Trapping Season

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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?

Ryan VanZant

 

How long have you been an OFA member?

Since moving to Oklahoma in 2005

 

Positions in OFA?

President-elect and will serve as President starting the summer of 2011

 

Where do you live?

Bartlesville

 

Job or School?

I work at the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center doing education

 

Family?

I have an awesome wife, Katie, and two daughters

 

What got you interested in falconry?

I volunteered with for the Peregrine fund in the early 90’s while they were hacking Peregrines where I grew up in Fort Wayne, IN.  Watching them learn to be wild had me hooked.  It took one outing in Indianapolis with Mark Booth and his Harris Hawk and I knew Falconry was something I had to do. 

 

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

My Sponsor was Greg Felty, a Florida Falconer and former co-worker.  I also took a lot of influence from Dillon Horger, now an Arizona Falconer, who has very streamlined views of how his falconry should be practiced.  After living in several different states for work over the years I settled in Northeast Oklahoma and found some of the highest overall quality of falconry I’ve seen.  I’ve had a lot of influence from many people here, but those that stand out are Steve Sherrod, Raul Ramierez (used to intern for me), Scott Dillon (helps keep falconry fun), and my current apprentice Daniel who ALWAYS makes me explain my thoughts, in detailed detail, which forces me to think deeper into the “whys” of training raptors.

 

What birds do you currently fly?

Gyr/Peregrine Hybrid and a Gyrkin.

 

What birds have you flown in the past?

Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Gyr/Peregrine Falcon,  and Cooper’s Hawk

 

What was your favorite bird and why?

My last imprint Gyr/Peregrine, Rhythm.  He was my first imprint longwing and first hybrid.  He was a heck of a game hawk and just a pleasure to have around.   He died in the line of duty, hitting a duck hard enough to cause internal damage to himself.

 

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

I’m not really sure.  I definitely want to fly more passage prairie falcons in the future, possibly a Gyr/Barbary cross if I get the itch for another hybrid in the future.  I’m sure I’ll always have a longwing around.

 

Favorite Quarry?

Currently Ducks because at this point in time, they are relatively plentiful and I don’t know any better….

 

Do you have other animals?

Yep…..Parrots, pigeons, fish, sulcata tortoise, a pointer, a vislza, and a boxer.

 

Favorite falconry story?

Some of my favorite times are when I’m out hawking and it’s just me, a bird, and a dog.  The other day I glassed a ½ dozen Ringneck Ducks on a small pond from the two track I was driving on and decided that I was going to fly them.  I park the truck and quickly got my hybrid into the air.  When he mounted up to a good pitch, I ran in and flushed the ducks.  Ringnecks usually flush straight away initially when jumped and these were the norm.  They got up and went straight away from me, only there was no falcon hot on their tails.  Just as I’m in the process of thinking, “where in the heck is he,” I hear a *thwack* and quack just behind me.  So close it made me flinch.  I turn around and not 20 feet away my falcon was subduing a drake Mallard.  I still don’t know where the duck came from, maybe he was up in the neck of the pond and I just didn’t see him there.  The most memorable flight that I never got to see.

 

Funniest falconry story?

Funny is hard to write and there have been a ton of funny falconry stories I can think of but may not be appropriate for the internet.  I did take a non-falconer friend out in the field this one particular time.  Of course he wasn’t dressed for the occasion, wearing a sweater and dress jeans as we stomped around in the thickets.  After a few slips with nothing in the bag I decided that it would be a good time for a drag lure.  I gave my friend the line and told him to run pulling the lure behind him when I give the signal. 

 

After everything was set up, I gave him the cue, and he took off.  The hawk was instantly off from this perch and in hot pursuit.  Not 20 yards into the chase, my buddy stepped into a hole and went tumbling forward into the brush.  After a literal somersault, his body came to a stop and the lure that he was dragging hit snag, bounced up, and landed right on top of him soon followed by the hawk.  So here is this guy, sprawled out on the ground, his sweater had picked up a thousand burrs from tumbling across the ground, his face was bleeding from the thorns, and to top it all off the hawk had both feet buried into his belt while trying to pull at the tidbit on the lure.  I was laughing far too hard to even breathe, let alone help him out.    

 

Favorite quote?

“A falconry expedition brings together a group of men… each of them is animated by the prospect of an agreeable and refreshing change, away from the clamor of the city and the monotony of daily life.”

-Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

 

A still, cold, quite morning is my stress relief from the tensions of “real” life

 

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

Start with the books in learning but stay flexible in practice.  Every bird is different and there is not one “recipe” that works for all.  And remember that you get out only what you put in.

 

Who have you sponsored?

Daniel Murray and Kent Carbaugh, half way anyway.

 

What goals do you have for your falconry experience?

To keep finding new ways to keep falconry challenging and interesting by working toward perfecting my training techniques and learning about the natural world through the sport.


Contact Info you want public?

Email:  Ryan VanZant


Social Networks?

Facebook

 


 
 

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