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Old 09-02-2014, 09:42 PM
CloakDaggerTiercel CloakDaggerTiercel is offline
Nick Curry
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Default Snipe Hawking 14/15

This is a new thread for all things snipe and snipe hawking, their natural history and conservation.
My inspiration for trying to catch them came through reading Art Haschak's great chapter in Gamehawking At It's Very Best where he describes the flight at snipe with a prairie tiercel. My mentor caught them with a red headed merlin in the 70's.
I've shot snipe all my life and have seen many flights at them by wild peregrines. I've had lots of flights at them myself, mostly accidentally, with one solitary success with my current tiercel.

Next year im going to make a concerted effort to fly purely snipe. They are plentiful, local and sustainable in wide open landscape. It makes perfect sense, and they seem the perfect natural match for a peregrine tiercel, but very challenging.

Any one wanting to understand more on this quarry could do worse than read Colin McKelvie's seminal work - Snipe And Woodcock: Sport and Conservation.

Friday night I was working my pointer through a favourite bog when a wild tiercel came whiz zing past overhead after a snipe I had flushed a few moments earlier. It fetched the snipe high in the sky in the distance and proceeded to put in shot after shot at the little wader. Most captive falcons of all types usually get left behind by snipe but the wild tiercel in this case clearly had the speed advantage but the snipe was doing a good job in evaded its up and under grab attempts and tried to get above the falcon like a mounting lark with a merlin.

The flight drifted away put of my eyesight, but I couldn't help feel the snipe was doomed, such was the speed of the haggard.

Today we walked up into an area I like to call the hidden valley, as most people don't even know it is there and fewer have ever gone there but it's a nice little plateau with good numbers of snipe, a perfect proving ground for the young dog to practice hunting. We saw about 30 snipe and I watched nearly every one flight into the distance in case the snipe seeking missile put in another appearance.
The snipe were a bit wild and jumpy today but I think mainly because the dog is presssing them a bit too much at the moment and needs to show them a bit more respect. That will come with time hopefully.

I guess the thread will liven up in a few months time but until then feel free to post on the subject.
A few clips from today. The larks are starting to return to the high ground And I saw a nice female merlin zipping through. All in all a nice walk out in the wind.

Https://vimeo.com/86259666


Nick
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2014, 10:34 PM
FireAsh123 FireAsh123 is offline
Ashley Barnes
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Funny you say that Nick, I was out a few days ago in flood plain with the wife and flushed a snipe and as I watched it climb and tiercel came from out of no where and just plucked it out the air like it was nothing. No jinking, nothing. Maybe it was to focused on us? But looked effortless.
I'm not massively into long wings but this quarry really appeals to me and if I was ever to go down that route. Snipe would be my quarry.
I wish you a successful season and look forward to reading how it goes.
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2014, 10:50 PM
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Ross Ricks Ross Ricks is offline
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Nick your posts and threads are top notch lad.looking forward to this thread but next season I'll be chasing ducks with a gyrkin.i need a few easy season s on easy quarry to get me prepared for snipe
maybe joxerbrown on here and a few more of the irish snipe hawkers can add there experience to your thread
Atb Ross
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:51 PM
TomOlivia TomOlivia is offline
Michael Calvin
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Very nice Nick, it makes perfect sense indeed! I look forward to a wailk out on the old fell sooner rather than later!
The puppy looks to be shaping up nicely, bog 'trotter' springs to mind...how ironic! michael.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:25 AM
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Fraser Hamilton Fraser Hamilton is offline
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

we will see what i get this year but i own a snipe bog/moor plus have litterly thousands of acers of permittion coverd in theses fantastic little birds all year round ! if am not flying enything at them i will defo plan a snipe meet since more pepole are getting into hawking them

