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You never know how people will react to an up close and personal encounter with a raptor. This toddler couldn’t stop smiling no matter what my red-tailed hawk, Artemis did. The next fellow wasn’t so amused. He was probably 6’5″ and 275 pounds but he jumped and might have wet his kilt a little when Artemis bated (jumped) in his direction. You gotta love people!

If you haven’t had a chance to learn about falconry, look into your local falconry association or drop me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction. I belong to the Georgia Falconry Association and have loved every minute of my participation in this ancient sport.

Thanks, Myron, for capturing this moment!

Artemis and Gregg Hake

Artemis is my current hunting partner. My brother-in-law and I trapped her last year in northeast Georgia and this will be her second hunting season with me. We trapped her at 1,575 grams (3.5 pounds) and she managed to get a piece of my brother-in-law when while we were removing her from the trap, which to a falconer is a good sign despite the inconvenience.
Artemis proved from day one to be spirited and tough as nails.

Manning her was a snap as she ate from the glove on day two and then quickly took to flying on the creance. I am looking forward to training and hunting with her this year and will keep you informed on her progress.

The photos below were taken at the Scottish Games in Blairsville, GA.

Photo 1: Artemis. Isn’t she a stunner?

Photos 2 and 3: Gregg Hake giving Artemis a drink during the falconry presentation.

Photo 4: Gregg Hake and Artemis, a Red-tailed Hawk.

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The Georgia Falconry Association event was a big success, raising necessary funds for the club, introducing many to the sport and offering club members and their families a chance for fellowship and storytelling.

Nathan Masters ‘ slingshots were a big hit and Johnny’s Barbecue put on a great spread.

It was a privilege and an honor to host the event and I wish my fellow falconers a successful 2013-14 hunting season!

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Gregg Hake is pleased to host the annual Georgia Falconry Association’s fall picnic on his property in Dahlonega, Georgia. Stop by if you’d like to see some amazing birds, meet some fascinating people and learn more about falconry!

http://www.eventbrite.com/org/1344126481?s=16763879

It would be a mistake to assume that falconry’s rise in popularity is associated with a relaxation of the barriers to entry to the sport. Falconry is perhaps the most regulated sport in the United States, and while one need not be of noble birth to access the sport as in days on yore, those desirous of becoming falconers must still overcome a variety of obstacles in their path.

To begin with, every aspiring American falconer must secure a hunting license. This license will allow you to grab a gun or a bow and have at the small animal kingdom, though while it is necessary, it is not sufficient to set a bird of prey after wild quarry. Your state’s DNR office will have information on how to get a hunting license.

Next, you must pass a lengthy and challenging written examination in which your knowledge of falconry rules, regulations, ethics, practices, avian anatomy and avian health will be tested. This test is also typically administered by your local wildlife agency.

As soon as you have the license and test under your belt, you are ready to find a sponsor, who will be in charge of supervising your two year long apprenticeship. (I warned you that it wasn’t easy!) Trapping season begins in the fall, so you would be wise together all of this out of the way by sometime in August.

Next, you’ll have to build your housing for your bird. This isn’t something you will find at the pet store, and the regulations describing what is acceptable are fairly specific, though they do allow room for interpretation. I found it useful to discuss my ideas with my sponsor and other falconers in the local falconry club (which I joined straight away), while simultaneously pouring over the books and blogs on the topic. One particularly helpful site is The Modern Apprentice.

After you build the housing you’ll need to contact the local DNR to inspect it and if you’re lucky, you’ll have an agent who understands the peculiarities of our sport: it’s specialized facilities and associated equipment. Be careful that you don’t push your request too far into deer season as most of the field agents are out in the woods for most of the fall.

After that, you’re good to get started. You’ll have to trap a bird, which will be the topic of another post and start the manning process. Manning, incidentally is the process by which you get the bird used to you and used to flying back to you on command.

Once the manning process is complete you are ready to take that fateful step of releasing your bird in the woods in pursuit of its prey! And if all goes well, you’ll be we’ll on the road to becoming a master falconer, which by the way, takes seven years!

 

By Gregg Hake

Jagged Oarsmen

Jagged Oarsmen
A Haiku by Gregg Hake

Deep in the spring wood,-
jagged oarsmen hushing sounds
of passing shadows

Summer Molt

Summer Molt
a Haiku by Gregg Hake

In the jess-less molt:
springtime regeneration
plumage made anew