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May President's Message

Saturday, May 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheldon Nicolle
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May 10, 2019

Dear Member,


Time flies when you're having fun, and it also flies when you're busy. We've been busy and we've been trying to have fun! In this email you'll hear about some of the fun folks have been having around the country, you'll also find the first of many field meet updates to include the hotel information for the much anticipated 2019 Field Meet. I've also got some great news on eagles taken for falconry and the potential for more opportunities. Lastly, a call for nominations, hard to believe it's that time again.

Just a quick reminder. Before you know it we'll be gathering with new and old friends in the hustling, bustling and beautiful town of Great Bend, Kansas, enjoying yet another NAFA field meet. Start making those plans today. The hotel is going to fill up quickly, rest assured there are plenty of hotels in Great Bend, a couple within walking distance. Read on below and learn more.


This is the update a lot of you have been waiting for! The 2019 NAFA Field Meet host hotel is now accepting reservations, be sure to get those reservations made as soon as you can.

Below is a message from field meet chairman Ryan Vanzant with meet details and the hotel contact details.

 * * * * * * * * * * *  

It's time to start making plans to attend the 2019 North American Falconers Association Annual Field Meet! This year’s meet will be hosted in Great Bend, Kansas. Located in the west central area of the Sunflower State, Great Bend is conveniently located about an hour and a half northwest of Wichita. Named for its location near where the Arkansas River bends east then southeast, Great Bend was founded near the Santa Fe Trail and later became a railroad hub. Visitor’s will experience:

…the core of Walt Whitman's "Prairies and Plains," the defining American landscape. Don't let the word "plain" fool you, though. There is much to do along the "great bend" of the Arkansas River! Enjoy … visit[ing] historic sites along the Santa Fe Trail, stroll the Kansas Quilt Walk, or venture out to the vast wetlands that bookend [the] town – Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. No matter your interest or time, Great Bend is your home for exploring these parts of the plains!

West central Kansas is well known for providing hunters with a variety of game. A day in the field can provide you with the chance to fly your birds at cottontails, jack rabbits, quail, pheasants, prairie chickens, and ducks in wide open skies.

The Best Western Angus Inn at 2920 10th St, Great Bend, Kansas. (620-792-3541), will be our meet location. At rate of $79.95 plus tax a night, free breakfast, the pet fee waived, indoor pool, plus a restaurant and awesome bar just across the parking lot, one would be hard pressed to find a better deal! 

Too read more about the meet, get a list of the overflow hotels, licenses and permit requirements, etc...  for Kansas, click here....... or got to:


For the first time in almost a decade falconers are taking eagles for falconry. On April 20th Jim Rogers trapped a young male Golden Eagle, the first of two eagles from a ranch just outside of Midwest, Wyoming. Just five days later, on the same ranch, Mike Barker trapped what he had hoped for, a big girl.

With trapping on the ranch now complete, Mike Barker and a few dedicated falconers have remained to continue trapping and relocating problem eagles in an attempt to assist the rancher.This is an important component to acquiring an eagle for falconry. We are helping the rancher and we get to take a few eagles for falconry as a result. Remember that part, future opportunities depend on it.

Also ongoing is the citizen scientist project that a lot of you helped to fund with your generous donations last year. This project is to help identify eagle depredation on a few sheep ranches in Wyoming and then work with the USDA to get a Form 37 created to serve as an official declaration of depredation.

In other eagle news... For those of you who entered in the beta version of the national eagle allocation process developed by the Flyway councils and approved earlier this year, that drawing will be held next Friday, May 17. As we reported earlier this year, this beta version/shortened application procedure had some pretty aggressive dates. See below:

2019 Shortened Application Procedure
3/5/19 - 4/5/19 Application Deadline for falconers to apply with their state agency.
4/5/19 - 4/26/19 State's submit Certified list to Designated State Wildlife Agency (DSWA), this year it is Utah.
5/17/19 - DSWA draws the top 10 names.

Now the exciting news... The falconers selected using the new national eagle allocation procedure may get their opportunity very very soon. A few weeks ago there was a documented eagle depredation in Utah. USDA submitted the required Form 37 and the rancher has applied for the necessary depredation permits. Things are now progressing through the FWS pretty quickly. The 90 day trap and relocate permit, which includes the eagles allocated to falconers, is in process and expected very soon. As it stands we don't know how many eagles will be allocated, but, as soon as we know more about the numbers allocated we'll let everyone know.

