“It’s not just a sport, it’s a way of life,” says Spence Wise, a Merritt Island resident and avid falconer. “It isn’t like other sports that you can put aside for awhile, it’s a full-time commitment.”
Sportsmen interested in becoming falconers must first obtain a permit from their state and federal wildlife agencies, a process that can take up to a year or more just for apprentice status. Also, a written exam acknowledging the hunter’s understanding of raptor care and handling, safety, equipment and laws pertaining to falconry must be passed.
Falconers must be able to house a raptor in a large enclosure, known as a mews, which must be inspected by a game warden. Once the housing is approved, the warden may return at any time to ensure the bird is being properly cared for.
As an apprentice hunter, one must practice the art of falconry under the guidance of a sponsor, a previously permitted and licensed general or master falconer who has been hunting for two to five years. Apprentices may practice falconry on their own after two years. They must trap their own juvenile, wild raptors.Hat tip to Falconry Today for this one. Read the rest here.