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OFA Officers

Jonathan Coleman
President

Chris Kimble
Vice President

Bart Russell
President-elect

Shane Bullard
Treasurer

Rob Huber
Secretary



OFA is an affiliate of the North American Falconers' Association

OFA is a proud contributor to The Falconry Fund

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OFA Is a proud contributor to Quail Forever

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Name?  

Robert Lee Rainey

 

How long have you been an OFA member?  

Since the mid ‘80’s.

 

Positions in OFA?  

President Elect, and President.

 

 

Where do you live?  

Edmond, Oklahoma.

 

 

Job or School?  

Partner in Oklahoma City Law Firm.

 

 

Family?  

Three daughters, Sarah, Amanda, and Robin, and spouse Carilyn.

 

 

What got you interested in falconry?  

A combination of watching the movie, My Side of the Mountain (1969) and creating outdoor mischief and mayhem with my partner in crime, Mitch Wishon.

 

 

Who was your sponsor? (or mentors and influences?)  

Howard Stutte sponsored me, and Mitch Wishon really helped me on the day to day stuff. Mitch’s innate, intuitive falconry skills are nothing short of amazing.

 

 

What birds do you currently fly?  

Female North American Goshawk.

 

 

What birds have you flown in the past?  

My fair share of long and short wings.

 

 

What was your favorite bird and why?  

They were all pretty amazing and challenging, but I would have to say that I find the accipiters to be the most versatile and the most challenging while being the most appropriate for our prey base in central Oklahoma. See article below.

 

 

What birds do you plan to fly or would like to fly?  

Primarily accipiters for the immediate future, and would really like to fly a female Aplomado (a “goshawk in falcon clothing”).

 

 

Favorite Quarry?  

Goshawk flights on crows and ducks.

 

 

Do you have other animals?  

Hungarian Viszla and Devon hairless cat, nicknamed “Hawk Bait.”

 

 

Favorite falconry story?  

 

FALCONERS DEVELOP SPECIAL RAPPORT WITH RAPTORS

BY DAVID ZIZZO

Published: February 8, 2009

 

Greg Stipp, with the Oklahoma Falconer's Association, pets Sadie, a 1-year-old hybrid falcon that was hatched in Oklahoma, during the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., August 25, 2006. By Matt Strasen

As Rob Rainey walked in a field near a row of homes recently, his hunting partner was closing in on a quail when he turned sharply and crashed into a plate-glass window.

"He died doing what he loved,” Rainey said.

Whinge was a Finnish goshawk, and hunting is what a bird of prey’s world is all about. Rainey, as a falconer qualified and licensed to work with raptors, gets to be a part of it.

Falconers must keep their birds in top condition, learn their tendencies and earn their trust, then help them find prey and set up conditions so the birds can do what they were meant to do.

"It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Rainey said.

Rainey, 48, an Edmond attorney, is one of about 70 falconers in Oklahoma and about 4,000 in North America.

His interest in nature’s flying weapons, like that of many falconers, began when he was young. At age 8, Rainey saw the movie "My Side of the Mountain,” about a boy surviving in the wild and training a falcon.

Rainey and a friend in their north Edmond rural neighborhood found baby barred owls in a nest and raised them. The boys fed the birds dog food and tried their best, he said. But they knew nothing of falconry, and the birds flew off as soon as they were able.

"We failed miserably,” Rainey recalled.

Rainey searched out the few books available on the subject and finally located a mentor: a high school coach who was a falconer. Today, Rainey is a master falconer, the highest and most experienced rating.

Falconers handle all types of raptors, mostly hawks.

For Oscar Pack, an eagle falconer from Yukon, there’s nothing like the big birds.

"They’re the top of the line in the bird world,” Pack said. "They’re just a majestic bird. Their size alone makes them pretty unique.”

Pack’s raptor fascination also began when he was young. Pack and a friend took a baby hawk from a nest.

"We raised it and played with it until it got away from us,” he recalled.

