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  #11  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:39 AM
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FredrickFogg FredrickFogg is offline
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamtheweasel View Post
OK, Since the supposed negatives have been posted, I will post my thoughts on why I ALWAYS use them when Squirrel hawking. Fred, just going to challenge a few of your comments. First, Using umbrellas as an example if a bit far fetched. Try something a bit smaller such as about 10inch diameter would be about right for the comparrison, plus the foot is open while being thrust towards the quarry creating almost the same aerodynamic envelope at the chap. Second, as for the brush issue....youstate that the can encumber the footing in deep brush...Again, the birds feet are (or should be) in the open "grab" position which creates an even bigger "snag" area from the petty singles and the pounces. The chap skirt is behind them. I have used the Gary Brewer designed chaps on my RT's and seen many a nasty bite on the leather skirt that otherwise would of been on the toes or tarsus....I am an advocate and always will be. Another thing that alot of nay-sayers talk about is the added weight of the chaps creating a hinderance to the flight....I beleive that maost of us drop the birds weight two to three times what the chaps weigh just to get the bird trained so the added 30 grams of weight is of little consequence to me. I am also good friends with Gary Brewer and several other well knows squirrel hawkers who all use chaps in some form or another.....Only one of the falconers out of that group has had a major bite that diabled the bird until surgery could fix it....and he flew the same bird for 12 years on squirrels before it happened....Not saying that they eliminate the chance of a bite, they just give the squirrel something other than the toes to bite from time to time.
First of all the umbrella example was just that, an example. And I hate to disappoint you, but if you thrust 4 skinny toes expanded, there is going to be less drag than 4 skinny toes with a solid piece of leather behind them, simple physics! I never mentioned anything about weight. And a raptor can open and close it's toes when footing in brush, the umbrella part of the chap is always open, it can and will get caught going in and out of brush, I have seen it. The year I used them, my red-tail got hung up in the brush because of the chap. I doubt if that would happen often, but it can and did. I am not argueing against folks trying them, I think the only way you will know is to try. I am just saying what I have seen and experienced and that is the year I used them, my bird was bit on the bottom of the toes more than any other year. They protect the top of the toe great, but they seem to me to cause more bites on the bottom of the toes. Simply making the anklets wider protects the leg. Gary has come up with a lot of great ideas for squirrel hawking, but they aren't always the best (climbing up a tree and dropping a smoke bomb in a hole) and they definately aren't the only way.

Fred
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2007, 01:47 AM
Lgthawk Lgthawk is offline
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

No offence to anyone here but, how many passage RT or any birds have them ? I don't use them. Why ? If your bird takes to many bites either switch to rabbits or make a cut along the head of a previously caught squirrel and put it on the lure to train your bird to go for the head. I have never used them and have never had any issues with squirrel bites. It's simply not necessary.

Philip ~
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2007, 01:56 PM
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IAmTheWeasel IAmTheWeasel is offline
Noel
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

Relax fred, I didn't say you said anything about the weight...I stated that some folks do.....and Gary doesn't climb tree's to place smoke bombs.....he puts them in the holes at the base....plus he has only done it once or twice to see if it works....it does Also, the type and style of squirrel chap depends on the "air resistance. Some folks use a style with false toes that stick out from the chap rather than the skirt. I don't believe that I ever saw my bird fumble on the attack due to the chaps. but the countless bites to the chaps speak volumes to me. Ask Micheal Beran on here what happenes to Harris's toes with squirrels sans chaps.
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  #14  
Old 01-10-2007, 01:58 PM
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IAmTheWeasel IAmTheWeasel is offline
Noel
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lgthawk View Post
No offence to anyone here but, how many passage RT or any birds have them ? I don't use them. Why ? If your bird takes to many bites either switch to rabbits or make a cut along the head of a previously caught squirrel and put it on the lure to train your bird to go for the head. I have never used them and have never had any issues with squirrel bites. It's simply not necessary.

