Monday, November 08, 2010

A meeting in the sage ...

Yesterday afternoon as I was returning home from visiting a friend, I turned down a county road that traverses through the sagebrush uplands next to the New Fork River and noticed a pickup truck out in the sage, with two men near the tailgate, with a bird dog. Intrigued, I drove by slowly, and finally one of the men moved just enough for me to get a glimpse of a peregrine falcon in the back of the truck. I stopped my truck and backed up, shutting off the motor to inquire if they were about to be in pursuit of sagegrouse. When I mentioned that conditions were excellent for a perfect hunt, with the except our thriving golden eagle population, the men invited me to have a look at their birds. Not wanting to cut into their hunting time, we talked briefly, and I invited them to bring their Harris’s hawk to my place to pursue jackrabbits if they were so inclined the next afternoon.

I was happy when my cell phone rang at lunchtime today, with the falconers ready to take me up on the offer. Vahe D’Ala and Gary Beese of California arrived a few minutes later, ready to fly various falcons to the lure, and to hunt the Harris’s. It was an absolute blast. I love watching the peregrines in those dizzying insanely fast stoops, but I also really liked trying to kick up jacks for the five-year old female Harris’s. I’d never before met a Harris’s, let alone watch one hunt, so this was a thrill for me.

Thanks so much Vahe and Gary, for a wonderful afternoon. You’re welcome back anytime.


Matt Mullenix said...

That hawk looks good on you Cat!

Albert A Rasch said...


Thanks for sharing the experience! Awesome photos too!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: High Fence Hunting; Is the Public the Problem?

grapfhics said...

NYT printed in the end of October a lame "science" report on banding hawks and falcons in NM by Hawkwatch International. The paper should have sent the reporter to meet everyone in the sage instead.

Steve Bodio said...

Saw that and thought the same so didn't link. The bit about not even traumatizing the trapping pigeons (but not letting the reporter see trapping) was priceless-- and didn't she say that the harriers mistook pigeons for mice?