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May President's Message

Sunday, April 30, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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May 1, 2017



Dear @@first_name@@,


 I recently reviewed an article that Honorary Member, Dr. Steve Sherrod wrote for our August, 2013 Hawk Chalk in which he pressured the falconry community to think more critically about our role as conservationists. It’s a powerful plea to engage more thoughtfully in efforts that contribute not only to the raptors we love, but also to the prey species that we love to pursue with them. Steve made excellent points in that article and it’s worth reviewing if you have the time. To his points, the NAFA board has made strong progress in recent years to establish the foundation for much more powerful and effective contributions to the sorts of goals and efforts that are important to falconers on this continent. With the Falconry Fund taking in charitable contributions and looking forward to conservation and education initiatives, and the added clout that we will establish with the coming 501(c)(4) organization that your Directors are working on, falconers are positioning themselves to become a vastly more effective group of citizen scientists in the near future. 

James Maynard is the General Counsel of our legal team, and a New Jersey falconer. He is quick to remind the board, and various Committee Chairs that “a big part of the “falconry narrative" is that the community is full of citizen scientists undertaking a huge quantity and quality of projects related to population preservation and conservation of raptors, quarry species and habitat. It is up to the falconry community to inform the larger society that we are not a "consumer population" full of takers, but rather a citizen science/Cultural heritage community that provides immense benefits to society, the environment and raptor populations by citizen science, population preservation, & conservation efforts.”

The salient point framed by Mr. Maynard in the quotation above is worth a bit more focus than it has received in recent years. NAFA leadership is currently involved in significant efforts to “manage the narrative” of how falconry is presented to the general public, and to governing bodies. Stay tuned, because in the months ahead, that effort is going to be made clearer to those of you who are paying attention. In the interim, do a little thinking about how you or your local club could contribute to presenting our shared passion to a wider audience in a way that helps further establish and justify our claims that we are a citizen science and cultural heritage community. If you have suitable examples of such efforts, please share them with me, and maybe we can post those stories on our Facebook page, or in a future Hawk Chalk.



NAFA Proudly Supports the Falconry Fund



Ken passed away on Tuesday evening, April 25th. Many of his closest hawking friends, (and he had many!) have written incredibly touching tributes to him on the internet in the last few days. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of praise, love, and grief at the loss of a member of our community. That outpouring is a real testament to the positive personality Ken possessed. There is absolutely no doubt that he was well-loved by his fellow falconers. In the coming weeks, much more will be shared about Ken, and we will be sure to distribute that information to NAFA members. We were lucky to have him as a member, and luckier still that he served our board of Directors during what was a difficult time in NAFA history. His best attributes were a real asset to our community during his years of serving in an official leadership capacity. I personally didn’t know Ken very well, and was only lucky enough to have shared a few short visits with him, but it was obvious to me why he was so widely loved. He was a skilled listener who took a genuine interest in other people and was eager to share his huge smile. Those who spent lots of time with Ken over the years, were lucky indeed to have done so. If any of you would like to send messages to his daughter, here are their mailing addresses;


  • Becky Schnee, 530 Osborn Ln. Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
  • Melanie Mesch, 41 Corte Encanto, Danville, CA 94526


NAFA Proudly Supports the IAF 



from Mike Yates; “Kathy has made arrangements for Tom's formal Celebration of Life in Sheridan on May 27. You are all invited. The venue is the spectacular Canyon Ranch in Big Horn; Tom and Kathy's dear friends the Wallops have graciously offered their 

hospitality in the perfect place for us to lean on one another as we reflect on all he was and is to each of us. Karen and I are arriving on the afternoon of May 24 and departing on the morning of May 29 to allow for some rediscovery of the area and more relaxed visiting with friends. We hope to see many of you there.”



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This International Meet and Workshop is being organized by NAFA's Eagle Committee. The Meet and Workshops are being held in Rock Springs, Wyoming and begin Monday October 16 and runs thru Saturday October 21. NAFA’s Co-sponsors include The Falconry Fund, International Eagle Austringers Association, the CMA Fund, the Talon Trust, Mike’s Falconry, Expedition Art, G&B Ranch, CorJo Wildlife Productions, and Wyoming Falconers Association.


