What is this book about?
This is a book on falconry equipment. It is not a training manual and it doesn't tell you how to catch game with your hawk. Instead, it points out some useful and important gear that makes falconry safer for the bird and/or easier for the falconer. Some of the equipment in this book is traditional stuff "that everybody knows about" and some of it is going to be brand-new to a lot of people. Some traditional equipment, such as one-piece jesses and screen perches, are not presented here, and for good reason. While the vast majority of equipment has been time-tested and proven safe, there are a few items, such as the aforementioned perch and jesses, which have proven the opposite. To discuss them would be to introduce them to newer falconers when they should best be retired to the falconry equipment graveyard. In addition to demonstrating some useful gear, this book discusses the use of that gear, what species (if any) it is most appropriate for, what species (if any) it is inappropriate for, some general guidelines and cautions, and tips for constructing the items.
Equipment is regarded somewhat casually by many falconers. This is a shame because a bird can be kept in better health and better hunting condition if its equipment is top-notch. Poor perches and poor housing can lead to any number of physical problems. Improper procedures when traveling with the bird can easily lead to a dead bird as can weathering the bird outside a weathering enclosure. The use of quality equipment, on the other hand, can result in a comfortable, well-behaved, healthy raptor that will perform better in the field as a product of its well-being at home.
We believe that most falconers, regardless of experience, will find something useful in this volume. Falconers of experience may not agree with everything we say, and that is to be expected since experience leads to opinions, and opinions, by definition, vary. Beginners should find a wealth of information and will hopefully save themselves much frustration and expense by following some of our examples. In any case, we hope that this book will help create an awareness of quality falconry equipment. If it does so in any measure then it will have achieved its purpose.
The following people contributed to this book. For their help and contributions we are extremely grateful.
Frank Bond; James Bonelli; S. Kent Carnie; Bruce Clements; Tom and Jennifer Coulson; Jim Ince; Dr. Michael Melloy; Jack Postlewate, Jr.; Ralph Rogers; Williston and Joby Shor; William Snell; James Weaver; Jesse Woody
The authors make no statement that the ideas presented here are originated by us. Many of the designs were mentioned by more than one of the contributors. If a particular item can be proven to be invented by a single person, and was not credited to that person, we apologize. Otherwise, all attempts were made to credit original designs to the designer.
We are also not liable for any damages, injuries, or losses resulting from use of any of the equipment presented here as we have no control over its use or construction. All the designs presented are believed to be safe, but discretion in use is the responsibility of the user.
Bryan Kimsey, Grenville, NM
Jim Hodge, Houston, TX