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  1. #1
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    Default 2015 NAFA Meet - Hutchinson, Kansas

    Well, no excuse of I spend Thanksgiving with my family folks. The 2015 NAFA Meet will be held the week of November 9th - 13th in Hays, KS! Meet Chairman Kevin Suedmeyer says "We are fortunate in that Hays holds jacks, ducks, greater prairie chickens, pheasant capital of the world, quail, bunnies, as well as squirrels...A cornucopia of game - That is why it took me so long to select this spot...Gonna be a great meet....”. Meet info and registration will be available on the NAFA website as soon as we get things worked out.
    Fred
    "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Calendar marked - truly hope to get to this one! Have friends and relatives in Kansas!
    Deb Davis
    Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life. - Mark Twain

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    Why did they decide to have it earlier than Thanksgiving and not after? Maybe a bit cooler weather?
    Isaac

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    Quote Originally Posted by BestBeagler View Post
    Why did they decide to have it earlier than Thanksgiving and not after? Maybe a bit cooler weather?
    Years of enduring the family gripes about it being over a holiday.
    -Jeff
    "You live more for five minutes going fast on a bike like that, than other people do in all of their life." --Marco Simoncelli

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    Quote Originally Posted by BestBeagler View Post
    Why did they decide to have it earlier than Thanksgiving and not after? Maybe a bit cooler weather?
    The decision to hold the meet earlier was based on the results of questionnaire/poll that was sent to the membership following the 2013 meet. There was a strong desire for a non-Thanksgiving meet, this is being done on a trial basis and the 2016 meet will again be held over T-giving.

    As far as having the meet after Thanksgiving, you're right weather does come into play more, as does the fact that there are only 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and X-mas, which for many is a very busy time of year.
    Last edited by Saluqi; 02-25-2015 at 04:10 PM.
    Paul Domski
    New Mexico, USA

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    This will be my first Nafa meet, this trip will also be my honey moon, looking forward to jack hawking, and watching some falcons fly.
    Chris
    Goshawks get it done with style

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saluqi View Post
    As far as having the after Thanksgiving, you're right weather does come into play more, as does the fact that there are only 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and X-mas, which for may is a very busy time of year.
    I see the logic behind that. I'm just so far removed from the "reality" of what the holiday season is for so many I forget.
    Isaac

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    Personally, I would have preferred the week after Thanksgiving. A lot of folks get off Thursday and Friday the week of Thanksgiving and that would allow some to head west or east earlier for some extra days of hunting. I don't buy that the week after Thanksgiving is too close to Christmas and that folks would be too busy, I could care less about Black Friday! LOL
    Fred
    "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    I agree with you Fred, I wish it was the week after Thanksgiving as well. If you take a passage bird it's going to be hard to have it trained by the NAFA meet. If you trap a Red tail in early October you will be fine but there's no way you're going to have a passage goshawk anywhere near ready by the meet.
    Michael Cogar

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    I see I am not the only falconer that feels a week after would have been preferable. Most falconers I have talked to all feel the same. Sorry man, I am sure the NAFA volunteers are pulling their hair out reading these posts and thinking "There's just no way to please people!" I feel for you and thank you all for your work.
    Isaac

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    Clearly the reasonable solution would be a three week field meet.
    The week before and the week after thanksgiving included. That way all needs are met.
    Some people may even be there for all three weeks.
    Ricco
    Calm seas have never made a good sailor.

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    3 weeks I like it! Should have enough vacation saved up by then....

    But I'm also quite thrilled for to attend the meet AND have Thanksgiving with the folks this year.
    Melissa (Missy) Wardle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Foot View Post
    Clearly the reasonable solution would be a three week field meet.
    The week before and the week after thanksgiving included. That way all needs are met.
    Some people may even be there for all three weeks.


    I couldn't care less when it is. Schedule it. I'll be there.

    Hays sounds good. Looking forward to it.
    Bryan Kimsey

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    I'm with you Bryan. I'll be there regardless of where or when it is. Hays will be a good time. I'm actually planning to stay there for an extra week after the meet this year with some of my hawkin' buddies. We'll stick around and attempt to catch the game that evaded everyone else during the week of the meet.