Today, Pack, a master falconer, has a special rapport with Mina, his 3-year-old golden eagle. Raised at the American Eagle Foundation in Tennessee, Mina was released into the wild but was almost electrocuted when she landed on a power line, a common fate for raptors. Mina lost only one toe on her left foot, and she was nursed back to health, winding up in Pack’s experienced hands. Although weakened in one foot, she can still crush a jackrabbit in her talons.

Raptors raised in captivity are different from those in the wild. They imprint on their handlers, and "they think they’re humans,” Rainey said. They have yet to learn how to hunt and kill, and they often go through a period of juvenile aggression. Raptors caught in the wild already know how to hunt, and they’re usually past the incorrigible stage.

"They’re very trainable,” Rainey said.

Designed by nature for speed and killing, they do it with efficiency and grace, a deadly beautiful combination that can be appreciated by all who are lucky enough to see them perform.

"It was more than I expected, seeing the falconers and the birds of prey work together,” Philip Pippin said after watching several falconers and their birds in action.

Pippin accompanied a troop of Boy Scouts he helps lead on a recent hunt near Arcadia conducted by Rainey, Pack and other falconers.

"You just hear this pop,” Pippin marveled of the moment a raptor, which can top 200 mph in a "stoop,” or dive, strikes its prey.

"I thought it was fabulous.”

Falconers realize their animals are not pets, Rainey said. "These are hunting animals.”

Still, training requires formation of deep bonds between falconer and raptor based on food and trust, so falconers grow close to their birds. This makes the loss of one, such as Whinge, who Rainey said is still "with me in spirit,” so difficult.

"It’s pretty devastating,” he said.

"It’s not losing a kid, but it’s pretty near.”

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

 

 

 

Funniest falconry story?

Mitch and I were out late one day terrorizing birds with my Tiercel Finnish Goshawk, and he fell into a 18 foot deep crevice between a false brick wall at a local carwash, all in pursuit of a pigeon. We had no idea where he was or what happened. We just knew he had not flown off. Ultimately,  Mitch offered and did retrieve an extension ladder from his home, climbed up 18 feet, stuck our heads between the roof and steel girder, all with pigeon crap everywhere, and looked 18 feet down to discovery the poor Goshawk at the bottom of this 8 inch wide crevice, wondering had happened. To make matters worse, there were still pigeons in there, laughing at him and me. I actually considered ramming my car hitch into the brick wall to knock a hole, all in an attempt to get my bird back.

 Of course, cooler heads prevailed (mainly Mitch’s), and he suggested skinning the Gos’s previous kill, attaching it to the lure, hope the lure line was long enough, and that he was not too injured, or too fat to attach himself to the lure and be dragged up. Luckily, it worked great, and out he came, absolutely unfazed and undamaged. I’ve not had this happen before, so it was a little traumatic.

 

 

Favorite quote?  

Frank Beebe’s admonition: “Never let the obsession of Falconry interfere with Family.”

 

 

What is the best tip that you would give someone new to the sport?  

Find and commit to the best sponsor you can, and don’t settle for a long distance relationship, if at all possible.

 

 

Who have you sponsored? 

 Lauren McGough, Adam Deem, and Kelly Smith (in that order).

 

 

What goals do you have for your falconry experience?  

To become consistently successful at all manner of game with a Goshawk, while avoiding windows, autos, West Nile, seizures, etc. 

 

Social Networks?  

LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

 

Anything Else?  

I am thankful for our forward thinking and hardworking OFA Officers for making OFA the best she can be! I’m thankful to people like Mitch Wishon, Oscar Pack, Jere Korthanke, Greg Stipp, Steve Sherrod, Ken Riddle, and many others who go out of their way to not only help me and others elevate the practice of Falconry, but do their best not to make too much fun of me.

 


 
 

Featured Member

January, 2018

Bob Clark


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Featured Raptor

January, 2018

Bullseye


View past featured raptors
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