Sooo, you have decided to pursue the art of falconry. You have found that USF&WS Regs require you to find a sponsor and undergo an apprenticeship. You might consider the following guidelines in finding a sponsor.
A. Before going any further be sure you have a basic idea of the commitment to a raptor you will be taking on. Try reading Getting Started from this website.
B. Next, telephone your state's Fish and Game Department and request their falconry regulations, applications, and any related material including their small game regulations for hunting.
C. If you have never had a hunting license, you will have to inquire about your state's requirements for acquiring a hunting license. It may entail taking a hunter safety course, and firearms handling skills. Do this early because classes typically are limited and infrequent. It doesn't matter if you never intend to hunt with a gun.
Next, read the falconry and hunting regs. This is important because now when you engage in conversation with falconers you won't sound like you don't know anything. You must understand the legal issues of this sport to practice it.
The following step is to educate yourself in falconry. Now it's going to start costing you money. You need to buy a few books. See the Suggested reading list in the section about Getting Started in falconry. Your local library may have them, but I doubt it. You will need these books to study from for your falconry exam. You will also need a book that identifies raptor species and their typical habitat and range. Some states will allow you to take the falconry exams before you find a sponsor, if so do it, and pass it. Nevertheless, read the books, all of them; know something, and proceed with the next step.
Next is to get socially involved with falconers. To do this, start inquiring with your state's falconry clubs. A list of club addresses can be found below. Contact them. Ask them if there are any falconers that can take you out and show you the sport. Don't ask if there are any falconers that will sponsor you yet; the answer is "no". They need to get to know you. They need to find out if you are genuinely interested. Ask to go to their picnics, game dinners, demo flights, etc. Ask to join their club and get their newsletters. You then will find yourself out with falconers flying their birds, finding out if falconry is for you. Go to the events and let people know you are looking for a sponsor. You will then find one, no problem.
Sounds like a lot of work? That's because it is a lot of work. Falconry is demanding. It's similar to having field trial dogs, or show horses, etc. If all this sounds like to much hassle, you don't have what it takes to be a falconer, so don't try. Falconers do not want the casually interested in our sport because those types of people end up giving us a bad reputation. Those types typically neglect their birds or have trouble with the law. If I was your sponsor the things in this article are exactly what I'd have you do. Oh, there is one other thing you can try, there is a falconry school in Vermont, you can go there to find out if you like handling raptors and get exposer, for a fee of course. So, here is the approximate investment so far, not including your time:
|Hunting Course NRA||$100|
|Hunting license (small game)||$ 25|
|Local Falconry Club Dues||$ 25|
|NAFA Dues||$ 35|
|Phone calls, postage, fuel to demos||$ 50|
These are average figures, and will very from state to state.
Still interested? Getting the picture? When you find a sponsor, then you'll need the equipment. You need to build a Hawk Mews, which could run $1000 just for materials.
If you do all this and let your local club know you are interested and need a sponsor, they will help you find one. If they don't, ask them if there is something about your application they have a problem with. Write us and we will ask them for you , if they have a problem with you, lets fix it and proceed.
Have fun, and know falconry is the best field sport known to man. Good luck!
Alaska Falconers Assn
Arizona Falconers Assn
Arkansas Hawking Association
California Hawking Club
Colorado Hawking Club
Georgia Falconry Associations
Great Lakes Falconers Assn
Idaho Falconers Association
Indiana Falconers Association
Iowa Falconers Assn
Kentucky Falconers Assn
Long Island Falconers Assn
Minnesota Falconers Association
Missouri Falconers Assn
Oklahoma Falconers Association
Oregon Falconers Assn
Washington Falconers Assn
Wisconsin Falconers Assn
Wyoming Falconers Assn
North Carolina Falconers Guild
New Mexico Falconry Assn
New York State Falconry Assn
Ohio Falconry Assn
Jersey Falconry Club
Michigan Hawking Club
Penn Falconry & Hawk Trust
Texas Hawking Assn
Kansas Hawking Club
Louisiana Hawking Club
Florida Hawking Fraternity
North American Falconers Association
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