General Information About Falconry, Falconry Equipment, And Information About Getting Your Falconry...
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General Information About Falconry, Falconry Equipment,And Information About Getting Your Falconry License In TheUnited States.
How cool would it be to tell your friends that you hunt with a falcon, hawk, or even an eagle! Well itis a real thing and has been around for thousands of years. It is called falconry. Sometimes it isreferred to as hawking if you are using a hawk, however it is understood that it falconry refers to theart of hunting with any type of bird of prey. Someone who hunts with one of these animals istypically referred to as a Falconer (no matter what kind of bird you actually use) or an Austringer (aperson who flies hawks specifically, however most people just default to falconer).
Falconry is seeing a surge in popularity around the world, however it is still used as an actualmeans of survival by many groups of people (such as in Asia). Because of this surge, there are agrowing number of regulations that exist to regulate both the birds that are used, who can use them,and the license required.
There are many different birds that are used, both for hunting, and just for show, however the maintypes that are used are falcons, hawks, and eagles. Hawks are by far the most popular and easiestbirds to start out with. They type of bird used is typically dictated by what type of animals you arehunting. For example you would not want to use an eagle to hunt squirrel,, and you would not beable to use a Peregrine Falcon to hunt deer or fox. Typically falconers will use hawks to hunt smallto medium sized ground game (squirrels, rabbits and things like that), falcons to hunt air game(pigeons and water foul), and eagles to hunt the larger falconry game (fox, hares, wolves, and smalldeer to name a few).
Choosing your first bird is usually an easy choice because in the United States, you have to beginwith a Red Tail Hawk or American Kestrel. The Red Tail Hawk is a very common falconry birdbecause it is relatively easy to train, powerful, and versatile. After your two years of apprenticeship,you may move on to other birds if you choose. When choosing a bird at any given level of expertise,it is important to keep in mind that with larger birds, they may attack small children, cats, and smalldogs.
Falconry equipment is quite extensive, and will take a significant investment initially. It is importantthat you use quality gear to ensure dependability and comfort to you and your hunting partner.Some equipment that you are going to need is an acceptable place to keep your raptor. This is calleda mews and will typically hold your falconry tools as well. You will also need an enclosed area totrain your bird and is often attached to the mews, but is not required. A basic falconry equipmentlist would include bird hoods, anklets, jesses, leashes, perches, travel boxes, avian first aid kits,glove or gauntlet, bells, and some form of pack or other storage device for team kills. There aremany other things that you may need or want, but this article is not meant to give you an exhaustivelist.
As far as falconry training is concerned, it takes a lot of patience, understanding, and respect. Themain things that you will want your bird to do, is respect you, come to you when the command isgiven, and get off the kill once offered something else. There are other things that birds can betrained to do, but these are the essentials. Training your bird to do tricks and other things is not theintent of the relationship and it is important to keep in mind that the bird is not a pet, but an animalbusiness partner. An experienced falconer can train a trapped wild bird in around a month.
In the United States, you need to have a falconry license in order to get a bird and begin yourtraining with it. You need to start out as an apprentice for two years, and you will need a sponsor totrain you during this period. You will need to pass a state test, and have your mews and gearinspected by the state. After two years you will have the option of getting your general license,which will allow you to have two birds, and choose from a larger variety of birds. After 5-7 years,depending on your state, you will be able to go for your master's license, which will allow you tohave 3 birds and choose from a larger variety of birds. It is important that you look up your state'sspecific regulations before getting started.
The most important aspect of falconry that one needs to understand is the actual relationship thatyou build with your hunting partner. Many people in the US trap their bird from the wild. Thesebirds are not domesticated and choose to stay with you because of the benefits they get from yourrelationship. Every time a falconer releases his bird for the kill, there is a possibility that it will notreturn and just fly away. The vast majority of the time, the bird chooses to come back to you becauseof the plentiful food, protection, and other things that your side of the partnership offers. Theseanimals are not pets. Many falconers choose to trap, train, hunt, and then release a bird everyhunting season. There is no problem with doing this, because you are simply going your separateways after benefitting from each other for the period of time you were together. Your relationshipwith your bird thrives on a mutual respect for each other, and a mutual appreciation for the benefitsof the partnership.
I wish you well as you decide on if this hobby may be something that you are interested in. Falconryis growing and it is important that it grows with people who are willing to take the time to do thisproperly and understand everything that is involved.