Neil Davies: Pursuit Falconry Magazine Review
Every now and again, you get the chance to read a book that inspires from the first page to the last and motivates you to improve your skill set and Simon’s book does just that.
I was lucky enough to be one of original book subscribers, when the book was launched in the spring and as such, I was able to reserve one of the limited edition leather bound copies with it’s slip cases - No: a21/150 and signed by Simon.
This limited edition sold out very quickly and I honestly can’t see any of these limited editions becoming, available for many years to come.
Fortunately, Simon still has the standard edition available from his website by scanning the QR code or go direct to: www.thespecialistfalcon.com
Here, you can purchase a signed copy of the standard edition for only £80.00, plus shipping. But, it is also available direct from Marshall Radio in the USA.
The chapter on health and disease is from world renowned raptor vet Dr Richard Jones BVSc, MSc, MRCVS is particularly worth reading more than once and in the appendix make a copy of Simon’s own personal First Aid Kit, which every falconer should have with them, when out in the field. This list should cover most situations, where quick action can mean the matter of life and death of your falcon. First on the list is a contact number for your avian vet. Let’s hope you never have to call it!
The book is richly illustrated with some stunning paintings by Andrew Ellis, who’s work needs no introduction and numerous colour photographs throughout featuring Simon and his falcons and dogs covering his five decades as a falconer.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Simon’s method and it shows his dedication and his dogged nature to aim for excellence with each bird under his charge, but he also explains his training technique in concise chapters from the choice of falcon it’s training and using modern technology such as a drone to achieve the top condition in preparation for entering the falcon on quarry.
There is an excellent chapter on falconry dogs from Simon, who by the way is a champion field trailer with his Timsgarry kennel and Simon gives both the novice and experienced dog handler some useful insights in training your dog. Never rushing the training, but allowing the new dog to accustom itself in its new surroundings and introducing the new puppy to an experience hawk as soon as possible, with the caveat using a made falcon/hawk who is used to dogs and never to an in experienced bird. Thus enforcing positive training from the start.
Following on from this is a chapter on field-craft which is often overlooked by the novice falconer but to quote Simon, “Field-craft is a major and integral part of success...”. Which is then followed inturn with a chapter on Quarry, featuring detailed notes on the variety of quarry that Simon hunts ith his falcons, be it the Grey or Redlegged Partridge or Pheasants.
Simon’s book is a definite must have for any budding game hawker and no doubt will be become a modern day classic, much as what ‘Gamehawk’ by Ray Turner did some 30 years ago.