Falconry experience?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by diane greene, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

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    I am thinking about getting a falconry license so I can work a trained hunting bird. I am planning to use the bird to control the rodents in our plant nursery, which is an acceptable reason to go for a license in NY. It is a 2 year apprenticeship program and time consuming, so I want to be sure about the commitment. Anyone here have a falconry license? Anyone have experience with keeping falcons for hunting? All input is welcome.
     
  2. I've seen falconry done on t.v. and thought that would be a very unique way to hunt. Just watching those beautiful birds swooping down on there pray. I never could figure out how it is legal to hunt with such birds when they are suppose to be federally protected. Where or how do they obtain the birds to use. I know you can walk at night time through the woods with a bright light and find them perched high up in trees. But to capture one for your own use?
     

  3. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    When we were young, my sister and I had mentors and studied enough to get our falconry licenses. We didn't take the exam because we didn't have any possiblity of having a mews. However, I can tell you that falconry is an exacting, time-consuming, and specialized sport. You don't just have a bird and then let it patrol the area. You carry the bird hooded and fly it when you're ready. The bird isn't going to kill a dozen rabbits for you in a day - it may not kill any. When it misses its mark, and sometimes when it hits it, the bird can break feathers, some of which will need repair (you'll learn how to do that) before it can hunt again. You will have to monitor it's weight, to the gram, so you know when it is not too full from feeding or too weak from hunger to hunt well. When it does hunt, you will have to be on hand to dispatch the prey animal quickly if the bird has not done so, as concern for prey animals is a part of falconry.

    Further, at least in our state, Utah, the only birds you can get as a novice are either Kestrels or Red-Tail Hawks. Kestrels hunt grasshoppers, beetles, mice and occasionally small birds. Rabbits are at the top end of prey size for a Red-Tail Hawk. This bird will much more commonly catch mice, squirrels, snakes, and other smaller creatures. Also, at least in Utah, you have to learn how to catch and train your own bird.

    I guess what I'm getting at is this - if you want to hunt, buy a gun or bow or slingshot and practice with it. If you want to control rodents in your nursery get some cats or a good, small terrier and let nature take its course. (My Cairn is absolutely spooky with rodents.) If you want to be involved in learning all about falcons and hawks in minute detail, and you want to spend a great deal of time working extensively with them, with hunting purely as an incidental occurrence, get a falconry license.
     
  4. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    Falconry isn't for rodent control. It is a expensive, time consuming, sport. Not only the years you train but alos training the bird. Housing, feeding, down time when molting, vet bills, state and federal regulations to comply with, etc. I would recommend getting a few cats from the animal shelter instead. Cheaper and you can't cuddle a hawk.
     
  5. Belle

    Belle Active Member

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    If your problem is rodents, then a good terrier or cats is the best and easiest solution (providing the law allows them to run loose where you're at). They are self-motivating, pettable, and any vet will know how to care for one, and you get companionship as a bonus to rat control.

    If loose animals are not an option, get a CO2 or pump-up air gun that shoots a pellet not a BB, and you can just about put a dog down. These are a real weapon but silent, legal w/o license, and merciful if powerful. You would have to learn to shoot well. This is also a sport you could enjoy at a moments notice with your only time investment a weekly oiling. Prices range from around $100 to $1000 (for a target competition model). I love to shoot, hope you enjoy if you try it.
     
  6. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Falconry is the REAL sport of kings. Hardly anyone else can afford to spend the time,money,& effort to learn the sport.
     
  7. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

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    Thank you everyone. I suspected the time and money were the biggest deterrents. We already have mews space in a small barn, so that's not a problem. Rabbits are not the prey, only voles and mice. We have had no luck with cats - we are close to a busy road and that does them in -too sad. We were considering a rat terrier, but the one we had on loan dug holes everywhere - including in our potted plants and right through our landscaping cloth in the sales areas. We also have an American Bulldog that wanted to eat the little fella. I learned in part about using birds for rodent control by someone that is doing it, but they live in a different state and I could not apprentice with them. I think I really have to decide on the dedication it takes to do it properly. Thanks again for the good observations. Best to all...
     
  8. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Hi Dianne,

    I'll bet a puppy rat terrier could easily be trained not to dig holes anywhere - just part of normal puppy training, and MUCH, MUCH less time expenditure than training and keeping a bird of prey. Your bull dog may also be less aggressive toward a puppy. With the road so near, I do think a dog would be your best bet for rodent control. Best of luck!