If you have ever booked a trip to Meadow Brook Game Farm or taken the time to explore some of the other hunting opportunities that Tennessee has to offer, you know that we take pride in our pheasant and quail hunting; it is one of the things that makes this state unique. Meadow Brook Game Farm alone is a 1200-acre shooting preserve that has been around for decades and we have built a loyal clientele of hunters from every walk of life as far away as California.
Let’s just say that Tennessee is the best place in the country to hunt game birds. The birding culture is in our blood, which might be why the ancient sport of falconry has now found a home in Middle Tennessee courtesy of master falconer Don Hirvig. He was recently interviewed by Mike Osborne of WMOT.
In this article, Mike Osborne writes, “Arriving at the hunting site, Hirvig simply threw his two Harris’s Hawks, a male and a female, up into the nearest tree. Then, with walking stick in hand, he set off into the woods at a leisurely pace. Initially, the birds followed Hirvig, gliding silently from tree to tree as he struggled through the underbrush below. But then the birds surged ahead, clearly tracking something of interest in the trees ahead.”
If that sounds like something out of an action movie, you wouldn’t be wrong. Being a falconer requires a combination of being comfortable with adrenaline and a Zen-like calmness. It is a seesaw for sure and not for everyone. As one commentator points out in the Falconry Forum, what makes a good falconer is “somebody who is reasonably fit with good patience and an eye for detail, somebody who realises [sic] that the care of the bird is primary to all other things!” Another commentator, “Respect of birds, prey, countryside and most of all falconers.” As Osborne puts it, after witnessing Hirvig and his birds in action, “It quickly became clear that falconry is very much a partnership between man and bird.”
Take what makes a good hunter and multiply that by ten. Only then might you have a clearer idea of what it takes to be a good falconer. What a falconer represents is that balance between man and nature, that respectful mastery over the wilderness – which is something every hunter should live by. At Meadow Brook Game Farm, we can’t be more thrilled that falconry has taken root in Tennessee.