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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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OFA Meet - 2015/2016

As so often happens, the months have passed me by much faster than I would like and faster than my memory can keep up. Still, even though this past seasons OFA field meet is a blur of fun and fond memories, I’d like to take a moment to share some of the details with you.

In early January, a group of local falconers gathered in the Oklahoma panhandle in the town of Guymon. I recall the drive up that Friday afternoon well, while only a few hours from my home in western Oklahoma I remember how quickly the temperature dropped as we headed northwest, and the anticipation of seeing old friends and hawking in a game rich area. I was accompanied by my first year apprentice, Jerel Collins and his ever impressive passage redtail “crimson”. This for us, was one of many such trips to the area over the past several months, but it was the first that would include a fresh snow!

We arrived at the hotel and got our gear situated and met up with some of the other early arrivals. And even thought the snow was beginning to make travel a bit interesting, we headed out to a nearby property along with Shane Bullard a pre-apprentice from OKC as well as seasoned veterans Daniel Murray and Eric Pribil. Where, in spite of the light yet persistent snow, we flew Jerel’s passage redtail and trudged our way to his first successful triple on cottontails. And so the meet officially began for us!

The hotel bar became the hub of operations for us that first evening, as more and more falconers drifted in to plan our adventures for the following morning, or try to steal Daniel’s title as champion of the pool tournament!

Saturday morning it seemed that our meet was destined to be great, as we awoke to a nice covering of snow across a seemingly endless and windless landscape. I recall the enjoyment of watching Ryan VanZant’s female hybrid on pheasant. Ryan’s birds always fly with authority, and even though every jack, cottontail and prairie falcon in the area tried to foul our plans, we all still enjoyed watching her fly. Another treat was Rob Rainey’s Aplomado, which we flew on quail. His bird is incredibly fun to watch, and I’m confident that had it not been so bitterly cold, we would have truly seen some feathers fly, but alas, Rob’s successes came later in the day while I was not present to watch. Then there was Steven Olner’s and Greg Stipp’s Harris hawks flown on cottontails, where again the extreme cold kept us from enjoying them for very long, but they still managed some great flights and catches as the day grew warmer. My other apprentice Barry Bond, showed up in time to put in a great attempt on Jacks with his passage female redtail. And Jerel went on to take another triple on cottontail with his bird. Daniel Murray’s peregrine/merlin was a joy to watch and I certainly gained a new appreciation for the craftiness of quail after watching his bird fly them.

We had many chances over the course of the first day to hawk as a large group, which I was grateful for. I love how the falconers here in Oklahoma can fall into such a seamless operation in a matter of minutes and orchestrate some amazing opportunities! Game was present in abundance and the weather cooperated well. I know there were other groups out and about, and I hate the idea of leaving anyone out, and had I not neglected to write this until March, I may have recalled the details better!

Although, there is one individual I cannot leave out, and that is Chris Hitch. Chris is a local landowner that graciously opened up his land to us and personally beat the brush with our group. His generosity undoubtedly made the meet the success that it was!

We had to leave out fairly early on Sunday, but did get to witness some more longwing action in the early morning, and squeezed in one last flight with Jerel’s bird to take his 7th rabbit of the meet.

As is typically the case, the Oklahoma panhandle provided a quality of falconry that leaves you tired, yet eager to return. We saw numerous species of local raptors, and met some wonderful local people. The Oklahoma Falconers Association will no doubt return to the area again.

-Chris Kimble-

 
 

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