By Rob Thornberry
Jack Oar has trained hawks and falcons all of his life.
Enchanted by their flight when he was in the third grade, Oar has devoted his life to hunting the "way the knights once did."
"I just love everything about it," said Oar, who lives 25 miles north of Howe in the Little Lost River Valley. "It is the ultimate bird-watching. It is more bird-watching than bringing home the bacon."
It has brought him a lifetime of joy. The past three weeks, however, have been the worst of his falconry career.
On Oct. 16, Oar was sage grouse hunting with a 5-month-old gyrfalcon near the mouth of Sawmill Canyon. The young bird broke away and landed more than a mile away, according to its radio transmitter.
Oar went to find the wayward bird and was shocked to find it dead under a fence post, killed most likely by a deer hunter with a high-powered rifle.
"I could see a dust cloud on the two track leading away from the area, so I knew something was wrong," Oar said. "By the time I homed in on her, she was laying under a fence post. She was shot through and through. Apparently it was a deer rifle."
Oar still struggles to square the sight of the dead bird and the fleeing poachers.
"I was really devastated," he said. "It made me see blood. I think somebody went deer hunting and didn't get a shot at a deer and decided to take a shot at her."
Oar is most angry he won't get to see the young bird grow.
"She was probably the nicest, best-mannered bird I've ever had," he said. "Her attitude toward people was really nice." More....