It was interesting for me to see the hawks' deadly accuracy.
We've all seen the remains of a hawk kill, but have you seen them actually catch
and eat the bird?
The hawks' razor sharp talons and strong grip is deadly to the
quail not to mention the sudden shock of impact. The hawk plucks the
feathers from the bird then devours the entire carcass which explains why you
only find feathers. Somewhere in that process (hopefully soon!), the
falconer gives the bird of prey a 'trade-off' food morsel. The Harris Hawk
takes the trade-off thus relinquishing the quail to the master.
Paul's hawk was quite successful that day (4 quail!) and it
ended wonderfully on the last bird.
Nubbin located the last covey of the day with high style and
pointed staunchly. The dog work was fabulous! Nubbin was on point
but the covey had moved and was upwind of him. Nubbin held tightly until
Paul gave the order to flush the quail for the Harris Hawk. Quickly the
hawk chose a hard flying quail and stayed with it. Nubbin was allowed to
pursue the flushing quail (as he is suppose to on a hawk hunt) so that he can
quickly reestablish point on a winded quail.
Nubbin found a single on the edge of an open field that
contained tall native grasses. The hawk was poised in a nearby tree
'burning a hole' in the cover that held the single. The command was given
by me for Nubbin to flush the bird. Nubbin flushed the bird hard and the
quail flew out over the open field at which point the hawk quickly left it's
perch and gave an exhilarating chase of the quail over open terrain. The
hawk nailed the bobwhite mid-air just inches above the top of the swaying, wind
blown grasses. We were thrilled by the experience! Clint (my
stepson) and I were overjoyed by the spectacle of it all!
Here's a pic of hawk once more on a tree with his prey.
Nubbin's pic is inset. You'll note this is the same pic of Nubbin from an
earlier story. I used the same pic because this pic was actually taken on
the hawk hunt!
A couple things I didn't talk about was Nubbin's first
experience with the Hawk. Nubbin has hunted Pheasant, Chukar and Quail.
He was quite enthralled with the Hawk at first and wanted to sight point it.
I was worried that Nubbin would kill the Hawk if the situation presented itself
so I placed some insurance around Nubbin's neck (e-collar). Paul felt
confident that the hawk would defend itself quite well but I knew better.
Thank God for knowing better. In one particular instant,
at the first of the hunt, the hawk caught a quail on the ground and had its'
back to Nubbin. Nubbin went to pounce on the hawk and nearly had it except
that I hit the panic button on my collar and yelled NO! Nubbin jumped back
looked at me as if "What the heck Daddy, I done found us a BIG ONE!"
Paul looked very worried in just that instant which is why I further explained
to Paul that Nubbin has been spurred by wounded pheasant on previous hunts and
that Nubbin WOULD defend himself to the death of the bird because that's all he
knows - it's what's bred into him, find and retrieve.
By the end of the hunt Nubbin had figured out what his job was
with regard to the hawk and all was well! I chose Nubbin for the hunt over
older dogs because I wanted Nubbin to have the first experience. I was
worried that getting on to Nubbin for trying to get the hawk would affect
him...NOT SO! Nubbin has had several more 'real hunts' since then and has
not showed one ill effect as a result of the hunt.
Thanks Paul for a memorable afternoon! OBTW, hawks are not
the demise of Quail....a good read about wild quail is Fred S. Guthery's book
'On Bobwhites' (available through our book store).
Hope you enjoyed the pics and story. Y'all take care!
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