Hello, I am currently researching and preparing for this upcomming hunting season... and was wondering if anyone could please email me, PM, AIM or post any helpfull information on the taking/trapping, manning, husbandry, and hunting of or with GHO's.Anything someone seriously looking into GHO to be used in falconry should know. My general class liceanses are on their way in the mail according to DNR.. and I'm looking into the GHO for this comming season or next (depending on the preperations needed). My sponsor has taken and hunted them before but it was along time ago...looong time ago. So I thought it wise to keep researching on any new tactics, procedures... beliefs ect. Any personal expierances would be much appreciated. I'll take all the informative link /webpages or reading suggestion you have to offer. GHO biology/ the use of them in falconry ect. I've read through this board and know that they can be stubborn, stubborn, and stubborn..but I'm looking for more detail. I'm especially looking for info on raising GHO eyass or emprints and procedures and any special equipment needed for them + modifications to mews I may need to make ..do's and don'ts all that great stuff. Im trying to get as familiar and informed with the bird ...before deciding to dedicate myself to one of course.
I was looking into flying a GHO in a couple years and did a little research on them. I came to believe that if you took an eyass and inprinted it, you would be looking at the begining of the next season before the bird was hunting like you would expect. There is a yahoo group called hootowlfalconry you may find useful. The guy that owns the group sell a CD with training information on it.
There was a guy in California who flew a GHO for a while with limited success. I think his name was Morgan and he lived up by Santa Barbara. I had a GHO for about a month. It was found on one of the riding trails here in my town, but, it was pretty weak when I got it so I took it to the vet and he put it on meds, but, it didn't make it. The thing to keep in mind is that GHO's are nocturnal. Does your state allow hunting at night? Do you want to be stumbling around in the dark looking for your bird? Or will the GHO become a pet?
I think there is a way to train GHOs to overcome the instinct they have to hunt at night so you are free to hunt in the day...
Also you might not want a GHO because if you don't train it not to be nocturnal... Then when you are trying to get to sleep you hear a constant 'HOO HOO' and have alot of trouble... consider not getting a GHO... even though they are kool .
Sorry... me and my humor....
Last Edit: Jul 5, 2005 16:45:33 GMT -5 by kestrelboy
Here is something to ponder. All owls take a lot longer to train. I've worked with Eagle, Great horned,Barred, and Barn owls at the conservancy. They seem to have a fuse in thier little brain. I've been flying them before and then all of a sudden "pop ther goes the fuse" and then they just sit there like the haven't a clue whats going on. Very easy to overload their little brains. Just hope it dosent happen in the field. GHO's can be very aggressive and it happens a lot with imprits. So watch how you imprit your bird cause they can become real bad. They also will go after skunks so watch out! They are the primary predator of skunks in the U.S. iF you ever have worked at a conservancy you'll know that. Usally you can tell what kind of owl it is by smelling the box. I have heard that they will hunt during the early mornings and early dusk quite well. Early moring could turn into all day if it decides to go roost . Early dusk can turn into all night if he fly off. They are a lot more trouble than they are worth IMO but everyone has diffrent views. I'm not against it by no means and some GHO's can be great birds. It just depends how much time you put in them Take Care Zach
Last Edit: Jul 5, 2005 12:46:06 GMT -5 by Tiercel78
I used to think i knew some things. But i'm not so sure anymore.
"I've been flying them before and then all of a sudden "pop ther goes the fuse" and then they just sit there like the haven't a clue whats going on."
-That's when they hear something, even a tiny noise that you may not be able to hear. It is the same as when a hawk sees something that it's not used to, only difference is that there are a greater variety of sounds in a place than there are sights. So it is difficult to get an owl used to all the sounds. A good way to help reduce this is by putting the bird's aviary right where it flies, this way the bird will hear most sounds but you can't reduce the problem completely because there are always new sounds. Some owls are very inquisitive, therefore if they hear earthworms under the soil or some other little creature, they may want to investigate this. Patience is the key, wait until the owl has investigated and then continue flying. Believe me, they know exactly what's going on. ^^ lol...
