Post by scfalconry on May 23, 2006 15:22:38 GMT -5
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
I appreciate your vote of confidence ( however misguided it may be ;D ) I may very well end up being eaten by a GHO ... atleast until the cadavier dog finds me. Only time will tell... In the mean time I'm gathering as much info as I can from those that have hunted with them... so that I can figure out how to work with the owls small brain to body ratio. I know of atleast three people stateside that have had more than marginal success... so I'm not breaking new ground. I just want to make sure I leave a record of how my experience went.. so that others can learn from it. I've had phone conversations with two of these three folks and I've learned more in those two phone calls about hunting with GHO's ....than in two weeks worth of searching the internet.
The following is only my opinion based on a few experiences.
Owls are possibly the greatest mousers on the planet. They can hear crickets break wind a mile away. They are also the meanest, witless creature ever to grow feathers. Please refer to first sentence.
I got talked into trying to re-hab an adult Great horned owl some years back. Eyewitness watched it fly full speed into the side of a barn. Pupils were unevenly dialated and it couldn't hold its head up. I had to force feed it with home made wooden tweezers while cradling it in my arm. Tried to jess it and hold on a welding glove, but it spent all of its time lunging at me. Had to hold its tarsi the whole time. That bird hated me as much the last day I had it as it did the first. I got careless one day and it stuck a rear talon through the web of my thumb and fore finger. Had to wait for it to release. No pain, I guess there is a pressure point there. Still have the tiny scar.
Unsuccessful re-hab. Head injury was too great. Took it to local vet and was politely told to leave.
I handled a Golden eagle with a bruised wing that was less of a hassle and physical threat.
Saw a cartoon in American Falconry magazine that was indicitive of the author's feelings. It implied that a proper fitting hood for a Great horned owl was a tight fitting plastic bag. Don't take me wrong. I love seeing an owl silently gliding through the trees in the evening. I just don't want one hanging around my weathering area.
My hat is off to anyone who could train one to hunt. There are too many skunks around here, and a GHO will cheerfully kill and eat a skunk, odor and all.
Sorry you had such a bad experience.... maybe if there had been more people sharing their handling experience and making it available to you at the time, then you and the owl could have worked with each other more peacefully. I was having a similar experience when this GHO arrived. Hissing, snapping, lunging, biting. I've contacted a few people who are successfully hunting owls and gleaned from them what I can. Adjusted my handling and training session regimens and things have improved 200%. This bird is now gently taking tidbits from my hand. (gently is a relative term <smile>) OK... It not as gentle as a handraised peregrine... but for a GHO he is showing a considerable amount of restraint. LOL! I spoke to a falconer in California the other night that has killed 370 rabbits in 4 seasons with his GHO. He has very little problem removing it from kills. One of the keys to unlocking their falconry potential is working around their differences. Just like you work with peregrines, coopers or harris's slightly different... the owl is also different... a little more than slightly but not extremely different. It wasn't that long ago that Harris' Hawks were taboo.. The GHO is strong, fast and not real picky about what it preys on. If I were custom ordering a harris or a goshawk I would want one with the same attributes. Strong, fast, bold, ambitious.... and what about the bonus features of being able to see in the dark, hearing crickets fart and the one my wife like the best.... He doesn't SLICE mutes across the living room. ok.... I'm still pie eyed and a neophyte regarding owls... humble enough to realize it... but making ground that can not be denied. A year from now I may be in your corner... but for now I'm learning lots from good sources... applying it... and so far it's holding true.
Go for it ! As I stated, my prejudges are based on one injured bird. It was dealt a bad hand and I did what I could at the time. I kept it for about a month, hand feeding it twice a day. Stressful for both of us. I can't help but compare the Golden eagle with the Great horned owl. The eagle was big. Tarsi and talons were amazing. The owl's talons were so needle sharp they didn't seem to have an end, they just went to a point of infinity! Amazing !
