Trapping Season


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Jonathan Coleman

Chris Kimble
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Bart Russell

Shane Bullard

Rob Huber

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JR (for the dude who helped me get him...Jeff Redig)


Mark Waller




Male (Jack)

Hunting weight?

155 grams

Dates, and number of seasons flow?

One season, 2013-14.

Wild trapped, or captive bred?

Wild taken, hacked imprint.

Trapping story, or info about acquisition?

The spruce tree was really tall. Really tall!  The nest was at the top, where it got skinny. 


Made the trip to Minnesota to get females for breeding.  Of the four eyasses, all were jacks.  He was raised in the back yard until he could fly ten feet or so, and then the tame hack began.  Lots of time at the hack hill i've used since 1983.  Dragonflies and cicadas were the early targets.  Like every bird I've hacked there, he grabbed a flying wasp, got stung, had some foot swelling for a day, and never grabbed another wasp again.  After a month or so we moved across the highway to my regular training field because it had been hayed.  That became his home territory, and his hack was extensive.  He was left out basically his entire first season, except during the early fall when it was extremely windy.  He was otherwise trained by the "flush lots of stuff and he'll figure it out" method.  He recognized my vehicle, so when left out he'd find me as soon as I showed up to the field.  Most every day he'd be waiting on a fence post for me.

Hunting style?

JR waited on generally about 120 feet, but often took initial pitches of 2-400'

Preferred habitat?

Pastures with short grass and fallow ag fields.  If the cover was over 6-8 inches high, every bird he stooped would dump on him.

Typical quarry?


Favorite quarry to hawk, and why?


Bird's favorite quarry to hawk?

Sparrows, and at hack, anything he wanted to take that was sparrow-sized.

Description of the most memorable season?

This was the first time I'd flown a jack merlin.  The moves of a jack must be seen to be appreciated.  I had seen some memorable flights of wild jacks on horned larks and black birds, but I'd never flown one from a waiting-on position.  The stoops and throw ups were fun to watch, but you fly a jack merlin to see the moves at the bottom of the stoop.  I also had a lot of fun just sitting in my car around his "territory" watching him wild hunt birds.   

Favorite hawking story?

It was early October, when he was transitioning from bugs to birds and learning the game.  The training field had been hayed, but there were several small patches of Johnson grass that were 30 to 40 yards apart.  The field was full of sparrows, and several of us were flushing birds while JR was zipping around at about 10 foot just chasing everything we kicked up.  It was pretty much chaos, but watching him zip right by us at high speed had everyone laughing.  Think high speed energizer bunny, for about 20 minutes of non-stop speed action.  Not much gliding around with a jack merlin...

Bird's favorite quote?

"Why can't you guys keep up?!?!"

Bird's favorite falconry video?

He lived inside in the middle of our living room, so he got to watch Chindgren's House of Grouse video a few times.

Anything else?

Never underestimate the fun to be had with merlins or perlins.  The hero shots are a bit different (as compared to the jackrabbit or sage grouse shots), but the falconry can be a whole lot of fun.  This one was a quiet imprint that turned out right, and no doubt the hack was a factor in his behavior and skills.  He did not mantle, but then he was always flown in high condition.  He was a very affectionate bird, who always wanted off his perch to sit on my knee if I was in the living room.









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