"Very easy to overload their little brains" No easier than overloading a falcon's brain. Or a falconer's brain...lol
"I have heard that they will hunt during the early mornings and early dusk quite well. Early moring could turn into all day if it decides to go roost . Early dusk can turn into all night if he fly off. They are a lot more trouble than they are worth IMO"
Actually I think it's an added bonus that the bird will fly at night just as well as during the day. It means you can fly them all through the winter and still work 9 till 5. Neither of these factors are a problem if the bird is well accustomed to its area, feels secure, if you are confident with the bird, if the bird trusts you and the weight is right. The weight factor with owls is a little more important than with diurnal birds of prey, mainly cos they can't see the food. This doesn't mean you should starve them, because that brings the trust factor to the ground. Trust is more important than weight. Owls are ace, but most people don't seem to have a clue how to work with them - it's as if they give up before they even get the bird.
"It just depends how much time you put in them" -lol, ain't that the truth! Peace and love ^^ Longwing
We don't go out with the intention to hunt, because we're a conservation centre. We just like flying them. However our birds have caught many things...not our intention, but that's the way they are lol. Hunters. I don't think great horned owls should really be used to hunt as such, because they may lose trust in you if you make a mistake on the kill, they kill pretty much anything (including other owls and dogs), and the food goes straight into their stomach and as such they can become full up on a rabbit. I know that the first 2 also apply to hawks, but the trust factor is even more important in owls, if anything. Also they can't see the food, so they find it easier to ignore you if they see something tasty that isn't what you want them to catch. And they can find things that are hiding behind things so that you can't see them: an owl can find it due to superb hearing.
In my opinion it's probably better to use your hawks for hunting. If you really want an owl and think that you are patient enough, it's better just to let them be owls, fly free, have fun in the countryside with them. You can get some stunning photos as they're slow fliers and tend to fly at ground level.
Post by scfalconry on May 14, 2006 22:57:45 GMT -5
I am busy gathering info to train a GHO. Here is what I've found through various sources on the internet. Let me stress that I've not trained or flown a GHO... but would love to communicate with anyone who has successfully hunted one on a regular basis.
There are lots of sites with info from people who have them.. very little training info with particulars. Especially from people who actually hunt them. Mostly people who FLY them. Here in the USA flying your bird means your hunting it.... apparently in the rest of the world it means your pet owl is out and about goofing off with you for exercise. <--- not meant to demean pet keeping.... if it is legal in your country then thats fine. just makes searching for hunting info difficult.
For hunting...Brits like the parent raised.. American like the imprints. Most everyone agrees food should not be placed on the glove. Bird is called to empty glove then feed with bare hand directly to the beak of the owl.
Don't teather them until they are 6-12 weeks old. Exact age varies depending on who you ask.. and even after that date it is suggested you free loft and only leash when out of the mew. Creance flights etc..
Most everyone agrees it is a slow training process and managing weight is less of a catalyst for training in owls than it is in hawks and falcons. A common theme of thise who claim to be in the know is that appetite isn't the driving force... it is TRUST.
They can hunt durring the day... and see very well in the day light. hunts are best in early evening.. and even wild owls don't hunt all night long. Most are active in early evening and predawn.
Wild GHO's in the USA and more than likely elsewhere prey on skunks, rabbits, squirrel, rats, mice, vole, goslings, half grown turkeys, domestic cats, pheasant, domestic poultry, etc.. etc.. if it has red blood and is smaller than goose it is on the menu. Rumors abound of the trained hunting GHOs that take rabbit, geese and fox. I haven't seen any pictures yet... but sure how it is more than rumors.
Many people compage they're aggressiveness to accipters and even audobon said they had no fear even of other raptors. Even found a report of one killing an eagle.
