Today was my first ever falconry hunt. My sponsor, Dennis, came over to check on me and my Red-tail to make sure everything was going well and he decided to bring his female Goshawk, who is in her 18th season with him. Finding places to hunt can be difficult to do out here with all the development going on, so when I told him I had seen rabbits and squirrels in my backyard frequently, he figured it was worth a shot. He rigged her up with telemetry and got his hunting gear and Dennis, my father, my senior project mentor, Greg Drossel, and I went for a walk in the woods behind my house to try and flush a squirrel.
We managed to find one squirrel on the way back home, but it was pretty clever and went way up in a tall pine and wouldn’t move; if it had, the Gos would have been all over it in a second. Unfortunately, Dennis’ bird was a little unresponsive because she was about an ounce above flying weight; when he tried to call her down with the lure, she was hesitant the first few tries, which is a dangerous thing to see as a falconer. Despite the lack of success hunting, I had a great time getting out and seeing what a hunt is really like and seeing Dennis’ beautiful Gos in action.