Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Hunt

I'm back home from a week's hunt in Texas, my usual Thanksgiving trip augmented this year by the coincidence of the annual North American Falconers Association Field Meet, also in Amarillo this week.

These trips are the highlight of my season and uniformly fun and productive hawking adventures. I've posted about them here and elsewhere, but below are a few snapshots from this year's event.

Our base camp at the home of good friends, the Walkers: Here pictured are my partners Eric and Diana Edwards (left), Jimmy Walker (center) and Matt Reidy on right. Jimmy's goshawk Vinney got to spend a little quality time with the family.

I drove up with the Edwardses, who brought their pointing lab, a passage merlin and a red-naped shaheen.

Along with Matt Reidy's two falcons, Jimmy's gos and prairie tiercel, Brian Millsap had his peregrine tiercel and veteran Harris hawk. Here's Brian's tiercel on a teal taken Tuesday morning.

Eric's merlin on a House sparrow taken in a neat, snappy flight around the corner of a farm fence.

Here's one of me and Ernie on our first pheasant, ever. It was a big day for both of us.

A beautiful bird, both in feather and out of it.

Of rabbits, we had plenty. Here we are at the first spot we hunted on Monday morning. Some of these places are regular haunts, and my friends will note my wardrobe changes little from year to year. So these hero shots get a little repetitive, but I love them.

New on the menu this year was a gumbo of hawk-caught rabbit and duck with a generous portion of deer sausage. I skipped the Tuesday morning hunt to gather some ingredients and make up a batch for the crew.
The rest of the rabbits and sundry wildlife were floured and fried for a huge Thanksgiving family feast.

This was just a part of the first batch...

Finally, a portrait of Jimmy's European gos for Steve---Vinney is a fantastic hawk for quail, duck, pheasant and rabbits all.


stevea said...

Congratulations to Ernie on the pheasant! You, too.

Looks like you all had a great time as usual.

Andrew Campbell said...


Congrats to you and Ernie again for that pheasant. (Is it the picture or did Ernie take the head clean off?) Seeing the two next to each other is a reminder of just how efficient and refined the hawks are as predators.


Matt Mullenix said...

Steve, many thanks. Both Smash and Charlie have hit pheasants out there but failed to hold on. I think had we not been right on top of them, this one might have gotten away also. They're powerful birds.

Andrew I took the head off---Ernie just had him by the butt. But you are right they are well matched. In fact, a little overmatched for a male Harris. The females can handle them better on the ground.

Matt Mullenix said...

Andrew, also: I got a chance at the meet to fly Ernie over a friend's visla. Very nice dog, and game to keep hunting even after getting a foot full of cholla trying to flush a scaled quail from a pack rat's den.

Steve Bodio said...


And the Gos is gorgeous, of course.

Matt Mullenix said...

Thanks Steve---thought you'd like the gos. :-)

PBurns said...

Great photos, great birds, great story.

As Pablo Casals would have said,
"Veddy, veddy nice."


Matt Mullenix said...

Thanks Patrick!

Reid Farmer said...

Congratulations to you and Ernie!

Isaac Nichols アイザック ニコルス said...

Great to see you at the meet. Congrats on the pheasant and what sounds like a great week of hunting.

mdmnm said...

Congrats on the pheasant! Nice shot of you, Ernie, and the bird and nice account of a good hunt.

The teal taken by the peregrine is impressive, too. Those little ducks are fast!

Matt Mullenix said...

Reid, Isaac and Mike, I appreciate it! I think I could get used to bringing home those pheasants... Make you feel like a million bucks.

Chris Lynn said...

I had a blast hawkign with you guys.. Thank you again for taking us out. Please tell Eric and Dianna thank you as well.

Congrats on the pheasant... Ernie is a game hawk for sure!!

all the best,

Chris L.

Matt Mullenix said...

Chris: Anytime!