took his first game, a cottontail, so all three of my apprentices now have hunting hawks. I have been hunting a lot with Amy and her RT, Cooter. He is catching cotton rats at a steady pace, and occasionally slamming the brush trying to catch cottontails. He's close, and trying to get a new RT on bunnies in fields laden with cotton rats is tough. Lynne Holder brought her male Harris' hawk, Dart, into Houston from Chappell Hill. Like Cooter, Dart has been a 100% cotton rat specialist this season. He chased some rabbits yesterday, and caught a cotton rat.

Mid-month we attended the Texas Hawking Association's annual meet in Killen. It was fun, I won some big prizes in the raffle, but my hawks struck out on game.

Farrah continues her bunny-busting, taking another cottontail yesterday. Cisco continues to catch squirrels, but struck out yesterday evening late.

1/10/2015 - 10 Days Later

A lot has gone on in the last week and a half. This morning was cool and overcast but not miserable like yesterday when Farrah and I were hunting. Amy and I took her RT Cooter out. He was fantastic. He caught three cotton rats, which is not surprising here in south Texas, but his performance was stellar. He rode the T pole like a pro, flew to tree tops to hunt, had great fist response, and was flying strong. He narrowly missed nabbing a cottontail off the T pole. The most fun we have had with him I think. Amy's done a stellar job. Here's Cooter hunting this morning. Cooter

My two hawks are also doing extremely well. Cisco catches a squirrel on nearly every trip out to the woods and always catches one when given enough time. Farrah is a cottontail catching machine. She caught her 26th rabbit of this season yesterday afternoon in some awful weather. Drizzly, cold, and windy. She nabbed a cottontail on her first rabbit flight. She is the best rabbit hawk among my three hawks that I flew on rabbits (Cisco, Dart, and Farrah). Not too long ago I took Farrah to Addicks Dam. I just wanted to get her out for some exercise. Suddenly she flew off, maybe 50 or 60 yards away. She found a fox squirrel. I moved her away from it and she found another which she bound to, in her own sloppy footing way. She held it in some vines for a while, then it escaped. She did not get bitten much at all, fortunately. This is why I don't fly her on squirrels. Great at catching them, not good at putting in freezer, and she gets bitten. Here's Farrah up in a tree with a fox squirrel. Fox


Also Typical

Amy's New Cooter Hat

1/1/2015 - New Year's Day

I got up before dawn and met Amy out west of Katy. We dodged the rain and chased some cotton rats with her red-tail, Cooter. He caught a plump one, and we went to breakfast.

After breakfast I headed back out and found a new place to hunt. It looked very "rabbity." My relentless female bay-winged hawk caught a cotton rat, then a rabbit. On the way back to the car we flushed another. Farrah is so good at rabbits, it's almost too easy for her. Unlike my red-tail, she is not overly focused on cotton rats; she chases rabbits as readily as cotton rats. Farrah attacks anything she sees.

Amy and Cooter

Farrah eating a cotton rat trade off

12/31/2014 - Happy New Year's Eve, Cisco's back

I got up before dawn after about an hour of sleep all night. Mike Wiegel was on his way over to help look for Cisco. I got some cotton rat tidbits and went out to the cul-de-sac in front of my house. I yelled "Cisco!" and heard his bell. He flew from the neighbor's tree to one in my yard. He scared the bejesus out of a sleeping dove, and then flew acroos the street. He was on my fist in seconds, and ready for his hawk box after chomping down half a cotton rat. Happy New Year..........

Later that day, Cisco spent an hour plus chasing two squirrels at the park. They had the advantage and the cover. So four in a row will have to do for now. He fed on two chicks and we went home.

12/30/2014 - Farrah and the rabbits - Cisco's on the lam

As I write this in the middle of the night, there's some drama going on in the background. Cisco disappeared this evening. I came home after dark to find an empty enclosure. Leash and swivel set was there, door to the enclosure unlatched. His jesses needed trimming and repunching, but I did not consider it critical. I have never had a hawk get loose in my absence, and besides, there's always a secondary enclosure. Until tonight. I believe and hope that he's right in the neighborhood, but it makes it a little difficult to sleep. I will keep you up to date. We will be out at dawn looking for him. I looked tonight in the dark, shining the flashlight in the trees, swinging the lure and whistling, but nothing.

