Interesting grouse season - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting grouse season

Someone informed me today, so I looked it up. Falconry season for grouse is open until March 31st. Now I dont know how many the falcon hunters take every year, but if the season is cut short for hunting, I'd expect the same for this type of hunting. A grouse killed hunting by any method is a grouse that is lost for the upcoming breeding season; isnt that the reason our winter season was ended? Also interesting that falconers can hunt hares for 6 months of the year while hunting is restricted to a week.
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 07:47 PM
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While I do not disagree with you regarding the spirit of the post. I have no data, but I would guess that the falconry take across all game is insignificantly small.

I'm sure falconers would argue that they jump through far more hoops than even the most dedicated grouse hunter.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 08:40 PM
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It seems a little more restrictive than a couple bird dogs. A quick google search will provided reams of restricted information on the sport.

Falconry
According to Webster's Dictionary, falconry is: "The art of training falcons to pursue game; the sport of hunting with falcons." For centuries, it has been the sport of hunting wild quarry with a trained raptor, and it remains the same today. Hunting is your focus if you intend to become a falconer. You trap, train, maintain and hunt the raptor you choose to fly. If actively hunting wild quarry is not appealing to you, then falconry is not for you.

Of all our field sports, falconry is the only one that uses a trained wild animal. The hawks and falcons that are utilized are a valuable part of the Commonwealth's wildlife. The competent falconer recognizes this and takes care to follow sound conservation principles in pursuit of the sport. In fact, the very existence of falconry depends upon the continued welfare of the birds of prey. The casual and uniformed novice, by attempting to satisfy a passing fancy may, through ignorance or neglect, harm the birds and cast discredit on the sport itself.

As the Pennsylvania Game Commission manages all wild birds and mammals within the Commonwealth and oversees hunting seasons and bag limits, the authority and responsibility to oversee falconry has been vested by state law with the agency. Due to the large number of requests that the Game Commission receives regarding falconry, this website has been developed to outline basic information about this activity. It is evident that these inquiries are often prompted by recent news media coverage about falconry, much of which is inaccurate or exaggerated and without offering information about the commitment required.

While some individuals may have seen a trained raptor in flight, few are acquainted with any falconers, and almost none have any idea about the time, effort, money and facilities required to become a falconer. We ask that you read this information carefully, and then examine your own circumstances with regards to being able to make the commitment necessary not only for your enjoyment, but with regards to the health and welfare of the falcon you seek to fly.

Before most falconers will aid anyone newly attracted to the sport, which is a requirement of law and regulation, they will require proof of serious, dedicated interest. Experienced falconers, such as those who are members of the Pennsylvania Falconry and Hawk Trust, understand that anything less will only bring grief to both novice and hawk, and that birds which fall into the hands of those who are not deeply motivated should be restored to the wild without delay.

The apprentice falconer should learn the sport from a sponsor who hunts frequently and successfully. Seeing a sponsor fly a bird solely to a lure, versus actively searching for game, will not give an apprentice the background necessary to be a successful falconer. The sponsor should be one who maintains a healthy bird, places the welfare of the bird as the highest priority, and uses the bird for hunting, not for show. For a list of reputable falconers, consult the Pennsylvania Falconry and Hawk Trust website: www.pfht.org.

Once the prospective apprentice has found an experienced falconer that has agreed to become his/her sponsor, the apprentice should meet with the sponsor frequently. The importance of living in proximity to a sponsor, and being able to gain easy access to a sponsor, cannot be overstated. Ensuring that the sponsor and apprentice both understand what is expected of each other also is vital.

Once a sponsorship is secured, the apprentice and sponsor should review and complete the "Suggested Sponsor/Apprentice Checklist" in the upper right-hand of the website. Go hunting as often as possible with the sponsor, and ask to be shown the traditional methods of making equipment, such as jesses and bewits. The normal daily tasks required to keep a raptor in good health are best learned through experience. This time with the sponsor, coupled with reading the recommended falconry texts, will prepare the prospective apprentice for the state falconry exam, which must be passed with a minimum score of 80 percent.

