A few of my adventures this season were on big water. Not successful adventures, mind you, but adventures just the same. I had the pleasure of being invited to a few clubs to hunt on “off” days and accepted knowing my chances of success would likely be slim. Still I’m happy to give folks a look at falconry if I can, knowing that just being invited is an honor. As my friend Joe O. notes, sometimes its better that newbies to falconry see that it’s not so easy as it looks when everything comes together. So maybe its not so bad to come home with nothing in the bag.
Big water means big challenges for a falcon. Challenge one being getting waterfowl off the safety of the water in the first place. Challenge two that of logistics. A 450 gram falcon cannot carry a 1000 gram duck to dry ground. The duck must be struck somewhere that allows the hunt to end on dry or at least dry-ish land. And believe me, the ducks know this.
Granted, big water isn’t impossible by any means, I’m just not well equipped to make a successful hunt happen. This didn’t stop me from trying a few times, although the sheer possibily at a gun club thins my blood a bit. There will always be a part of me that finds believing a falcon is bound to me, even in some small way, unfathomable. I cannot imagine why he would wish to return and position himself above me when thousands of acres of waterfowl sprawl beneath his wings. At Stillbow though, he did.
Anakin was near 800 feet on a beautiful clear morning near Los Banos when he stooped a raft of rising shovelers. Hopefully B. got a great view of a beautiful stoop. It wasn’t enough for me. I called him down and relocated, lowering myself to setting the peregrine up for a coot mugging . I thought he deserved to catch something… even if it wasn’t pretty.
Stillbow on the other hand, was beautiful. Places rich in history always captivate me and although guns clubs generally aren’t so strict about women not being present these days, I felt like I was getting to peek in the boys lockerroom, take a guess at the shenanigans that would never happen with me present. I like the idea of there being “boys only” places, I suppose I like the idea of snooping anywhere I’m not really allowed. Check out the video I found on YouTube and snoop a bit yourself.