 Farrah continues to be a superb rabbit hawk. While Cisco was escaping, she caught a cotton rat and a cottontail out west of Katy.

12/29/2014 - Cooter and Cisco

Jim Ince joined me early this morning at my house. We drove out to Katy where we met Amy at Denny's. After a pleasant breakfast we headed out to a nearby field to get Cooter, Amy's red-tail, on some small game. He was great today, riding the the T pole well, leaving it and flying back, and plunging into cover for varmints. He caught three cotton rats and was a lot of fun to watch. We flushed a few rabbits too.

After Cooter's third cotton rat, we took Cisco to the woods. I had been bragging excessively about his prowess with squirrels, so before we left I came up with dandy excuses as to why he might not catch four squirrels in a row. He was heavy this morning, 986, well above even what I call his high flying weight, it was damp and foggy out. I had a couple of other gems, which I can't remember. They were good though.

At the woods, Cisco caught his fourth squirrel in four outings; it was done in an amazing and canny style.
Initially he did not even look particularly motivated, which I attributed to his very high weight measured just before dawn. Though it was just a few hours later, he had not cast, so was still flying a couple of ounces heavy. Cisco found a squirrel right away and started working it up in the tree. The squirrel took refuge in a fork, and it appeared that Cisco would leave. He flew off to another tree, and appeared uninterested, just sitting. A few minutes later he flew back to a nearby tree and started to maneuver his way in.  Finally he was on a branch right across from the squirrel, and made his deadly move. He flew across, snatched the squirrel, got held up in the branches for a few seconds and coasted off. I ran after, but could not find him, so headed to my car for the receiver. I quickly located his general area; Jim and Amy found him hiding behind a tree, just off the path. I went into the brush behind carrying a cotton rat. I said, "Here Cisco!" He came running toward me with the squirrel which he happily dropped for the big chunk of cotton rat. I let him eat some, then called to the fist with a squirrel head. He had not the tiniest scratch or bite on his foot. I butchered the squirrel tonight. It had no evidence of any wounds. Did Cisco suffocate it with a foot on the chest? Dunno. 

12/28/2014 - Cold and wet

Back when I had my sailboat I used to go to the harbor regardless of weather. Once we drove through two rainstorms between west Houston and Kemah, and had a nice dry evening sail. Today, it was cold, windy, and rainy. I drove out to my field west of Katy after breakfast with Mike Wiegel hoping for a break in the weather. I sat in the car for a good while. The rain wasn't heavy, but I didn't really want to take Farrah out into it. It never quite let up, but was light enough to go hunt. After about 10 minutes of nothing, she grabbed a cotton rat. Then she chased rabbits, very close to catching, and caught another rat. We were soaked, but both having a good time.

I sent this text to a friend:
What kind of nut takes a desert hawk out in this weather? She did chase 5 rabbits and bagged 2 cr's. We are soaked.  

A wet female Harris' hawk looks like this:

12/27/2014 - The Rodent Warrier takes some ground rodents

We took Joe Sedrak's red-tail out. Too warm and muggy, and he did not perform like he did last Sunday. Joe is still tweaking some things with him, but he's doing OK. He is hunting, just hasn't connected yet.

Cisco was a portly 982 this morning. I realized the other day that except for his first year, I have always flown him above his trapped weight. He had a crop when trapped, and a few hours later with hood and jesses, Roger Crandall's scale showed 34 ounces. That's 964 grams, but includes a gut full of cotton rat and a hood. Say 70 grams of rat, and 14 for the hood, and we are at 880. I typically fly him at least 920, but that includes about 30 to 40 grams of gear. Bell, jesses, back pack, and transmitter. 

Today plan was to fly him on squirrels, but Joe wanted to see him fly; we were out west of Katy. In the warm and muggy air he collected three rodents and we got rained on. He put in a nice rabbit flight. I dried him out in the car with A/C and heat and we headed out. It was now very cool and windy. He chased some sparrows and nailed his fourth rodent, a cotton rat.

12/26/2014 - Other stuff.......

Corby's hawk, Carophorus, appears to be improving. What's more the hawk is turning into a good game hawk, having already taken two cottontails. Joe Philabaum's prairie falcon is coming along too.

Joe Philabaum's prairie falcon - ain't she a beauty?

Corby's hawk's beak seems to be improving. 12/26 on left, 11/1 at right.

