Falconry – excellent hunting companions

You probably have to read this number twice: the tradition of falconry, the hunting of wild animals with a trained bird of prey, has existed for more than 3,500 years. This is one of the oldest forms of human hunting. The basic principles have hardly changed over the centuries. Hunting wild game with trained birds of prey can now be reconciled with modern animal welfare thinking and still takes place using tried and true methods and equipment.

Falconry thrives on the passing on of knowledge and skills for generations. It is a unique interaction between man and animals that requires a lot of patience and empathy. The trick is to get the bird used to humans with a sense of achievement and rewards. In the process, an intense personal relationship usually develops between the falconer and the bird. Humans and animals form a real team and less of a hierarchical relationship.

The number of people throughout Germany who actively practice falconry is estimated at around 3,500. Also, in the TERRA.vita region, hunters and their birds of prey can sometimes be observed. One of them is André Knapheide from Osnabrück, who regularly goes hunting with a golden eagle. A rare sight in this country, as these birds are actually at home in the Alps. He shares his passion for falconry with his wife, Cathrin Woltjen, who flies a goshawk. In the last 10 years, particularly the number of active female falconers has increased.

In 2014, falconry was included in the nationwide UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritages, and two years later it was even recognized as an international intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

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