Quote Originally Posted by JChavez View Post
Thanx for the info. I did some reading on other threads and Looks like I would be better taking time off at this stage and working with the bird and getting it out in the field and spending time with it.
Also I can not find the thread on Chris L bird
I searched and even went through his posts. Anyone know the name of the thread, I would love to read it

Also any reading that anyone can recommend?
I read a lot about hacking. I can not hack where I live, but could I take the bird out and just let it fly around for a few hours in the morning out in the desert? Could even go up to the mountains and let it fly around. Would this do any good or just be a waist of time?
Thanx for the help on this thread and everything people have posted over the years on raising goshawks. I have been readingike crazy and there is so much info to take in.
Hacking is great if you can do it, but its by no means a nessicity. What you will gain if you can do it is a bird that has already figured out how to fly when you start hunting and is not doing stupid stuff like crashing into trees looking for a perch and falling to the ground, or walking around on the ground like a duck looking for hand outs. Well, let me back that up. If you hack, you will still see a bit of this, but not nearly as much.

The real key is that you need to keep your expectations very low when you first start hitting the field with your goshawk, whether that is in a hack/play situation or a "lets go catch stuff" situation. It takes quite a bit of time for them to learn the subtle nuances of flying and you will just make yourself frustrated if you don't accommodate that.

I am lucky to have a place where I can hack in my backyard - no dangerous power poles for almost 3/4 of a mile, no neighbors nearby with chickens or pigeons, and I live in a forest. This was actually high on the list of amenities when I bought the place. But if I did not have that right in my back yard, I don't think I would bother hacking at all. I'd just hit the field with very low expectations as soon as game season was open and the bird had hard penned.

Also, Isaac is right - the time to really focus on devoting time to your young goshawk is the "teen years". In goshawks this is the period of time from ~early Sept to early Nov. This is when the kitten or the demon will reveal itself. It takes a lot of work to keep the kitten around, but if you slip and the demon shows up it will take a lot more work to get it to go away. So much work that most people give up. My current goshawk was a terrible demon during this period, but I did manage to get that spackled over and now she is my favorite hawk of all time, with only occaisional reminders of her dark evil side. At the moment, she preens my fingers when I go visit her on her fertile eggs. During this window of the teen years, the very most critical portion is probably late Sept to mid Oct. That's the where you really need to be on your toes, although if things go sour here its often from small mistakes made much early. The seeds planted in June/July that will blossom here. I don't say that to scare you - but to give you fair warning to stay vigiliant. And most importantly, be adaptive and agile.

However, even at that, during this period of time between Sept and Nov you can handle taking 10 24 hour periods in a month without contact if you are very cautious about renewing things when you come back. Spend a lot of positive non-food and non-hunting time around your hawk during this period, and be very careful that the time you do spend related to food you are not letting your hawk think it got away with bullying you for the food.

When I start young hawks, my game season opens Aug 1 which is usually within 1 week of when the hawks hard pen. For the first 6 weeks, we hunt every day. After that, I start to ween the hawk and myself down to a sane level that meshes with my work and family obligations. This is usually a 4 days a week hunting routine, and quite often that will slow down to weekends only during the Nov-Feb time frame when I have a tough time hitting the field before dark. Off days are usually spent either playing games for tidbits or if its just one day off I will give them a big enough crop that it takes them ~two days to come back to weight. However, even during that early period when I am hitting the field daily, my family life will not always take a back seat and I sometimes need to skip a day. I have never seen that affect the outcome in any measurable way, I would expect your schedule will mesh into this just fine.