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April President's Message

Sunday, April 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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April 1, 2018

Dear NAFA Member,

Hope you and yours are having a very happy Easter holiday weekend! 

March was a very busy month!!!

With all the recent talk about regaining access to eagles and expanding peregrine take, lost in the discussion is NAFA commitment to conservation. As President I have received dozens of positive and complimentary emails thanking all the different volunteers, committee members, officers and directors for all their efforts on behalf of North American falconry. Several of these emails have suggested we focus more on our conservation efforts. I have tried to explain what NAFA does behind the scenes, NAFA's Small Grants Program for example, and also how we've aligned ourselves over the years to partner with other like minded organizations in order to have a meaningful affect through shared and collaborative action. As a relatively small and passionate community NAFA members continue to accomplished great things for the raptors we employ, the prey we pursue, and the habitat we all depend on. Make no mistake, each one of you plays an important part in these efforts. Your membership dues, raffle donations, and the proceeds from those raffles aid in NAFA's different efforts, like the Small Grants Program. When you talk to a classroom full of students, attend a DU banquet, assist with an NWTF Women in the Outdoors program, or volunteer at a local sportsmans convention, you are representing the falconry community and have a fantastic platform to advocate for falconry, the raptors, the prey, and the habitat that makes it all possible. We all play a part in a collective commitment to conservation, but I know we can and should do more, as hunters we need to do a better job focusing on conservation.


Among the different and important NAFA committees is the Conservation Committee. Dr. Bill Ferrier has chaired this vital and far reaching committee for the last 15 years. As South Pacific Director and then Chairman of the Conservation Committee, Dr. Ferrier has helped plan and direct NAFA's efforts over the years on many important topics such as the Passage Peregrine EA and then Take and by providing important information and updates on the Avian Influenza. Earlier in March Dr. Ferrier informed me he would like to step down as Committee Chairman and, thankfully, was willing to stay on as committee member. We owe Dr. Ferrier a huge debt of gratitude for his valuable leadership.

Bill, I can't thank you enough for your years of dedicated leadership to NAFA and North American falconry!

Replacing Dr. Ferrier as Chairman of the Conservation Committee is long time falconer and biologist, Dr. Nate Bickford. Dr. Bickford brings a strong background in raptor research and conservation. Dr Bickford’s research is constantly evolving and expanding into new, relevant, innovative, and fundable areas. The subjects of his ecological research stretch from aquatics to birds. The conservation work ranges from habitat improvement to local food production. He has several publications in print and others in progress, one example is on the Goshawk as top tier ecosystem indicator. Dr. Bickford has some great ideas to lead NAFA's Conservation Committee into an evolving future. Be on the look out for ways to help guide our future via surveys and other forms of engagement. 

Also joining the Conservation Committee is falconer and avain ecologist John Goodell. John provides proven expertise in project management with a keen understanding 

of all avian survey methods including; aerial raptor nest surveys, eagle surveys, rapture capture techniques, passerine mist-netting and banding, points counts, line transects, distance sampling and more. He also has authored many avian conservation plans, impact assessments, and science reviews. John's experience as a natural history curator and interpreter has provided a unique ability to effectively communicate complex ecological information to varying audiences through writing, oral presentation, and other media. John has already proven to be a very valuable asset to the team.

(John and Nate join Conservation Committee members Dr. Bill Ferrier, Andrew Bullen, Glenn Sewart, Doug Pineo, Ralph Rogers, and Vice President Martin Geleynse. To learn more about the genral resposibilities of Conservation Committee click here.)


Last week I was fortunate enough to spend three days with Southeastern Director Richard Shores and Conservation Committee member Andrew Bullen attending the *North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, aka the North American, in Norfolk, Virgina.

Through the dogged efforts of the NAFA Eagle Committee this year’s Flyway Council meetings and the Bird Conservation Committee all included agenda items pertaining to expanded peregrine falcon take and Eagle Falconry along with the Development of a Fair and Equitable Allocation Process to be managed by the Flyways for eagles. To see and know that every state agency in the US and Canada are working towards reinstating Eagle Take for falconry, as requested by the Director of the USFWS, is evidence to the efforts of Eagle Committee. I’m confident that we are heading in the right direction and must constantly remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

The North American provided a unique opportunity for NAFA to engage several state agencies and USFWS in a single location. We met with Fish and Game agency Directors and Chiefs of all the states on the current NAFA meet rotation. We were also able to meet with Directors from both Utah and South Dakota and discussed the possibility of NAFA adding these states to the current rotation. Both states we eager at the possibility.

