Well, yesterday was the big “if you love something set it free moment” where you quickly find out if your hawk will fly the coop or will return to you for some glove love.
My husband went hunting with friends and their hawks and took Gracie along to free fly her for the first time. They took turns hunting and waited until the end of the day to fly Gracie. When it starts to get dark, there’s a better chance of retrieving your hawk as they don’t typically fly at night and even if she flew away, she probably wouldn’t go very far.
So, after 7-8 weeks of training, it was time to take the plunge. At first, when encouraged to fly off of the glove, she held on. The second time, she flew to the ground and then back to his glove. The third time ‘s a charm and she finally realized that she could fly to a branch and did. As the group walked into the woods, she watched them closely and began to follow my H, flying from tree to tree. You could tell that she had her eye on him the whole time and this was a very good sign. She flew through the trees, sometimes right by or above you (which is an amazing thing to behold) to perch on his glove, get a snack and then fly to the next tree.
The next step will be hunting with her and I’m excited to hear about their next adventure.