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News & Press: General News

May President's Message

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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May 1, 2018


Dear Member,


Spring has finally sprung! Birds are dropping feathers, while some are donating, others are laying eggs, and, for a few lucky falconers, next years hunting partners are already making their appearances. Though spring arrived late in many parts of the country, Texas included, our trees are already full of leaves and my yard is already begging for its second mowing. The cycle has begun!

Earlier this month I attended the Archives of Falconry Spring Rendezvous. To say the experience was humbling would be an understatement. As a community we have 

been blessed by many influential falconers - academics to artists, hunters to hood makers, conservationists to educators, biologist to the citizen scientists - we are a diverse group. As individuals, our differences make us stronger, but falconry is what unites us! Falconry helps us reach our full potential. If you needed the slightest motivation or evidence to the greatness of the falconry community, you need to visit the Archives of Falconry.

The Annual Spring Rendezvous, much like our annual field meet, is an opportunity for falconers to “greet old friends, meet new ones, and celebrate (the) sport.” This is also when we honor and remember friends that are no longer with us, when their names are placed on The Wall


This year there were many notables from the falconry community remembered. Names like Karen Cottrell, James Enderson, Val Fairman, Richard Fyfe, Ken Holkestad, Monte Kirven, Rande Money, Bob McCallum, Wayne Nelson, Michael Smith, Jose Soto, Russell Taylor, Larry Zuk, and former NAFA Director Ken Mesch. Ken was a friend to many of us. The event was touching and a fine tribute to the memory of friends and falconers who shared a passion for hawking.


I mentioned in last month's update that, as an organization, we have alinged ourselves over the years to partner with other like minded organizations in order to have a meaningful affect through shared and collaborative action. NAFA is proud to be a contributing member of these fine organizations. (See them here...)

To expand on these relationships, and under direction of the Board of Directors, we have applied to become members of both the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP)  and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP).

These partnerships will allow us to work with other groups and organizations that represent today's leading hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations. By affiliating with these groups we introduce many of them to falconry, we strengthen our voice locally, at the state level, and nationally in Washington, D.C. By aligning ourselves with other like minded organizations we all benefit through collaboration in advancing conservation policies while protecting hunting and fishing for future generations. 


We keep talking about eagles, but what are we actually doing? I must admit, at times it seems like a lot of talking, a lot of spinning wheels, and just a little head bashing against a wall. I would rather focus on the positive aspects of what's going on and what has been accomplished. Through the combined efforts of the NAFA Eagle Committee, the USFWS sent an letter to the National Flyway Committee Chairs outlining the two avenues by which permitted falconers can get a golden eagle for falconry - a falconer may trap an eagle from the wild where the USDA-Wildlife Services makes the determination that golden eagles are depredating on livestock and where the Service issues an eagle depredation permit otherwise via a transfer from a federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator. The letter went on to request assistance from the Flyway Councils in developing and later managing a fair and equitable allocation process for placing golden eagles with falconers. This letter served two important purposes. First, by sending the letter to the Flyways the Service is making a statement that falconers are permitted to take these birds for falconry and that there is no biological reason to NOT allow the take of 6 eagles. The second reason was to establish a managed allocation system to ensure the eagles are distributed in a fair and equitable manner, annually to permitted falconers.

Anyone who has paid attention to the passage peregrine take allocation process and the Flyway’s involvement knows the Flyway Council is not the most expedient body. The Flyway Council readily admits to being slow, but methodical. To expect an allocation process this year is doubtful.

All is not lost, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has verbally committed to working with falconers to allow the take of golden eagles in active depredation areas this year, ahead of the formation of the ‘fair and equitable allocation process’ being developed by the Flyway Councils. This is no simple task and requires several state and federal agencies coming together in short order. We are currently working with both Wyoming and Utah, two states with historic eagle depredation, to finalize an interim process. As of yesterday, there has already been 24 documented eagle depredations this lambing season in the state of Utah alone.

