Falconry? No way. I prefer snailing.
- Snails do not have sharp talons. No glove is needed. Snails also leave a mucus behind that acts as a waterproof coating, saving me the trouble of using waterproofing restorer.
- Falconry is all about show. Hoods and jesses, regal Accipters preening their lustrous feathers on the arm of some vassal. All for what...a mangled rabbit? Seems like a lot of pomp and circumstance for a piece of roadkill.
- This is overlooked quite often: snails do not kill things. This saves you the trouble of gutting and skinning your roadkill and cooking it, picking pieces grass and dirt out of it because your raptor hit the rabbit so hard it went back in time.
Okay, there's one downside. You can't go snailing at an SCA convention. Snails are not really authentic for the period in question.
But all in all, snailing works for me. I go out for a snailing session, see lots of cool birds and rodents, and after attempting to launch my snail at a quarry, I remember, "Oh, that's right. Snails don't actually kill anything. How silly of me." Then I stop at the grocery store and buy a rotisserie chicken.
So let's add it up. Thanks to a handy list at Mike's Falconry, I learned that hawk food costs between a buck and three bucks a day. Hawk mews (essentially a birdhouse) can cost $250.00 to $1,500.00. Add basic falconry gear ($300-$500) plus a permit from the DNR, and you can see that falconry is going to require a lot of rabbits to make the numbers work for a decent ROI.
Conservatively, let's say it costs $2,000 to get started and feed a falcon for a year.
That's a rotisserie chicken a day for a year.
Snailing Costs: A small box to bring home your snail. Free at the drug store. Snail housing: aquarium with a crack in it that the people across the street left on the curb. Free. You can see where we're going here.
Granted, it might not be as exciting as falconry, but I think snailing is a good thing that will catch on. Before you laugh, consider what other sports started small and tapered off, like wallyball or curling or cat juggling, for example.
Excuse me, I need to go feed my snail some of the neighbor's salad mix.
Irrespectfully submitted after a long, tough day,