Fun Times

Falconry

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 2015-2016 season was a success.

This is "SiFinn", she is a female Siberian x Finnish Gos Hawk. She was 2 weeks old when I got her from Mark Moglich, a world renown breeder of Gos Hawks, Gyr Falcons, Peregrine Falcons and Hybrids. She is such a sweet bird so far and the kids love her. SiFinn loves ducks and pheasants, maybe she will learn to like rabbits next season?

"Shebron" my female Peale's Peregrine Falcon flew again this season. She has recovered from her broken leg last season. She had a successful molt. She does not look the same, here are a few photos of her from last season before her accident. On the right is what she looks like in adult plumage and this photo shows she is ready to fly.

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Below is Lucy, she is a 1/2 Gyr and 1/2 Peregrine Falcon. Lucy was supposed to get shipped to the (UAE) in the middle east. Due to complications I was lucky to get her. She is a very powerful flying bird. I was lucky to finish the season and still have her, she likes to fly everywhere except over my head. I am hoping for a fast and healthy molt so I will have these three birds to fly next season.

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1979Gos.jpgWitch1975.jpg These birds are birds with a lot of history that I had from 1974 - 1979. The bird on the left was a male that almost got me put in jail for killing a farmers chickens. The bird on the right was a large female that caught all types of game with me. My now wife, new girl friend then went on one of our first dates and got to see her catch a Jack Rabbit. It was the birds first jack, she had caught everything else until that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

   winterpolaris.jpgWhat most people don't realize about falconry in Nevada, is that it is a cold sport. This was after a day of Grouse hunting and -8 degrees. I prefer the days that are dry, not windy and between 15-35 degrees. The dogs run longer, the birds fly harder and the game fly stronger. Falconry is the sport of hunting with birds of prey. I have sold my shot guns and spend my hunting enjoying ways to see my birds and dog perform as a team with me being the luckiest member of the team.

Oscar.jpgThere are special licenses required for falconry. Before I go hunting I have to have my Nevada hunting license, upland game bird stamp, Nevada and Federal Waterfowl stamp.You must have a federal and a state falconry license. This requires passing a test, having your housing inspected by NDOW, working as an apprentice for 2 years and then being limited on the types of birds that you fly until you get your general falconry license and you can then practice on your own. You can then after five years of practicing apply for a master falconer's license. If you don't like being tied down and committed to staying home don't even think about this. When you are starting out with a young bird it is hot and so the only good hours of the day to fly start at about 5:30 a.m. and end at 9:00 a.m.

Suka now has a new home. Suka was a faithful hunting companion for six seasons. This was a great season for her hunting, she caught grouse, pheasants and ducks. She had a very close call with a Golden Eagle and her still being alive is her second miracle. She has also started trying to dive bomb coyotes and strange dogs, she needed more space for her flying. She is now with a Yerington NV falconer. It will be a long time before I have a bird as faithful as she was.

2012Grouse.jpgSuka, Yonder and Rick with the first Sage Grouse of 2012. This was a Beautiful day that was 32 degrees and a 10 mph wind out of the southwest. The reason that you want a slight breeze is so your dog can scent the birds. You have to cover a huge amount of real estate during the winter months to find the grouse and the breeze helps. If you have too strong of a wind in these wide open spaces you might have to go a long ways to find the end of the chase and you better pray that there are roads or you take off running. Golden Eagles are some of the biggest dangers for our hunting birds and you must get to your bird before an eagle does. On this same day of hunting Yonder also pointed a covey of Chukar and "Kimo" was able to knock down a bird. Kimo was lost a week later while flying. Kimo was a 3/4 Gyr Falcon x 1/4 Peregrine. This bird had a rough life. In his first year he survived West Nile Virus, then after recovering and starting to hunt he flew into a power line. This happened because he was chasing a wild Prairie Falcon and a pigeon and because he was not paying attention. He survived after a surgery from Dr. Ditsworth where his breast was ripped open and his keel bone was broke. He flew his second season and was just starting to understand the benefits of waiting on and doing near verticle stoops before he was lost in a near wilderness area in northern Washoe County. 

Stealth was a beautiful Black Gyr x Peregrine falcon. He is a constant reminder to me as to how deadly eagles can be. It was a sad day when he was lost to a golden eagle.