    Already looking forward to being there.
    Scott McNeff

    Maine

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    Me too! All year I look forward to the NAFA meet. It has been impossible for me to attend the whole week for the last few years because of the Holiday week and work/family obligations, I've been coming the week before and staying for only the first couple days of the meet so that I at least got to be there for part of it... this year I should be able to attend the whole week of the meet. It'll be nice to get back to Kansas, I can't wait.
    -Ken
    (Maryland/Pennsylvania)

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    To hell with Thanksgiving, lets go hawking.
    Jim
    New Mexican

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    Quote Originally Posted by raptrlvr View Post
    To hell with Thanksgiving, lets go hawking.
    This!
    -Jeff
    "You live more for five minutes going fast on a bike like that, than other people do in all of their life." --Marco Simoncelli

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredFogg View Post
    Well, no excuse of I spend Thanksgiving with my family folks. The 2015 NAFA Meet will be held the week of November 9th - 13th in Hays, KS! Meet Chairman Kevin Suedmeyer says "We are fortunate in that Hays holds jacks, ducks, greater prairie chickens, pheasant capital of the world, quail, bunnies, as well as squirrels...A cornucopia of game - That is why it took me so long to select this spot...Gonna be a great meet....”. Meet info and registration will be available on the NAFA website as soon as we get things worked out.
    Hi Fred:

    I thought the 2015 NAFA meet was going to be in Dodge City. So it was officially switched to Hays?

    Just checking.

    Best,
    Dan McCarron
    John 3: 16

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyodjm View Post
    Hi Fred:

    I thought the 2015 NAFA meet was going to be in Dodge City. So it was officially switched to Hays?

    Just checking.

    Best,
    Dan, no location was ever announced or mentioned about the 2015 meet until Kevin finally announced his decision recently. Most folks are used to it being in either Garden City or Dodge City but I think Kevin wanted to make a choice strictly by available game and that is how he came up with Hays. I will be surprised if it has a lot of jacks due to how far east it is but I hope I am wrong.
    Fred
    "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  20. #20
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    This past December, I spent 3 weeks hawking with 3 friends, an hour south of Hays. 2 Redtails and 2 Harris' were being flown and several hours were logged flushing. We put a pretty fair number of cottontail out, but no Jacks. I would have liked to see some Jack flight as one of the birds is quite good at them, but no joy.
    Jeff,
    Northern Black Hills, Wyoming

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    Anybody have an idea what the agenda/schedule will be for the meet since the holiday is not thrown in the middle? When will be the "big night"? It will be hard to convince the wife to be gone for the whole week but I want the full meet experience. Last time I went early and left early which was fun but I felt like I left before all the booze really took effect.
    Justin Nucci
    Denver, CO

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    Lol, you did Standard "big night" is always Friday (Banquet night). Random alcoholic "big nights" might occur on any of the other nights as well. By Wednesday or Thursday though a lot of folks are exhausted, so things tend to be more interesting earlier in the week. But, ya really never know, lol.

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    I have to agree with Jeff I lived in Oakley Kansas the next town to the west during a apprenticeship I had crop dusting and I didn't see a Jack Rabbit the 6 months I was there and covered about 120 mile radius around Oakley/Hayes almost daily. So I wouldn't be counting on flying Jacks.
    Michael Cogar

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    The guys to ask about jacks in Kansas are the guys that hunt coyotes and jacks with greyhounds.

