Sauk Rapids Man Shares His Experience in Falconry [VIDEO]
SARTELL -- While some of us live with cats or dogs, Jake Weber of Sauk Rapids lives with a red tail hawk.
Weber has been a licensed falconer for about two years, and is currently training with his bird Zero. He says having a raptor is unlike having a normal pet.
They do get imprinted with you the more you spend time with you. But they won't have the socialization with you like a cat or dog, they will always have that wild animal instinct.
Weber shared his personal story Thursday morning at an event put on by the Sartell Senior Connection.
He says while he plans to release Zero back into the wild, it's not uncommon for falconers to keep raptors to multiple years.
Some falconers trap a bird every year, some have their birds for five years, some hold on to them until the bird is an adult then let them go.
The birds are usually trapped in the wild and mainly use for sport at hunting competitions held in the winter. Weber says there are only about 100 falconers in Minnesota, so they are always looking for younger trainers.
Children can get involved and become a junior falconer. Once they are 18-years-old they can take the test, get the sponsor, then get the approval from the DNR and the state.
Weber says becoming a falconer can be dangerous for both you and the bird if you don't know what you're doing. He says training takes a lot of dedication and commitment.