Assuming that the prospective apprentice feels able to fulfill the stringent requirements to properly trap, train, care for and hunt a hawk, then he or she must accept the very real possibility that the bird will one day revert to the wild. Every time the hawk is cast from the fist, there is a chance that it will never return. Raptors are forever wild creatures. They do poorly in captivity as pets and never show affection for their trainer. Nothing more than mere tolerance, and often precious little of that, ties a raptor to its falconer.

Falconry cannot be learned overnight, or in a single lesson. Only after many years of hard work does the falconer begin to fully understand the complexities of the sport and the birds utilized in falconry. There are countless additional details and suggestions to aid in the successful and legal practice of falconry. To learn more about falconry, please see the links in the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page to find more information about various aspects of the sport.

Whether you eventually become a falconer, the Game Commission hopes that you will retain a friendly interest in falconry and in the conservation of the Commonwealth's birds

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 09:25 PM
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My brother has been a Master Falconer for over forty years. I've hunted with him and other falconers many times. I've been to the PA Falconers Convention, so I know quite a bit about Falconry, but not as much as an actual Falconer.


First of all, I would think that the only raptor that you would have a chance at catching a grouse with would be a goshawk. And then it wouls be a slim chance.There are only a couple of guys in the state (maybe less) that hunt with a goshawk. They are just too wild and hard to get to adapt to human interaction. Much like the grouse that they hunt in the wild. Most Falconers hunt rabbits with Harris hawks or Redtails. They adapt to people much better. My brother likes hunting birds like doves , starlings and such and usually has a Coopers hawk.


I would bet that if we had a ten year bet, and each year that no grouse were killed in PA by falconers you gave me a dollar and each year that one or more was killed I gave you a dollar, at the end of ten years I would be ahead.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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I have nothing against falcon(hawk) season, would love to go out with one some time. Also interesting is being allowed to take rooster or hen pheasants in any area of the state. My understanding is the falconers team up with bird dog people to get the prey up and moving and then release their winged weapon to try to secure a kill. Just found it interesting the liberal seasons they enjoy. And a season going until March 31 allows hunting at the beginning of the breeding season for grouse, rabbit, and pheasant
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:35 PM
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Falconry is kind of misleading in PA. Almost all hunt with hawks. And like I said, rabbits are the most pursued game although some do go after pheasants. Rabbits are hunted with flushers or no dog usually. There is some bird hunting with pointing dogs but that is not as common. Once any bird sees a hawk or falcon, it's very hard to get them to fly. Also I think there are a few guys that hunt ducks and actually use falcons. You have to find ducks on very small ponds to be able to get them to fly once they see a falcon. Falcons don't have the agility to go after grouse in the woods, thru the trees, only a goshawk can do that. Falcons are more commonly used out west where there is a lot more huge open fields.


As far as the either sex pheasants, most Redtails and Harris hawks are not flown from the fist where you could identify the sex before releasing them. The hawks are actually free flown and soon learn to go from one elevated perch to the next following the hunters (or dogs) to watch for flushed prey.


Quote: "I'd expect the same for this type of hunting."


Statistically zero impact as far as small game numbers in PA are concerned. So, it kind of sounds like "If I can't have my fun then no one else should either."
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:37 PM
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You are welcome to get a goshawk and join them instead of complaining about their season.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:39 PM
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Are the falconers allowed to hunt the pheasant recovery areas? Maybe Lynn Appleman knows, as I believe he is a falconer, and also does a lot to promote the pheasant recovery areas.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 05:26 AM
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I once talked to a falconer from Maryland. He runs a pack of beagles on rabbits for his hawk. It said there is a fine line regarding the birds weight whether it will hunt and kill.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
As far as the either sex pheasants, most Redtails and Harris hawks are not flown from the fist where you could identify the sex before releasing them. The hawks are actually free flown and soon learn to go from one elevated perch to the next following the hunters (or dogs) to watch for flushed prey.
Makes sense. I was always under the assumption they right with the handler until the bird flushed.

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Statistically zero impact as far as small game numbers in PA are concerned. So, it kind of sounds like "If I can't have my fun then no one else should either."
I've never complained about the small impact avian predators have on small game populations, I just assumed falconry seasons were closely aligned with gun seasons. I'm still having fun running dogs with the closed season looking for new areas to hunt.

Anyone know a falconer with a goshawk, I know some areas where they have a good chance of taking down a grouse flushed from a point.

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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