Undoubtedly the most up to date practical treatise on the classic flight at lowland game in Britain – and indeed beyond – this seminal new treatise addresses the 21st century gamehawker’s needs based on decades of experience from an author who is perhaps the last truly professional falconer employed to train hawks solely for an employer’s sport. It reflects not only Simon Tyers’ successful years in this most challenging profession, but also draws on his wider experience with training dogs and gamekeeping and charts his evolution of methods to maintain the highest standards of traditional gamehawking in an ever-changing countryside.
A chapter on rearing and release of game addresses one of the key stumbling blocks facing the average modern gamehawker, whilst the centuries-old problem of encouraging a falcon to go up is covered in great detail, utilising modern technology in ways adapted to the specific conditions British falconers face yet ones with much wider application worldwide wherever this style of flight is pursued. Maintaining pitch, and quality of flights, is a prime consideration, and Simon’s extensive experience of training pointers, setters and other working breeds is also covered as a prerequisite for the clean, precise flushing so necessary for success. Unlike so many recent books which cover training in depth but give little practical information on hawking in the field, it has a chapter dedicated solely to fieldcraft and is, above all, focused purely on the end result of taking quarry – yet doing so sustainably and with style as the primary goal.
For those of us old enough to remember the publication of Ray Turner’s Gamehawk, arguably the most influential title on this specific form of hawking for generations, it is sobering to realise how times and circumstances have changed in the three decades since. Not all of these changes have been for the worse and The Specialist Falcon offers a fresh approach to not just making the best of modern circumstances, but rather using the advantages we have today to allow flights which, even 30 years ago with telemetry still relatively new, were considered at best impractical and at worst, risky.
Lavishly illustrated in full colour, illustrating every step in the methods Simon uses to achieve tremendous success every season, The Specialist Falcon truly combines the best of falconry’s sporting heritage and traditional lore with the most current innovations to deliver a title which every gamehawker will rightly cherish, and every falconer – whatever their particular form of hawking may be – can benefit from. It has already been hailed as “a Latham for our age” and is sure to sell out rapidly.