Why falconry? Does anyone still do that? Interesting hobby… when telling some of my friends that was just some of the responses I received.
So what is my draw to becoming a falconer? I think a lot of it started when I was a youth and read a book called My Side of the Mountain. I had such a connection with the charter Sam (if you have a child I would recommend this book for them) and as I got older and life “got in the way” I forgot about wanting to be a falconer until one vacation I met a master falconer at a demonstration and my daughter said “I want to do that when I grow up!” Like a flood the memories of my youth came back and I stuck around after the show and asked a bunch of questions. When I returned from vacation I called the DNR and started right away on the things you need before the test. The road was not an easy one for me, there were books, equipment, housing and a sponsor to get before I took the test.
Here are the books I used in my studies:
- Falconry Guide and Examination Manual
- Apprentice Study Guide – California Hawking Club (this book is well worth the price)
In addition to the books I decided I should join North American Falconers Association (N.A.F.A.).
Maryland falconry laws are funny, you need to have a sponsor before you can apply to take the test. After calling from a list of registered falconers I was put in touch with someone in my area who after talking to and meeting agreed to sign for me. I should note this isn’t a small decision on either party. As an apprentice you have to be very grateful to anyone willing to show you things that are not really published. However, there should be a good chemistry because you will be spending sometime with this person. So choose wisely! The truth is once you have a sponsor, if you lose the ability to learn from him you are on your own! So treat his or her time as gold.
So with a sponsor that signed for me and my mew build and equipment ordered I was ready to take my exam. I felt very confident walking into the testing center until I sat down. Maryland’s test is based on New York’s test and is full of questions ranging from identification and breeding habits to medical diagnosis. Needless to say I didn’t pass my test and had to wait 2 weeks to retest. on the second try I did pass and could move to the next step. I had to schedule a representative from the DNR to inspect my mew and send in the report. After a few weeks I received my falconry permit. Unfortunately, much of the season had passed and I missed my window for getting a bird to train and hunt.
So it’s a new season and I am excited and ready to begin. I hope to use this as a field journal type of blog. If your reading this and interested in falconry I hope you follow my adventures. One goal of this is to offer a place for new people who may be experiencing the learning curve as I am. Who knows maybe well all learn together.