How I Became A Falconer
The only exposure I had to falconry, growing up, was from movies and maybe a few books. I always thought it was reserved for Noblemen, Lords, Knights, and Kings. Something that only high born royalty type practiced.... How wrong I was!
The first time I encountered a falconer was at a training I was sent to for work. One of the trainers happened to mention that he was a "Master Falconer". It caught me off guard and I was not exactly sure what it meant to be a Falconer, much less a Master Falconer. I bombarded him with questions every chance I got. My mind was officially blown. I realized at that moment. "I could be a falconer too!" I took his advice and began searching for everything I could get my hands on that had anything to do with falconry. I was hooked! I ordered books online, I went to my local library and had to use the interlibrary loan system to access hard to find books. It was very difficult, at the time, to find much on falconry. Meanwhile, I applied to my state falconry group and began my search for a sponsor. The closest one to me on their list was about 4 hours away. It didn't look good. I thought I might have to halt my pursuit of becoming a falconer.... Eventually after more digging, I came across a number of someone who was less than an hour away from me. Progress! I called him up only to find that he was a hopeful apprentice as well. However, he did have another number for me. It was for someone who he was trying to get as his sponsor.
Here it was. After weeks of digging, I was finally going to see if I could turn my dream into reality. I called the number and introduced myself. Well, it turned out, he lived just two streets down from my house! What are the chances?! To this day, I still can't believe how lucky I was. We got to talking and after a few days of talking and questions, he agreed to become my sponsor. A huge next step in the process! But my work was far from over. I still had to study for my falconry exam, construct my mews, and gather all the equipment necessary for falconry. It took me about 9 months, from reading my first falconry book to getting my mews and equipment inspected by a game warden, until finally getting my falconry permit.
There is a lot that goes into being a falconer. It takes dedication, patience, perseverance, passion, compassion, discipline, and if you are married, a supportive spouse. Also, be sure to ask permission first. :)
How To Become A Falconer In The USA
What is Falconry?
Falconry is the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor.
Becoming a falconer in the USA is a lengthy process and is not for everyone. You must locate and study under a licensed falconer as an apprentice for no less than two years. However, before you can obtain your apprentice falconry permit, you must study for and pass an exam given by a game warden from your local parks and wildlife department. Then, you need to gather the necessary equipment to house, transport, and train your first bird of prey. The housing facility (Mews) and equipment must be approved and inspected by the game warden before your apprentice permit can be issued. If you manage to get through the initial hurdles and obtain your apprentice falconry permit, you can finally obtain your first raptor. This is just a brief overview of how to become a falconer in the USA. If you want a more detailed breakdown, check out this page in the North American Falconers Association website.