Lynne Holder's Team: Max looks on enviously as Dart goobles up a cotton rat

Dart on New Year's Day 2015 - a wet hawk after catching four cotton rats - slow day for him.....

12/26/2014 - Post Christmas update

Farrah at 831this morning. It was misty, overcast, and in the sixties. I drove out to Katy, TX and checked out some areas surrounding one of my fields. Today I hunted in an area near a new development (yuck). Along some ditches there were lots of rabbits and cotton rats. Farrah caught a leopard frog, which she ate, rather than just murdering it like Cisco did a week or two back. The rabbits were quick this morning; one she pulled fur on, but he got away. I'm not sure she has ever lost one before. Finally she got the slip she needed and we had a cottontail. Farrah is a good rabbit hawk.

12/25/2014 - Christmas update

Yesterday (12/24) Farrah took a mouse and a cotton rat.

Amy and I hunted with Cooter on this morning. Her RT caught a cotton rat and chased a bunny or two. Afterwards, in late morning, I took Cisco  to the woods to chase squirrels. He was really heavy this morning, 962, but just like two days ago (982), it scarcely mattered. Though these are very early morning weights, he is still an ounce heavier than I normally like to fly him. Even normally I fly him heavier than trap weight. It seems to make no difference. He went after squirrels like he had been hunting them steadily, which is interesting. Eight years ago, as a rookie, it took him a while to become a competent squirrel hawk. There was definitely a learning curve. Now, after a year off, he hits it right off. Today he chased some squirrels in the trees first, then spotted one on the ground in the cover. About a 45 degree drop from a tree branch and he now has three squirrels in the last three hunts.

Christmas squirrel

Chillin' again three days later at same spot

12/22/2014 - Cisco catches his second squirrel in as many outings

I hunted first at Holiday World with Farrah. It was a long hunt, terminating with a cotton rat, which I was glad for.

Then to the woods with Cisco. He got after it again, catching a very noisy young squirrel up in a tree. I had wondered what squirrels actually sound like when attacked, which is what the commercial squirrel calls are supposed to simulate. This one made sounds simlilar to my squirrel calls, but I was too focused on Cisco's coming down from the tree to learn the cadence.

Caught in a tree, a small cat squirrel


12/20/2014 - Cooter doubles and Cisco catches his first squirrel

Amy met me early this morning. Because the ground was soggy we left her car at the Love's station out west of Katy. Cooter weighed in at a lean and beastly 666 grams, which Amy converted to 667. Cooter looked good, rode the T pole well and snagged a couple of cotton rats. He's still working on that first rabbit. Afterwards we flew Farrah on the other side of the freeway. She put in her longest straight line rabbit flight ever, which was fun to watch. Then, Farrah caught a cotton rat and we went to breakfast.

Amy and Cooter on 12/21 (next day)..........

Amy had to leave, so I took Cisco to the woods where he pursued and caught a squirrel. The following is an edited transcript of some texts I sent  to Amy:

Hi. You missed a good squirrel hunt. Cisco got right into it, even though last season I only took him once. Some red-shoulders and crows caused some minor irritation but not much. Cisco swooped at a squirrel then continued on to a tree where he found another. He did his chess moves, hopping and watching and missed a few times. Twice the squirrel came down the tree and I ran in to keep it up high.  Older squirrels are more determined to get to the ground, but this one turned back up a couple of times. At some point a couple watching said "he's down!” I was in close to the tree, so couldn’t see much. Maybe the squirrel bailed (leapt from the tree), but he was across the path and in the water. Hiding? Dunno, but Cisco came diving down and splash! I could tell by his posture he had the squirrel. I gave  Cisco a minute to dispatch the squirrel then reached in and picked up squirrel out of the water with Cisco attached. He was flared up big time looking very fierce. My glove was full of water because the water was close to a foot deep. I am being excessively verbose here because I will put this on my page. Ciao. I enjoyed the morning with you and Team Cisco. Hope we will hunt in morning. I will bring Farrah only. Cisco needs to drop a few ounces, though it did not show today.  

12/18/2014 - Catching up on the web site

My apologies to my site's visitors. I have not kept up too well. Last night I installed a hit counter on the main main page, and it is now Thursday afternoon; there were ten unique visitors since then. So I need to keep it up.

