Jackhammer(JH) 8.6 lbs.
female 8.35 lbs.
The plan was to hunt JH in the more difficult fields and save the better ones for the female. I went to the ware house field in hopes of finding a good slip in the shorter grass. I walked out into the field and realized that the grass was waste high, which makes for difficult hawking. The first slip was a jack (I think) as I could only see the grass moving. JH was off in a flash, slammed into some heavy brush, but came up empty. I walked in a grid pattern, staying in the shorter grass in the same place that JH caught the jack on Thursday. Didn’t see anything, which I attribute to the fact that I got to the field late, around 10:30. There usually are more jacks there in the early morning.
So, after crisis-crossing the entire field, I hooded JH up and headed for the hay field. I thought that I would hunt only part of the field, hoping that JH would catch one and I could let the female fly to it. That way she would at least have that experience out in the field. JH was working very hard. He never got a clean slip but had several near catches. He is like we never stopped hunting from last year, looking at anything that might be a hiding spot, and twice he almost launched after a dove nesting on the ground. He is returning to the glove for a piece of meat the size of a dime and half the time I can’t even get the meat out on the glove fast enough. It makes no difference, he just wants to hunt. He dropped a secondary today, so he’s starting to molt, but I will continue to fly him through the molt.
I had saved a good section of the hay field for her — shorter grass and many jacks. She is getting better about being picked up off perches but still clamps down a lot on the fist. She has put a couple a black and blue spots on my arm that are a little Ouchy and she is quite good at finding them. I moved out away from the truck, unhooded her, and she clamped down and began trying to bite me in various places. I was thinking, at this point, that it’s going to take weeks before she relaxes and starts to hunt, not worrying about me and food. I walked about 50 yards and stopped, allowing her to take a moment to rest from trying to eat my arm and look around. From somewhere up ahead a jack flashed by heading to the taller cover. The female eagle saw it, released her death grip on my arm and launched! Flying low and cranking the entire way, she flew like an arrow and slammed into the jack! Holly #%^* !! She caught one!!! I begin to pace off the flight…….. 80 yards and she slammed a 7 lb. male jack rabbit. The 16th day of training, the second day in the field, and she flew one down! I think she might be a good hunter.
female on perch with jack rabbit