Warrior Birds: Hawking
The Ancient Sport of Hawking Gives Outdoorsmen a Ringside Seat in the Primeval War between Hunter and the Hunted
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96
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Equipment: A beginning hawker needs a hawk house for his bird to live in, perches, bath pans, elbow-length leather gloves, jesses, a scale and a fitted hood. Total cost: about $1,000.
Ownership: It is legal to trap game hawks, but you may not buy or sell them. Before you trap your bird--or are given one--most jurisdictions require a state and federal license. After trapping the bird you must register it with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Falconry is illegal in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii and West Virginia (there is no game hunting at the academy).
Clubs: Most licensed hawkers join the North American Falconry Association (307/834-2462). Additionally, most states have their own regional club. California's is the largest.
Hunting: Any area of the country that has a surfeit of open land and rabbits, pheasants or ducks (such as Idaho, Wyoming or Montana) makes for good hunting. Overseas, Scotland is especially good, since the ratio of wildlife to humans is slanted overwhelmingly toward the winged and four-legged creatures.
The Falconry Academy at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, is the first full-time teaching facility dedicated to falconry in the United States. The school offers a one-hour introductory session to falconry and a three-day beginners course, which covers everything prospective hawkers need to know to obtain and train their first bird of prey. In addition to expert instruction, the school stocks every piece of equipment an apprentice hawker needs to get started. For more information, call (304) 536-9245.
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