This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Chet R
Falconry is strictly regulated by the federal and state government agencies, namely the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies. Any attempts to develop skills outlined,discussed in this article, at this time, should be done in accordance with Federal and State laws.
The notion of using a bird of prey to provide sustenance is hardly a new idea, however it is overlooked in the modern survivalist skill set. Since falconry’s recorded known inception, some 3000 years ago, falconry has been a method to utilize a bird of prey to hunt; which defines what falconry is. According to Merriam-Webster falconry is “theart of training hawks to hunt in cooperation with a human”. While there are excellent educational resources for modern falconry, to date there is not a comprehensive guide to quick and dirty falconry skills and knowledge that could be deployed in the event of an apocalypse – perhaps suggesting the term Survival Falconry.
The purpose of this article is to present information so the individual can weigh the pros and cons of developing the skills needed to employ falconry in a survival situation. This article is presented with a couple assumptions that need to be taken into account because if/when any apocalyptic event it is impossible to accurately predict what conditions will be following such event. For the purpose of this article we will assume that the regulations of falconry are not present, the established market system has collapsed – creating a food shortage and an environment in which wildlife populations are still supported by the environment to allow for birds of prey and game species to be present.
In terms of modern history,falconry has been known as the Sport of Kings – practiced exclusively by royalty and aristocrats of the middle to later span of the history of falconry. However before that it was practiced by common folk with a knack and desire to endeavor in such activities. Falconry is not as difficult and time-consuming as some would lead you to believe. The previously mentioned educational resources are written for modern times, not following some catastrophe.
Perhaps the first logical question that one can ask is will there be a need to employ falconry in a postapocalyptic world. Fundamentally,falconry presents the practitioner with the ability to obtain game that may otherwise not be available by tradition game hunting or trapping. One mentality common to many individuals is that firearms will enable them to take on all obstacles. Being blunt unfortunately there will always be someone who has deadlier, more firearms or similar resources.
I’ve came to the conclusion that there will be people who are better trained, have more suited diverse skill sets and/or better networks of like-minded individuals than me. That being said there will betimes when I will want to hunt game where I don’t want the loud report of a firearm, the evidence of my existence to betray my activities. The sound of a firearm being discharged unfortunately communications to anyone within hearing distance that 1) a human being is present and 2) that human being is armed and a potential threat to security.
There are times when a discrete approach may be more conducive to hunting than hunting or trapping. It is possible to capture game with minimal evidence beyond the path of the human and perhaps fur or feather of a capture. Another benefit is hunting by falconry can be productive. Oftentimes bird of prey deployed for hunting see game that the average hunter will never see due to the raptor’s superior eye sight and vantage point. Survival Falconry hunting will not full stores of food but it could be a source of fresh protein.
There may be disadvantages towards Survival Falconry. There are several considerations that must be considered prior to obtaining a bird for falconry. First and foremost there is a moderate amount of specialized equipment required for falconry. Specifically, housing, a scale, bait traps,bird traps, perch, anklets, jesses, leash, hood, creance, lure and glove. However once these items have been obtained or made they can easily be maintained or replaced as they become worn or new items are required.
In order to manufacture falconry equipment anyone contemplating should also learn basic and rude blacksmithing skills (welding) and leather working (tanning and leather fabricating) skills to assist them in creating falconry equipment. The property prepared Survival Falconer will have the knowledge, resources and skills necessary to replace equipment as necessary. There is a turn-around period of around 30 days give or take 7 days – between acquiring a bird of prey (a first year “passage” bird) and deployment in falconry.
During the training time a supply of fresh game meat is necessary to “man the bird” (make it used to the presence of humans and train it). There is also the challenge of catching a bird. There are stationary and mobile methods of capturing birds. When the bird is not able to be flown it still needs to have a source of fresh game meat (which would need to be a standard part of their diet – no prepared meat or non-game species).
Stationary methods require a little more preparation in terms of equipment and could require travel to a location likely to provide the opportunity to trap a raptor. A mobile trapping method may consume precious fuel but may provide for a greater opportunity to choose specific raptors in which to attempt to capture. All trapping involves the use of fresh bait animals which can be domestic or (better) wild species caught for the purpose of trapping raptors. The best success would be to secure a “passage” bird of prey. The term passage in reference to birds of prey are seasonal usually hatchlings from May or June and available to capture for best effectiveness in the autumn.
Survival Falconry can be a useful and potentially effective skill set to any person interested in developing the knowledge and skill needed to explore this avenue. In order to be successful in application Survival Falconry requires some dedication and prior planning before jumping into with two feet. However as long as game populations allow for game to be obtained for both you and the trained bird of prey Survival Falconry remains a viable option in survival situations.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.
Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.
Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.
Contest ends on March 30 2012.
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