The falconer's gauntlet is perhaps the most recognized piece of falconry equipment. This can be a very expensive purchase, or it may be done on the cheap. Traditionally a glove is only worn on the left hand, but left-handed falconers tend to wear a glove on their right hand. A glove for a falcon usually only covers the hand and wrist. A glove for a hawk tends to be much longer and more of a gauntlet. Eagle handling gloves may cover much of the arm. Although you want as much sensitivity to the bird as possible, the gauntlet is for protection and to provide the bird with a secure perch, and the proper glove must be chosen for each bird.
A well made glove is worth taking good care of. There are many treatments for leather, but one of the best is Pecards leather dressing. This will condition your leather and fill in all the pores with treatment preventing blood from soaking in and making the leather brittle. Gloves should also be periodically cleaned. One way is to take an antibacterial soap and gently scrub the outside paying particular attention to any place that raw meat has touched. Another way is to make a warm solution of water and bleach (10% bleach) and soak the glove for a few minutes, inside and out. Pay particular attention to picking off any dried matter and cleaning out the seams, cracks, and crevices where meat or blood can get caught. Always pat the glove dry and immediately follow with a good soaking of Pecards or your preferred leather treatment.

At the top of the line is a custom-made glove fit to a tracing of your hand. These are made to your specifications and can have many options and customizations.

A well-made glove of high quality leather can be just as comfortable and equally as beautiful. Some of these are works of art.
           Gauntlet image
                  A high quality glove. This style with the long cuff and double-thick area over the hand is typically used for powerful hawks. Note the D-ring here for tying a bird while carrying her.

Lesser quality gloves keep the talons out of your hand just as well as more expensive ones, and if you tend to lose or destroy them easily, these can be the right glove for you.

At the bottom of the list are other substitutions such as Welder's Gloves. These are cheap (about $13 for a pair), easy to replace, and are lined so they will also keep your hand warm. Some people modify these slitting up the back and inserting laces to get the desired fit, or adding a D ring for leashing a bird to. These are excellent to just have on hand in case you need them. However one disadvantage of these is that they are difficult to sterilize if you are routinely handling sick or diseased birds, such as rehabilitators. However with the price of welding gloves, it becomes possible to just discard a glove used with a particularly sick bird to prevent cross contamination.
           Glove image A welding glove.

           Glove image A welding glove modified with two clips for easily securing a bird's jesses.

All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - Lydia Ash