August 30, 2008
The wind was predicted to blow today so I was eager to get up on the mountain before it blew too much. Widow can fly in big wind but high wind will change how you can hunt and with the wind coming from the NE I went to a ridgeline where Widow could stay over me. It was so cool — I pulled up, wired her up, launched her off and she was instantly up and over the truck. I then got the dogs out, put the bagged pheasant in my vest, and walked out over the ridge.
Widow was in perfect position, watching the dogs work the brush. Wanting to reward her for being in position, I waited as long as I could, checked one more time to see that she was still in position and out came the pheasant. With the strong wind blowing up the canyon the pheasant flew well, going along the ridge and finally landing on the top. Widow was in a full tuck, coming in like a lawn dart, and just as Widow arrived Thistle got there and reflushed the pheasant which flew out across the top ridge line and then, suddenly realizing that all was not good, did a very radical dip and stoop to the ground. As Widow came in the pheasant went for a smallish sage bush but not fast enough. Widow came in and snagged the pheasant just as it tried to hide in the bush. Thistle, continuing to run up on the scene, came up on Widow just fast enough that she launched in the air carrying the pheasant. I was over on the next canyon and saw my eagle take off, gaining height with each turn. I gotta say, in all the years I have been flying birds, I have never seen a bird flying up in a soar carrying a full grown pheasant! I thought, at that moment, that I had just messed up my Saturday because Widow could go anywhere and would crop up and I would have a difficult time finding her. I went up higher to a more open area and began swinging the lure and calling her. To my great relief, Widow came in still holding the pheasant, grabbed the lure and dropped the pheasant at my feet! Talk about dodging a bullet! Cool flight, but man, it could have been nightmare. I went home.