Starting a Journey in Falconry: Congratulations You Are Now Hunting
Congratulations you have made it to free flying.
Congratulations, you have completed the main part of training and are now free flying your bird. You are hunting and flushing game for your bird to take. You have reached an exciting point in your Falconry journey.
Free flying your bird is an amazing feeling, while you are still training in some way every time you go out it's not like your bird is still tethered and only flying from perch to the glove. The glow you have when it's time to go out is amazing, the people around you see it, but they also see your nervousness too. Yes, I said nervousness.
You mean I have to FREE Fly? Turn my bird lose and hope it comes back?
Free flying is where you have finally made the bond for your bird to respond to you, come to the glove for food, and understand you are there for it. Free Flying is the nervous yet exciting point where you unclip the leash from his jess's and let him spread his wings and sit upon the tree tops and look down. He follows you through the air as you look for game for him to feed upon.
Free flying is a risk, it's the point when your bird can decide that he doesn't want to be with you and fly away. Although it does happen to falconers, whether their bird is a passage or a seasoned hunter it doesn't mean it will or will not happen. Yet the feeling of being to do what you have worked so hard to do is amazing. It's like a dream come true.
Red Tail Hunting
You are Hunting, You are on Game!!!
Your bird is doing great, he is following through the tree tops like a pro as you walk beneath through the woods and brush trying to flush up a rabbit, squirrel or other game. You are in awe that you have been able to teach this amazing wild animal to hunt with you, rely on you and trust you.
As you make each step through the field you are just an inch further away from your beloved hunting partner. You are holding your breath and hoping he / she follows you as they have been. Yes, there is always that chance that your bird won't follow, your bird will fly the opposite direction or just may fly past you and keep on going.
Wait a minute, though you just flushed game for him to chase.........
The Chase Is On!!
Your beautiful bird is sitting atop a tall oak tree in tree dotted field, lots of medium tall thick grass, for their to be anything hiding in. He's looking down on you as you beat a path through the area. Suddenly you see a squirrel run down a tree trunk a few steps from where you are standing. He's hanging on the side of the tree towards the bottom of the trunk. You see him and immediately take steps toward yelling "ho ho ho ho ho" for your bird to come and catch his prey.
As your bird swoops in for the grab, the squirrel darts up the tree and your bird has missed him. No fear, the squirrel only ran up the tree, he's sitting still hoping you and the bird don't spot him again. As your bird settles on the branch of the tree just above the squirrel, you get his attention to the squirrel. You keep yelling "ho ho ho" and trying to get the squirrel to move.
He moved, your bird saw him, and is hustling through the tree branches to catch his dinner. You see your bird twisting and turning and moving in ways you never thought possible. Up and down the tree through the branches and around the tree. The squirrel makes a fateful move to run down the tree and across the ground to another tree. Just as he thinks he's safe on the side of the tree on his way up, here comes your bird with a quick, swift snatch.
Your bird has caught his squirrel. He's now sitting on the ground with his food, his wings are spread out and he's peeping nervously at you. Just wait it out, let him calm down, and sit with him until he puts his hackles down, closes his wings, and starts eating. Feel proud, you have accomplished something amazing with your new hunting partner.
Red Tail on Game
Your Happy Bird.
After that work out and meal, your bird is calmly, well fed, and sitting on his perch on the way home. You won't hear much out of him because he's tired and well fed. It was a great experience for both of you. You learned something from him, and he learned something from you.
It's not always that easy, you won't always catch something and sometimes you won't even see anything but don't give up. It's called hunting and you don't always get your prey. It will probably be a few days before you can fly him again on game and hunt, but that's ok.
The Next Trip Out...
It's been a few days and you guys are ready to go again. You are all set to let your bird follow through the tree's while you walk beneath trying to flush up game. You have been out for a while, you have kicked anything up, nothing has ran through the trees. It's getting late and you are ready to go home, when all of sudden a rabbit comes running out of a bush. You call the bird yelling "ho ho ho ho". He spots his prey, and drops out of the tree like a bomb, but the rabbit out runs him and makes into a hole. Your bird isn't happy, who can blame him right. He perches in the pine tree a few feet away, he's looking down on you wanting you to find his rabbit (or so you assume).
You have decided that there's no time left to try and flush out the rabbit. You decide to call your bird down to the glove with a tid bit to head home. BUT oh my goodness your bird won't come down, what do you do?? You spend a few minutes calling him to the glove, and he is just ignoring you. You don't want to spend the night out there it's cold, so you pull the lure (the insurance policy that he'll come to you) and yell "ho ho ho" calling him down from his perch. He drops down like a speeding bullet hits the lure and begins to eat.
It's a good thing you thought to load the lure before leaving for the hunt (which you should do every time you plan to go out), you never know when you will need it. It's a good thing you put in all that time training him to come to the lure, even though you were thinking that you wouldn't need it. You never know when you will need it. It saved your butt today, and kept you from sleeping in the cold outside while your bird played stubborn.
Red Tail on the Lure
You loaded your bird up and are now headed home after that empty hunting trip. While it's sad you didn't catch your prey, you ended your hunt on a happy note. You are going home with your bird, that is always a success. Because as you well know he is wild animal and you are now free flying and hunting. There is no longer a leash or tether on him and he can fly way at any time, he can decide he's not coming down from that tree until he's ready. So when he does come down to you and you go home with him it's a success.
Please keep your eyes out for the new series of training and hunting with Scar, the personal journey of my husband and his bird.