According to the North American Falconers Association, Falconry is the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor. My reaction: Cool.
I knew a falconer growing up, and it was amazing to watch him and his hawk, Bertram, hunt. Old Man Krazinski (I think that was actually his given name) was a hermit that was somewhat of a local legend around Eagle River, WI, where I spent a couple weeks every summer at my Aunt and Uncle Hillside’s cabin. He avoided interaction with everyone in a scowling, maybe-I'll-burn-your-lake-house-down-when-you're-gone-over-the-winter kind of way. But, for whatever reason he liked me, so he would let me watch him and Bertram hunt. Now Old Man Krazinski and Bertram didn’t hunt small game like most falconers. Nah, that was far too pedestrian for OMK. He had trained his hawk to swoop down over fisherman and steal beers out of their boats. Pretty awesome because 1) OMK rarely had to buy beer and 2) it’s hilarious to see drunk fisherman bail out of their boat when this is dropping down on them.
Having watched the Packers’ defense in the two preseason games, and looking at these stats: 6 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, I think I have noticed something about Dom Capers. He has a lot more in common with Old Man Krazinski than I ever could have imagined. He is nothing less than a Master falconer specializing in training ball-hawks. I do understand that Cleveland and Buffalo are not the wiliest prey, but “taking wild quarry in it’s natural state” is never easy, no matter what kind of prey you are hunting.
According to the Ohio Falconry Association, some reasons for becoming a falconer include: not catching a lot of game, not having an exotic pet or impressing others, and not possessing a hawk for profit. A very positive set of reasons, no? And this is where I disagree with the professional Falconry associations, this year Dom Capers ball hawks will catch a lot of game, impress a lot of people, and the sky’s the limit for how much profit they bring to Capers and the Packers. Dom’s deviation from these strict regulations, may ostracize him from good, hawk-loving people like Kitty Tolson Carroll (check out your mouse on that site. Awesome), but it will go a long way toward endearing himself to Packer fans.
I hate to end on sad note, but a couple of months ago, I found out that Old Man Krazinski’s hawk, Bertram, died. I can’t imagine what losing his only friend will do to OMK, but in honor of him and his hawk providing me with countless hours of summer entertainment, I am respectfully dubbing Dom Capers’s ball-hawks, "The Bertrams". Here’s hoping they catch a lot prey this year.
RIP Bertram and go Pack!.
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