For more information on this exciting meet and an opportunity to come out and learn more about eagle falconry while supporting efforts being made to secure and expand take for falconry, please see the NAFA Eagle Meet and Workshop events page located at:


Also, to keep up with all the latest information and updates follow the meet Facebook page at:







Last year your Board of Directors approved distribution of complimentary associate memberships for Apprentice-class falconers. If you are sponsoring an apprentice who would benefit from this offer, have them contact a NAFA Director with proof of their permit in hand.





I joined NAFA in 1968. I started to fly longwings in 1966 and the mentors that helped me then both suggested I join NAFA. For me becoming a NAFA member exposed me to other falconers and the first real written word of practicing falconry in North America. I moved to Saskatchewan in the fall of 1966 full of the enthusiasm all young falconers have with the dreams of really being a falconer. I learned quickly that there was fairly abundant quarry and that in many ways the weather in the fall was great and in winters not so much. It took a few seasons, but eventually I started figuring out how to actually hunt with my birds. I also made the decision to stay in Saskatchewan, primarily because of the Sharptail grouse that is the provincial bird emblem, and also because some American falconers came to Saskatchewan for many years in October to hunt the grouse and the huns they found here. I learned about them from the NAFA Journal articles they wrote. A couple of friends that were here, and at the same place falconry wise, enthusiastic and keen, but short on much experience actually catching quarry regularly were encouraged by the stories and articles in the NAFA publications. We also memorized Beebe and Webster and roamed the prairie filled with all this advice and encouragement.

Then in 1970 we decided to attend the 1970 NAFA meet in Yankton, South Dakota. I had attended the NAFA sponsored Peregrine Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado the year before and met many well-known falconers from all across the continent. It was like a dream come true, these people were real. And friendly. I even met a couple of the US falconers that actually came to Saskatchewan to hunt. Besides the awe of being there amongst all these famous people, a lot suggested coming a meet. So we packed up a van in 1970 full of guys and birds and headed to Yankton. Apparently the US border people were not too impressed with us, but after eight hours they finally let us in. Had a great time, had some flights on pheasants with my falcon, saw many other falcons flown, including a flight by Jack Oar's intermewed black gyr who killed a pheasant in great style in a field we showed him. After returning home from the meet I was determined to keep my falcon pushing for more and better. We caught our first sharptail shortly after. In following seasons we pursued huns, ducks and pheasants with increasing success and finally five years later our second sharptail. With the use of dogs in the team, my first pointing dog, Meg, was a GSP Jim Weaver graciously gave me in 1971 and that I hunted with for fifteen seasons, the world was changing fast.

That really began my appreciation of what NAFA really was. A generous group of people dedicated to the perpetuation of high quality falconry no matter what it took. Nothing over the years since has changed my mind about NAFA. I think it is the dogged determination of multitudes of falconers to the present time, and beyond, that by being organized, informed, cooperative and mobilized with extreme political understanding has allowed falconry to thrive and continually improve since its inception by people who went, and still go, beyond their own personal wants and needs as falconers for the benefit of others is what has made NAFA so successful.

Looking back now, after a full six month season of hawking with my third season passage Tundra tiercel, and realizing how fortunate I have been to spend the last 51 seasons hunting wild, and often very challenging quarry, my life has been blessed in an immeasurable way by falconry. I chose to live where falconry could be a real possibility, and made a good life with a family and a career somehow fit in with it as well. I firmly believe that the hard, unending work of NAFA played a big role in this story".


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Finally, please remember that NAFA is always here to protect and perpetuate falconry as an intangible cultural heritage. If you believe in what we are doing, and are committed to the cause, maintain your membership with us, make a financial donation to the Falconry Fund (, and see what you can do in your local community to educate the public about falconry and contribute to the conservation of wild places and wild animals.

Thank you all for your support, and for helping us adhere to the initiatives outlined in our mission statement and bylaws.





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