We also had several meetings with USFWS representatives where we discussed expanded peregrine take for the Pacific Flyway which could potentially lead to normalization of peregrine take nationwide. We also discussed eagle take ad nauseam to include allocating rehab eagles to falconers, something we’ll continue to work with the Flyways in developing. In our recent board meeting General Council (GC) Maynard presented a proposal, that was approved by the Board of Directors, that instructs the legal team to work with the USFWS in opening wildlife refuges for falconry. We were able to discuss this possibility with the USFWS while at the North American and received support to bring it to fruition. Lastly, we received an updated on the status of the online 3-186a system. I’m pleased to report it’s in the late stages of testing and should be released by years end if not sooner. All in all the North American proved to be an event NAFA should have a continued presence, we owe it to falconry. 

(*For more than 80 years, the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) has administered the North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference. The North American Conference sessions, workshops and more than 150 separate meetings and functions, serve as the annual forum to set conservation policy in North America.

Conference attendees include the administrators of federal, state and provincial wildlife and other natural resource agencies, college and university program leaders, heads of leading private conservation organizations, and other managers, scientists, 

researchers, officials and students of natural resources. The conference is a regular gathering of professionals to learn and exchange ideas, through a formal program, related meetings and other scheduled business, social and educational events.

The conference format is designed so that attendees leave with

  • A better understanding of the origins, complexities and likely solutions to current conservation issues, and
  • A better sense of the need for and the methods to achieve coordinated, cooperative management of the continent's wildlife.

The "North American" is outlined annually by a Conference Program Committee, chaired by WMI. As many as 20 different agencies and private organizations have participated in helping set the agenda of the North American. In addition, agencies and organizations schedule more than 150 meetings and functions to overlap and occur in conjunction with each conference.)


On March 22nd your Board of Directors, a few officers, and committee chairs, met again to discuss a number of agenda items. It was our second board meeting of 2018 during which the board discussed several proposals and were provide several informative updates. 

Corey Roelke, NAFA Future Meets Chairman, presented the completed survey results from the 2017 NAFA Field Meet in Kearney and then discussed other exciting plans that are ongoing and includes a Canadian Regional Meet, the 60th Anniversary Saskatchewan Falconry Association Field Meet, an expansion of the regional meet concept and increasing the host city rotation for future NAFA Field Meets - Utah and South Dakota are the two possibilities leading the list. We also received another update on planning for the 2018 NAFA Field Meet scheduled for December 2-7 in Lubbock.

(*NAFA is assisting with and supporting field meets wherever we can. If you need help, ideas, or guidance with a meet, please let us know, we would love to assist.)


Step up and serve our association!  It’s time to start thinking about our annual election cycle.  Every other year, five of the ten Director positions are up for election.  If you have ever considered giving back to the community, and are able to attend the annual field meet each November, please consider running for election and joining our Board of Directors.  This summer, the following positions will be voted on; Director-at-Large, Canadian Director, South Pacific Director, Mountain Director, and Great Lakes Director.  If you are interested in running for election, please click here to download, print, and complete the 2018 Nominations Form and return it prior to June 3, 2018. If you have any questions please contact our Corresponding Secretary, Donna Vorce at


The 2018 Eagle Falconry Meet is scheduled for Monday, October 8 thru Saturday, October 13. We will be returning to the Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, Wyoming. This year's Meet is being planned by a committee of seven folks, Rocky Connell (MT), Rich Howard (ID), Carina Woodruff (UT), John Coffman (WY), Anne Price (CO), Chase Delles (MN), and Mike Barker (MT). All committee members attended last year's Meet. They have taken the lessons learned in 2017 and come up with some nice changes for 2018. In addition to a Meet T-shirt, everyone who registers and attends the 2018 Meet will get a little something extra. I guarantee this will be a nice surprise. Hunting will occur every day, all day. Carefully selected Speakers will be featured each evening, along with a Dinner Buffet. There will be a drawing for a nice door prize every evening. A select group of Hoodmakers are being invited to donate one hood representative of their craftsmanship, to be auctioned Thursday evening, along with a lot of other nice items. Just like last year, net proceeds will go to raptor conservation non profit groups. The comradery in the group last year was incredible. We are all looking forward to seeing friends from last year, and new friends at the 2018 Eagle Falconry Meet. Registration is simple, just go to this link HERE or got to .... See you in Wyoming!


