Hello everyone! I have been involved in falconry for almost 10 years through my uncle, Paul Astoffi. Some of my most valued memories of hunting were with my uncle and his birds which sparked the passion for falconry and birds of prey. From the age of 5 I was taught the most important part of falconry which apparently in my Uncles eyes was keeping his Mew cleaned. At least that's what it felt like each time I got to visit, as my first chore before hunting was to clean his Mew... I remember being in such a panic trying to clean as fast as I could just to make sure I wouldn't miss anything.

Each hunt was a new and exciting experience which fueled my passion to one day become a falconer. My uncle bought me my first shotgun at the age of 10 or 11 for Christmas. I remember asking him what I was going to do with it since Rascal, his Peales Peregrine was much more fun to hunt with. We were huge into duck hunting and he thought I would put the shotgun to good use. We got a good laugh years later telling that story at Christmas dinner.

As the hands of time spun faster and faster, I reached the golden age of 15 and my uncle and I took to the water that shotgun season for duck hunting opening weekend. We decided to head to the marsh where hunting was harder to get to but usually produced more game. After a successful hunt and a lot of catching up, we began the chore of gathering gear so we could start heading home. As I went to get the punt boat out of the cattails I noticed my Uncle hunched over in the water. As I got closer to him I realized that there was something very wrong. Not moving, I realized my worst fear. He had died from a heart attack on our hunt.

His birds were released to other falconers around the United States and my heart was broken. Not only for the loss of my Uncle, but for the loss of the only link to falconry in my life. The next 22 years went on as I tried to find the secret to life. As the years moved on the deep down passion for falconry started to boil and I started searching for it heavily. Finally landing a sponsor, I am on schedule to become a General Falconer in the summer of 2015. The only regret is that I waited so long to get back in the game. After a few hardcore hunts with a Red Tail and I have come to realize what I've been missing in my life for all these years. I look to get back into longwings once my general status has been reached, and then I can say that my life journey has just begun. Happy Hunting!

Milan Michigan