Day 56

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                  Eagle Journal

Day 56

Jackhammer: 8lbs 4oz

 

Temp: 50′ / Wind: 1 mph

Hello everyone,

I no sooner wrote on day 55 how shy eagles are and how JH in particular is shy about not flying into areas that look scary when

I went to the smallest hay field thinking that the farmer is going to cut the hay anytime and if I’m going to hunt it I’d better do so quickly. Upon arriving at the field I could see that the farmer started to cut his crop but, as I later found out, his tractor broke down and he could only make one pass around the field. Sucks for him, good for me. The hay is, of course, high, and jack rabbits like that, as they can hide anywhere. This makes hunting taller hay exciting because you never know when or where a flush will be coming from. I have actually stepped on a jack rabbit before.

I unhooded JH and went into the field. Two steps in and something flushed and it just didn’t look right. My cat-like reflexes held JH back as he launched on a house cat that was having some trouble finding its way out of the hay field. We don’t need any more cat flights. JH was not happy to have me hold him back but he soon forgot about the cat and we moved on. I had covered almost the whole field and was thinking that if the farmer mowing hay in the field hadn’t chased away the rabbits, his dog would have. Thinking about hunting here a little more closely, it probably wasn’t the best idea, so I headed back to the truck.

JH, however, was still hunting and he suddenly launched, flying low and fast, heading towards the corner of the field, the direction the cat had gone. But I had watched the cat run off so it couldn’t be that unless the stupid thing came back? JH went over the cyclone fence of the hay field, crossed a street, over another cyclone fence that surrounds the water treatment plant pond, speedily flew down the fence line that leads directly to the main sewage treatment plant, and disappeared! Great!!! I went running back to my truck, drove over in that direction, and could see JH on something on the side of the treatment pond’s bank in what amounted to a sea of cyclone fence and razor wire. The fenced area was locked so I had to go and find the head man so he could open the gate. Man that places stinks! JH was on the side of a steep bank looking like he was not happy and wanted to leave. But even a golden eagle has difficulty flying off with an adult jack rabbit. As I came running over JH was dragging the jack up the hill and I sure did not want him to drag it over the top and down the other side into the sewage pond. That would not be good. With the now entire work force of the sewage plant watching me, JH thankfully stepped up off the jack without any trouble and I left.

I went over to the speed field for no other reason than it is directly across the street from the sewage plant. Fortunately there is no smell there. The way this field works is I need to walk quite a ways in before there is any real cover but jacks can pop up from anywhere. Really, the best flights are when they pop up out in the open ground..that makes for very fast flights. As is often the case when I fly this field, a large truck came by, saw me, and pulled over to watch. A jack flushed, running from left to right, going in the direction of the road and the truck. JH exploded off my fist and was instantly cranking after this rabbit. The flight came right at the truck driver. Imagine a jack rabbit running in a field that does not have one blade of grass or pebble on it, totally clean, just hard packed sand, and a golden eagle coming in on the jack rabbit at tremendous speed, over-taking the rabbit in a spinning dust cloud, all fifty feet from where you’re sitting. Heck, that’s better than Animal Planet. The driver waved and drove off. Gee, he could have flipped me a $20 as a tip. JH caught his third jack of the day in another speed burner out in the open part, very much like the flight I just described.

Hope all is well,

Joe    

Photos:

Pic 1:   JH on his first jack.

Pic 2:   A look at the ground where the next two jacks were caught.

Pic 3:   This is a jack rabbit highway. There are so many jacks that you can see

           how the trail is worn into the ground.