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News & Press: General News

August President's Message

Monday, July 31, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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August 1, 2017



Dear NAFA Member,



I continue to receive quite regular inquiries concerning the status of the additional passage peregrine permits that the flyway councils recommended and the USFWS approved. Here’s the deal; there’s about a month left for the Service to post the change in the Federal Register so that the increase will be able to take effect in time for this coming fall migration. If they aren’t able to do so, we will be in the unfortunate situation of having to wait another year to capitalize on that four-fold increase, despite the fact that increased access is fully supported by flyway council biologists as well as scientific study. We are doggedly leveraging the political relationships that we have, in order to apply as much pressure as possible, in a push to get it done ASAP.

On that same front, we are already pushing our little duckies into a row so that we can officially begin the process of encouraging and assisting the USFWS in moving toward the ultimate goal of complete “normalization” of peregrine falcon harvest for falconry. I expect that it will take some time, but once complete, there will no longer be a need for any sort of additional permits or lotteries for falconers to trap and utilize wild-taken peregrines for falconry. They will become just as available as any other raptor that we generally employ in our art, and trapping will be regulated by the states and provinces. With this in mind, if you live in a state or province that does not yet allow passage peregrines to be taken from the wild, I would encourage you to begin working with your regulatory agency to open up legal trapping at home so that you don’t need to rely solely upon non-resident take to acquire one of Mother Nature’s apex predators.

Thanks to some relationships that we’ve built in Washington D.C., and some of the committee work that we are currently engaged in, I believe the next several months may very well result in positive changes and big “wins” that NAFA leadership will be able to announce to the community. Good things are happening and many of us are hustling hard on your behalf on a daily basis. Stay tuned, and thank you for your continued support and patience. 


NAFA Proudly Supports the Falconry Fund


In addition to working proactively on initiatives that will expand our rights and privileges as falconers on this continent, NAFA continuously monitors all sorts of activity that could potentially impact our chosen lifestyle as practicing falconers. One organization that we keep an eye on, because they are particularly insidious is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They are currently in cahoots with Dan Ashe (former Director of the USFWS) in an attempt to write animal rights language into the Lacey Act. This is an inappropriate and draconian use of the Act, typical of the sort of hijinks that HSUS uses their massive endowment for. Though it doesn’t look like this would spill over to impact falconers, due to the fact that our humane conditions have been clearly described in regulations since 1976, it DOES serve as a reminder that we can never be too cautious or skeptical of anything to do with HSUS. For more information on this particular issue, click here;

This serves as an example of why your board of Directors and legal counsel are currently engaged in the work of incorporating a falconry-focused 501c4 to serve our community as an advocacy and defense organization. “An ounce of prevention…..” Doug Pineo, standing member of our Conservation Committee reminds us that there may come a time when we have to join with groups like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others to execute the role of being the “grownups in the room” when it comes to conservation and hunting issues.


NAFA Proudly Supports the IAF 


It's not too late to make your plans to be in Rock Springs in mid October. NAFA's Eagle Committee has planned a full week of action starting October 16 and running thru October 21. There are already some highly experienced eagle falconers signed up. Over 40 folks have registered for the meet, and more than half the allotted hotel rooms have been reserved. So don't wait too much longer before making plans to travel to Rock Springs, Wyoming. Several speakers and panelists who are recognized experts in raptor management, eagle falconry, and rehabilitation have graciously volunteered to share some of their thoughts with the eagle falconry community at the October 17 banquet, October 18 workshop, and October 20 pizza party. The Falconry Fund is sponsoring a timely panel discussion between ranchers, falconers, and Federal wildlife managers in the evening, October 18. Marshall has donated one of their state of the art GPS systems for a fundraising event on October 17, and they plan to put on a live demonstration with this technology. Everyone is welcome, but there are only 40 spots remaining for the Workshop. To register online, just simply go to and click on "Register/RSVP". The "early bird" $35 registration is available only thru September 14. Pass the word to other folks who might be interested. NAFA membership is not required.

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....)




Mr. Harry C. McElroy, NAFA member since 1962 and noted falconry author has been awarded an Honorary Membership by the board of Directors. It was my pleasure to pick up the phone and notify Harry of the distinction, and it was a real privilege to be able to do so on behalf of the board and the membership at large. The body of our official letter to Harry has been Archived away in our 'Letters and Documents Archive', click here.

Also, it’s Harry’s birthday in a couple of weeks, so Happy Birthday Harry!

Here is the text; 


Dear Harry,
It is an absolute pleasure to inform you that on July 20th, 2017, during a teleconference meeting, the Board of Directors of the North American Falconers Association (NAFA), awarded you with Honorary Membership status by an enthusiastic and unanimous vote.

NAFA Member Bill Boni developed a proposal that highlighted some of your finest attributes as a falconer and indeed, as a human being, and quite frankly, we were all left scratching our heads in wonderment as to why you hadn’t been presented this award many years ago. Your contributions to NAFA and to various state falconry clubs are far too numerous to begin listing in a brief letter such as this. Let us simply state that you are, in every way, an icon to falconers around the globe.

As a member since 1962, a prolific writer and forward-thinker, an ardent supporter of our association, a pioneer in the use of aplomado falcons, and an inquisitive, insightful, creative, self-effacing friend to the community, you have more than earned the distinction of Honorary Member.

Your honorary membership means that you will no longer pay annual dues and that you otherwise have all the rights and privileges granted under NAFA bylaws including the right to vote and hold office.

The Board, and I extend not only our congratulations, but our most grateful appreciation for all of the work, sacrifice and dedication you have personally provided to NAFA and to the entire falconry community.

Scott McNeff, President






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.




Are you all enjoying the August Hawk Chalk? Dan Milner, and those who submitted content 

for this issue have created one of the best installments of Hawk Chalk since we were founded 55 years ago. The entire thing is a work of art from cover to cover, and there is much to relish throughout, but I’ve got to take a moment here and thank Utah member Nate Bricker for his exemplary article, “Falconry and the Green Fire”. When I read it prior to publication I was really moved by the thoughts and sentiment that he shares, and in the last few days, I’ve had a couple of members reach out to me, specifically to compliment that particular article. I read through it once more this morning and found that Mr. Bricker has really given us reason to pause. Paying dues to NAFA is about much more than the cost of a magazine subscription, but articles like this one, in my opinion, single-handedly make our dues worth the “price of admission.” .


Click here for NAFA Merchandise

TESTIMONIAL – Carter Wilford (Chairman of NAFA’s Eagle Committee)

I was introduced to falconry in the first grade when a local falconer brought a bird to my class; I was immediately interested. Later, my mom gave 
me the 

Peterson Field Guide that got me even more fascinated with birds of prey. I got my license at the age of 13, and since that time I have been in and out of practicing the sport with different birds. When it comes to NAFA, it used to be something that I knew about, but didn’t pay too much attention to. In the last several years, I’ve become more involved as I started researching eagle falconry and tried to understand, and change, some of the current restrictions and limitations that impede falconers from obtaining Golden Eagles. This has been a huge learning experience, in which I’ve seen first-hand how important it is to be an involved member of NAFA. Every member can truly make a difference. I’ve learned that NAFA strives to support and sustain the falconry community, and help us navigate the political environments we live in. NAFA is a wonderful example to the world of how falconry should be practiced and defended. 



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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