    -- Scott
    “Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” – Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

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    My wife and I passed through Garden City, Ks last weekend. This is what the terrain looks like in that part of the state.
    Jim
    New Mexican

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    Quote Originally Posted by raptrlvr View Post
    My wife and I passed through Garden City, Ks last weekend. This is what the terrain looks like in that part of the state.
    Anyone else see the prairie on the pole in the clip?
    Isaac

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    Any more word on what hotel it will be held at? Usually about time to make reservations.
    Justin Nucci
    Denver, CO

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    Any word? I would like to reserve a room and set up flight and car rental.
    Ken Hooke
    Falconry Hoods International
    "Specializing" in unique, One Piece Hoods

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    The hotel paperwork is nearly completed, there should be an announcement soon and registration for the hotel should open on June 1st.
    Paul Domski
    New Mexico, USA

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    How do these NAFA meets go? Does everyone meet up at the same fields and take turns? Or do people just split up wherever they want and meet up later? I've heard some people have little "parties" in their rooms? Can't wait.
    Scott Richter

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdyelm View Post
    How do these NAFA meets go? Does everyone meet up at the same fields and take turns? Or do people just split up wherever they want and meet up later? I've heard some people have little "parties" in their rooms? Can't wait.
    Imagine 150 falconers taking over a hotel in small agricultural town somewhere in the middle of America. Falconers of all shapes, sizes, and ages, and both sexes walking around with hawks on their fists and hunting dogs on leash stopping to chat with other falconers in the halls, parking lot, lobby, and weathering yard. Plans get made with total strangers who want to see your bird fly, or who you want to see their bird fly, everyone is super friendly and supportive, especially to the young and the apprentices who may be in search of their first head of game. People come and go all day at the hotel, there's always action at the weathering yard where it's easiest to hook with other falconers. After hours there are evening programs, folks sharing stories and drinks, there are always groups of friends who only get together once a year for the meet so the partying may go on until very late in the evenings, it's a gift week for full and total immersion in falconry and falconry culture, it's great, nothing quite like it.

    My one tip is to be very proactive in finding productive hunting grounds, don't expect anyone to help you and you won't be disappointed. Knock on doors,meet landowners, forge relationships, and don't be afraid to drive out into the country miles away from the hotel. The folks I've heard complaining about game at meets are those who look too close to the hotel, and who are scared to knock on doors, big mistake, in Kansas especially, the locals are super friendly to hunters and think falconers are pretty cool.
    Paul Domski
    New Mexico, USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saluqi View Post
    Imagine 150 falconers taking over a hotel in small agricultural town somewhere in the middle of America. Falconers of all shapes, sizes, and ages, and both sexes walking around with hawks on their fists and hunting dogs on leash stopping to chat with other falconers in the halls, parking lot, lobby, and weathering yard. Plans get made with total strangers who want to see your bird fly, or who you want to see their bird fly, everyone is super friendly and supportive, especially to the young and the apprentices who may be in search of their first head of game. People come and go all day at the hotel, there's always action at the weathering yard where it's easiest to hook with other falconers. After hours there are evening programs, folks sharing stories and drinks, there are always groups of friends who only get together once a year for the meet so the partying may go on until very late in the evenings, it's a gift week for full and total immersion in falconry and falconry culture, it's great, nothing quite like it.

    My one tip is to be very proactive in finding productive hunting grounds, don't expect anyone to help you and you won't be disappointed. Knock on doors,meet landowners, forge relationships, and don't be afraid to drive out into the country miles away from the hotel. The folks I've heard complaining about game at meets are those who look too close to the hotel, and who are scared to knock on doors, big mistake, in Kansas especially, the locals are super friendly to hunters and think falconers are pretty cool.

    Thanks, sounds very awsome!
    Scott Richter

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    First get a WIHP map. Hays is a college town, not so small. Opening weekend of pheasant hunting (November 14th, 2015) is a big deal for Kansas families. There could be some reluctance to let a bunch of outsiders stir up the pheasants before gun season on some private land. There will be ample hunting opportunities. Great Bend, KS. had relatively good pheasant last year. See Cheyenne Bottoms if you get the chance. There's a nice wetland museum there. Go North (Plainville, Stockton) from Hays for prairie chicken. The biologists at KPW&T in Hays are helpful, the office is near Hays State campus. Find some college kids that like to hunt and they'll take you out. Professors steak house is a good place to eat in Hays.

