2 hrs from Tyler is like Texarkana to Greenville to Nacogdoches, maybe somewhat closer. But you say raptor rehab, makes me think Blackland Prairie, which puts you in Greenville / Terrell area. I used to live in Lone Oak / Greenville in Hunt county and knew some falconers that lived near there. If you are in Hunt county, DFW falconers will probably be closer to you than Tyler falconers.

THA has a list of people / contact info which I think they got back up on the website. You'd have to join to get access. It's $35 / year, which is less than ... almost everything else involved in falconry. A piece of roo hide can be $100 (I think that's what I paid), a mews $1000, a hood is $20 for el cheapo and at least $40 for something decent, gas money for trapping varies but will probably be more than $35, etc.

Fun fact: when I joined THA, the then-secretary lived about 7 miles from me (in Hunt county), and he called me the night I joined (iirc) and invited me to hunt with him. I met him and he gave me a left-handed glove that day ... it's actually the glove I currently use.

My advice is to hunt with people as much as you can and read / be informed. I spent 5 years waiting since I was going to school and felt I didn't have enough time to devote to a bird, and stayed reasonably involved over that period of time. In the process, I met maybe 20+ falconers who lived near-ish to me and got to know several well enough to ask to sponsor me. I could have asked and been denied by 10 people before I started to get nervous. (It didn't take 10 people.) As a result, I do not relate to the people who think finding a sponsor is the hard part. There's really way too many potential sponsors in DFW for anyone to be able to say that imo. Story is probably the same a bit further east, but I'll let others speak to that.

Making equipment won't be important until you're within maybe 1 year of becoming an apprentice, and you may want to have a sponsor's input on some of it. I did mine way early and it led to problems: being locked into the bird I'd sized my equipment for (FRT; made switching to a HH harder to justify), a giant hood that was not sized well (in spite of being directly from a book), and a trap that was far too heavy.

We like pictures. Post pictures. Only reason there'd be an issue is if you didn't take them or if the rehab place didn't want you taking them. Or if there was some kind of cruelty involved, but that'd be strange.

Welcome!