Falconry is the pursuit of wild game in its natural state with a trained raptor. The person that handles and trains the raptor is called the falconer. In common usage the term “falconry” refers to the use of both groups of raptors known as falcons and hawks.
Because the use of hawks is very popular, sometimes you will hear falconry also referred to as “hawking” or “gamehawking”.
The person that chooses to undertake falconry must be committed to the overall welfare of their bird(s). The falcons and hawks used in falconry are not pets, they are wild raptors that are trained to accept the presence and participation of humans in their natural pursuit of prey.
Because of this, people that are upset by the sight of blood and the death of animals should not pursue falconry as a past-time. Hunting often with their hawk(s) is a primary goal of the falconer. Falconry is a time consuming activity that also may require more space and cost than some people may have available.
In the United States, falconry is legal in all states except Hawaii and the District of Columbia. A falconer must have state and federal licenses to practice the sport. Acquiring a falconry license in the U.S .requires an prospective falconer to pass a written test, have equipment and facilities inspected, keep and complete annual paperwork, and serve a minimum of two years as an apprentice under a licensed falconer.
The breeding, training, and management techniques developed by falconers over the centuries are the same ones that are largely responsible for the success of efforts to save many species of endangered raptors from extinction in the modern era.