Philip ~
Yea, and 80% of passage birds die in the wild too....Not a good example. Plus squirrels are not really a main stay of RT's.
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2007, 02:00 PM
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IAmTheWeasel IAmTheWeasel is offline
Noel
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps


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  #16  
Old 02-10-2007, 07:12 AM
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SBFalconry SBFalconry is offline
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamtheweasel View Post

a great response of fores and against, i will try them this season and make up my own mind, at the moment i would say prevention is better than the cure, many thanks to you all for your advice please carry on any discussions as i have never hunted squirrel on a regular basis but intend to this season. many thanks.
Stuart
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  #17  
Old 02-10-2007, 08:37 AM
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FrootDog FrootDog is offline
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

I personally never used them, but I only hunted squirrels occasionally. If squirrels are to be the primary target then I would use them. At least if something does go wrong you can say you did what you could to prevent it, and then at that point you have to decide whether or not to continue hunting squirrels.
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  #18  
Old 05-10-2007, 05:58 PM
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the_ostringer the_ostringer is offline
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

I am the fellow who drew those plans for Gary Brewer several years ago using AutoCad.
I am also the fellow who sent .jpgs of the drawings to Manny to place on his website (Fred's link) shortly thereafter.
To echo Fred, I do not advocate their use (Sorry Gary).
The following is a "article" I wrote regarding this subject after testing their (chaps) effectiveness:


At the risk of becoming an outcast in "squirrel hawking society", let me play "devils advocate" a moment.
First, I admire and congratulate any falconer's desire to keep his/her hawk in top hunting condition - to protect it from harm that comes in the form of squirrel bites. (The greys are especially lightning fast, and if I were in it's place, I'd bite too.)
But do chaps really attract a bite - are bites automatically transfered from the toes to the chaps - do they eliminate bites? Do the supposed advantages of their use outweigh the possible disadvantages of their use? Are they really a necessary piece of equipment for the serious grey squirrel hawker?
I had been thinking "If only there were some way to protect those tender toes from laceration & puncture - like chain mail form fitted gloves, or some way to wrap the toes", but nothing seemed feasible.
When I first noticed the idea of using a larger leather cuff with shiny studs (that may attract the attention of the prey and attract bites), I had already long been a student in the infamous "School of Squirrel Bites" and thought "Great! this might really work!". As well as looking good (dubbed hawk jewelry by fellow falconers), the possiblity of transfering bites from the toes to the cuff, and the added protection of an inner liner, I thought I would try them out for a season to see if there was any difference. Number of bites to the toes did not noticebly diminish. Bites to the cuff itself were non-existant, my hawk received more "jess bites" than "cuff bites".
The next season, roughly three years ago, I came across the "chap" or "boot" type of cuff - "Wow! There ya go! This has got to do the trick!". After lengthy discussions regarding their construction & use, several local falconers & myself decided to make & test them for a season. This was something we did not jump right into blindly. We scouted the right leather for the decided upon design (fake toes with skirt), argued the type of glue to use versus stitching, made templates and trial pairs. I used the chaps that season, then put them away because I felt that what I gained using them (if anything), did not outweigh the problems I encountered:
1) They hinder movement. In my estimation, the amount of leather which encases the hawks ankles & feet greatly hinders the hawks performance. These, obviously, are very unnatural/bulky additions to the hawks streamlining which lessen the hawks natural ease in walking & footing - noticebly awkward and ungainly in the trees and on the quarry. They seem to no longer be able to switch their grip as speedily - limits movement. If not worn continuously (placed on the hawk only during the hunt), the hawk notices their presence, distracting its attention toward its hobbled movement coupled with the "feel" of something new on its legs and feet. If the falconer chooses to keep the chaps on the hawks legs when not hunting (to eliminate the sometimes tedious/stressful task of replacing cuffs onehanded repeatedly), the fit must be exact (either purchased or self-made) or possible tarsus damage can result, especially if the hawk is tethered as opposed to being free-lofted. This continuous wear may get the hawk over the "something new on it's legs" feeling, but it does nothing to greatly improve its ability to move while wearing them.
2) They add weight (especially when wet). I have always got the impression when observing my hawk, that the lighter the gear, the better my hawk flew and manuevered. I have always tended to use coopers sized bells on my redtails for similar reasons. Smaller bells may have a higher pitch, but they are lighter and less bulky, and I can hear them just fine. Sure a redtail can handle the extra partial oz increments, but for what gain?
3) They decrease "punching" power. Grey Squirrels are the main quarry here in central North Carolina, accounting for roughly 85% of our total season take. Most of the wooded areas and all of the small untended meadows are simply choked with waist high briar mats. These require the falconer to wear protective clothing....always....or go home bloody. Cottontails are difficult to find as there is so much thick cover, and a good short-haired dog that can follow a scent trail on his belly is a must to catch them. When the hawks stoops after a rabbit, or a grey that has bailed, it must invariably "punch thru" the tangle of briars and reach full legs length to snag it. I have noted that squirrel chaps lessen my hawks ability to smash thru - that they catch the briars, acting as "stops" or "drags" and don't allow her feet to slide thru to the quarry. I noted some very dangerous one-footed grabs and a lot of total misses due solely to chaps.