Thank you  if you've already renewed you NAFA membership. If not it's not too late to renew! If you have not renewed your membership and would like a copy of the April Hawk Chalk you will need to pay the late fee. This late fee helps defray the extra costs associated with mailing late publications. Please consider renewing today. If you have any problems logging in or need information on paying the late fee please reach out to NAFA Membership Secretary Brandi Nickerson at:



Remember...... "As individuals, our differences make us stronger, but falconry is what unites us! Falconry helps us reach our full potential! Falconry makes us family!"

Thank you all for your continued support!


(214) 288-0670


11th Annual Spring Rendezvous -- The annual gathering at The Archives of Falconry includes an open house the evening of April 6 hosted by the Idaho Falconers Association. Tours of the World Center for Birds of Prey are available beginning at 10 a.m. April 7, and the ceremony for adding inductees to the Wall of Remembrance begins at noon. Celebration dinner at 5:30, with guest speakers Rick Watson and Steve Chindgren. Click HERE for more nformation.

NAFA Hawk Chalk is now Online....


Click here for more information on

the Complimentary Associate

Membership for Apprentices...



Coming Soon....

Indiana Falconers Association's President, Roger Chastain wrote this about Don Anderson:

One of the IFA’s founding members, Don Anderson, passed away Friday, March 16th. Having chatted with Greg Thomas, Don Garvin, and Don Anderson’s son, John Anderson, over the past few days, I learned a bit
about Don which I thought I’d pass along to you all:

Don was born on April 9, 1922, and joined the Coast Guard when he was 18 years old. He then transferred to the Navy, during WWII, where he served the country as an artist. His specialty was painting ladies, targeted at maintaining the morale of the troops! After his time in the service, Don worked as a commercial artist at Indiana State University until the time of his retirement. Oh, I’ve also been told that he graced magazine covers as a male model along the way… What a life! His falconry career was equally distinguished. His son, John, could recall his father purchasing a female golden eagle from the zoo, artificially inseminating her, building an incubator which he kept on the kitchen table, and turning the eggs in the weeks that followed. Don’s wife, Mary, dutifully turned the eggs while he was away at work. Don was successful and the eggs hatched! In addition, Don successfully flew several species of birds through the years, including harris’s hawks, red-tails, goshawks, and of course, a golden eagle. Based on his pioneering efforts with falconry here in the state and his involvement in getting the IFA established, he was granted Honorary Lifetime Membership in the club several years ago.

Don’s wife, Mary, passed away in 2011 but he is survived by his brother, two sons, John and Jim, five grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Having moved south in his final years, Don passed away at 95 years old, in Winter Haven, FL. We wouldn’t be where we are today without those who went before and cleared the path. Don will be missed!


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 North American Falconers Association Mission and Purpose is...

  • to improve, aid, and encourage competency in the art and practice of falconry among interested persons; 
  • to provide communication among and to disseminate information to interested Members; 
  • to promote scientific study of the raptorial species, their care, welfare and training; 
  • to promote conservation of the birds of prey and an appreciation of their value in nature and in wildlife conservation programs; 
  • to urge recognition of falconry as a legal field sport; 
  • and, to establish traditions which will aid, perpetuate, and further the welfare of falconry and the raptors it employs.


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To renew or update your current membership details click here.


I have been a proud member of NAFA since 1996. At that time the only connection I had to falconers outside of New England was the Hawk Chalks and the Journal. How I looked forward to reading every article to learn about other falconers and their birds and techniques. There was no such thing as social media, there were no cell phones and we used paper maps to find hunting spots. How times have changed! I had the absolute pleasure of attending the 2016 NAFA meet in Elk City and last years meet in Kearny. What an opportunity it was to meet folks with the same passion for falconry and to get a chance to go out with some amazing hunting teams. I've made some dear friends at the NAFA meets and we have continued to keep in touch. 

I will be forever grateful for NAFA's help and guidance when I was President of the Massachusetts Falconry and Hawk Trust and we were in the process of negotiating for new regulations. NAFA's support and legal advice played a key role in our club being able to walk away from our meetings with our local Fish and Game Department with satisfaction. I appreciate NAFA's efforts in negotiating with our federal FWS on behalf of all falconers and sport we love so very much. I believe the falconry we enjoy to this day is a direct result of NAFA's efforts on behalf of us all. 

Diane Welch
MA Falconry and Hawk Trust

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more Calendar

10/1/2018 » 10/6/2018
Saskatchewan Falconry Association 60th Anniversary Field Meet

10/8/2018 » 10/13/2018
2018 NAFA Eagle Falconry Meet

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