Falconry is the practice of hunting quarry with trained birds of prey. It is one of the most highly regulated sports in the United States. To become a falconer, one must pass a rigorous exam administered by the DNR, build a mews (a facility to house a bird), obtain required equipment, then have the mews and equipment inspected and approved by the DNR. A prospective falconer must also secure a sponsor, an experienced general falconer, for a two year apprenticeship. In West Virginia, and most other states, the only birds an apprentice may fly during their apprenticeship are juvenile Red-Tailed Hawks or American Kestrels obtained from the wild.
I embarked upon my falconry journey at the beginning of 2016. In September we welcomed She-Ra the juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk to McNemar House. I am currently training She-Ra to hunt squirrels and rabbits. She caught her first squirrel in October, and I’m incredibly proud of her. If you’re interested in following our adventure, check out the blog, and sign-up for updates.