Bob Dalton Review


“In every walk of life and every field of endeavour there will always be that one person that excels at what they do, and because they do it so well, they make it look relatively simplistic and straight forward. The ease and almost fluid series of movements often belies the degree of skill attained by the individual concerned. When they then impart their accumulated knowledge, by means of the written word, then you can rest assured it is worth taking the time to read, absorb and enjoy what they humbly offer. 

Such is the case with Simon Tyers and his superb new book “The Specialist Falcon”. Not only should this book quite literally be a “must have” for any falconer, regardless of the particular discipline they follow, but for anyone interested in how a true country craftsman strives for perfection in what he does. Undoubtedly this book will hold its deserved pride of place on any falconer’s bookshelf and will assuredly do so for generations to come. A future classic from a master in his field." 

This is what I wrote when asked by Simon to help with the promotion of his book prior to its launch.  Along with several others I had been asked by Simon to read the book as it progressed and offer any constructive points that might be applicable.  I read and re-read Simon’s work and felt it was a genuine privilege to do so. I get to read a great many falconry books as editor of this magazine and some are good, some not so good and some I consider down right offensive and an utter waste of ink and paper that they were ever published.  This work by Simon Tyers is nothing short of superb and covers the chosen subject both thoroughly and with the obvious fact that what has been written was gained by personal experience. Not a re-hash of others or key board warrior type falconry but the real thing distilled from quite literally years in the field perfecting what has undoubtedly become a way of life. 

 Genuine craftsmen, masters of their art, in no matter what field they work in, have a tendency to make what they do seem straight forward and relatively easy and often lead others to think that they themselves can replicate the success that has unfolded before them.   Whether it is a dog trainer working a brace of pointers on the moor or a salmon fisherman “Spey Casting” on a fast flowing river skill and confidence belie the huge refinement and understanding of their chosen pursuit of these experts in their fields.  But not all masters of their craft have the ability to communicate and transmit their acquired knowledge to others and therefore sow the seeds for others to follow in their footsteps.  This is where Simon rises head and shoulders above so many other authors in that he thoroughly enjoys what he has chosen to do. Over the years he has undoubtedly become an acknowledged master in his field, or should I say fields for his skill in training working dogs ranks equally as high as does his skill in falconry.  His easy going nature and calm approach mask a burning passion to do things to perfection and his satisfaction clearly comes from the smooth working and successful relationship he enjoys with his dogs and hawks. Simon’s writings follow this calm approach and information is transmitted in an interesting manner without dramatic statements and unnatural emphasis. 

In “The Specialist Falcon” Simon guides the reader through all the various stages and elements that go to training a successful low ground gamehawker along with his or her chosen gamehawk.   The choice of falcon, training, training to a drone, entering, moulting and reclaiming are all covered very extensively.   What a joy to see comprehensive chapters on dogs, fieldcraft and quarry. I have never understood falconers that hunt a particular targeted species without fully understanding their natural history. I have lost count of the number of times I have had people come to me when I lived on a grouse moor in Scotland, to specifically hunt grouse with falcons, who understood practically nothing of the habits of the quarry they were hoping to bag. Hats off to Simon for incorporating, in my opinion, vital information. 

 For me personally this book is something I could wax lyrical about all day. It is a joy to read, the style flows freely, and it covers a subject close to my heart.  Book reviews are always using superlatives and claiming this is the book that must be had.  In the hopes of not being passe or considered a cliché writer, this book for me is a master class on its chosen subject. It is a sheer delight to read and there is knowledge to be absorbed by those with minds open enough to absorb it. It sets new standards in falconry books, not only in its quality and presentation, but more importantly in the valuable information contained therein.  Books, as with any form of art, are very much subject to the personal enjoyment of those reading them. Personally I rate this book as one of the most important modern works on falconry and struggle to think of one I would rate higher. It truly is a classic in the making and will be around and used as a reference work by generations of falconers to come. 

The price of the work reflects the quality and comprehensiveness of it. The standard edition is £80 plus p&p with the special cased edition being £175 plus p&p.  However before even remotely thinking this is expensive just reflect for a moment on what a small original sketch by a competent artist would cost you and not induce a blink of the eye in surprise from you. The sketch would, providing it was the right one, give you quite simply years of untold pleasure. Simon’s book will do exactly the same but also add to the readers knowledge again and again. Surely stunning value for money. 

The book itself is over 300 pages and stunningly illustrated in full colour with more than 220 photos and more than 20 pieces of superb art work. With 14 chapters as well as an Appendix, Glossary and Bibliography it really is a truly comprehensive work. 

To get your copy of this stunning work go to  pay your money and enjoy a true work of art.