How-to: Jesses and Anklets

July 16th, 2012

How-to: Jesses and Anklets


Much of falconry equipment has progressed in modern times, but the Aylmeri Jesses developed by Guy Aylmeri in the early 1900’s have changed little since the first design.  An essential addition to the equipment requirements for all falconers, the jesses and anklets are used to control your raptor and to keep them safe.  For a further, in-depth discussion of a variety of different jess systems, please visit the Modern Apprentice.


You’ll need a few things to begin this little project.

  • Kangaroo Leather, medium to light weight
  • Size 1 Grommets
  • Grommet Setter (pliers, or mallet-type)
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Leather Hole punch
  • Leather Grease or Conditioner


In order to begin, you’ll need to cut 10 in strips of kangaroo leather to 3/8″ width.  The width of the size one grommet is 3/8″.   Fold over the end of the jess onto itself twice, and then use a hole punch to put a clean hole through all three layers of the leather.

Use the leather hole punch to make holes in all three layers of the end of the jess strap.

When you have your holes, the end of the jess should look like this picture below.

Trim the end of the jess into a point so that you can pull it through all three holes.  Wrap the strap around to the top hole, and pull through all three.  I’ve started the strap here, before pulling all the way through.

Here is the completed jess button on the top, after the strap has been pulled through all three holes.

A completed pair of jesses.


The anklets wrap around the ankles of the raptor, placing the jess through the grommet.  Here is a pattern that I traced onto the leather blank, and then cut out the pattern carefully.  You’ll need to trim the fringe very carefully with the X-Acto knife.  The exacto knife cuts at exactly every 1/10″ of an inch provide a nice even looking fringe.  Scissors will skew the cut, and the finish is not quite as nice looking.

This picture shows the progression of anklet from pattern, to blank, to cut-out.  After you get the fringe and the tab-slot cut, you can then assemble the grommet on to each end.

Here is a decorative set of anklets with some studs on the strap.  I glued in some soft deer leather into the inside of the anklet for a nice fit.  The metal studs have tabs that fold over and secure it to the leather, but if left uncovered, may rub against the leg of the raptor.

Final Notes

These anklets are designed for a red-tailed hawk, but minor adjustments to the length and width of the anklet can be used for other types as well.  I’ll need to post the pattern and and dimensions in a follow up. Attached to this post is a pattern that I created for downloading. Enjoy.Hawk Jesses Pattern Template

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