Trapping Season

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Stinger_Perlin_Snipe


Name?

My son calls him Stinger, but if you ask my wife, his name is Fred???  I don't know...I typically refer to him as Stinger.


Falconer?

Dan Murray


Species?

Anatum Peregrine X Richardson's Merlin (Also known as a Perlin)


Sex?

Tiercel


Hunting weight?

Stinger flies best around 282 grams.  When it is really cold though, I can push his weight up closer to 290 grams.


Age?

This spring marked the end of his second season


Wild trapped, or captive bred?

Being a hybrid, he was captive bred.  He was made by a gentleman in El Paso Texas named Bill Meeker.


Trapping story, or info about acquisition?

Stinger was cooked in an incubator while still in the egg, and then put back under the female merlin after hatching until he was 17 days old.  He was then pulled and imprinted at home by my lovely wife and son, though I did help out a little bit :-).  He was raised with zero food association, and was never alone for the first couple of months of life.  He then went out on tame hack for a month and a half or so.


Training?

Utilized a drone to promote pitch, and tossed baggers to enforce good behaviors.


Hunting style?

Waiting on


Preferred habitat?

I have found that Ag fields tend to create the setups most conducive to his style of hawking.  With the exception of fields plowed down to the dirt, they typically hold a lot of birds, and have cover just tall enough for the birds to hold tight in when he takes off from the fist.  On the flip side though, the cover is generally low and sparse enough that once flushed, the game birds tend to have to fly for it, and are less likely to try and bail out on him.  In the early season, freshly cut hay meadows also provide good hawking, though there is a time limit on those spots, before they get too tall to fly again.


Typical quarry?

Snipe, dove, quail, etc, etc.  Little birds....


Favorite quarry to hawk, and why?

Dove flights are hands down, my absolute favorite to fly with the perlin.  With the exception of really early on in the season, doves typically arn't intimidated enough by Stinger to try and bail, and will instead utilize their speed and agility to try and out fly him.  Due to him having smaller feet, and the nature of dove's feathers being so loose, he has to hit them/grab them just right, or else he ends up with nothing but a foot full of feathers.  If you have a corn or milo field loaded out with birds, this can lead to some incredible flights lasting for 30 or 40 minutes. These flights are jam packed with stoop, after stoop, after stoop, and will result in him feathering quite a few birds, before finally bringing one to bag. My second favorite quarry would probably be snipe.  They are a lot of fun too!


Bird's favorite quarry to hawk?

Stinger does like to chase sparrows, but I try to avoid them like the plague when at all possible.  Sparrows tend to be the slowest birds out there in the field, and they are SUPER ratty.  To have a shot on them before they bail, Stinger has to bring his pitch down quite a bit, which is counter productive to what we are trying to get done out there.  He also won't eat them.  Weight is irrelevant to the situation...if he catches one, he is going to fly to the edge of the field and cache it no matter what.  This typically leads to me crouching down hoping with all of my might that the birds I have marked will hold.  Of course, the birds in the field are not dumb, and once they realize that the bird isn't paying attention or over head anymore, they take that opportunity and get the heck out of dodge.  Stinger then comes back over cranking and ready to go, and I no longer have any birds to flush for him.  It's pretty lame Undecided  


How is the season going?

It's summer time right now, so the perlin is up for the molt.  That being said, this past season was pretty incredible!  Though I feel he did very well his first year, he really came into his own his second season.  He flew with a lot more confidence, his pitches were generally much higher than his first year, and he pretty much owned the sky :-).  We closed out the season with ninety-five head of game in the bag, which encompassed nine different species.  I was pretty over the moon with him, and I'm really excited to see what he does next year.


Favorite hawking story?

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite hawking story with Stinger, but it’s definitely one that will stand out in my mind for a very long time!  I was out driving around the panhandle looking for birds to fly, and was just completely striking out.  All the bird were either in really small groups, near fences or cover, or in setups that didn’t have enough cover for them to hold.  I was getting a little frustrated, when all of a sudden, a huge covey of bobs went running across the road right in front of me.  Now this is the deal…typically, I don’t really like flying quail with Stinger.  The flights definitely aren’t as exciting as dove or snipe, and quail tend to be super ratty under a falcon.  What was unique about that day though, is that the field they ran into was plowed completely down to the dirt, and the cover they ran into was a patch of grass no bigger than my truck!  The nearest cover was an uncut milo field, and to get to it they were going to have to fly over bare dirt AND cross a road.  Freakin game on people!!!


Stinger head bobbed for a few seconds, and then was off and climbing.  He knows the game well by this point, and though his initial run out was a little wide, he came back over before the quail blew, and pinned them nicely into their cover.  I let him climb out for a bit, and then started making my way in toward the covey when he was up wind of me.  As I approached the cover, a couple birds got up wide, and started hauling as fast as they could toward the milo.  Stinger rolled over instantly, and came screaming in and caught up right as they were getting to the cover.  I almost started the victory dance right then because it looked like he stroked one pretty solid, but all of a sudden he whipped up hard, and started to climb back out.  I crouched down as far as I could, held my breath while hoping the birds would keep holding, and stayed that way until he came back over head.


Once he was back I knew the birds would stay, and I hung out for a minute letting him get up there nice and high.  He did this climb a lot wider than the first one, but knowing how this game was going to play out by now, I waited to rush in until he was dead over head.  The covey exploded all around me, and being in the position that he was this time, I was treated to a tear drop stoop that looked like it was coming straight at my face!  Since he wasn’t as wide as the first slip, he closed in on these birds slightly before they reached the milo this time, dropped below them, and then came up the pipe and bound to a big male bird.  It was a pretty cool flight.


I let him chill out for a bit, and then traded him off to a loaded lure.  We sat there together enjoying the morning while he ate, and once he was finished, I hopped him to the fist for a tid bit.  Hooded him up, made my way back to the road, and started walking back toward my truck along the edge of the milo field.  All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I see something shaking violently around in the grass right where the group of quail had put in during the first stoop, and then all movement just stopped.  I walk over, and laying right there at the edge of the milo field, is a dead quail.  Apparently he HAD stroked that first quail, and had hit it pretty darn hard!  Doubles are pretty rare with falcons, and that is one I probably won’t soon forget.  I included below, the hero shot from that flight.


Bird's favorite quote?

"I am a dangerous pwedator"

-Stanley-


Bird's favorite falconry video?

Snipe Hawking Season 2016/2017

By Eric Witkowski


Anything else?

Though I gave little bird hawking from a pitch a shot with the merlin, I wasn't too successful, and ended up just doing ringing flights her.  So that being said, the perlin is the first bird I've really gotten after it with, and it's a total blast!  I would venture to say it's some of the most difficult falconry I have done so far, simply because all of the different kinds of quarry fly in their own unique ways, and slip selection is SO very crucial.  Finding little birds is not too difficult.  Finding little birds in a place that's conducive to a flight is a whole different deal.  I would also guess that I have spent more time and effort on this little guy, than I have with any other bird I’ve flown.  On the flip side though, I would say that I’ve probably had more fun with this bird, than any bird I’ve hawked before.  If this type of hawking is something that interests you, I would highly recommend getting out and going hawking with someone who knows how to do it successfully.  That will give you the opportunity to ask questions, see firsthand what types of setups do and do not work, and see if it’s something you really want to do.


Stinger_Perlin_Quail

Stinger_Perlin_Dove


 
 

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