The word falconry, taken literally, means ‘The hunting of wild quarry, in its natural state, using a trained bird of prey’.
This true interpretation describes a practice that has been executed around the globe with a traceable, unbroken history of over 4000 years.
Practices change and improve, animal welfare and husbandry evolve and also improve, but that ethos, that end goal remains the same for falconers around the world.
The thrill of working with a top predator that needs us for nothing, not food, shelter or care (although they thrive by exploiting us for all of them), but who chooses to stay with us, to encompass our inferior terrestrial limited activity in its hunting exploits has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
We delight in the opportunity to share this age old pastime and most natural of hunting methods with you. You will be genuinely thrilled as the various birds go from multiple recalls through the day to your gloved hand – (yes, you are the falconer, handling and flying the birds under our supervision), through to full blooded and seemingly reckless flights at fleeing game. To be successful, our birds need to be at 100% of their ability, and even then, as with wild birds of prey, most flights are unsuccessful, but tenacity is in their character, so ultimately a gratifying success usually comes their way at some stage.
Game volumes naturally ebb and flow as weather, climate and human activities affect wildlife. With this in mind, we occasionally alter the locations the we hunt over. This eases pressure on land and game, and assures a good day of sport for you. However, our standard hunting day product is executed either here on farmland and countryside around our facility, or nearby.
The land here on the lowlands of Fife of great combinations of open country and rough cover, plus woodland. This variety means that the various species of raptor that we include on a hunting day have, close at hand, land that mimics their wild counterparts natural habitats, AND the various habitats offer a variety of game species.
Most hunting days available to the public are entirely, or almost entirely built around the superb and adaptable Harris Hawk. There are lots of reasons for this, not least of all because they are reliable and superb! However, there is so much more to see. With a nod to weather conditions on the day that can make one bird suitable, and another less so, we aim to bring a good deal more variety to your hunting day, which will draw from Harris Hawks, Goshawks, Falcons, and multiple species of eagle, including the iconic Golden Eagle. On a very gloomy day, we have even taken guests hunting with an owl!
The mention of the eagle inclusion in our hunting days brings us to the upgrade option for your hunting day. While Fife offers a great deal of variety for the smaller birds mentioned, eagles thrive in vast open spaces and with the lift created by strong wind against big hills and mountains. While we fly them nicely for you here in Fife, we are often limited to a hunt simulation unless conditions are perfect. The upgrade, which is very limited, takes us and the birds into the foothills of the Grampians and on to a keepered estate. We are again presented with a wide range of habitats, an even wider range and larger volume of available game, but the added bonus of everything we need to make sure the eagle part of your day is absolutely spectacular, and will carve you a memory that will be etched in your mind forever. The upgrade is strictly limited by availability on the estate so you MUST contact us for details of availability.
A few important notes.
Hunting days are only operated between October 1st and February 28th for both reasons of morality (we don’t want to hunt pregnant or baby animals and birds) and to adhere to legal game seasons. Even within this period, species on our quarry list in February are significantly restricted as some game seasons close.
Weather has a significant affect on hunting days. Very high winds will prevent flying falcons, and smaller broadwings, but eagles will thrive. Mist excludes eagles because of the distances they travel – you can’t enjoy what you can’t see! Fog makes it unsafe to fly anything. Light rain is ok – we just rotate to make sure we have dry, thus efficient birds available throughout, but hawking in heavy rain or a blizzard of snow is a miserable affair, especially when a ferret being used to bolt rabbits decides to take a nap 6 feet underground!
Finally, we have, and will again, refuse to take guests out hunting if dressed unsuitably for the day. Heels, short skirts and low cut T-shirts are not the order of the day so please dress appropriately gentlemen. This goes for the ladies too.