    -- Scott

    PS. Don't be shocked to hear negative attitudes about raptors in Kansas. Residents blame them for kill upland game and many oldtimers shoot raptors or at least aren't shy about telling you they do.
    “Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” – Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

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    Here's an article I wrote several years ago for THA's journal. Some of the information needs to be updated.




    Kansas or Bust: A Guide to Game Hawking in Kansas
    By
    Scott L. Coleman

    Just about 10 years ago, I began hawking upland gamebirds and waterfowl in Kansas. My motivation was to seek new challenges in the art of falconry by learning to be a grouse hawker. This article relates the experience gained over the past decade of game hawking in Kansas. The drive to good hawking ground in Kansas is as far as hawking in the some parts of the Texas Panhandle. However, game hawking in Kansas does present several challenges. Never forget that we call falconry hunting because nothing is certain in terms of finding places to hunt, finding quarry, or a myriad of other things. It is neither easy nor cheap when game hawking out of state. Nevertheless, I will provide some tidbits of knowledge so that one may be better prepare for this endeavor.
    Where to hunt is perhaps the most important factor of consideration. The good news is that Kansas unlike Texas promotes hunting for the average hunter with a Walk In Hunting Area (WIHA) program. This program allows hunters to legally access land without seeking permission from landowners. The bad news is everyone else has been there before. There are several restrictions that hunters must adhere to, for example, no driving onto the property, and a limit to hunting according to some calendar dates. This information is usually posted on location. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism (KWPT) provides detailed maps and GPS coordinates to the WIHA sites available in places that sale hunting licenses and on their website, as well. The maps index the location with the type of quarry. Spending time personally surveying several sites is part of paying your dues. Fortunately your search does not have to be random. Contacting biologists working for KWPT for information regarding game surveys may give you the current population status and hotspots for particular gamebird species. On my most recent hawking trip, KWPT wildlife biologist David Dahlgren in Hayes provided first-hand information about locations for lesser prairie chicken on WIHA properties. Obtaining permission to hunt on private land can be gained with due diligence. A common technique is to chat with local landowners at small-town cafes or the local feed store. Getting know the so-called locals will bear fruit over time. The news of a falconer in town will spread in the area that you are hunting and lead to permission on other nearby property. Two important things to remember is that no hunting areas are posted with purple signs and having written permission from the landowner is required. Although it is an extra expense, Plat maps (i.e., county maps with a directory) are very handy for locating landowners (see Country-Wide Directory http://www.countywidedirectories.com/Default.aspx).

    When to hunt is factor. Kansas can be much colder than Texas. I experienced minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit on one Winter hawking trip. If you intend on hawking during January, then be prepared. This includes packing cold weather gear for human, dog, and bird of prey. On the other hand, I have encountered mild Winter temperatures where ponds were not iced and covered with ducks in Kansas. As a general rule upland gamebirds hold better in early season and becomes wary as the season progresses. The older the gamebird, the better at escaping it becomes, so early season hunting is easiest. Knowing the game laws and particularly the hunting season is paramount in Kansas. Some important falconry information is not given in the standard hunting regulation summary (i.e., the yearly hunting regulation booklet). I learned this the hard way, so be prepared and know the regulations. Specifically upland gamebirds may hunted from September 1 thru March 31 (see http://www.kdwpt.state.ks.us/news/Se...tions/Falconry). Mike Spielman in Pratt Kansas is the falconry permit coordinator for the state. The extended duck season is given in the standard hunting regulation summary. While mentioning legal issues Kansas requires a hunter's education certificate. The last caveat concerns the waterfowl license. The regular hunting permit and waterfowl permits are not synchronized by calendar date. This has caused confusion numerous time when trying to purchase a hunting license. There are other specialty licenses required as well (e.g., prairie chicken stamp).

