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Hawking and Falconry
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Since time immemorial, people from all walks of life, be they Kings or commoners, have trained birds of prey to hunt with, whether it be for sport or more commonly simply to put food on the table.
To successfully hunt with a bird it must be raised, cared for, weighed, exercised, it's food carefully calculated and it's equipment kept in top condition. However, most nobles who practise falconry employ a falconer to look after their birds, housed in a mews.
The Birds and How to Hunt With Them
It is important that, regardless of the type of bird being flown, only one is released at any given time or they will attack each other.
If hunting with a hawk, the bird is usually carried on the wrist, whether the Falconer is walking or riding, and released when prey is sighted. Hawks can also be used to hunt in forested areas, in which case the hawk can be released and if correctly trained it will follow the falconer through the woods with only occasional calling back to the glove, until it spots prey itself.
Hawks generally take prey on the ground, though they are known to chase birds and squirrels through the trees. Their primary prey are mice and rats for the smallest hawks, rabbits for the medium sized ones, and even foxes and deer fawns for the largest.
When resting a hawk it is generally tethered to a bow perch.
The falcon can be a challenging bird to hunt with. They fly extremely fast and take their prey, other birds, in the air, hitting them hard to stun them and bearing them to the ground.
A falcon should never be called to the glove. They fly fast and land hard, and could potentially break the falconer's wrist. A falcon is called using a lure. When resting a falcon, tether it to a block perch.
Owls are not generally hunted with, as the owl's method of hunting consists of sitting in a tree until something small and squeaky runs underneath, and then pouncing on it. However, some ladies keep owls as ornaments, and will even carry them on the wrist during an outing, or if they happen to follow a hunt, though they will not fly them. They may fly them on a walk, and if the falconer waits until a small prey animal appears to release the owl, the owl will catch it's prey, usually a mouse or a squirrel.