Hawkin'Gear ~ Unbutton Your Bird And Fly Her Naked!

Howard Brinkerhoff

The "Brinkerhoff Jesslet" in detail showing the flat button and slit. To function properly the fit must be snug. Kangaroo leather last well and has nice aesthetics on the falcon. The hole on the button end of the slit should match the diameter of the bunched leather on the back side of the button. The bell can be slid up to close the slit as a measure of additional security. A bell is nice when weathering a falcon. Note: when removed the bell, jesses, swivel, and leash remain as one unit! Photo by Dave Perfetti.


The air was crisp as I gently slid my hand around Bonnie's beautiful slender leg and deftly unbuttoned the black leather her legs were golden bright in the afternoon sun. She shivered on my gloved hand before she began pumping strongly into the autumn air.

At first I was a bit uneasy about her nakedness, but as things progressed it seemed right and ultimately brought both she and I great pleasure

The idea of flying a falcon without jesses is not new. However, removing the bracelets and bells too, may be a novel concept. All the traditional equipment attached to the bird's tarsi along with a transmitter or two negatively effects a falcon's performance in the stoop as well as its footing.

One has only to experiment with models and automobile windows at 70 mph or so to discover possible effects from the wind ripping over the paraphernalia attached to a raptor's body. Additionally, these devices do injure the birds upon impact with the game or even the lure.

Steve Baptiste of Reno, Nevada has long held that dented bells represent impact pain and injury to falcons. Steve asks, "Does Mother Nature have anything extra on birds? How would you function with all that stuff tied around your ankles; could you run a fifty-yard dash?"

Steve believes falcons pull up on quarry in the stoop because they have been hurt by the attached equipment in earlier flights. Another falconer friend in Washington state has flown his birds for years "naked," believing his bird's footing and efficiency to be like wild birds.

Bonnie, Howard Brinkerhoff's Peregrine wearing the "Brinkerhoff Jesslet". Photo by Dave Perfetti.

One can sense an emerging concern among falconers and ideas such as the "Hollywood Jess" as partial answers to these concerns.

I propose a simple solution to this problem: fly falcons with legs as bare as is practical for the particular bird being flown. The falcon's disposition toward the falconer and the skill of the falconer will determine if this higher form of the art may be practiced.

As a starting place for converts to this idea, I submit for review the "Jesslet," pictured below.

The "Jesslet" is a one piece kangaroo thong with a flat button, which slips through a slit in the thong. The slit is cut so the leather wraps snugly around the leg. A small hole is punched on the button end of the "Jesslet" slit so the whole leg part will properly seat. The opposite end of the jess is made in the traditional manner.

For many years, I have attached transmitters to falcons' legs using a similar design and have never had a transmitter come off. At present time, I use this "Jesslet" on a very nervous, jess pulling Redtail, and she has not been successful in removing even one!

This "Jesslet" has much to commend it. It can be removed by one cold hand, it keeps "Jesslet," swivel, and leash together, hence less items to lose. It is most secure when attached to the falcon, it is easy to put on, it is very inexpensive, and it is simple to make!

After mounting high, Bonnie's hissing whisper rose and ebbed as she rode the heavens to her deadly climax. A trembling form to earth quietly descended as Bonnie, smoothly arching, arching now down, softly settled upon her love, satisfying her desire. I look upon her beautiful natural nakedness and smile.

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