I havent chaught one yet with a bird but have flowen plenty with alot of difrent birds intenshonly and acadently i just never put eny true comitment into them as of yet thare a truely awesome little bird
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:02 PM
CloakDaggerTiercel CloakDaggerTiercel is offline
Nick Curry
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireAsh123 View Post
Funny you say that Nick, I was out a few days ago in flood plain with the wife and flushed a snipe and as I watched it climb and tiercel came from out of no where and just plucked it out the air like it was nothing. No jinking, nothing. Maybe it was to focused on us? But looked effortless.
I'm not massively into long wings but this quarry really appeals to me and if I was ever to go down that route. Snipe would be my quarry.
I wish you a successful season and look forward to reading how it goes.
Thanks,
Its funny, the very first flight at snipe I saw was high over a line of guns when the snipe had towered uo high into the sky like they do and then it the wild tiercel just appeared out of nowhere and plucked it out of the sky. That tiercel learned to wait on the line and was a bit of a highlight of our shoot for a couple of seasons. Most of the other flights ive seen have been wild tiercels and generally they have a speed advantage over the snipe. The fligths have often resembled a merlin and pipit flight scaled up. This quarry definitely highlights the difference in speed between trained and captive peregrines, as very few trained peregrines even bother to chase them for any distance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ricks View Post
Nick your posts and threads are top notch lad.looking forward to this thread but next season I'll be chasing ducks with a gyrkin.i need a few easy season s on easy quarry to get me prepared for snipe
maybe joxerbrown on here and a few more of the irish snipe hawkers can add there experience to your thread
atb Ross
Ducks are old school Ross!, get a tiercel and hit the bogs
Good luck, sounds great. If all I could hunt were ducks for the rest of my days Id be quite content. Great quarry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomOlivia View Post
Very nice Nick, it makes perfect sense indeed! I look forward to a wailk out on the old fell sooner rather than later!
The puppy looks to be shaping up nicely, bog 'trotter' springs to mind...how ironic! michael.
Mike,
we saw about 50 snipe tonight on a new beat. A couple of flat benchs of quite dry bog very high up.
Dog bumped into quite a few and only got a couple of firm points despite the lighter winds. Seems a tricky scent?

A clip from tonight.

Https://vimeo.com/86339906
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:26 PM
TomOlivia TomOlivia is offline
Michael Calvin
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

It looks like the weather gods were being kind to you Nick, that's a blinder of an evening for your part of the world

I'm sure my setter Milly would do well on them, she found a few quail (all singles) the other morning on a bone dry paddock in half a gale (it hasn't rained, hardly even a cloud, for perhaps 3 months now). She seems to have an excellent nose and is very careful on the approach to a point and very steady to flush and shot
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:00 AM
Brian Sullivan Brian Sullivan is offline
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

2 of the best climbing ringing/zigzagging flights I have witnessed by wild Falcons. The first was a passage Tiercel Peale's which the flight lasted all over the Sky until he caught it way up and returned to his favorite field to eat his prey. The second was Haggard female Peale's. I did not witness her catching it like the Tiercel, but her determination showed she had done it many times. I finally lost them over a hill covered in fir trees.

My female Peale's was the best for chasing them up high after a miss in the stoop. Most falcons would just give up, but not this girl she would just stand on her tail and make every zigzag they could do. Many times breaking off very high and returning to be served again, as the GWP I had was so good on them and so steady..
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Old 13-02-2014, 10:33 AM
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Hardcore Hawker Hardcore Hawker is offline
Steve Vaughan
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomOlivia View Post
It looks like the weather gods were being kind to you Nick, that's a blinder of an evening for your part of the world

I'm sure my setter Milly would do well on them, she found a few quail (all singles) the other morning on a bone dry paddock in half a gale (it hasn't rained, hardly even a cloud, for perhaps 3 months now). She seems to have an excellent nose and is very careful on the approach to a point and very steady to flush and shot
My GLP Millie was on point on Tuesday for about 2 minutes before I made in and managed to pick a Snipe up by Hand from right under her nose, Well chuffed with that.
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Old 16-02-2014, 05:15 PM
CloakDaggerTiercel CloakDaggerTiercel is offline
Nick Curry
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Default Re: Snipe Hawking 14/15

Finally a nice day and a great way to walk off the sunday roast is to put on the hiking boots and work a bird dog on some wild game.
Im trying to get out nearly every day at the moment to work the dog on snipe before the migration takes them away and the hills fill with larks.

I chose to take a big hike out to a far beat that I haven't been to in a long while. Once there we could walk back into the nice south west breeze.
It was spring like at long last and it was nice to be up on the high ground, listening to song thrushes singing on the low ground.

Along the way I noted a few landmarks that brought back memories of lark adventures we've had in these hills.

The rock pile pictured was the culmination of a fantastic flight (accidental) at a wheatear that was caught out in the open but threw off the attentions of my jack merlin and a family of four others. The little bird outjinked all five merlins like a matador and eventually made his escape under the rocks. That was 18 years ago, but i remember it like it was this morning.

At one point today a wild jack was circling over the dog at distance. I tried to get him on camera, not very well. Maybe he was a descendant of the whetear gang?

We didn't see as many snipe as we have been seeing, maybe only 20, but Dinger had 6 good points and held a couple a good while.

She also ran through all the larks she came across which was a big plus and unexpected.
She runs a lovely natural pattern that is just about right for my needs and I hardly have to touch the whistle. Quite refreshing to have a pointer that doesnt want to hit the far horizon!

I'm following the 'Higgins method' for developing staunchness and patience and it seems to be working.

Also pictures is a plucked out snipe ready for the table, showing the pectoral development that gives them their great speed. They must have one of the highest power to weight ratios out there?

https://vimeo.com/86830879

Nick
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