Amy and I took her hawk Cooter out to one of the west-of-Katy fields. It was chilly, overcast, and damp, but the hawk looked ready. We stomped around for easily an hour and even got semi-lost in a small grove of trees. We let the hawk down. We really had very few chases. This picture is from a few days ago. Amy and Cooter.......

Amy had to leave and I decided to try my team across the street along a ditch with some briars growing along it. Typical rabbit turf in the south Texas coastal bend. Farrah up first; it did not start off well. As I was just heading to the ditch she spotted a rabbit carcass flattened in the road, which she carried across the road into the field. I managed to extract her from it and we started again along the ditch. I actually stepped on a rabbit under the cover and it squealed. I hope that was the same one that ran off a minute later. Farrah hunted for a bit until another rabbit ran back toward the road along the edge of the grass by the briars. Farrah was in hot pursuit. When it put into cover, Farrah nabbed him. I have seen rabbits beat my hawks, but then stop too soon. Cisco caught several that way over the years. That's what happened here. I traded Farrah off and headed back to the car.

Cisco's turn. He was fairly heavy today, around 940 or so before dawn. I started down the ditch past where Farrah caught her rabbit. It was not so rabbit rich. Cisco chased one very well, but it got into thr brush and escaped clean. Now Cisco discovered the reason  he likes to hunt: hispid cotton rats. He caught three by the time he was too full to hunt, even though I traded him off of each. As I write this the hawks are hanging out in my weathering area on the west side of my house.

The kids chillin': 


12/15/2014 Corby's adventure a couple of days later - from an email

So I had quite the interesting trip out with Carpo yesterday. First off, he definitely knows what's going on when he gets in the car to go to the hunt; he's jumping a lot so I'll try hooding him first next time.

So I found a small lot that looked good from satellite and took him out there. The outskirts I knew were thick but it looked like it had a nice clearing in the middle.

Just three steps in and a rabbit springs but Carpo was turned around and missed it I think. Then he took off to the nearest tree further in the thicket, so nervously I trekked into it to make sure I keep eyes on him. Five steps in to follow him and it exploded with rabbits, at least 15, seriously. Carpo went for one and missed, it was just way too thick.

I called him down to try to get him into the clearing that I can see not far from us and he came. I was getting real good responses! Walked into the clearing and found a small pot farm! So now I'm nervously looking around to make sure I'm alone and there's nothing else to worry about and Carpo gets bored of my inspection and takes off to a tall pine. Now a Cooper's  1/4 his size ha
d the guts to swoop at him but Carpo ignored him and the Cooper's flew off after a couple of dives. Almost immediately after the Coopers flew off I started hearing a great horned owl. So I took out the largest tidbit I had and Carpo did another awesome dive bomb onto the t-pole. I clipped him up and got the hell out of there. LOL!

I plan on reporting the pot farm to the cops after work today in hopes that they take some action and scare off any potential danger of my being out there.  I drove around the perimeter of the place and found that the other side I wasn't on, wasn't as thick and will try it again.

But jeez! What a first trip on my own!

He did do great though and flew him jess-less; he is really improving my confidence with his responses.

Hope all is well, talk to you soon.

12/13/2014 - Carpo slays a beast

Two of my apprentices, Amy and Corby, have hunting hawks as of tonight. This evening we took Corby's hawk, Carpophorus (the beast slayer), out to a field west of Katy. The hawk did not disappoint. We put him up in a tree, but he would not follow. Hmmm. Turns out there was good reason. Carpo had spotted a rabbit in the vegetation below, but it was not obvious to us, especially since this was in an area of the field where I assured Corby that there weren't any rabbits. Corby and I went back and the rabbit scurried around in the underbrush apparently escaping. Suddenly the rabbit breaks to the open field toward I-10 and Carpophorus is after him hard.  Corby has done a good job with a good hawk. The reader may recall the awful beak on this hawk.  Beak

Awful beak or not, he's a good hawk with a lot of heart.  This calls for Mexican food at Hacienda on Memorial Drive..............

12/1/2014 - Today and Yesterday

Yesterday Amy and I met out in Katy to fly her red-tail Cooter on some game. He's coming along at 767 grams. We put him up in a tree and tried to flush something for him, but couldn't find anything. On his own he found a skunk which he bound to. Tomato juice was in Cooter's future. Cooter's adventures can be found here:

Then I took Farrah out to chase rabbits but she caught a small cat squirrel. I don't deliberately pursue squirrels with her as she has been bitten repeatedly. Today
all went well and there's a squirrel in the game freezer. I may bring Cisco out here. After the hunt, Farrah and I chilled out at the car, sitting on the tailgate. A good day...........

