Kent Carnie
Minard D. Stevens 1912–1987
With the passing of Minard Stevens, the frater-
nity that is falconry lost one of its true masters.
His “mastery” came not from any permit catego-
rization but rather from the genuine depth of his
own experiences, from an understanding and an
insight into the heart of the sport and of its birds
rarely seen in his century.
Steve was a man of many talents. At one time a
champion goat-roper — he was also a builder. A
series of magnicent hospitals and hotels across
our land serve as monuments to his competence
and painstaking personal supervision. He could
quote at length from Shakespeare and from the
Rubaiyat, and asked about a hawking problem,
he would get a far-away look in his eyes and
start: “My son….”, then to quote from one of the
sport’s classics, most often Taymur Mirza, all in
a soft accent hinting back to his west-Texas ori-
And he was a poet with a bird. He was ying
haggards in those long bygone years when a
few falconers still took the occasional haggard
– but when most on the continent were attempt-
ing eyesses. His brief article “The Haggard Prai-
rie Falcon”, startled if not staggered, most of his
readers who never even conceived of such a
bird. Once an old peregrine proved virtually in-
tractable – ignoring all efforts to gain any hint of
submission from her. Steve took her on a quiet
hand and whispered “coo-coo”. Almost immedi-
ately she reached down and commenced feed-
Steve was the rst on our continent to produce
a really ne Dutch-style hood. What he stitched
and molded so expertly on forms of his own mak-
ing his wife Dirk then tooled to perfection. It was
years before others achieved his level of skill and
insight into the hoodmakers art. Of all of his abili-
ties, I think he was proudest of his hoodmaking.
So much more one might write about this very
special man – but he was always, most of all, a
very private person. I would not intrude.
—S. Kent Carnie
Stevens was highly inuenced by German falconer/hoodmaker/artist
Otto Kals (below), who developed the one-piece Dutch hood pattern.
O. Kals
O. Kals
It was such a small thing,
to make a falcon’s hood.
But I could not know that one day
strangers would come to my door,
enthralled by falcons forever;
to talk of old legends,
and sometimes sharing with me
their treasured relics.
Nor could I know
that for a lifetime
I was to seek through the mails
and emissaries,
to exchange my handiwork
with other hoodmakers
in faraway places