Falconry is an ancient sport where falconers use raptor birds such as falcons, eagles, and hawks to hunt live prey.
It takes a lot of time and energy to become a skillful falconer.
Falconry is different from the usual hunting because raptors require special care and attention.
So, How Can You Get Into Falconry As A Hobby?
It is relatively easy to pursue Falconry as a hobby. There are several skills that one needs to master before becoming a successful falconer. The most important thing is a raptor bird which falconers acquire by purchasing from a breeder or capturing a fledgling in the nest.
Falconry Birds For Beginners
Falconry is a sport that uses a wide variety of raptors.
Peregrine is the most common bird used in Falconry.
It is considered the fastest bird on the planet because it can dive at a speed of 200 miles per hour.
For beginners, it is advisable to start Falconry with either a Red Tail Hawk or Kestrel.
It might be challenging to keep kestrels because they are small in size.
The bird weighs a few kilograms and is more prone to health problems that affect birds.
The other challenge with kestrels is that an inexperienced person can quickly kill the birds without knowing.
It is easy to keep and has rare red tails; that is why it is preferred over kestrels. It is the most common bird for Falconry in North America.
Falconry Equipment List
Falconry is a traditional sport that uses animals to assist humans in hunting.
Over the years, humans have improved their hunting skills by using dogs and birds as part of their hunting techniques. Falconry requires the use of highly specialized equipment.
The equipment used is supposed to help the bird in hunting and limit the bird’s ability to fly.
Different birds require different equipment.
Knowing how each piece of equipment operates is essential and critical to your success.
To become a successful falconer, here are some of the equipment you will require to purchase.
It is attached to the bird’s ankle.
The anklet is attached to jess and used as a tethering point during hunting and training sessions.
During hunting, the jess is detached from the anklet, which helps to make hunting easier.
Gets attached to the bird for identification.
Several places require hunting birds to have bands. A band is attached to the ankle.
The band’s color depends on whether the bird is bred in captivity or is caught in the wild.
Certain areas have banding rules that guide whether or not to band birds for identification.
Small bells are used to track the location of the birds during hunting.
As the bird flies, the bells will make unique sounds that help a falconer track movement and how far the bird has flown.
4. Block Perch
Used specifically for falcons.
Block perches are not attached to the body but are strategically placed in a specific location or field.
A perch is used to tether birds, and it serves as a place where birds can land and rest.
5. A Gauntlet
It is a unique glove used as a place where the bird stands before being sent out to hunt.
A falconer wears the gauntlet, and it is also used as a place where the bird will land after returning from a hunting or training session.
It is made from leather which prevents the falconer from being injured by the raptor.
It is a type of rope attached to the anklet.
It serves several purposes depending on its length.
Shorter jesses keep the bird attached to the anklet, while longer jesses are used as leashes during training.
Are used as fake animals that the raptor is trained to hunt. They are used to help the bird to identify what to pursue. It is also used to teach birds hunting skills.
It is a cloth that is attached to the bird’s head to prevent overstimulation.
They assist the bird in performing well during hunting and transport the bird from place to place.
9. Hawk Box
It is used for all birds of prey. It is used to prevent overstimulation of birds and helps rile up birds before hunting.
Overstimulation is a critical issue in hunting because it causes hunting animals to injure themselves.
A hawk box is also used to transport birds safely.
Basic Steps To Becoming A Successful Falconer
1. Take A Falconry Exam
The pass mark is 100%.
The exam is used to assess whether you are eligible to become a falconer.
Certain areas require beginners to have sponsors before they can undertake this exam.
The test consists of approximately one hundred questions covering biology, diseases, raptor history, laws, and falconry history.
f you fail the exam, you are allowed to take a few days and do a retake.
2. Apply For A Hunting License
Falconry is a type of hunting, and any form of hunting requires a permit.
Before one is issued a permit, they are required to take a hunting safety course to determine if they are eligible to receive a license.
Once you are given a license, the next thing will be to look for a sponsor. It is good to note that a falconer is different from a pet keeper.
3. Develop A Sponsor
Falconry is learned through apprenticeship.
As a beginner, you have to apply to be an apprentice to a master falconer.
Once you have passed your exam and acquired a hunting license, the next thing will be to contact potential sponsors.
No one is obligated to be your sponsor, and this will require you to establish personal relationships before a person agrees to be your sponsor.
Every sponsor desires an apprentice who has done their research on Falconry and passed the required exams.
A license is also important before you contact your sponsor.
4. Get Your Falconry Equipment Ready
The law requires every beginner to have jesses, leashes, perch, and a hawk box.
You will also need to construct a hawk house or convert one of your rooms to be suitable for your bird to live in.
For beginners, it is easier to build portable freestanding mews in your compound.
5. Trap Your Bird
After passing your exam, the next task will be to acquire a bird.
It is best to start with red tail hawks.
If you don’t find one, you can go for the kestrel but be alert for the possible challenges discussed above.
You can purchase the birds from a breeder who has trained them.
Once you have gained the necessary skills, you can trap your birds.
Falconry is a fun sport that anyone can take up as a hobby.
When it comes to Falconry, there is nothing like a stupid question.
Ask as many questions as possible. Successful falconers are the ones who follow their sponsor’s advice and guidelines.
It takes time and practice to perfect the skill like any other skill.
Before you engage in Falconry, do a lot of background research on the game’s rules.
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