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2010-2013 NEWS & EVENTS

Escaped Hawk's Big Adventure Includes 279 Mile Trip To Tulsa Area

Posted: Mar 27, 2012 5:03 PM CDT Updated: Jan 25, 2019 10:59 AM CST

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas -

Little Rock's Tucson the hawk has had quite the big adventure. The Harris hawk flew away from the Little Rock Zoo on February 21, 2012, after a loud noise startled him.

"Here at the zoo, he's part of the Wild Wonders Animal Show," said Little Rock Zoo spokesperson Susan Altrui.

Tuscon was "free-flying" over the audience when the sound startled him, and he took off.

Zoo officials had hoped Tucson would get hungry and come home. Five weeks later, he is home -- but not before stopping by the Wild Heart Ranch and a short side trip to Bartlesville.

"Apparently he landed on somebody's property in Oklahoma, just out of Tulsa," Altrui said. "The landowner was surprised he could walk right up to it and thought it was injured."

That's how Tuscon found his way to the Wild Heart Ranch rehab in the Claremore area.

"When the falconer came, he held out his arm with the glove on it, and Tuscon jumped right on his arm," said Altrui.

Oklahoma Falconers' Association President Ryan VanZant says he got a call from Wild Heart Ranch on March 17 that Tucson was at their facility. The Harris hawk was wearing an anklet with an identification number.

VanZant took Tucson home to Bartlesville while he researched where the hawk could be from. He posted a notice on a web site, and an Arkansas falconer made the link and contacted the zoo.

Altrui says Tucson appears to be in good health after his 279 mile long journey.


OFA Picnic, June 4th, 2011



There is evidence that falconry has been found to date back to 2000 B.C. with

records beginning all over the world. Many things have happened to the sport of

falconry through the ages. It has been practiced by many different people: Some

were kings, others noblemen and now, today, by many of you reading this article.

Now, it is only the dedicated, and maybe a little crazy, individuals that pursue the

sport. One of the most important things I saw demonstrated at the picnic was that

without our families and fellow falconers there to support us being there through

the trials and triumphs, we would never make it.


If you didn’t get a chance to make it out to the annual falconry picnic, you

certainly missed out on a good one! Driving in down the winding hill to our picnic

pavilion in Red Rock Canyon was scenic in what turned out to be a warm, clear

day. We all took part in sharing a great meal followed by our annual meeting and

election of new officers. We ended our picnic with a raffle that was put together by

Greg Stipp. Included in the raffle were many fantastic items such as hoods, traps,

gift certificates, a scale, and quail, among others. This is one of the few chances that

we get to meet as an organization, together, in one place to talk falconry and discuss

the upcoming year. It was great to hear the excitement from those around you as

they talk about their birds and about last season’s experiences. It was very special

for all of us, different minds, and many families, to eat and celebrate another year as

Oklahoma Falconers' Association members!


In the name of the birds,

Kelly Smith

Camp McFadden Outdoor Expo  May 14-15, 2011




Last weekend, May 14th & 15th, OFA participated in a Camp McFadden’s Outdoor Expo. There were approximately 250 kids and their parents that came though the camp to participate in making arts & crafts, a zip line, and to see demonstrations on flint knapping, dutch oven cooking, and, of course, birds of prey.

Mark Runnels, Cole Runnels and Stephen Olner, along with their families and Mark’s Gyr-Peregrine hybrid, Stormy, and Stephen’s passage Red-Tail, Shilo, attended the event.




The children and their families were taught to appreciate the birds as beautiful, noble creatures that had a definite place in nature. Several had stories about hawks that they had seen in the wild and the things that they had seen them do.


One of the parents stated that he shot Red-Tails in his backyard because they killed the small birds at his birdfeeder. We had the opportunity to explain to him that his birds were almost certainly being killed by Cooper’s hawks that appeared from, and disappeared to, the heavy cover before he could react and that the Red-tails that he was blaming were more likely eating the rats and mice that were attracted by the birdseed, as well as, the fact that birds of prey are protected and it is illegal to shoot them.

