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.