‘Game Hawker’ Explores Falconry’s Lifetime of Devotion

Shawn Hayes is a Black American falconer. In this short film, we’re given a glimpse into the life that Hayes has carved out for himself among the raptors.

There’s something romantic about the idea of falconry. That a human and a wild bird, two distinctly dissimilar creatures, can form such enduring companionship defies comprehension.

As Hayes puts it, “the commitment to being a game hawker is big.” Some liken falconry to raising a child — a process that demands mental, emotional, and physical attention at all times.

Hayes knew he wanted to be a falconer before he could read. He crafted his first falconry kit — jesses, lures, leashes — from his mother’s old purse. In the decades since, game hawking has taken the California boy to far-off global venues. From different cultural approaches to his trade to decoding each of his falcons’ idiosyncrasies, Hayes’s education is neverending.

“This film is about more than what humans can train birds to do,” filmmakers Josh Izenberg and Brett Marty told us. “It’s about what those birds can teach us about living in partnership with wild creatures and wild places.”

Take a look and learn more about Haye’s work as a falcon ambassador at Patagonia.

Runtime: 25 minutes

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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