This morning I took Cisco out to Katy. He was at 946 grams, really too heavy, it was sort of warm out, but overcast. We flushed a lot of rabbits; he pursued about 1/3 of them. He caught two cotton rats and we went home.

Two days from now will be the ninth anniversary of Cisco's trapping, and becoming my long time hunting companion. A great hawk and the most fun of any hawk I have ever been in the field with. Mine or anyone else's.

Farrah Sunday (yesterday) with her squirrel

Both pictures above by Amy Forster - Farrah, left, Cisco right.

11/24/2014 - Why I cry When My Red-tail Holds My Hand........

OK, that title was stolen from an article by Ron Glass in a NAFA Hawk Chalk years ago.  I got up this morning planning on hawking, even though I had not checked the weather. When I walked the dog at 0530, I was pleasantly surprised by how cool and dry it was.

Farrah was at 826 grams, Cisco at 926........... Time: 0520

As is my habit, I hooded Cisco so his exuberance at arriving at a hunting field doesn't result in broken primaries. Having him hooded is good because it gives me time to fly Farrah without worrying about the RT. I got out in the crisp air this morning, and set off with Farrah. We flushed easily eight or ten rabbits, the flights were really nice, but she didn't connect. She grabbed a cotton rat, I traded her off (no carrying!!!), and we headed back to the truck. We had another flight on way back, but she missed again. Ever since I bragged on her she has been in a rabbit slump.

Cisco was peeping in his box, obviously ready. I turned on his transmitter, struck his hood and cast him off. He flew to a nearby tree. I started to walk up the road, and he flew to the T pole. I worked through the vegetation on the ditch and saw very few rabbits. Cisco chased a bird and a cotton rat, but was pretty quiet. We flushed a rabbit, he chased it out in the open, hit the ground, but it ran off. He flew back to the T pole. We flushed another and he caught it after a nice flight. I dispatched the rabbit, and reached into my tidbit bag. There was a plump cotton rat, which I pulled it out by the tail, and offered it to my red-tail. Yes, Cisco grabbed both the rat and my hand, and blood was flowing. I pleaded with Cisco and was able to pry the talon off. The index finger began to swell right away but as of this writing, about seven hours later, it has subsided a little. Not sure why I did that, though that bare-handed technique is appropriate for a kestrel.

11/22/2014 - San Quentin Quail

It has been a good season for me and my hawks. Farrah and Cisco are being productive, with over twenty rabbits between them, and nearly 50 cotton rats.. Today, I flew both hawks on rabbits out at Pederson Road. Good flights by both, but what marked the day was Cisco's attack on a covey of quail. Corby Turle and I were walking a ditch trying to flush rabbits when Cisco left the pole and flew as hard and fast as I have ever seen. About 45 yards ahead he smashed into some brush, followed by an explosion of bobwhite quail. He apparently just missed snagging one. A stellar flight. He also pulled some downy feathers off a sparrow that he just missed having for lunch. My team left the field with tree cotton rats in the bag.

Cisco with a rabbit head earlier in the week

As Amy put it, "The huntress is surveying her prospects."

11/23/2014 - Apprentice update

All of my apprentices are doing well. Dr. Joe Sedrak is flying his third hawk, a good sized male RT that he, Jim Ince, Corby Turle, and I trapped on November 1st. Joe and family call him "Airwolf." Amy Forster and I trapped her bird, another MRT, south of College Station on October 14. "Cooter's" a bit hard headed, but Amy has him close to free-flight. The third hawk, Corby's, was trapped first on Nov. 1. This hawk goes by Carpophorus. This hawk had the most bizarre looking beak we had ever seen. Either some odd trauma, or weird accident produced a distorted beak with an inch long spike, about the diameter of a very large toothpick, at the end.   Jim Ince and I whittled it some and it now looks weird rather than bizarre. The hawk is still attractive and has a very pleasant demeanor.  All hawks are now flying on creance outside, and should be in field hunting within a couple of weeks of this writing.

Carpo at my house on 11/22. He flew outside on creance more than 20'

Look at the poor rascal's beak after some coping!