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If you haven't realized yet, falconry is a crazy sport. Each day that you release your bird into the heavens you know that this could be the last time you ever see this bird. These birds are not cheap, you invest  many hours. You try to get these birds to learn to hunt with you and to become free flying hunters that are capable of hunting on their own but that they choose to do it with you and return to your safe company.

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As you can see from these photos Rick has been doing falconry for a long time. This is a picture of Rick in Jr. High with a Red-Tailed Hawk and Rick in High School with a Coopers Hawk. Before Rick could drive, his brothers and his mother would drive him around town to fly his birds.

 

 

 

 

If you want strong flying falcons, you need strong and healthy racing homing pigeons. So I started raising pigeons again thinking I was doing it just for the falcons and I realized I really found these birds interesting and they are real athletes. I am now racing these birds in the Sierra Nevada Racing Pigeon Club. I have a lot to learn and there are some people with some real good blood lines. I am not ready to be that serious of a racer, I just think it is a lot of fun to watch these birds progress from finding their way home from 10 miles. then 25, then 50, 100, 200 plus miles. 

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Archery

Archery was something I did competitvely and for hunting. Robert Welge got me started shooting a bow and then it became a passion to the point that I was sponsored by Hoyt USA and Easton Aluminum. I have traveled many places to compete and to hunt. Now that I am older and not as strong I am amazed at how many arrows I could shoot with out getting tired and how well I could shoot. The highest that I placed in the Nationals was 6th place. I won five Nevada State Championships and one South West Sectional Championship. For all of you who think you are good shots, this is a sample of a seven shot group of arrows shot at 20 yards. These were shot in what was known as the Freestyle Limited Class, meaning I did not shoot with a mechanical release like almost all archers shoot today but I released the string from my fingers with a finger tab.

Ioncecouldshootjpg.jpg  funnyfaces.jpgMy kids hated archery, they said it was as boring as watching the cattle graze. We also made funny faces as we tried to settle into our anchoring position for a good shot but not a good picture.

 

 

 

 

Bucket List

How many of you have a Bucket List, well Rick does and he just got to check one off.

Climbing Mt. Whitney

Wow, what a trip! AllThree.jpgTheTop.jpg

ThePack.jpg "I was never so happy to take my boots and my 35 lb. pack off. I was able to climb and camp with my sons Ken and Steve. Steve planned and cooked the meals, Ken took hundreds of great photos. My son Robbie kept my wife, his mother company by spending the day in Yosemite just before the big "Rim Fire" broke out and filled Reno with Smoke." My boys all met in Las Vegas and then drove to Lone Pine, CA and Nancy and I drove from Reno to Lone Pine. The boys drove through Death Valley so they could get the lowest and highest points in the lower 48 states in one trip. 

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Mountain Biking

DSC_7225.jpgMountain Biking is a major source of Rick's conditioning and recreation. His favorite place to run his dog while he rides is near his home around the Rhyolite Pit. His favorite climb for a work out is Toll Road to the Virginia City Highlands. The prettiest ride is the Flume Trail above Lake Tahoe. The prettiest part of that ride is Marlette Lake. When you want a better work out and you have more time, you ride from the Ponderosa Ranch up the sandy climb to the Flume Trail, instead of taking the Flume Trail you take Tunnel Road over the top of the Tahoe Rim Trail and then down towards Washoe Valley and Carson City until you get to Hobart Res. Then you ride the steep climb back over the Tahoe Rim Trail then down to Marlette Lake. Then the hard part is over and you ride the Flume Trail and then back down to Lake Tahoe. Do not do this with someone who has a heavy bike or someone who is out of shape, it will be a long day.

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I have a newer Giant Anthem 29er and I am having lots of fun with it. Robert Welge helped me build this bike with parts he had and the best thing he did was convince me to switch to tubeless tires and light weight wheels. You can run the air pressure low and your bike climbs things that you could never climb before. I finally realized that at my age I needed a padded seat so this seat went away after a ride in the Santa Cruz mountains.

