When faced with whether or not to reform the “Old Hawking Club” those initially involved thought along the lines that there were two different practical roads that could be gone down. There are various other options but it was felt that they did not seem practical or desirable and it is no doubt equally certain that there were several others that simply hadn’t occurred.
It was felt that the “Old Hawking Club” (hereafter referred to as the OHC) should be re-established for a number of reasons. These have been listed in no particular order of importance as each was felt to be extremely important in its own way and accordingly is listed on merit not as make weights.
For those that care about the heritage and history of the sport the name OHC was somewhat sullied for a number of years by a corporate entertainment company that climbed onto the back of the falconry boom and used it as their trade name. Their standard of falconry they were happy to present to the public and their corporate customers was not what the reformers of the OHC would have been happy to condone and the company was itself eventually disbanded with some allegations regarding financial short comings hanging over it. It was felt that the whole episode left a very bitter taste with any falconer regarding our heritage and allegedly with some of the customers employing the services of said company. So, when it became available the name was initially purchased by one of our current members simply in the hopes of stopping it being sullied further. Fortunately, the public memory is short, and it is felt that by now that the name OHC has no meaning what so ever with the public and has reverted to its original meaning for most falconers that were ever aware of its existence.
For those of us involved with this reforming of the OHC our motive was driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with the way some clubs conduct their business. Our general feeling was that standards were slipping, membership numbers and therefore income were becoming far too important in the overall scheme of things and that there appeared to be those within the organisation that had a very personal agenda which, in our opinion, was not directed to the betterment of the sport we all hold so dear.
Again, very much in our own personal opinion, we see the acceptance level of standards of behaviour on the decline and things now tolerated that would not even have been spoken about a few short years ago. We are also fully aware it is all too easy to appear simply a moaning whingeing group looking back at the past with rose coloured spectacles, but we genuinely do not believe this is the case and that we first and foremost have the interests of falconry, and maintaining its standards, as our driving force.
Although probably not literally applicable in our current world and conditions it would be appropriate to finish by quoting the ideals of the original OHC.
“The objects of the club have ever been to promote falconry, first by the keeping up a first-class establishment of hawks for every description of hawking; secondly, to train young men and boys as falconers under an able man; and thirdly, by every year getting a fresh lot of hawks, and by drafting out at the end of each season all but a few favourites of very high class. In this way many beginners have been assisted when first taking up falconry, by obtaining a perfectly trained hawk at about her original price, and even if they have found that an educated hawk is not as easy to handle as a barrel-organ, still they have been able to make a better start than by those crude efforts as “training a hawk themselves”.