If you would like to see the latest NAFA comuniques related to golden eagles, be sure to check out the NAFA Eagle Committee Resource Repository (click here) and NAFA's Archived Documents and Articles (click here).


We've been working on a few new web pages to help members stay better informed, reach new customers, or find a new hunting partner. To be listed on one of these informational pages you must be a current NAFA member.

  • The first new site highlights affiliated State Club Events (click here), like annual field meets or summer picnics that you'd like to share online.
  • The second new web page being developed will provide a list of all current NAFA members who currently breed raptors for the falconry community.
  • The third page will list all current NAFA members who are in the business of providing Falconry Based Bird Abatement.
  • Lastly, we'll be developing a list of all current NAFA members who are in the business of providing falconry equipment and furniture.

These pages will include columns for "Company or individual name","contact email address", "phone number", and a "Website Link" only, i.e. no company logos, promotional material.

In the case of raptor breeders we'll also need the species of birds you currently produce.

If you provide Falconry Based Bird Abatement, we'll need your home state as we plan to list by state, then alphabetically.

If you are in the business of selling falconry equipment and furniture, you'll need to let us know what you sell so we can note that too.

If you are a NAFA member and would like to be listed on one (or more) of the pages listed above please send an email to NAFA Webmaster, Fred Fogg at: Be sure to provide the required details to include your name, the company name, contact email, phone number, website link, species you breed, state you reside, and/or equipment you sell.


Just a quick reminder, our May Board Meeting is right around the corner. Your NAFA officers and Board of Directors will be meeting May 17, 2018. This will be our third of six scheduled board meetings this year. Be sure to reach out to them if you have any concerns, they are your voice.


Step up and serve our association!  It’s time to start thinking about our annual election cycle.  Every year, five of the ten NAFA 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


When the summer heat is unbearable and you need your falconry fix you might want to consider Paraguay. As a member organization to the IAF, NAFA members received and invitation to attend the ACCAPP first international falconry meet this July 9th thru the 16th.

Below is the link to the invitation from the Paraguayan falconers, ACCAPP, for IAF members to attend their first ever international falconry field meet. This is a unique opportunity to escape the summer's heat and head back to a winter climate to experience Paraguayan falconry.

For more information see:


Ever need an excuse to take a bird north of the board to go hunt ducks? Here's your chance!! Start making plans today to attend the 60th Anniversary Saskatchewan Falconry Association Field Meet scheduled for October 1 thru October 7, 2018 in the beautiful prairie town of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. NAFA is currently working with for the USFWS LE to reduce the financial burden of exporting/importing your birds to and from Canada to attend the field meet. There will likely be some conditions, the details are being finalized, that require falconers, heading north of the border. For example we might all be required to meet on a certain day and time at a designated exit or entry port. Folks, this is your chance to experience an unparrelleled duck hawking opportunity. (*Be on th e look out for more information and the online registration form in the next few days.)


Today is the right  time to register for the 2018 Eagle Falconry Meet.  Don't tell yourself you will register later. Go to the Meet registration page, click here now -'t wait to call the Meet headquarters hotel in Rock Springs, Wyoming, the Best Western Outlaw Inn at (307) 362-6623. The price goes up, the longer you wait. This year's Meet offers new twists. The Meet Committee is still planning to create a t-shirt, and they are working with Falconry Traditions on a nice surprise for the first folks to register. Also, there won't be daytime meetings or presentations. Every day, all day, will be dedicated to hunting alongside some of the best eagles and falconers in the U.S., Monday October 8 thru Saturday October 13. Each evening will feature a nice buffet style dinner that will be followed by a speaker(s) covering current topics of interest to the eagle falconry community. There will even be a nice door prize each evening this year. Thursday evening is the main banquet and the featured speaker is Andrew Knowles-Brown, founder of the Scottish Eagle Centre and The Talon Trust. Andrew is a great speaker and his experiences breeding more than 20 species of eagles and hawk-eagles are amazing.The Meet's silent auction will also be held Thursday evening and will include hoods from some of the best hoodmakers in the world, many of them featured in Jim Nelson's encyclopedic book, "Hoods, Hooding, and Hoodmakers". Sign up now and bring family and friends. I hope to see you there.


