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Rabbits Elude Hawks Again

December 5, 2014
By Larry Claypool - OVO Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

This hunt started out with freezing rain. After a 90-minute rain delay Mick Brown decided it was safe to fly his Harris's hawk Pipa. His miniature dachshund, Zoey, was more than ready to hunt after a nearly two-hour car ride in his car carrier. Tippy, the elder dachshund, and Zippy, Brown's older Harris's hawk would have to stay in their cages a few hours longer, to work the second shift on this day.

The falconry hunt took place on a Christmas tree farm (Windy Hill Tree Farm) near East Liverpool, OH. Brown, a master falconer from Martins Ferry, OH, was in charge of this hunt. Windy Hill owner Gregg Ludwig and I tagged along, occasionally kicking up brush trying to assist in the hunt for rabbits. That would be the quarry for the day - and a few field mice the hawks would spot and stalk.

The dachshunds did kick up two rabbits on the day but Pipa and Zippy each missed their one shot at a meal. They had to settle for 'treats' Brown offered during breaks in the hunt (that keeps the birds of prey happy, yet still hungry enough to hunt) and baby chick meal at the end of their hunts.

Article Photos

Zippy, a Harris’s hawk works with handler and master falconer Mick Brown near East Liverpool, OH recently.
Photo by Larry Claypool

This was the third hunt I've accompanied Brown - and his crew - on without a bunny harvested.

Ludwig's tree farm is a perfect hunting location for hawks. There's a lot of brush piles and high weeds that rabbits like to hide and live in. The birds generally hang out in nearby trees above where the dogs are scurrying through brush piles. Sometimes they station themselves in nearby Christmas trees, waiting for any movement near the ground. The dogs bark too when they detect any foreign scent. When a rabbit is spotted by the falconer he yells a distinctive sound as to alarm both the dog and bird. Brown likes to use, HO, HO, HO!

Although no wild game was caught during the hunt it was a good workout for everyone involved, including the dogs and birds. Brown said he adjusts meals for his birds according to when they fly and hunt. Falconry birds are kept at a very specific weight so they are strong enough to fly, and hungry enough to hunt.

Fact Box

For more information about falconry, visit the websites: and

Brown plans several falconry hunts each month (mostly weekends) during hunting season, which runs concurrent with small game hunting season in Ohio - November 7 to February 28. For more information about falconry, visit the websites: and Contact Mick Brown at 740-359-1341.



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