What Is Falconry? Ultimate Guide

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The Sport Of Falconry

Falcons have been used for hunting for thousands of years, and the practice of falconry has been around since ancient times. As a sport, it is still practiced today and remains an important part of many cultures.

But what exactly is falconry? Let’s take a look. 

What Is Falconry? 

Falconry is the art or sport of training and hunting with a bird of prey, such as a hawk or falcon. It involves teaching the bird to hunt and catch its food, usually small game such as rabbits and quail.

Traditionally, this was done by using a lure, a piece of meat tied to a string that the bird can follow until it catches its prey. Nowadays, however, most people use other methods, such as live trapping or using trained hawks or falcons to pursue their quarry. 

How Old Is Falconry? 

The practice of falconry dates back to ancient times. It was first mentioned in Greek literature around 400 BC and later in Chinese records from the 4th century BC. By the 5th century AD, it had spread throughout Europe and Asia. It remained popular among noblemen and royalty alike until firearms began replacing birds of prey for hunting in the 18th century.

In recent years there has been a resurgence in interest in falconry thanks to modern technology, making it easier to train raptors for hunting purposes. 

Essential Equipment

Hood For Your Bird: A hood keeps the bird calm and prevents it from seeing anything that might startle it. The hood should fit snugly around the bird’s head and cover its eyes.

Few Pairs Of Gloves: Gloves are important for protecting your hands from the bird’s talons. They also help you keep a firm grip on the bird while training it.

Perches For Your Bird: Perches should be safe for the bird to grip, such as leather or rope. They should also be the right size for your bird to comfortably perch on them.

Food and Water Cups: The food cups should be shallow so the bird cannot get its head stuck. The water cups should be deep enough for the bird to dunk its head into them.

Are There Falconry Events/Competitions?

Yes, there are falconry events and competitions that take place around the world. These events range from local shows to international competitions. Many of these events are open to the public, so anyone can go and watch the birds in action.

Some of the most popular falconry events include the North American Falconry Championships, the British Open Falconry Championships, and the World Falconry Championships. These events attract some of the best falconers from around the world, so it is a great opportunity to see some of the best birds in action.

How Do You Become a Falconer?

To become a falconer, one must first acquire an apprentice license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Apprenticeship involves working with and being mentored by a licensed falconer for a minimum of two years.

During this time, the apprentice must complete various training and education requirements, including passing a written exam administered by the Service. After successfully completing an apprenticeship, the individual can apply for a general or master falconer’s license.

There are three levels of licensing for falconers in the United States: apprentice, general, and master. Each level has different requirements regarding time commitment, experience, and knowledge.

The Three Levels Of Licensing

Apprentice Falconer

To become an apprentice falconer, you must be at least 13 years old and have a licensed general or master falconer sponsor. You will need to obtain a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service permit and complete an application form.

There is no fee for the permit. The apprentice period lasts two years, during which time you must complete various training and education requirements, including passing a written exam administered by the Service.

General Falconer

To become a general falconer, you must be at least 18 years old and have completed the apprentice level of training. You will need to obtain a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service permit and complete an application form. There is no fee for the permit.

Master Falconer

To become a master falconer, you must be at least 21 years old and have completed the general level of training. You must obtain a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service permit and complete an application form. There is no fee for the permit.

Falconry Safety Tips

1. Always handle your Falcon with care. They are delicate creatures and can be easily injured.

2. Keep your Falcon well-fed and hydrated. A healthy Falcon is a happy Falcon!

3. Make sure your Falcon has a comfortable perch to roost on. A good perch will help your Falcon stay calm and relaxed.

4. Keep an eye on your Falcon at all times. Falcons are curious creatures and can get into trouble if left unchecked.

5. Be prepared for sudden movements. Falcons are fast and agile, so be ready to react quickly if your Falcon takes off.

6. Have a plan in place in case your Falcon escapes. Knowing what to do if your Falcon gets loose will help you get them back safely.

7. Keep your Falconry equipment well-maintained. A sharp talon or beak can cause serious injury, so make sure all of your gear is in good condition.

8. Be aware of your surroundings. Falcons are wild animals and can be unpredictable, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for potential hazards.

9. Be patient with your Falcon. Training takes time and patience, but it will be worth it when you have a well-behaved Falcon by your side.

Is Falconry An Expensive Sport To Get Into?

Yes, falconry can be an expensive sport to get into. The cost of purchasing a trained bird, buying equipment, and paying for membership in a club can all add up. However, there are ways to reduce the cost of getting started in falconry. You can purchase used equipment or join a club that offers discounts on memberships.

Conclusion 

Falconry is an ancient sport that has been practiced for centuries all over the world by both nobility and commoners. Anyone with enough patience and dedication can enjoy it – all that’s required is knowledge about raptors’ needs and an understanding of how best to teach them how to hunt effectively.