This is the update a lot of you have been waiting for! The 2018 NAFA Field Meet Hotel is now accepting reservations. Below is a message from field meet co-chairs Brandi Nickerson & Corey Roelke

 * * * * * * * * * * *  
We are happy to announce NAFA will once again be returning to the great state of Texas for the 2018 NAFA Meet. I'm excited to report that we will be returning to Lubbock and the MCM Elegante. Planning has been ongoing for several months and we're pleased to have commitments from some incredible and engaging nightly speakers. We will again be celebrating our incredible supporters and vendors with our, now annual, Vendor Appreciation Night. Hopefully game populations remain above average, 2014 proved to be a historic year for NAFA members. Things are lining up for another incredible NAFA Meet!

2018 Annual NAFA Field Meet

December 2 - 7, 2018


MCM Eleganté Hotel and Suites
801 Ave Q
Lubbock, Texas 79401

To make reservations online:

Room rates:

$85.00 per night (King or Doubles room) or $115.00 per night (Suite)

(*Price includes breakfast for up to 4 people per day per room.)

Meet Details:

For the most current Meet information please refer to: (*Online Registration Coming soon)
or on the NAFA Field Meet Facebook page at: you need to reach us, Brandi can be reached at or 940-507-0333 and Corey at or 817-575-7256.

 * * * * * * * * * * *  


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

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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.


To view, renew, or update your current membership details click here.


I remember sitting in front of my families black and white TV watching Wild Kingdom. I was in awe as I watched Jim Fowler capture a Peregrine with his bare hands.  That one episode changed my life, from that day forward all I wanted to do was be a falconer.  

Becoming a falconer in the late 1960’s was not as easy as today.  The internet did not exist, no cell phones, most falconers were very reclusive and the only books available were reprints of the old English falconry books.  I persisted and located a local falconer that was willing to become my mentor to guide me in those early years and who today is one of my closest friends.  My falconry exposure was still limited to a few falconers at this time, but that all changed with the 1973 NAFA meet in St. Louis, Missouri.  

I still remember getting ready to make the trip with a couple of my falconry friends and the anticipation of what was to come.  I was not disappointed.  I had never seen that many hawks, that many falconers and that much hawking equipment.  At that time, I had only been a falconer for a few years and I was flying my second Harris Hawk, Slo Boy.  Slo Boy was a small male Harris that was having a hard time getting going, but he was steady and demonstrated all of the admirable traits of the Harris.   The highlight to that meet was when J.L. Woody arranged for me to go out with Al Nye.  Al wanted to see what all the excitement was about Harris Hawks.  I was on cloud nine, even though I had no idea at the time who Al Nye, the man or falconer was.   

So, what is NAFA to me?  It was and remains the doorway to the world of falconry.  It introduced me to falconers across the nation and world, it provides me with current falconry information, it watches for changes in regulations, it rallies the membership when our voice needs to be heard to protect our sport, it supports conservation of raptors, prey species and habitat and it honors us when our time is finished. NAFA makes my voice be heard.  Without NAFA, I am just one voice in millions of voices looking to move their agenda forward.  Collectively, we (NAFA) are a voice to be heard and we (NAFA) make a difference.

In order for NAFA to be the voice for falconry, NAFA needs all falconers to be members, all falconers to be heard and all falconers to participate.  We are privileged, at this time, to be practicing some of the best falconry the world has ever seen and if we desire it to continue we need members to support the goals of NAFA.  That privilege will only continue if NAFA continues to receive the support of the falconry community.  If you don’t agree with all of the goals or the current direction of NAFA, then let your voice be heard.  Talk with other members, talk to the directors and officers.  Improvement can only be achieved by active participation. 
I am proud to say that I have been a member of NAFA for past 44 years and I am looking forward to the years to come.  Join me in being part of NAFA’s future by continuing to be a member and recruiting other falconers to be participate in NAFA’s future.

Robert Huber
NAFA Central Director

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