Falconry - Required Commitment
To determine if falconry is really for you, below are a few questions you need to answer to gauge the level of commitment and dedication you have to offer to falconry. If you can answer "yes" to all of the questions below, the issue of deciding whether falconry is for you will be a little easier. The next step is to learn as much practical information about the sport as possible through reading and time spent afield with prospective sponsors.
Can you commit a minimum of one hour during daylight per day, every day to falconry?
Unlike a shotgun, the falconer's bird cannot be stored in a gun cabinet and forgotten when not in use. For every hour spent hunting, many more hours are required to care for and train the bird. If this time is not available - if other obligations interfere - it is far better never to begin the process of becoming a falconer.
Do you have the necessary space, and does your local zoning ordinance allow for the construction of facilities to house a bird?
Captive raptors must be provided with facilities that protect them at all times from cats, dogs and other predators, including humans, as well as climatic extremes of heat, cold, wind and precipitation. They must be provided with a secure weathering area where they may be kept outdoors in good weather throughout the year, and have an opportunity to bathe. They must have sheltered perch at night and in times of inclement weather, where they can remain dry and protected from the wind.
Can you procure and afford the expense of food, equipment and house required to adequately care for a raptor?
Natural food is essential to the good health of the birds, and the importance of a balanced, whole-animal diet of small mammals and birds cannot be overstressed. In addition, lumber, metal and fencing - and the necessary tools to work with these materials - are required to construct facilities for the birds. Finally, raw materials, such as leather, are required to make jesses and hoods, and other equipment, like perches, leases, bells, scales, gloves and hunting clothing, must be purchased or made.
Do you have legal access to a large enough parcel of land(s) that allow you to train and hunt a raptor?
The falconer must have adequate and reasonably convenient areas for hunting. Casual hunters, curious passers-by or other interferences that could scare a bird or which might cause it to be harmed when straying from the sight of the falconer can make otherwise satisfactory areas unacceptable.
Is there adequate game for a raptor on your available hunting grounds?
Pennsylvania is blessed with huntable populations of many different small game and migratory game bird species. However, not all of these animals are accessible.