It bears mentioning, participation in the national eagle allocation process, developed and approved by the Flyways, is at the states discretion. If your state regulations allow for you to possess a golden eagle for falconry then your state should have no problems submitting your names to the DSWA for the annual drawing. There are a few states that are asking their Attorney General's office to look at the process and procedure to ensure their regulations do allow for their agency to participate by either simply submitting falconers names or, when applicable, allow falconers from other states to enter their state to trap an eagle. The drawing Friday is the ‘beta’ test of the national allocation process, it officially goes live next year. At this time, it’s imperative that falconers in states not participating get involved and get engaged. There are some states that don’t participate in the passage peregrine take, however, falconers in those states can still, as non-residents, go and trap a bird in other states. Being that there are so few eagle permits, a different allocation process was required, but the fact that your home state can't provide your name to a DSWA doesn't make a lot of sense.

Let me repeat this, it's very important... Eagle falconers in states that are not participating in the national eagle allocation process, please get with your state clubs and leaders and get on the ball with your state agency and make sure you are included in the drawing for next year. November will be here before you know it. If falconers in the states not participating need help, all they need to do is ask and we will try our best to do what we can to help.

As more information becomes available we'll let folks know. Being that the national eagle allocation process drawing next week will be done by the state of Utah, we'll have no knowledge of who gets selected, due to privacy issues.If you get the nod be sure to let us know if you need any help or just want to brag and share your experience.

Good luck to everyone entered! Things are definitely looking better for eagle falconry in the US!


Just a quick reminder, our May Board Meeting is right around the corner. Your NAFA officers and Board of Directors will be meeting May 16, 2019. 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, this year there are actually six. If you have ever considered giving back to the community, and are able to attend the annual field meet each November, please consider running and joining our Board of Directors. This summer, the following positions will be voted on; Central, Director-At-Large, Northeast, North Pacific, Southeast, and the *South Pacific Director.  If you are interested in running for election, please click here to download, print, and complete the 2019 Nominations Form and return it prior to June 2, 2019. If you have any questions please contact our Corresponding Secretary, Joan Marie at

(*South Pacific will be to complete the final term of the current Board appointed Director.)


As things start to warm up and the snow stops falling, it's May - enough already, please know that NAFA and all the volunteers working behind the scenes are doing everything they can to help improve your organization and ensure falconry for future generations. If you have a desire to volunteer in any capacity, please see NAFA's Volunteer Opportunities at

I hope your birds are molting and you're catching up on your off season chores Remember...... "0ur differences make us stronger, but falconry is what unites us, Falconry makes us family!"

Thank you all for your continued support!


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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 renew or update your current membership details click here.


My entrance into falconry was a bit unusual. As a wildlife biologist, birder, bird bander, raptor enthusiast, and gun hunter with no previous exposure to falconry, I somehow assumed falconers were all pet-keeping raptors for medieval reenactment programs. This suspicion was absolved when I met a real falconer in my early 20’s and was told about real hawking, and read about falconry hunting seasons. Wait…September to March…what?! Looking at my bird dog lying around the house bored out of his mind, the wheels started to turn.

I still kept associations with clubs and associations at-bay. I was a poor field biologist on the move, and never maintained memberships to anything. Falconers were suing the agency I worked for, only strengthening my reticence about the community. Gradually, I began learn more about the history of conservation and wildlife science in North America. Many threads seem to intersect a fascinating group of falconers; many of whom were key figures in NAFA, the peregrine recovery, raptor science, and conservation generally.

The bottom line is that the modern falconry community today owes a huge debt of gratitude to the past and present leaders of NAFA and their nuanced understanding of raptor conservation, science and diplomacy- and how to advocate from these platforms. They understood how to protect and enhance regulations governing our unique art, in the face of a myriad of other stakeholders and issues that increasingly overwhelm agencies. Moreover, this group was a team of doers that believed in tangible results for both raptor conservation and falconry. These were not fans of lawsuits and legal arm-wresting that has pervaded natural resource conflicts today. In a nutshell, building credibility as a voice for raptor conservation and falconry was done consciously and effectively. Hats off to those who sacrificed so much on behalf of NAFA. Regards, John M. Goodell

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