Karen Carroll's Bio
|Staff - Meet the Ladies|
At age 13, I saw the movie “My Side of the Mountain” based on the book by Jean Craighead George. This is the book that inspired many American falconers. By chance at my after high school job, I met my mentor in falconry. As with all falconers, he made sure my interest in falconry was sincere, and would not sponsor me unless I had done the necessary steps. In 1974 at the age of 18, I became a licensed falconer. I have been in love with the sport ever since. Another book that influenced a lot of young falconers is “A Sporting Chance” by Dan Mannix. The book is about ‘non-traditional’ forms of hunting, falconry included. I still hold a strong interest in unusual forms of hunting, such as coursing, terrier work and of course, falconry.
My father hunted as a kid, but decided not to hunt or keep guns in the house when he started having a family. I had an uncle who ran a gunsmith shop in South Carolina, he specialized in black powder guns. His shop was a replica of a stone cabin in the woods, an addition off the bedroom of the house. I remember the stone-walled shower with an indented rock on the wall as a soap dish. The house is still in the family after he and my aunt passed away.
When I became a teen, I took time to learn to hunt and shoot with firearms. I had decided I was NOT going to be a frightened, ignorant female when it came to guns. I was determined to use firearms the right way. Just like we teach things like fire safety, traffic safety, etc. I feel that firearms safety should be taught to every citizen. The Eddie Eagle Program by the NRA is an excellent program for young children. I just want our citizens to understand and be knowledgeable in the operation of firearms. Even if they never pick up or own a gun after a course. I was lucky; the fellow who was teaching a group of us was a gentleman named Herbert ‘Jim’ Buskirk, a gunsmith, instructor and an exceptional marksman (former Marine sniper). At age 16 I got my first shotgun, and purchased my first rifles at age 18 and at 21, my first handguns. I also became involved in archery and still have the first bow I ever bought.
My dad had a new 1971 Dodge one ton 4x4 pickup truck he used for beach fishing and I learned how to use a manual shift and taught myself driving the truck and backing up using mirrors when I was 17.
I moved to Florida in 1992 where I met my wonderful husband who also loves to hunt and fish. After we married, I introduced him to the world of falconry. I also found out that I am quite good at public speaking and have been doing educational bird of prey programs at events since 1981. It became my full-time business in 1989. It has expanded into an instructional falconry academy and I also do pest bird abatement using trained raptors. We currently live on 12.69 acres in North Florida where we keep the property in a natural state. We have put up nesting boxes for screech owls, kestrels, bats, bluebirds and other wildlife. We have many wildlife residents, such as bluebirds, bats, screech owls, gopher tortises and Cooper’s hawks on our property. I am working on re-introducing bobwhite quail on our property as well.
Over the years, I was influenced by an article by author Steve Bodio in the March 1987 American Hunter magazine, entitled: “The Sport of Kings.” FYI: I was photographed with my old red-tailed hawk for that article. From that article, I learned that all outdoors' persons need to band together to protect the field sports we all love. Archers, Gunners, Falconers, Trappers, Anglers and non-traditional hunters. I’ve been hunting with Jack Russell Terriers and Beagles, for flushing rabbits, (and ratting, lots of fun!), Patterdale Terriers and Feists for squirrels, German Short-haired Pointers on upland game birds and various other furred and feathered allies in the field.
I believe that the key to the future of our field sports is not only teaching our youth, but their parents (especially moms) as well. I am also in the final stages of becoming a hunter safety instructor for the State of Florida. I look forward to writing for other outdoors women like me.
I hold the following permits regarding birds of Prey:
- Master & Eagle class falconry permit
- Raptor propagation permit
- Migratory bird educational permit
- Raptor rehabilitation permit
- Migratory bird abatement permit (using raptors).
I am a member of the following conservation organizations:
- National Rifle Association (Life Member)
- US Sportsmen’s Alliance
- North American Game-bird Association
- North American Falconers’ Association (past Southeastern Director)
- Wild Raptor Take Conservancy
- International Eagle Austringers’ Association
- Florida Falconers’ Association
- International Hunter Education Association
And various other professional organizations:
- International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators
- Clan Henderson Society (Clan Falconer)
- Scottish Heritage Society
- Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
- Outdoor Amusement Business Association
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