Birds of prey breeders meet at weekend hunting event

BREEDERS of birds of prey met in the municipality of Poľný Kesov (in Nitra Region in western Slovakia) on the last weekend of October at the International Falconry Meeting. A total of 75 participants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, The UK and Norway brought 60 birds – hawks, flacons and eagles – to hunt in the hunting grounds of Nitra and Trnava Regions from October 24 to 26.

Young falconer in Poľný KesovYoung falconer in Poľný Kesov (Source: SITA)

BREEDERS of birds of prey met in the municipality of Poľný Kesov (in Nitra Region in western Slovakia) on the last weekend of October at the International Falconry Meeting. A total of 75 participants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, The UK and Norway brought 60 birds – hawks, flacons and eagles – to hunt in the hunting grounds of Nitra and Trnava Regions from October 24 to 26.

Each morning they gathered, were divided into groups and went hunting, organiser Katarína Hudecová told the SITA newswire. Eagles and hawks hunt for European hares, while flacons hunt for pheasants.

“When the bird captures the game, it proudly sits on the prey and waits for the falconer,” she explained. “The biggest reward is when it can eat directly from the prey.” The game hunted by the bird becomes the property of the falconer. In the end, the best hunters were evaluated.

A falcon costs between €500 and €2,000 and weighs from 600 to 1,000 grams. Breeding is demanding, especially since one has to work extensively with the bird to train it. Hudecová added that hawks weigh about up to 1,100 grams, while females are a third bigger than males and they hunt for bigger game, which is why most breeders prefer females. Deer game is hunted with eagle females, which weigh around four kilograms.

The international meeting was organised by the Slovak Falconers’s Club at the Slovak Hunting Chamber, which has been in existence for more than 40 years. It has 240 members and its goal is to develop the tradition of falconry in Slovakia.

The falconry study course as an optional subject at secondary forestry schools in Banská Štiavnica, Prešov and Liptovský Hrádok, as well as at the Elementary School in Štiavnické Bane and at the Technical University in Zvolen, is the pride of Slovak falconers. “In no other European country is falconry taught in this way, which makes our falconry exceptional in the world,” Hudecová concluded.

Falconry has a tradition going back more than 4,000 years. On Slovak territory, there was a falconry boom in the 9th and 10th centuries, and St Cyril was said to be a falconer as well, according to SITA.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

News digest: Health care staff still lacking, president asks for amends

Slovakia is preparing to launch the nationwide testing on Saturday morning, but the government admitted they still need hundreds of health care staff. Kotleba violates quarantine and hospitals in the north are full.

The Bratislava Self-Governing Region started testing its staff on October 30.

Testing is impossible to carry out as planned, president says

President Zuzana Čaputová asked the government to reconsider measures for people who do not get tested, many will not get a chance.

President Zuzana Čaputová met with the representatives of the armed forces.

The big test is upon us. What are we to do?

For a foreigner living in Slovakia, there is yet another concern.

Health care professionals still lacking ahead of Saturday's testing

Government avoids mobilisation for now, PM offers an extra bonus to health care professionals who can serve the whole weekend.

Dolný Kubín