Sunday, January 11, 2009

Deer Hunters vs. Falconers

Deer hunting and falconry are different sides of the same coin. But they can conflict with one another. I come from a long line of deer hunters: fathers, grandfathers, nephews, etc. But I myself have never been. I bare deer hunters no grudge, nor ill will - as a matter of fact I envy them in a way. Anytime spent in the field, quietly observing the slow rotation of nature is time well spent. I never get enough of it.

Falconry for me is often fast and sometimes loud. There is running and falling and yelling, quick blurs of action in the treetops followed by short lulls while the birds develope their next move to put their quarry into checkmate. I would appreciate more quiet time.
The problem lies often in the two different styles of hunting. While the deer hunter still hunts like a wild red tail, falconry is more active, and when the two styles occur in the same space, conflict can occur.

Many of my hunting spots are also open to deer hunters, and I am never one to piss off the other hunters. I don't want to interrupt their hunt with my birds and I crashing through the brush, chasing after squirrels above our heads.

How can we minimize any clashes between deer hunters and falconers?
North Carolina falconers are trying to change legislation so that falconers will have the opportunity to hunt on Sundays.

Until now, hunting on Sundays has been illegal. There is no biological basis for this, it is simply and old tradition that originated so that hunters' butts would remain in the pew seats on Sundays.

Falconry, in general, has no effect on game species numbers, and an additional day of hunting will make no difference one way or another to the prey. After all, they don't know it's Sunday.

Again, there is no biological basis to oppose Sunday falconry, but in North Carolina there is a lobby that puts forth the slippery slope argument, citing that first comes falconers then comes bow hunters. And you know what comes next - Anarchy, and the fall of civilization - I suppose.

What do I want from all of this?

I want to be able to take my birds in the woods, without worrying about either they, or myself being shot. I don't want there to be any conflict with my fellow hunters while we each persue our individual goals.

I encourage anyone reading this to pass along their comments about Sunday Falconry.

H25. Allow falconry on Sundays, except for migratory game birds.*
Justification: There is no biological, legal or management reason to prohibit falconry on Sundays.

Next year, I think I'll try deer hunting.

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