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December President's Message

Thursday, December 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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December 1, 2016



Dear @@First_Name@@,


I’ve just returned to Maine from the annual field meet, and have been hawking almost non-stop since getting home. Oklahoma proved to be a wonderful venue for the meet, in part because quarry was plentiful and access to land was incredible, but primarily because of the people. We had 260 people attend, and one of those, an Honorary Member and also one of our Founding Members, Tom Smylie said to me, “In the beginning, it’s about the hawks. Later on, it’s about the friendships.” I’d learned during earlier visits with Tom that he was a wise man, but this comment really struck me. He’s absolutely right. Those of us who are driven to take lots of quarry with our hawks don’t pack up the vehicle and drive half way across the country in the name of high head scores. We do it to share time with like-minded individuals as a form of celebration. We do it to rekindle old friendships and learn new things and to get into the field with our brothers and sisters who are a part of the fabric of our shared passion for this art and cultural heritage that we call falconry. In a conversation with Doug Pineo about how positively wonderful and community minded everyone had been all week, Doug remarked that it was a great “contrast to the dark, virtual world of social media trolldom.” Outsiders taking a look at our community through the lens of internet falconry forums and Facebook pages might infer that we are a fractured group of hunters, weakened by disarray. Attending a NAFA meet paints a very different picture; One of unity, and merriment. There are a number of reasons why NAFA continues to be the voice of falconers on this continent, and those reasons become particularly apparent during the week of our annual field meet. We hope that you can join us next year in Kearney, Nebraska over Thanksgiving week.

If you are relatively new to falconry and have been perturbed by some of that “social media trolldom” that Mr. Pineo refers to, don’t be dismayed. There is a very small minority of disgruntled falconers out there with an ax to grind, and they’ve found an undeserved megaphone in the form of Facebook. Don’t let them crush your spirit and passion for what we all delight in. Come to a NAFA meet and you’ll discover a kinship that is brimming with positivity and an organization with 55 years of authority, experience, and influence.



To expand on that “authority, experience, and influence” statement above, I’m excited to tell you about a vote that was cast by your board of Directors during our business meeting in Elk City. A decision was made to pursue the establishment of a 501(c)(4) falconry organization. As you know, the NAFA board spent the last two years establishing and incorporating a 501(c)(3) organization called the Falconry Fund which is a tax exempt fund raising organization to distribute money for falconry related causes. The board of Directors is now moving on to the work of setting up a c4 organization which will differ from the c3 significantly. In simple terms, the existing c3 will largely underwrite falconry conservation and education efforts on a continental scale. The eventual c4 will finance the advocacy, lobbying, and defense initiatives that falconers are concerned with and challenged by.

As a falconry community, we will have three organizations serving us, which should offer the complete array of funding, support, legal advocacy, defense, and communal organization that will solidify our foundation and give us more clout than we have ever had at any time in our history.

This is the BIG PICTURE of what NAFA’s efforts have been dedicated to for some time. As a c7 Membership Organization, we are not legally permitted to do much in the way of advocacy and defense. Looking back over our history, it’s remarkable to note that nearly every single step of forward progress gained by falconers toward protecting and perpetuating our art from a regulatory standpoint and otherwise, was achieved by our volunteers, Directors, Officers, and Committee Chairpersons. Every falconer on this continent has NAFA to thank for the rights and privileges that we enjoy while pursuing our craft. However, as the legal and sociopolitical climate changed around us over time, we’ve come to realize that these other entities were needed, and didn’t exist. This is very big picture “century planning” to assure our interests and our legal right to exist.

The Legal Defense Fund in our financial holdings is not adequate to effectively protect us from the kinds of attacks that are possible in today’s environment. The fact that we have been without legal access to wild-taken golden eagles for use in falconry for so long is proof of that. We are about to rectify the situation, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the leadership team that is taking this on. I will be one of the first falconers to financially contribute to the c3 and c4 organizations and I hope that everyone reading this message will join me.



As stated above, the Falconry Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) organization has already been established.  As we near the end of another calendar year, please think about making a donation by visiting  The site is live, the trustees of the Fund are already building their action list for the coming year, and you are eager to contribute to the community that has brought so much richness to your life.   We are all in this together.  


NAFA Proudly Supports the IAF 



For those of you who know past NAFA Director and Honorary Member, Les Boyd, his wife Pat reports that he is doing okay, but following some surgeries and small strokes, he is living in a senior center in Pullman Washington.  He is having real troubles with memory, but his falconry friends and stories from over 10 years ago seem to be what he recalls most clearly.  Pat told me that he would really enjoy receiving letters and/or cards from NAFA members.  Les and Pat were pioneers in raptor propagation and produced many of the earliest and first hybrid crosses of falcons.  I’m sure that some of you reading this message flew hybrids that came out of the Boyd’s breeding project, and that many of you spent time in the field with Les.  When I first joined the NAFA board as a Regional Director, Les was serving the North Pacific Directorate, and I had the pleasure of enjoying his voice on the line and sitting next to him at our meeting in Vernal.  He is a really remarkable man.


Please address envelopes to;

Lester L. Boyd, 905 SE Sunnymead Way, Pullman, WA.  99163  If you’d like to go visit him in person, please contact Pat at or call her on her cell phone: 509-566-7190



Speaking of the North Pacific Directorate, we weren’t able to include a club report from the Oregon Falconers Association in the most recent Hawk Chalk.  Please click HERE to see some great photos and read about what the folks in Oregon have been up to...

Visit the Archives of Falconry and get caught up on all the news.


Want to remember a falconer by making a donation to the Wall of Remembrance?

(Click to learn more....)



Complimentary Associate Online

Membership For Apprentices


During our last teleconference, the 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.



Editor Dan Milner did it again.  The December Hawk Chalk should have just hit your mailbox (unless you are an online member who reads the publications in their digital format on our website).  I thought the August issue was the nicest falconry magazine I’d ever seen and that it would be tough to accomplish that level of quality a second time.  I was wrong.  With more outstanding contributions from the membership, Mr. Milner did it again, and in fact increased the size of this one to 86 pages.  The Journal will be out soon.  You think it will be any good? 


Click here for NAFA Merchandise



Also, I promised I’d give you an update on Ken Mesch.  He is in California with family and continues to do surprisingly well, and wants you all to know that he is going to beat this illness and find his way back into the field with a hawk on his fist.   

2017 AFA/NAFA Regional Field Meet


Mark your calendars, the 2017 AHA/NAFA Regional Field Meet is scheduled for Feburary 23-26, 2017. The Alabama Hawking Association has graciously offered to host NAFA members in the heart of the Alabama Black Belt of Camden, Alabama this coming winter. Stay tuned for more information from Meet Chair Michael Moore on the meet and make sure to check the NAFA Facebook page for a link to the 2017 Regional Meet Facebook page at:  

Finally, I just had to include the following email that we received while we were at the field meet in Oklahoma.  Every year, we get messages of this nature, and I hope you all feel the same sense of pride that I did when I read this.  Whoever is responsible for this; Thank you!



"Hi, my name is Aaron Allen. I'm a Sheriffs Deputy for the Beckham county Sheriffs Office in Sayre, OK. This evening I was on duty eating with my family at the Pedro's restaurant in Elk City, OK. An individual with your association paid for my family's meal and thanked me for my service. I would just like to say thank you. The members I encountered tonight were nothing but respectful and very kind. In closing I'd like to say thank you on behalf of my family, myself, the Beckham County Sheriffs Office, and the entire Law Enforcement community. God Bless You."






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