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home : education : schools May 23, 2017


3/7/2017 1:35:00 PM
Sisters man pursues the sport of kings
Hank and Magnolia (aka “Maggie”), good pals, even though one has hair and the other feathers. photo by Jim Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Hank and Magnolia (aka “Maggie”), good pals, even though one has hair and the other feathers. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson
Correspondent

Perhaps you've seen "The Eagle Huntress." It sparked an interest in the ancient and noble art of falconry. If you've wondered how raptors and people become good buddies and watch out for each other, now's the time to learn.

Hank Minor, a newcomer to Sisters Country, and his beautiful older teen-age eastern red-tailed hawk, Maggie, are going to be on center stage on Saturday, March 18, at the new Raven Makes Gallery located at 182 E. Hood Ave. in Sisters.

Hank and Maggie have been pals since Hank entered her life two years ago. A falconer will trap the raptor he or she wants to train and fly for sport - or in some places to chase unwanted birds away from a given area. That's how Hank met Maggie.

Hank, his wife Laura, and Maggie moved here in November from North Carolina. This became a very important piece of geographical and physical information for Maggie to handle the first time Hank took her out to fly over snow; she didn't know what it was, having never seen anything like it in her short time of living in the Southeast.

In some places, both federal and state permits are required to take on the sport of falconry, or "hawking" as it's known in England. In Oregon, all that's required is a state permit. However, the first thing that's required is the knowledge and training by a mentor on how to trap and keep your bird according to the rules of falconry - which Hank will talk about during his presentation.

Hank will begin the program at 3 p.m., explaining the furniture and tools of falconry, and is planning to shut it down at 4:30 p.m. But be prepared to stay longer, as there's a sure bet the audience will have plenty of questions to go overtime, especially when Maggie is on the fist.

Hank says Maggie's a prolific hunter and has captured over 100 head of "game," made up mostly of gray and fox squirrels, common in the Southeast. She can take cottontails and once took on a full-grown opossum and killed it.

The bigger game she will be going after here in her new hunting grounds will make both Minor's and her life very exciting. The first time she tries for a black-tailed jackrabbit will really be an educational experience. There are many big owls and red-tails who found out too late that if they get sloppy about capturing one for a meal, the rabbit (a hare, actually) can roll over and with one mighty kick with those powerful hind legs, disembowel a raptor.

"I apprenticed under hardcore game hawkers who had a number-one rule: fly your bird hard and fly it often," Minor told The Nugget.

He says that was a critical lesson for him. Falconry is the sport of taking game with your hawk, not about hoarding the bird and keeping it as a pet. He's also quick to point out that nature equipped hawks, eagles, falcons and owls to hunt and kill prey for food and safety, not sit around as a pet and cluck like a chicken.

When asked why he chose Raven Makes Gallery for his talk, Hank replied, "Raven Makes Gallery is a truly stunning, visual space. The Native American art on display there echoes the fact that birds of prey - including the red-tailed Hawk - are powerful totems and symbols in the Native American culture; I couldn't think of a more perfect setting to present the art of falconry."

There will be plenty of simple refreshments (maybe Hank has some some barbecued opossum left over?) and ample opportunities to take photos to capture the essence of the "Sport of Kings."









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