    Who to hunt with is another factor. I have hawked with only one Kansas falconer. Ron Krupa of El Dorado who served as a field meet coordinator for the American falconry Conservancy. He was the first falconer to show me the technique for finding and hawking prairie chicken. The formula is basically to find a location where CRP and crops (milo, cut corn, soybean, and wheat) join. Arrive either at dawn or before dusk. Scope the field and watch for prairie chicken to fly low between the loafing and feeding ground. As you can imagine this is very time consuming and finding good slips is not easy. However, prairie chicken are habitual in their behavior patterns. Once spotted they will most likely be found at the same time and location repeatedly. Except for attending a field meet, most of my experience is hawking alone or with a close friend or two. Going alone is great for self-reflection and less pressure to find enough game for others; whereas, going with friend is great for the companionship, shared experience, and the backup if you need it. One important issue when hawking with friends is determining whose going to fly their bird. This can be less problematic if everyone separates and essential flies on their own. When hawking together, my philosophy is to be as flexible as possible. For example, choose the best raptor for the situation rather than follow strict flight order, give a less experienced bird the better setup, or take an unexpected opportunity when it arises rather than wait for a better setup.

    Where to stay is another factor. Many falconers have small RVs to use on hawking trips. My 1985 Toyota 4Runner with a 4 cylinder engine is not capable of toeing a RV. Thus, I have learned to improvise in order to gain over night lodging. On various hawking trips, I have encountered accommodations that ranged for sleeping on the open ground with nothing except a tarp to staying in luxury cabin with theater seating with multiple big screen televisions. Of course many small towns have motels that are hunter friendly, but some do not. Many of these motels are hunter friendly and convenient to resources in town. However, a motel may not provide an adequate weathering space or a secure place to leave perches, bath pans, and other less essential equipment. This leads to a lot of packing and unpacking. An alternative is to check the bulletin board at the local gas station for private lodging. Many landowners have an extra house available for hunters. When knocking on doors to obtain permission be sure to ask if there is a place to stay nearby. I find that being close to the hunting ground is a big benefit. Mainly to less travelling from lodge to field. Local hunting conditions vary, so be prepared to move new areas. I have crisscrossed the state search for places to stay and hunt many times.

    A few last comments on game hawking in Kansas in terms of what to expect when flying a falcon. First of all there are hazards when flying a falcon in Kansas in the dead of Winter there is a starving red-tail hawk in every tree and both bald eagles and golden eagles may be encountered as well. Falcons not accustom may fall victim. I have seen this happen to a peregrine and it is a very sickening feeling. Long distant travel is stressful for a raptor which can have a negative effect on hunting performance. Upon arrival a day of acclimation and weathering is beneficial. Dehydration is another issue. I have found that feeding watery meat with no casting material (i.e., fed on the fist from a small dish) each evening keeps the falcon well hydrated. Wide-open land without structure is ideal for flying longwings. My experience is that the falcon's pitch will increase from its normal height in Kansas. A typical scenario is the first flight is a typical pitch, consequently, the gamebird will out fly the falcon. After getting burned, a falcon will adjust by taking a higher pitch on the second flight. This is a natural way to teach pitch. It may be tempting to bag the falcon as a reward for its effort on wild gamebirds, but my experience is it best not to bag them. One of my favorite places to fly provides an opportunity to slip your falcon on prairie chicken, pheasant, and duck in the same flight. Start with prairie chicken at the top with open low grass, then work down the higher grass areas in a waterway for pheasant, and finally if all else fails flush ducks in a pond at the bottom of the field. A versatile birddog is important. Without a dog to cover the vast tracts of ground, hunting gamebirds in Kansas would be exacerbating. I recently learned the value of a telemetry dog collar. So keep in mind that a dog can be lost in Kansas as easily as a falcon. Lastly, the title is Kansas or Bust for a purpose. A Texas duck hawk is at a disadvantage on hunting upland gamebirds, especially prairie chicken. It is a sure bust to create a false expectation of success. A falcon that does not regularly hunt pheasant and prairie chicken will not put many in the bag, but it is sure is fun to try.
    “Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” – Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

  35. #35
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    Default NAFA hotel in Ks

    Just made my reservations for the NAFA meet. The clerk said they have gotten about 100 calls just today for the meet. I'd say they are gonna be booked in a couple of days.
    Jim
    New Mexican

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