I've been active on the internet since the mid 80's and consider myself pretty efficient at fishing out info from search engines. nightly for the past week and half I have digging and digging... not turning up a whole lot. If falcon boy doesn't mind I'll share my cache of URL's thus far. Several are for other message boards... but don't get to excited... non of them really have the info for hunting with GHOs. What I would relly like to see is a forum area set up... expressly for hunting with GHO's with no pet keeping flyer post to taint the mix. This would be quite a resource for future pioneers in the owl/falconry pursuit. How about it falconboy? Ready to shape history?
Gotta run... I gotta 10 week old parent raised ex-rehab GHO to train. Don't know exactly which direction to go... but I'm on my way.
P.S. as for Barry Somners and the post above regarding hootowl falconry forum on yahoo. I too have sent him an e-mail offering to purchase his CD without even knowing the price. It's been a week or two now and still no response. If you search the archiove in that forum most of the messages have been deleted. The messages that are left have little to know resource value. The forum has basically been stript of its value and made into a CD that is offered for $$$... but even when the $$$ is offered you still can't get the info. Better to stay here w/ falconboy and build something for the cause and not someones wallet.
Not a whole lot of falconers fly GHO's. There was a guy in California who had limited sucess with his. He lived in the Santa Barbara area and his name was Morgan, I think. I had one for a short amount of time, but, it was found as a fledging on one of the horse trails in my town and had an infection that proved fatal.
Post by scfalconry on May 15, 2006 14:28:26 GMT -5
Yes, i will make that board for you, it will be in with "hunting avian quarry" and such.
Ask and Ye shall receive.. Three cheers for FalconBoy.
Seriously thank you... I hope it gathers enough info to help me in my immediate needs... but I know the information it gathers will help those in the future. There simply aren't any sources for info regarding hunting a GHO, without having to sort through pet keeping post from over seas. Even those oare of very limited value... most seem to be just avenues for each owl owner to seek attention through other owl owners.
For example... owl handlers with decades of experince telling me GHO's and other owls are thick headed and stupid. It simply can't be the case! If you can survive in the wild then you have the ability to seize oppurtunites. If your doing this then you've learned associations... Cues if you will. If they can work these puzzles out then they can certainly pick up on the cues I'm offering.
Seems most any animal has been trained in various zoo's and animal shows... whay would a GHO be incapable. ot to mention there are the few people that have done it over the years. Wasn't that long ago the popular belief was that harris's were not worth the effort.
opps ... stepped up on my soap box didn't I. Sorry.
Post by stormcloud96 on May 23, 2006 13:18:57 GMT -5
I know this back off-topic from ealiers, but I need to complain. PA is so backwards! Most wildlife rehabbers can NOT take animals from the wild to bring them to the center. This means the general public has to catch them and bring them. People call all the time and think we're not willing to drive out and get an animal, but we really cannot legally. It's a seperate permit called Capture and Transport and most rehabbers can't afford it because of insurance. Just another rant by me!
By the way I have heard nothing but complaings about falconers trying to hunt with owls, often thinking they are stupid, they're not just different. my 2 cents.
discovery is not seeing new lands, but seeing with new eyes
Post by Master Yarak on May 23, 2006 14:58:17 GMT -5
Anatomy can give clues to the animals cognitive ability. The GHO has very large ear openings and canals. It has very large eyes and sockets. The skull however is no bigger than your clenched fist (approx) Big eyes, big ears and small skull...something gets squeezed out, hmmm..brains. Thats right I said brains they are relatively small for a raptor. I think they are analogous to sharks. They are very well adapted for what they do. They are flying eating machines that use brawn over brains. We came across one that ate a full grown porcupine. It had gorged on it flew up into a tree to digest and died from all the puncture wounds it received. Eyes, face, chest, feet they were everywhere. The owl did not appeared starved or diseased upon examination. I have great respect for them as a predator as a falconry bird, well the vote is still out. If it can be done Marty can do it. Yarak
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away