Becoming a Falconer

What is Falconry?

  • The taking of wild game/quarry with a trained raptor
  • A lifestyle, often all-consuming, of providing opportunities for one’s raptor to take quarry
  • An honored tradition of historical significance
  • A heavily Federal and State regulated pursuit

What it isn’t

  • Pet keeping
  • Weekend-only
  • Hands off

Is Falconry Right for You?

  • Are you prepared for the significant commitment and sacrifice?
  • Do you have an occupation that allows daily hunting during the season?
  • Does your family understand what falconry is and are they on board?
  • Do you have or are you prepared to get access to adequate game-filled places to hunt?
  • Do you have the patience to go through “The Steps”?
  • Can you stomach assisting your raptor in humanely harvesting quarry and preparing its food?
  • Are you prepared to do what’s best for your raptor rather than yourself?
  • Are you able to develop and follow a routine?
  • Are you prepared to be an Ambassador for the Pursuit of Falconry?

The (Suggested) Steps

  1. Assess yourself: Do you REALLY want to pursue this?
  2. Join the Texas Hawking Association (THA) and North American Falconer’s Association (NAFA).
  3. Read falconry books and on-line resources
  4. Interact with local falconers
    1. Attend THA (or NAFA) events
    2. Go hunting with falconers, see what they do, flush game for their raptor(s)
    3. Ask questions
  5. Re-assess yourself: Are you REALLY committed to this pursuit?
  6. Continue learning (reading, asking questions, interacting with falconers)
  7. Secure a Sponsor
  8. Take and pass the State Test
  9. Build your facilities (mews)
  10. Make or secure your falconry/hawking equipment
  11. Have facilities and equipment inspected by game warden
  12. Apply for and get your Apprentice Falconry License
  13. Apprentice under your Sponsor for a minimum of 2 years
  14. Satisfy your Sponsor as to your abilities during your Apprenticeship
  15. Apply for and upgrade to your General Falconry License
  16. Never stop learning and asking questions to improve your understanding of and interaction with raptors

Advice on Finding a Sponsor

This isn’t as daunting as it seems ...

  • Every falconer knows you need a sponsor, but there is no requirement for a Falconer to sponsor
    • Falconers have their own raptors and time commitments
    • Ask yourself: Why would a potential Sponsor undertake a 2-year commitment to train a neophyte and ultimately accept responsibility for that Apprentice’s raptor unless the applicant has demonstrated an unwavering interest and commitment to Falconry?
  • Believe:
    • Do your preparation (read, observe, question)
    • Go out with other falconers
      • Be on time, be helpful, be respectful
    • Attend falconry meets
    • Show you are dedicated
  • When you are offered Sponsorship, assess whether it’s a good fit for YOU
    • Do you and the Sponsor click?
    • Are you comfortable with the Sponsor?
    • There are other Sponsors out there, always prioritize a good fit and be willing to keep searching

ADVICE: Cold-contacting a Falconer not known to you or a blast on social media is highly unlikely to result
in sponsorship ...