The Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla and Falconry
For the sport of falconry, we feel the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla is best
suited to those people who fly hawks (correctly known as the Austringer) as
opposed to those who fly falcons (Falconers). Generally speaking, the
Austringer, who hunts with a hawk, is the equivalent of the rough shooter of
the shooting world.
For any breed of dog to be of use within this ancient art, then it must
possess a number of basic traits. Firstly they must possess a strong desire to
hunt and find game. As the sport takes place within a variety of landscapes,
the dog must be equally at home working over whatever the terrain, be it
farmland or mountainous moor. It must have excellent scenting abilities and be
experienced enough to recognise the delicantes differences which the various
game species sought possess. Once the game is found, then the dog must be
steady and biddable enough to point and hold point for however long is
necessary. This period can be considerable, especially so when falcons are
being flown. Only when commanded to do so must the dog be allowed to flush the
hidden quarry, after which it is expected to sit or drop to flush. Any
excitable breed which courses flushed quarry is a liability rather than an
asset to the sport.
After twenty years of breeding, training and working various H.P.R. breeds
for our hawks, we personally believe that the Wirehaired Vizsla is a very
special breed ideally suited to the Austringer's needs. We will never return to
any of the other H.P.R. breeds again.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is possessed of all the attributes described. As with
other breeds, it is simply a case of correct nurturing, training and
communication to bring them out. One exceptional aspect of this breed is its
excellent temperament and burning desire to please.
So what other attributes does it have for the Austringer? Generally, this is
a breed that works at a distance that usually allows contact and control to be
maintained, without the need, as with some other breeds, of having excessive
whistle or, worse, verbal commands. Its coat gives it the advantage over some
of the smooth coated breeds, affording protection from the ravages of sharp,
prickly cover. As you would expect from a breed widely used in its native
country as a wildfowling companion, it seems to make it impervious to the cold
It is a gentle breed, not suited to the heavy-handed, which has a natural
affinity and inbred respect for hawks. If you are considering what breed best
suits you and your hawking, consider the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla.
By Roy Bebbington.
AMBER'S FIRST STALK
7am slid myself out of bed, opened my curtains and saw that during the
night there had been a small dusting of snow. I wasnt to be put off by
this. I went down stairs in my usual manner, that is to say being very quiet
but still managing to wake the whole house up. After two cups of coffee I
gathered my things, put Amber in the car and set off for the hill.
Amber was nine months old and I thought it would be a good time to start her
on the real thing. She had passed all the dummy tests I gave her with flying
colours. We arrived at the farm just as it was getting light. I let Amber out
of the car and gave her a run round the yard as it takes her five minutes to
get her head together; she is not the best of travellers.
I started to walk over the first field and when Amber started to move very
cautiously I lifted my binoculars and scanned ahead. There was not a thing in
sight so I gave Amber a tap on the rump and whispered steady. We moved
slowly forward and out of the ditch sprang two deer! I could only watch with my
mouth open, cursing my own stupidity. I carried on up the hill and looking
ahead I could see a small brown shape. Lifting my binoculars I could just make
out that it was a deer but the sex of the animal was not clear at this point.
I lifted my hand to my chest with the palm facing Amber. At that she sits,
and, once I moved away heading towards the deer, it took me at least 20 minutes
to get close enough for a shot. I lay down on a heather knoll and looked back
and there she was still in the sit position. Everything was going to plan. I
fired a shot and moved towards the deer when out of the corner of my eye I saw
a second deer moving away to my right taking my attention away from the first
beast. The second deer jumped into the trees and was gone. I raised both my
hands out to my side and Amber came running. At this point I put her back in
the sit position as I wanted to retrieve the deer myself.
Up and down the hill I walked and not a sign. I would now try Amber. It was
now all or nothing. Find it went the command. Up she leapt and away she
went, covering the ground like a dog following a bitch in season. She then cut
back on her trail over a small mound and there it was, almost invisible against
the winter heather. Not a bad day's work for a pup.
P.S The reason I did not want her to look for the deer straight off was
simple. I did not want her to think that if I fired the gun she could just run
in. To date she has found for me eleven lost deer and also she has been called
out four times, all successfully. I will tell you about one special occasion in
my next report.