Personally, I do not advocate the use of "squirrel chaps" at this time for hawking grey squirrels. Although I did not try painting the fake toes yellow (which I have since seen and thought was innovative), my hawk received no noticebly fewer bites to her toes. Their use, for me, did not transfer the risk of bites from the toes to the chaps, and created some of the problems I have mentioned.

I suggest that if you think that they may work for you, test them. Try a season with them, then try a season without them. Annotate the number of chases and catches. Watch the hawks deftness carefully as it walks, as it flies, as it punches thru vines and brambles, as it binds to the prey. Write down the number of bites and where they occurred - on the chaps, on the jesses, and on the toes. Compare seasons then make your decision.
Assuming this "open-eyed", "open-minded" point of view present within those who read this, I can provide some designs and information graciously provided by Gary Brewer for your review - just send me an email.
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  #19  
Old 06-10-2007, 02:10 AM
SquirrelHawkin SquirrelHawkin is offline
Nick G
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Default Re: Squirrel chaps

I had chaps on my bird for a little while.I took them off and switched to wider than normal anklets.I saw the bird having trouble getting his feet into tangles of vines.I'd say they are a wash.sometimes they prevent bites and sometimes they cause them.I'm going to fly with no jesses on the bird this year.I saw him get bitten twice because he had trapped a jess with his other foot.Chaps wouldn't have helped on either bite,they were out near the end of his toes.To each,his own.Try them if you like them,great,if not you don't have to use them.
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  #20  
Old 06-10-2007, 09:47 PM
SBFalconry's Avatar
SBFalconry SBFalconry is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Derbyshire
Posts: 1,148
Default Re: Squirrel chaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_ostringer View Post
I am the fellow who drew those plans for Gary Brewer several years ago using AutoCad.
I am also the fellow who sent .jpgs of the drawings to Manny to place on his website (Fred's link) shortly thereafter.
To echo Fred, I do not advocate their use (Sorry Gary).
The following is a "article" I wrote regarding this subject after testing their (chaps) effectiveness:


At the risk of becoming an outcast in "squirrel hawking society", let me play "devils advocate" a moment.
First, I admire and congratulate any falconer's desire to keep his/her hawk in top hunting condition - to protect it from harm that comes in the form of squirrel bites. (The greys are especially lightning fast, and if I were in it's place, I'd bite too.)
But do chaps really attract a bite - are bites automatically transfered from the toes to the chaps - do they eliminate bites? Do the supposed advantages of their use outweigh the possible disadvantages of their use? Are they really a necessary piece of equipment for the serious grey squirrel hawker?
I had been thinking "If only there were some way to protect those tender toes from laceration & puncture - like chain mail form fitted gloves, or some way to wrap the toes", but nothing seemed feasible.
When I first noticed the idea of using a larger leather cuff with shiny studs (that may attract the attention of the prey and attract bites), I had already long been a student in the infamous "School of Squirrel Bites" and thought "Great! this might really work!". As well as looking good (dubbed hawk jewelry by fellow falconers), the possiblity of transfering bites from the toes to the cuff, and the added protection of an inner liner, I thought I would try them out for a season to see if there was any difference. Number of bites to the toes did not noticebly diminish. Bites to the cuff itself were non-existant, my hawk received more "jess bites" than "cuff bites".
The next season, roughly three years ago, I came across the "chap" or "boot" type of cuff - "Wow! There ya go! This has got to do the trick!". After lengthy discussions regarding their construction & use, several local falconers & myself decided to make & test them for a season. This was something we did not jump right into blindly. We scouted the right leather for the decided upon design (fake toes with skirt), argued the type of glue to use versus stitching, made templates and trial pairs. I used the chaps that season, then put them away because I felt that what I gained using them (if anything), did not outweigh the problems I encountered:
1) They hinder movement. In my estimation, the amount of leather which encases the hawks ankles & feet greatly hinders the hawks performance. These, obviously, are very unnatural/bulky additions to the hawks streamlining which lessen the hawks natural ease in walking & footing - noticebly awkward and ungainly in the trees and on the quarry. They seem to no longer be able to switch their grip as speedily - limits movement. If not worn continuously (placed on the hawk only during the hunt), the hawk notices their presence, distracting its attention toward its hobbled movement coupled with the "feel" of something new on its legs and feet. If the falconer chooses to keep the chaps on the hawks legs when not hunting (to eliminate the sometimes tedious/stressful task of replacing cuffs onehanded repeatedly), the fit must be exact (either purchased or self-made) or possible tarsus damage can result, especially if the hawk is tethered as opposed to being free-lofted. This continuous wear may get the hawk over the "something new on it's legs" feeling, but it does nothing to greatly improve its ability to move while wearing them.
2) They add weight (especially when wet). I have always got the impression when observing my hawk, that the lighter the gear, the better my hawk flew and manuevered. I have always tended to use coopers sized bells on my redtails for similar reasons. Smaller bells may have a higher pitch, but they are lighter and less bulky, and I can hear them just fine. Sure a redtail can handle the extra partial oz increments, but for what gain?
3) They decrease "punching" power. Grey Squirrels are the main quarry here in central North Carolina, accounting for roughly 85% of our total season take. Most of the wooded areas and all of the small untended meadows are simply choked with waist high briar mats. These require the falconer to wear protective clothing....always....or go home bloody. Cottontails are difficult to find as there is so much thick cover, and a good short-haired dog that can follow a scent trail on his belly is a must to catch them. When the hawks stoops after a rabbit, or a grey that has bailed, it must invariably "punch thru" the tangle of briars and reach full legs length to snag it. I have noted that squirrel chaps lessen my hawks ability to smash thru - that they catch the briars, acting as "stops" or "drags" and don't allow her feet to slide thru to the quarry. I noted some very dangerous one-footed grabs and a lot of total misses due solely to chaps.

Personally, I do not advocate the use of "squirrel chaps" at this time for hawking grey squirrels. Although I did not try painting the fake toes yellow (which I have since seen and thought was innovative), my hawk received no noticebly fewer bites to her toes. Their use, for me, did not transfer the risk of bites from the toes to the chaps, and created some of the problems I have mentioned.

I suggest that if you think that they may work for you, test them. Try a season with them, then try a season without them. Annotate the number of chases and catches. Watch the hawks deftness carefully as it walks, as it flies, as it punches thru vines and brambles, as it binds to the prey. Write down the number of bites and where they occurred - on the chaps, on the jesses, and on the toes. Compare seasons then make your decision.
Assuming this "open-eyed", "open-minded" point of view present within those who read this, I can provide some designs and information graciously provided by Gary Brewer for your review - just send me an email.

a great answer to my thread, your views have put me thinking even more now. I have taken a few squirrels but never have really gone out intentionally hunting them, this year i have found some land that is over run with them wanted to prevent as much as possible any nasty bites that may occour.
Thanks Stuart
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