A New Adventure
Gene Perkins
A.K.A. Ridge Runner

My son and I were invited by our local friend Eid to go with him and a few of his mates out for the day to train their Falcons for hunting season. It is not like the hunting I am used to but what an experience.

First thing they do once you get out into the desert is to set up a little base camp at the base of these beautiful sand dunes. Granted they are not the mountains I'm used to but actually a beautiful sight as they rise out of a completely flat desert scenery. Next thing they do is to attach a receiver device to the backs of the Falcons. Then the training begins. We had about 8 falcons between all the boys so they split up in groups of 2 and into the Land Cruiser we go!. Once away from the base camp they release a live bird, the first was a pigeon and once that is released they remove the head gear from the falcon and release the falcon. The chase is on!. As the falcon is in hot pursuit of its prey, so are you, across the desert in the Land Cruiser at 60 MPH. To the untrained eye these would look like regular ordinary street Land Cruisers but once they pointed out a few of the added desert options it became plain that this is serious stuff. Added dual shocks on all tires, special sand tires to make the ride smooth and for traction, extra batteries fitted, manual transmissions instead of auto, and a nice Halogen light fittings under the hood for lighting back at Falcon Camp.
Let me tell you going through the desert at 60 MPH, with one eye on the Falcon and one on the road and all the other Land Cruisers doing the same can be be a bit nerve racking to a Greenhorn falconer!

Once the falcon has caught its prey it lands and you drive over to the spot to retrieve the bird. The falcon is rewarded some choice morsels from its prey and then put back in the Land Cruiser for the next bird to be released. The next one came out of the box and I was quite surprised to see it was a bull Sprig. Once he had gained a bit of distance the next falcon was released and in hot pursuit again. I never would of thought that a falcon could of run down the sprig but he did. After some great in air acrobatics by both birds the falcon had its prey with a sweeping midair grab. I wish I had my video camera, maybe next time.

I was shown a few other tactics that they use for training and then it was back to camp for the traditional gathering around the campfire and story telling of the days hunting. I was amazed how we all shared that common bond of hunters around the fire.

Even being 8,000 miles away from home in a foreign country, the hunting tradition and the commendatory of the hunt lives in all of us fortunate enough to enjoy this pastime together. This was a special treat for me to experience and will add to the stories that we all tell around the campfire in our hunts.

It is funny how that night around the fire two different worlds came together as one, under the stars, sharing this great pastime we all had in common. HUNTING

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