The Arkansas Hawking Association held their annual apprentice workshop a few weeks ago. I left at 5 am in order to be in Little Rock by 8:30. Unfortunately for me, I read the announcement wrong and the workshop didn’t start until 9, so I sat around for a while. They had coffee though, so it was alright. People started drifting in – I helped Francie and Rusty unload equipment and supplies from their vehicles – and we all BS’d for a while. In total, 3 new apprentices/pre-apprentices and 3 second year apprentices came. Francie started the day demonstrating how to make cuffs and jesses, followed by how to mount a tail bell. I drifted in and out as I’d make cuffs and jesses last year and there was only so much room at the table for the new apprentices. Francie did show them the set of cuffs and jesses I made for a kestrel; she thought they were so cute and couldn’t get over how small they were. She also showed the new apprentices how to make a lure. I cut down some of the leather she provided and made a kestrel-sized lure (I still haven’t decided what I’m trapping this year and want to be prepared for either species)
Cody had an excellent demonstration on building his self-righting bal-chatri trap during/after lunch. I plan on making one for this season and will provide plans when I do.
The apprentices were also shown how to make leashes, both braided and from paracord. The paracord leash, which I prefer, is quite simple to make, but I messed it up four or five times in a row. Rusty gave me a hard time about not being gentle enough, but it was in good fun and I eventually did make the leash.
Heath outlined how to sew and block a hood, and provided pre-cut leather pieces to each new apprentice. I still have my (unassembled) pieces from last year…really need to get one that.
We had three birds at the workshop this year, which was quite nice. Heath brought Gretel, his wild-caught goshawk; it’s turning out quite nice, I can’t wait to see it’s adult plumage next year. Rusty brought his Harris’s Hawk, who’s name I can’t remember at the moment and didn’t get any good photos of. Finally, Jim brought his newly acquired CB aplomado falcon. She is absolutely gorgeous and should be a killer on doves and other feathered game this season.
All-in-all it was a great day. I’ve only seen most of the Arkansas falconers a handful of times (Bob and Cody being the exception), but they’re all so nice in person and available on the AHA forum that it feels like I’ve known them for much longer than the last year. I’m excited and reinvigorated for this upcoming season and can’t wait to get back into the field.