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MN – HUNTING – ‘Once you hunt with a hawk, you can never go back to a gun,’ falconry apprentice says

Anna McBeain had a hard time finding a licensed falconer who would take her interest in falconry seriously enough for an apprenticeship. “I think it’s because I’m young and I don’t look like someone who would be into it,” the 21-year-old said. Thanks to a personal recommendation, McBeain connected with Winona County master falconer Carolyn Standlee-Hanson, and they’ve been hunting together for two years. Falconry is the practice of trapping and training a raptor to hunt wild game, and, in addition to a falconry license, requires a small-game hunting license from the state. “Once you hunt with a hawk, you can never go back to a gun,” McBeain said. McBeain’s father became an apprentice falconer to help her get started when she was a 14-year-old junior apprentice falconer. Kirk Payne, a master falconer who taught at Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester, sponsored them both. That allowed McBeain to legally keep a raptor. Under Minnesota falconry law, only a licensed falconer can legally keep a raptor at home unless they’re an apprentice at least 16 years old and sponsored by another licensed falconer. An apprentice must work with another licensed falconer, which is where Payne came in. However, to become a general apprentice, McBeain had to find a master falconer to sponsor her directly. Payne was unable to take her on due to family commitments, but he personally recommended her to Standlee-Hanson. Standlee-Hanson was impressed by McBeain’s knowledge and dedication, and agreed to take her on.  [full article]

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