Post by bluedarter on Jul 16, 2006 17:34:58 GMT -5
I just recently became a member of the forum and this is my first reply to a subject. I trained a couple of male GHO's in the early to mid 70's. One was a brancher and the other a large downy. Both tamed down nicely and one in particular was good at chasing/catching rabbits. I was basking in fond memories of the birds late winter, so I got a male Euro Eagle Owl a month ago to see try hunting him also. Owls are quite different in training and mature very slowly, especially mentally. I tried to download a picture of the Eagle Owl so I hope it goes through. Let me know if you have a particular problem with your Owl. If I don't have the answer, I'll make one up. Good luck.
WEll guys coming home from judo tonight my daughter spotted sitting what we believe to be a great horned owl eating of all thing a fish. Yes a fish never seen that before and don't kow where he got though the lake is less than a hundred yards away. So on the night I saw two owls one flew past while my wife and I were having our picknick dinnier in the car down by the marsh, and the horned owl on the way home. HAs anyone els heard of horned owls eating fish before? Chris
Gotta story for ya... while my older bro and i were making a banked turn for the sled down at my uncles house, (we live 2 houses away... ) my uncles 5 month old GSP pup Pete started barking, ok thats usual, hes a pup, must be a coon or such. well i hear my uncle telling him to quiet down, and then i hear something else, wings, and im thinking, okey dokey... now i know i need to go hunting soon...
my uncle comes up to me, and says, "Matt i just saw a bird that has about a 5 foot wingspan, large, and things on its head" well im instantly thinking "Great horned owl" and i respond "must be a great horned... whered you see it?" "on top of the Kennel, standing above the door, it was looking at pete" "odd... im not sure about this, but in this cold, maybe a very hungry, very foolish owl would go after a animal his size... i heard about a large female Great Horned go after baby to medium sized sheep once..." "ah ok..."
later then, before i left, pete was off barking again, i got up, went out there, "Pete Qui---HOLY SHIIIIIIT"
basically, i had walked out there, the branches above me where cracking, and i looked up inspecting to see a Coon, the HOLY SHIIIIIIIT came from when i saw very large GHO flying away through the trees. its wingspan was most definetly more than 5 feet!
time to keep a close eye on Rascal when hes outside at nite doin his business...
Post by profalconer on Nov 29, 2006 14:24:18 GMT -5
i have hear they take small dogs fairly often... i think they are rad... when we had our education GHO she clamped down on my glove and pierced it pretty good. they are so powerful and big, and when they are pissed you know it. my uncle used to fly one when he was like 16 or so. he wasnt legal at all but he loved to be able to go out at night and not even be able to hear it and stick his glove up and she would be on her way.
Post by birdguy888 on Nov 29, 2006 16:43:55 GMT -5
Hen GHO can be huge! The largest one I ever had in rehab after hitting a barb wire fence had about a 6.5 foot wingspan. I cannot remember her weight but body thickness was that of a tiercel golden. She made some headlines around here as the largest GHO ever seen in Utah. Here tufts were over 3 inches tall. I toyed with the idea of taking aGHO this year but decided aginst it because of the longer training time. Awsome birds though. We constantly get calls from people, even at 5:00 a.m. that see a GHO eating their cat or small dog. Happens several times per year. "What do we do?" I tell them to get a camera and enjoy what they are watching because they probably won't see it again and I thank them for helping out our wildlife by feeding it. I then tell them if they get another cat or dog not to leave it unattended when outside, especially now that the owl knows there is a food source in the neighborhood!
Post by HawkingRage on Nov 30, 2006 0:43:46 GMT -5
you cant hunt with owls in colorado. maybe someday ill live somewhere that you can. it would be interesting even with a longer training period. ive heard of people bridge hunting for pigeons with them at twilight.
Post by birdguy888 on Nov 30, 2006 18:53:04 GMT -5
Fortunately I believe the people understood the facts of life and nature. While they were a bit distraught, they were interested in it. Hopefully this is how it stayed! Matt, did you get a good enough look at the owl to tell if it was a passage or a hag? In case you don't know the difference in owls, look at the bars underneith the sails. If the horizontal bars are off set like steps, it a passage, if they are in a straight line, it's a hag.