We explained to him that he had the rare privilege of seeing nature in action. Small birds have been chased and eaten by Cooper’s Hawks for thousands of years, and he is lucky to be able to witness this natural drama in his own backyard. He left stating that he wouldn’t shoot the Red-tails now that he knew the truth, and that he was going to try to get a picture of the Cooper’s in action. This one person made the event a success.

One of the Camp Directors found a small rat snake. The snake was “rescued” from a shovel blow and it was added to the activities. Janae Runnels is 12 years old and an accomplished snake handler. She was able to talk the other children about snakes in general, including a warning to never touch a wild snake without knowing for sure if it is venomous or not.




All in all, it was a good weekend. Several people left with an education in a specific area of raptor biology and all the children’s first exposure to birds of prey was a positive experience. They were taught to view them as the noble, majestic creatures that they are rather than worthless varmints.

-Mark Runnels

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Camp McFadden Outdoor Expo  May 14-15, 2011











The Oklahoma Falconer’s Association 2010 annual meet was my first falconry event, and I can’t think of a better first group experience.  Arriving with enthusiasm (right after a rain) on

Thursday evening at Pam and Dave Stephens’ house in hopes of trapping my first bird, a passage female red-tail, I soon found that the birds were fat and wet… not one willing to fly down to the trap.  That night I went to bed, although I got little sleep in anticipation of trapping a bird.  I did successfully trap a 44 oz. Rufus inter-morph female red-tail the following morning.  I had begun my journey and walked into the door of falconry.  I wasn’t the only one to trap my first bird and was happy to see my elation shared by others.







The meet was held at the perfect place: rolling plains in the Panhandle at Dave and Pam Stephen’s house.  Anyone who has ever been to the Stephens’ house knows that it is a falconer’s heaven. 

Perches, scales, and falconry equipment everywhere… not to mention the amazing birds around.  Their house is beautiful and I am thankful for them so graciously opening up their home for us to stay in. 






















The weekend was filled with trapping, hawking, and stories, as well as great friends new and old.  I got to see my first cast of Harris hawks fly and catch game successfully.   An abundance of bunnies, jacks, and pheasant were available for the hawking.  Falconers also brought their birds of the season including red-tails, goshawks, and various falcons along with Dave’s eagles, all magnificent birds to see flown.   There is no better way to be submerged in falconry than to attend meets and I encourage everyone to do so.  I can say with enthusiasm that I will be back next year for more stories, trapping, hawking, and friends.  













-Kelly Smith

Photos by Krys Langven

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Ron Lloyd and Jonathan Coleman represented OFA at the Bass Masters fishing tournament on Ft. Gibson Lake, June 19th, 2010.  This was the headquarters for official weigh-in of the competitors daily catch on the banks of the Arkansas River between Muskogee & Ft. Gibson. There were various displays of fishing equipment and boats, accompanied by activities for kids which included archery, B-B gun shooting, a mountain man display, a display of trapping tools, and of course OK Falconry.  It was brutally hot but they were in a shady area right by the river which made it a little cooler. They drank a lot of fluids, misted the birds frequently, and sat every chance they got. It was a good day as they got to visit with a lot of people and as always the event goers enjoyed being up close to the birds while learning about our sport.

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This year's OFA Picnic was held Saturday, June 12th, from 11am - 4 pm at Prairie Song's Wild West Town, located just north of Bartlesville in Dewey, OK.


"See the Texas Longhorns and walk the streets of Prairie Song an authentic turn of the Century Old West Town Museum built by descendants of pioneer Oklahomans.

The Mission of Prairie Song is to preserve and honor the heritage of Pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in Indian Territory and to acknowledge the cowboy and Indian cultures of Oklahoma. This unique reproduction Town is located on Kenneth & Marilyn Moore-Tate's families pre-statehood ranch lands. Prairie Song is only minutes away from Dewey, Oklahoma and easily accessible from Tulsa. Ok. You won't believe your eyes when you see the interior details of each building in Prairie Song."

After fantastic lunch, catered by OFA Member Kent Carbaugh, we held our annual business meeting, raffle and got a private tour of Prairie Song by Kenneth Tate.

Rafflemiser, Greg Stipp, procured many great items to bid on.  Thanks to all the falconry vendor's and members who helped to make this year's raffle great.  Links to those vendors can be found below.

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