JH 8.8 lbs..
MM 7.5 lbs..
Jacks have been a little harder to find these days, not sure why, but I have had to go to 2 and 3 fields to find a good slip. I started out in the big alfalfa hay field and only saw 3 jack rabbits which is highly unusual. I had walked the entire field; part was flooded but most was dry. I was at the far end of the hay field up near the factory and turned back to work the field heading back to the truck, which, I might add, was a long ways away. JH was looking everywhere for a jack and I love that he was hunting as intently as I was. There were a few jacks running along the top of the bank, running down the train tracks. JH had left the fist a couple of times flying low and fast only to swoop up the bank and be right on top of the jacks who were, to say the least, freaked out. They only got away because they flung themselves off the other side of the bank, down into the road and some trees where JH does not like to go. It was fun to watch predator trying to outsmart prey. JH left the fist again and started flying hard and building speed. I figured he was going to swoop up the bank again but this time he just kept flying low and fast. He was going down the edge of the hay field where there is alfalfa hay on one side and dry grass, open dirt and the rail road track bank on the other side. By now JH was ¼ mile away and hard to see, still hauling ass. I could just make out a jack rabbit running just off the edge of the hay and it was darting back and forth realizing that it had no place to go. Its only means of escape would be a very quick turn and jump; the option of going left or right and using its speed was no longer there, it could not outrun JH. The jack made one or two quick turns, JH made some slight adjustments and hooked the jack rabbit, dust flying everywhere!
I have been feeding MM quite a bit. I want his weight to come up. I fly all my birds fat and MM, being an imprint, should fly even fatter. With all the added flying and hunting it has taken a while for his weight to start coming up but it is. MM is not your typical imprint in the sense that you would think he loves people and thinks people are his mother or father. He is totally dependent on people and looks to them for food but, on the other hand, his association with people has not been pleasant, given what had to be done to him to get him fixed. So, from his point of view, he likes people but hates them too, all at the same time. During his training I saw both sides once in a while. As an example, he’d be as nice as any eagle can be, and then, for no apparent reason, turn and get a little nasty. I am not talking about the normal behavior that imprinted eagles will show, this is different.
I had saved the best fields for MM and again started in the fiddle neck field. MM was ready, searching from the second the hood came off. Moving slowly, looking for ears, we hunted the whole field. MM had some nice flights and three near catches. He clearly builds up, becoming more aggressive with each slip. He went from closing on the rabbit and trying to hook it as he went by, to coming in low and fast and slamming into the dirt after the jack.
I went over into the other fiddle neck field and MM launched on a meadow lark. MM is so dialed in that a meadow lark flushing out of the grass is enough to have him pull the trigger. He flew out in a straight line and several more larks kept flushing and MM found himself out over a road with a lot of traffic. Not knowing what to do he climbed higher and went over the trucking warehouses and disappeared. GREAT! I’m thinking he’s going to land in the road and get smashed by an 18-wheeler. I raced back to my truck and went tearing over there, only to see nothing? I pulled out the receiver and the signal was coming from a large, actually massive, trucking yard parking lot with a security gate and guards! All that was going through my mind was MM sitting on the pavement and a big truck turning him into a grease spot. I was panicking, okay! The guards were, let’s say, a little taken aback by this person who drove in, sliding to a stop, and starts telling them that his eagle is in their parking lot. One was instantly on the phone to the swat team while the other one was trying to make sense out of my story. Look ladies, I said, I have another eagle in my truck. I showed them JH which I’m sure caused them both to relax. The same gal got back on the phone to call off the deployment of the swat team, telling them to stand down. I tracked MM deep into the parking lot, came up to a fence and, on the other side, found MM sitting in a grass field looking at me. So, with my time running short, I called it a day.