It Must be that Time of Year

While it has been pretty much too hot to move during the day around here, my mind seems to think it is time to get Rusty and Shelby back out in the field. I dreamt last night of scouting fields for rabbits. While I had some uncertainty in the dream about when, precisely, rabbit season opened, a check of the California Department of Fish and Game shows that it opened on July 1st.

At this point, we’re waiting for the completion of the molt. Basically, until Rusty and Shelby have a complete set of tail feathers and primaries, we’re still just going to feed them up. Once that’s been done, though, we go through an annual set of events. There’s the paperwork, getting the new hunting licenses for the year. Go too early and nobody has the additional stamps for upland birds and ducks. Then we also need to affix a tail mount on a deck feather for telemetry. The birds don’t like that process, but they do put up with it.

The field of my dreams had hordes of jackrabbits and at least a couple rabbits. So far, we haven’t had much luck getting Rusty and Shelby interested in jackrabbits. That means that finding rabbits is a key activity. Here in Northern California, though, rabbit populations seem to be way, way down. There’s one place that is about a 40-minute drive from here that consistently has rabbits, but other than that, we’re pretty much stuck with jackrabbits. The opening of upland bird and duck seasons is still a ways off.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.