Sunday, February 10, 2013

Falconry Update: Phone Calls and Clubs

I called a woman from a local Falconer (Falconing?) couple this morning. I know her through a friend. I told her how I knew her, and that we had actually met in 2008 at the British School of Falconry when I first moved to Vermont. I was interviewing for the job at Orvis and not sure if I would get it. But when I saw the Equinox Hotel offered its guests lessons in beginner falconry I jumped at what felt like a once-in-a-lifetime chance. That's a photo the woman I called today took of me with a Harris Hawk. And here I am, five years later, asking her to take some more.

It was a great experience in their large barns learning to call and send away the bird. After we were wrapped up I explained how much it was something I wanted to do and she said to look her up if I ever moved out here. She gave me the copy of the Northwoods Catalog and her number. I never got in touch with her. Being a new farmer, new shepherd, new border collie and horse trainer on rented land made falconry as realistic as joining a roller derby team. Awesome, but too time consuming and too busy a life for it. But now that I'm a full time writer farming at home with a slower pace, I'm ready to at least try. And it turns out one of the guys I used to work with at Orvis who is in my WoW Guild is one of this couple's best friends. I had an in, without even trying! So I called to say "Hello, I'm new and eager, let's be friends" and I am hoping they call me back. There are a few weeks left in this hawking season and I would love to join them on a hunt as a spectator with a camera.

So far all I have done in this new pursuit is got a hold of some books I am reading and taking notes on, called a local Falconer for a blind date, and joined our state's club online. I also applied for the study packet for the Apprentice Test in April, and once I pass that and show a sponsor that I have my hunter's safety and small game license I can start doing things to get my own farm turned into a place a hawk could thrive. This means building a Mews, getting it inspected by a DEC wildlife official, planning a place to hunt, and putting enough hawk food in the freezer. I wouldn't dare have a hawk in the back seat of my truck fresh from a trap unless all these things were in order and all the federal laws were approved and in place. This will all most likely happen over the summer, in stages and steps. But by fall I may very well have a Red Tail on my gauntleted hand. I can see it in my mind's eye anyway, and that's well over half the effort of making it happen. At least for me.

If you want something, anything really, you need to believe it is possible before you dare imagine yourself doing it. That's just the way of things. And when you can imagine it, phone calls and books are the natural next step. People laugh and call you crazy and bother you about it, but ignore them. You do not need approval from anyone to follow harmless bliss. And Before you know it you're in a field with a hawk and a possible new friend, talking about where you'll put your own mews and hearing war stories of amazing chases. All this, of course, applies to all crazy dreams. Half the battle is knowing you want it and climbing the ladder to reach it. And let folks heckle all they want, its probably good for their red blood cell counts. It means nothing. You know you are doing something good for the soul when other people tell you you're nuts.

P.S. I have heard from so many people equally interested in falconry as I am! So I urge you to at least look up your local club and contact them, take that first step. All that can happen is you end up making a contact for later, and you may end up with a packet in the mail like I am... Life's funny guys, roll with it.


Blogger kwdiving said...

I so totally agree with you. It has taken me many years of doing what everybody else wanted and being unhappy, to realize life is too short to keep that crap up. I would have already made my dream come true except for that pesky title thing called money. So I have had to learn a little patience. Now I have a house almost ready to sell and have begun packing for our move. Many steps closer to my dream. It's not as fast as I would have liked, but it feels great to be moving closer to my dream. Farm here we come! Soon...

February 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger aart said...

Is the pic of you and the Harris from 2008? You have plenty of hawk food clucking around on the ground. hehe jk Best of Luck! Have Fun!

February 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Mary M.(mymosk) said...

I was so excited when you posted that you were going to get into Falconry. This has been an interest of mine that I have yet to make happen. I wanted to pass on this book that I read. So fascinating. Good Luck!
Falcon fever : a falconer in the twenty-first century
Author: Gallagher, Tim.

February 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Jenna, When is the last time you read My Side of the Mountain? I just read it with my fifth grade reading group. It spawned a whole new generation of falcon experts. One year we brought in a falconer and his Harris Hawk, Lady. I don't know who was more excited, the kids or me.
If you haven't read it since you were a kid I highly recommend it! I will be excited to read about your adventures in this beautiful sport.

February 10, 2013 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Camelot and Wart all I can think of??? I even had to search for images of it!

Wasn't there some movie made in the early 60's about a boy and a white horse; he had acquired a falcon and made the mistake of riding or running very fast with it on his gauntlet before the hawk was ready for this....quite traumatic for the boy and the hawk...someone help me out with this!!!!

February 10, 2013 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

My daughter loves raptors and wants to work with them when she grows up. Federal law says you have to be 14-15 to apprentice, so I have 5 years to wait. To be honest, I hope she still wants to do this when she is older because it gives me the perfect excuse to do it myself.
Good luck-can't wait to see how you make out

February 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Patti said...

Your interests have no limit, always wanting the next horse, trying the next sport. There is nothing wrong with focus and restraint, concentrating on what you have and striving to do justice to the animals in your care and your chosen work. Something to think about.

February 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM  

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