Falconry group to return to Holloway, public welcome

T-L Photos/KAILEY CARPINO Mick Brown, president of the Ohio Falconry Association, holds Zippy, a 19-year-old male Harris hawk.

HOLLOWAY — The Ohio Falconry Association is returning to Holloway from Friday to Sunday for its annual End of Season Meet.

Hunting for rabbits and squirrels will take place on all three days from early morning to dusk at the Old Timers’ building. The event is free and open to the public.

Mick Brown, president of the Ohio Falconry Association, said the weekend will also feature free food, and attendees can observe the birds and learn more about falconry.

“It’s always the first weekend in March, and what we do is we try to introduce people to falconry and let them know the ins and outs of it. We let them get real close and personal. They can go out and hunt if they want to with the birds. All they have to do is wear appropriate clothes so that they can walk in the field, or they can just enjoy the food and take pictures,” he said.

Brown said people can stop by the Old Timers’ building at any time to participate in a hunt.

“Guys will be going out at different times. Some will go out and then come back and have lunch and go back out again. So you can always find somebody to take you out if you really want to go,” he noted.

Brown said the birds and hunting dogs will be tied up in front of the Old Timers’ building, and people will be able to get up close and personal with the animals. Brown also said he plans to do a flight demonstration on Friday.

A golden eagle named Alpha will be at the event along with some Harris hawks, red-tailed hawks, goshawks and a great horned owl.

Brown said young children are welcome to attend the event “as long as they behave.”

Attendees can stay in the Old Timers’ building overnight. The building is heated, and attendees who are staying the night are encouraged to bring sleeping bags or a cot. Food and water will be available at the building.

Brown said he appreciates that the Old Timers Association allows the club to use the site.

“It’s a phenomenal place. It’s got restrooms, a lot of room, good parking. It’s always nice and warm inside, and it’s very clean. It’s a very nice, very nice place. We really enjoy using that hall,” he said.

“The Ohio Falconry Association is a group of falconers that live in Ohio. We try to get together a few times a year to go out and fly our birds together, but it’s also enough people in it that we get together in small groups. Falconers from all over the state get together and fly their birds on the weekends or if they’re off during the week get together and fly their birds. We enjoy flying our birds with other falconers so that we can watch their birds as well as watch ours. It’s a good camaraderie between the falconers,” Brown said.

Brown said there are about 110 licensed falconers in Ohio but only 35-40 are active.

Brown added that falconry is considered to be the oldest sport known to man.

“It’s been around for thousands of years. It started off in the Far East and people would see a bird of prey on a duck or a pheasant, and they were chasing the bird of prey away so that they could eat what it caught because they didn’t have weapons. Then they got smart and decided to catch the bird of prey and train it to hunt for them, and that’s how falconry got started many many years ago,” he said.

Brown said the sport has not changed much over the years.

“The amazing thing about it is that the equipment used in falconry way back then and now is the same. I mean, they’ve changed some, but it’s all the same, if that makes any sense. It’s pretty neat how far it goes back,” he said.

Brown also outlined the process of becoming a falconer. He said the first step is to get a sponsor.

“We recommend that you go out and fly with us and see what all was involved with taking care of the birds because it’s not a cakewalk. It’s really difficult,” he said.

Brown said anyone who wants to become a falconer must take a test through the state to get their falconry permit and will also have to pass state and possibly federal inspections.

He said once the legal process is complete, potential falconers must catch their own bird of prey which must be either a red-tailed hawk or a kestrel. He said more experienced falconers can have larger birds such as Harris hawks, and eventually, falconers can fly a golden eagle.

For more information about the meet this weekend or about the Ohio Falconry Association, call Brown at 740-359-1341.

Falconry season takes place from Sept. 1 through March 10.


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