Corby and Joe with Carpophorus and Airwolf on November 1

Amy at World Falconry Day with a male golden eagle of John Karger's


My friend and erstwhile apprentice, Charli Rohack with her beautiful juvenile red-tail.

Best looking RT I've ever seen (Charli's first year male....)

My friend Joe Philabaum, another of my erstwhile apprentices, with his prairie falcon trapped on 11/22........

Cooter at a pool hall (not really)

Joe with his new girlfriend...........

October 20, 2014 - "Like a half-trained red-tail............"

Derived from an email to Lynne Holder:

Went on a telemetry chase with Farrah this morning. I could not believe the direction of the signal, as we were hunting on south side of property, which is south of I-10. Amy was there, Farrah was fine, a little heavy at 840 grams but rode the pole well with Amy walking nearby. Then she disappeared. 45 minutes later we found her north of both I-10 and Highway 90! She flew to my fist immediately. This was from RV park near Pederson Road. My team has picked up a half dozen rabbits, and Farrah is catching CR's like crazy. Cisco two or three rabbits and 2 CR's so far in four or five hunts.

Somewhere in there I mentioned to Amy that Farrah acted like a half-trained red-tail, not a 5th season Harris' hawk.

Amy and I trapped a very nice male red-tail for her up in College Staition. I'll post some pictures. As of 10/21, one week, he's doing fine. She calls him, "Cooter."

Cisco's thinking, "Who needs rabbits?"

Rabbit head

October 11, 2014 - Nothing too much

It has been a couple of days since I hunted. Farrah has caught over twenty cotton rats. My friend Gill Kippen from Scotland sent me an email. My response to her should bring things up to date:

Hello Gill,

Farrah is catching lots of cotton rats. Few rabbits around, but she caught three small ones. Cisco will have his season opener tomorrow. I hope we have squirrels this season. These two hawks put a little too much pressure on my rabbit fields, I think. There are three large fields where I hunt, hundreds of acres, but is very quiet this season, rabbit-wise. 

Most outings Farrah catches multiple cotton rats; one day she caught four followed by a nearly respectable rabbit. I foolishly gave her ample tidbits with each kill, and the next thing I knew she did not want to come to me. This was after eating the rabbit head, the last trade off piece. She had quite the crop. She ate all that she wanted, and then hopped to a low bush right in front of me about chest high. I tried a new and very advanced recovery technique. I grabbed her! She only protested a little, and I force hooded her, put my glove on and clipped her to the glove via her anklet.  As you know I fly my hawks without jesses, always clipping to the anklet before and after a hunt.

It's warm here too. Yuck. About 6 degrees Fahrenheit over normal lows.

I think I will turn this email into an entry in my website. 

Best to you,

September 22, 2014 - A ratty season developing

Farrah caught a small rabbit two days ago, so I moved to a different field south of I-10 and the Pavestone plant. Still too warm and muggy, but that is predicted to change within days. It is now autumn after all. She caught three more cotton rats, and only carried one. Making in quickly seems to work. Farrah also chased some rabbits

September 20, 2014 - "No rabbits over here...."

My friend who lets me hunt out here made the comment that my hawks ought to be happy because there are so many cotton rats running around, but all the rabbits are up near the freeway. Farrah caught a small cottontail, first of the season. It was in the middle of the field.

September 17, 2014 - "Summertime, and the living......"

It was warm again, clear, about 75F and muggy. Same venue as Sunday, Farrah pulled up three cotton rats which I managed to keep her from carrying by making in quickly and trading her off.

September 14, 2014 - "On a winter's day......"

Okay, that's a stretch, but it was cool, overcast, and pleasant with a north breeze. Much better than last week when I went out at dawn when it was sunny, muggy and awful. Makes a guy rethink his avocation, if that's what this is.

Cisco is still molting. He'll start in several weeks with his 10th season. In the meantime it's just me and my capable Harris' hawk.

Today, Farrah was very heavy at 893, but was responsive and wanted to hunt. As a point of reference, Cisco hunted at a lower weight than this during his first season.  Out by the RV park, Farrah plunged into the brush a few times and ultimately came up with a cotton rat, which she carried about 40 yards. I stayed back, let her break in and approached when she was finishing up.  I called her to the fist with a tidbit, and put her back up on the T pole. We managed to flush an elusive rabbit, she chased it, and we went home. A nice start to the new season.