Saturday, June 15, 2013

Falconry Update! Welcome to the New Age!

For those of you following along in my Falconry Journey, here is an update on all things hawk in my life. Back in April I took the state's written exam for prospective Falconer's. I needed to score an 80 or higher to be allowed to move forward with the process. I studied and studied, and studied some more and I ended up scoring a solid 91 on the test! A few weeks later I got a packet of "next steps" which includes all the requirements I need to prepare to trap, train, and own a bird of prey. I have the summer to build a MEWS (hawk house), weathering area, gather supplies, and get a state game official to come and inspect my property, supplies, and the hawk house. If I have this all collected, built, and signed off on by the state I am allowed to get some paperwork signed by my mentor Ed Hepp and mail in my official license application. Whew. I'm getting winded just writing about it!

It's overwhelming to me, too. But I am just setting it into little steps. My next step is to have Ed come to the farm and exam my property and find the best place to build the MEWS. Once I have his advice in my head, I will save money up and gather the help of friends to build the little 8x8 house for the redtail (or kestrel). That is where my head is at right now. Get Ed to the farm, listen to him very, very, very hard and write down everything he says. He knows more about this sport than any book or exam paper ever could teach me. Once I have his opinion/blessing I will plan the building of the structure.

Once I have the house made I will need to build the weathering area next, which is an outdoor chain link area that sun, wind, and rain can get on the hawk. It needs a special bath tub and perches, but it should be easy enough to create thanks to a dog run at Tractor Supply. When both the MEWS and weathering area are up I need to order some hawk gear like hoods, jesses, a travel box, and a digital perch scale from some outfitters and I'll gather them by and by. I already have some of the gear I need like my left hand gauntlet and a creance. If you have no idea what I'm talking about don't worry. All I'm saying is I need hawk tackle and so far I have a glove and a leash. I already have all the state's hunter's safety requirements and a small game license so that huge part of the process is already done.

I hope to have everything here and ready for State Inspection by early August. Then I can gather my approved paperwork and have Ed fill out the stuff that lets the state know he is taking responsibility for me as his apprentice and will be joining me on our first hunting trips. When all this is done, all of it, I am allpowed to send it all to the capital with a check for $40 and they will return to me a bone fide Falconer's Apprentice State License. It legally allows me to trap and train a wild juvenile red tail hawk and be its keeper while we learn to hunt together.

After a few hunting trips I am free to take my hawk on my arm, saddle up my horse, and ride into the autumn mountains with my black highland pony while a hawk flies overhead! Can you imagine it? I can. And when I do imagine it the Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling are covering radioactive as the soundtrack. (Thank you, Grace Helbig for the link.) That is one badass version of that song, created with only two stringed instruments, a human beat box, and a few voices. Every time I hear it I want to be cantering Merlin up a hillside in October with my own hawk alongside us, swooping ahead on the trail as as hunt pheasants, rabbits, quail, and squirrels. I shake just thinking about it. I mean, if you're going to be excited about one life, might as well be your own...

And That, boys and girls, is Living Like Fiction!