Saturday, February 16, 2013

Brick Ovens and Carousel Horses

I was at a Brick-Oven Pizza Party last night with good friends, and in the bouncy conversations the time just flew by. Before I knew it I had an amazing meal and a few drinks, and when a couple I didn't know as well as the others stopped over to chat and politely asked me about my weekend, I beamed up at them from my glass of bourbon and told them I was going to meet my sponsor tomorrow!

They just stared at my glass of booze.

I quickly realized most people associate the word Sponsor with AA and tried to not turn red as I laughed. "No, no no…. I mean my Falconry Sponsor. They guy who may become my mentor! WEll, if he agrees to take me on that is...He lives in south Cambridge and restores and carves carousel horses when he isn't flying hawks!"

At this point the AA meeting sounds more normal...

But the people at the party were all genuinely interested, and had the same questions many of you have. How do you trap a hawk? How do you train it? Where does it live? How long can you keep it? How the heck does one get into Falconry? And so on. I hope to answer all these questions as the process unfolds here on the blog. You are seeing a lot of hawk posts now only because this is the bright light of beginning a journey. I'm excited and so I write about it, read about it, go on trips and gather supplies here and there. Yesterday my packet from the NYS DEC arrived and my application to take the test in April was there. It was a normal hunting license form, but with a forty-dollar application fee and a spot at the bottom for a sponsor to sign off on me to take the written test. The state doesn't want anyone moving forward into falconry, even taking written tests, unless they have an experienced person signed up to teach and guide them. I think that is wonderful.

Besides the study guides and rule books, there was a list of falconers in the state of New York, listed by county with their names and phone numbers. I called a retired man some of my friends know, a master falconer named Ed. Ed lives about ten minutes away from Cold Antler and runs a carousel horse repair and carving studio. I called him and he wasn't home, but his wife said he'll call me back later on in the day. When he did call, I told him who I was and where I lived and that I wanted to be a falconer and would he be my sponsor? There was a pause on the line and then he replied.

"Well, maybe. I'd like to meet you first."

Which was so plain and obvious I know I did turn red, and asked him when would be a good time to come down to his farm. We set up a time today. I am excited to meet this guy, to say the least! I'll get to see his Mews and weathering areas, his birds, ask questions and have him review my supplies. If he signs off on me I can mail in my application to the state and get assigned a test date. It's all one step at a time, and one experience at a time, but it is happening. It surely is.


Blogger Bex said...

Here in Georgia, you're encouraged to take (and pass) the test before having a sponsor sign off on your application. If i understand it right, that is. And the time spent as an apprentice is 2 years. Is it the same in New York?

February 16, 2013 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Yes, two years! 2-7 is general falconer, and 7+ is a master!

February 16, 2013 at 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try actually being an AA member (nope, I don't keep that anonymous) and bumping into your sponsor as you are leaving the liquor store with your husband's whiskey. (He's a normal drinker-LOL). Luckily she believed me. Anyhow, I digress, I think what you're doing sounds really exciting, but we don't have the hunting areas here for hunting with falcons. Have fun.

February 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM  

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