1981DesertRam.jpg  BIG GAME HUNTING

This was the start of my "Trophy Big Game Hunting", this was also the start of me taking photos on my hunts. I got my first SLR camera in 1980, just before I did my first Desert Big Horn Sheep hunt. John Zenz took this picture of me after nine days of hunting. John had been my insurance agent for my milk trucks when I was a distributer for Meadow Gold Dairy. He was quite excited to go with me and I believe the following year he became a licensed guide for this part of the State of Nevada. This photo became quite well known as NDOW used it for the front cover of "Hunting The Desert Ram" for many years.

One of the best things of hunting that I enjoyed was being able to take my sons and my daughter with me. When they got old enough to hunt themselves it was fun being able to see how they copied me. We had good conversations, they got to listen to my music, prayers were answered. Yes sometimes things didn't work out the way you wanted them to, but they learned to exercise faith and that their Heavenly Father does watch after us. None of my sons hunt now, but they do know how. Ken learned how to get the same buckfever that kept me from being confident in my shooting in my early days of hunting. Steven was a thinker, he really never got excited and was as steady as a rock in his shooting. When Robbie and I hunted we had more fun just driving the roads and exploring on our quads, motor cycles and my different trucks. Probably one of Robbie's best hunts is when he finally shot his first Chukar on the fly.

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I have learned that taking photos when out hunting takes the urge away to feeling like you need to be shooting. Some of my best hunts have been just sitting in the blind taking photos and not shooting animals. As I have said else where, most of the hunting I do now is letting my birds do the harvesting. These are samples of photos that I have taken. I am not a savy photographer, I just enjoy taking photos to help me remember good trips and my kids have been able to be with me many times when all I do is take photos and they like those trips as you do not have to pack meat out and rush it to the cooler. When you get to see these animals up close and see their personalities you appreciate them a lot more.

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concertTuba.jpgNVDayCityBand.jpg PLAYING TUBA, BRASS CHOIR 

My Tuba playing started in Jr. High when I switched from playing string bass. I wanted to be in Felton Hickman's band. I went on to play tuba at UNR on a music scholarship. I was paid to play in the Reno Municipal Band and the most fun was playing in The Hickman Brass. While at Sparks High School as a Junior I got to travel with the Felton Hickman directed Brass Choir to Tucson AZ for a music educators convention. I was fortunate enough that our senior class was very talented to get us the invitation. I was also lucky to be able to play with Russ Dickman. Russ helped me learn what a tuba could sound like.

 

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Did I mention that I now play in an Oldies Rock and Roll Band?

Robin St2.jpgRobin Str1.jpgI have played and sang for so many years,

why not play in a band?

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FISHING

I started fishing on the shore at Nimbus Dam and at Sailors Bar on the American River. I fished with a friend that I grew up with, Kim Bosco, with my son Robbie, Louis Salvador a friend from my office and others. I soon realized I did not enjoy the crowds and I wanted to get away from them. This caused me to start fishing with guides in their boats and then I decided I needed to get my own boat. I bought a Jetcraft fishing boat for my California fishing. I do not enjoy ocean fishing but I love striped bass and salmon fishing on the Sacramento River. Over the years that I had my boat we had some days that weren't productive but sometimes things went right and we did get some good fish. I did have a few friends that were able to go with me and on most days my friends did better than me. I think I got some pretty good pictures of them. Mike Radcliffe, Dan Ripple, Bob Livingston, and Alan Forman. I used some good guides before I got a boat and now that I have sold my boat I use them again. If you are looking for a guide that knows how to get you a salmon call Kirk Portcarrero, for the best striped bass guide on the Sacramento River contact Bob Sparre. I learned things from them that helped me on my boat. I just don't get enough days of fishing to warrent the exspense of keeping my own boat. There are a few things that are true about boats, the two best days of your life are the day you get your boat and the day you sell your boat. Boat is really an acronym, B.O.A.T. Break Out Another Thousand.

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Trips with friends and having a guide were much more productive. Some of my friends who have fished with me also include Mark Coates, Felt Hickman, Robert Welge, Doug Rands, Jamin Hunter and many more. My brother Kevin is a great fisherman, he has more patience than I do and it has paid off for him on our salmon and steelhead trips. This salmon that Kevin caught was dark so we didn't measure it. Once we looked at the photos we realized this was a 45-50 pound salmon. This fish was thought to be a snag as he could not get it to move. Luckily he did not listen to us and cut the line as the fight was on once this fish took off.

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