Falconry in the news. Oklahoma Falconers' Association's own Lauren McGough is in the spotlight again. Read one of the articles about her here.
Passage Peregrine Take Increase!
September 11, 2017
I am very excited to announce that the three fold increase of passage peregrine permits for falconers in the United States has been passed! Because of this increase, falconers in Oklahoma will be allocated SIX permits to trap falcons starting this year! Our friends in Kansas and Nebraska were also allocated permits for the very first time and will receive six each, and our friends in Texas had their permit numbers increased to a whopping thirty birds! On behalf of the OFA board and our membership, I would like to extend our biggest THANK YOU to the North American Falconers' Association, Alastair Franke, and to all of the other dedicated individuals that worked so hard on this for us all. You all are incredible, and we appreciate all of the blood, sweat, and tears put into making this dream a reality!
Here is a link to the Peregrine Portion of the ODWC Website.
Below is a copy of the Fish and Wildlife's notification, in case you are interested in reading it.
All the best friends, and good luck trapping!
Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior
In December 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed an environmental assessment (EA) on the take of peregrine falcons for use in falconry. In 2009 and 2010, we published notices in the Federal Registerdescribing the take limits and geographic allocation of take for first-year fall-migrant (passage) peregrine falcons consistent with the selected alternative in that EA. The overall take limits have remained constant since 2009. This notice is to inform the public that, at the request of the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils, we have reviewed recent data and are revising the take limits for passage peregrine falcons beginning in the fall of 2017.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Brian A. Millsap, National Raptor Coordinator, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 505-761-4724; email@example.com.
The authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to govern take of raptors and other migratory birds is derived from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA; 16 U.S.C. 703-712). In carrying out this responsibility, we have administratively divided the Nation into four Flyways: Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific. Each Flyway has a Flyway Council that assists in researching and providing migratory game bird management information. The Federal regulations to carry out the MBTA are located in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The MBTA prohibits any person from, among other things, taking, possessing, purchasing, bartering, selling, or offering to purchase, barter, or sell, raptors (birds of prey) and other migratory birds listed in 50 CFR 10.13, unless the activities are allowed under Federal regulations. Take and possession of raptors for use in falconry is governed by regulations at 50 CFR 21.29. Under the provisions of the Federal falconry regulations, the Service administers a program to approve State, tribal, and territorial falconry programs. Since January 1, 2014, the 48 continental States and Alaska all have approved falconry regulatory programs, and the Service no longer issues permits for the practice of falconry.
We completed an environmental assessment (EA) on take of migrant peregrine falcons in 2008 (see 73 FR 74508, December 8, 2008). Our preferred alternative at that time allowed a take of 36 passage peregrine falcons from September 20 through October 20 from anywhere in the United States east of 100 degrees W. longitude. Allocation of the 36 passage peregrine falcons was agreed upon by the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyway Councils. Our management strategy analyzed in the preferred alternative in the 2008 EA incorporated three important safeguards to ensure against negative impacts from authorized falconry take on peregrine falcons across their range.
First, we constrained the timing and location of the falconry captures to focus the take on the northern peregrine Start Printed Page 42701falcon management population (i.e., those birds originating from natal areas north of 54 degrees N. latitude), which was known to be healthy and able to sustain take. We constrained captures in this way to minimize take from the eastern and western management populations (i.e., those originating from sites east and west, respectively, of 100 degrees W. longitude and south of 54 degrees N. latitude), which were still recovering from the negative population-level effects of pesticide contamination. We committed to evaluate whether our management strategy effectively focused take on the northern management population by collecting feathers from falconer-captured passage peregrine falcons, and analyzing deuterium levels in those feathers to estimate the latitude of origin.
Second, because we lacked credible estimates of the size of the northern passage peregrine falcon population in 2008, we consulted with the Canadian Wildlife Service and adopted an extremely conservative estimate of the number (i.e.,3,590) of passage peregrine falcons for the northern management population. We derived this estimate from the number of known breeding pairs in the Arctic.
Finally, in our EA and in subsequent Federal Register notices (74 FR 36253, July 22, 2009; 75 FR 56555, September 16, 2010), we committed to reviewing data on peregrine falcons in the future at the request of the Flyway Councils to reassess the allowable take limits if data required or supported a change.
We have reviewed two recent scientific analyses that provide important new information relevant to the take of passage peregrine falcons. First, Franke (2016) used a mark-recapture model to generate an improved data-based estimate of the average number of passage peregrine falcons produced in the northern management population annually. Franke's (2016) data-based estimate of 21,000 is more than five times greater than the number we used to set take limits in the 2008 EA. Second, the Service and cooperators completed the analysis of deuterium levels in passage peregrine falcons captured in fall within the prescribed take area. The deuterium level analysis shows that the management strategy outlined in the 2008 EA is likely resulting in more than 75 percent of the falconer take coming from the northern peregrine falcon management population (Franke et al. 2017). This outcome is more protective than the objective outlined in the 2008 EA, which was that at least 65 percent of the passage peregrine falcons taken by falconers must originate from the northern management population. Overall, peregrine falcon populations remain healthy across North America, and indices such as the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) show the continental population increasing (BBS index for the period 2005-2015 = 6.4 percent per year, with a 95 percent credible interval of 0.45-13.45 percent) and no regional populations appear to be declining (Sauer et al. 2017).
The Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyway Councils reviewed this new information in 2017 and formally requested that we reevaluate and revise the passage peregrine falcon take limits based on the updated estimate of the number of passage peregrine falcons produced annually in the northern management population. Further, the Flyway Councils requested that we use the 10th quantile (i.e., 18,000) of the probability distribution for the updated mean annual number of passage peregrine falcons exposed to take rather than the mean value (i.e.,21,000). By using the 10th quantile, we expect there to be a 90 percent chance that the actual number is larger and, therefore, that we remain protective against overexploitation and account for the uncertainty in the production estimate. We undertook the analyses requested by the Flyway Councils by substituting 18,000 (the updated production estimate for the northern peregrine falcon management population) for 3,590 (the production estimate used in the 2008 EA) in the same models and using the same population-specific take rates as specified under the preferred alternative in the 2008 EA.
The updated analysis indicates that 144 passage peregrine falcons may be taken annually by falconers east of the 100th meridian between September 20 and October 20 consistent with the management strategy and the objectives of the selected alternative in the 2008 EA. In accordance with these findings, and consistent with the Flyway Councils' request, this notice announces that the annual take limits for passage peregrine falcons starting in the fall of 2017 will increase from 36 to 144, to be divided equally between the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways (i.e., 48 per flyway).
The sole basis for this increase is the updated estimate for the northern management population. Thus, we consider this increase to be a technical update to incorporate new and better data. All other provisions outlined in the 2008 EA remain in effect (e.g., the take rates and management objectives are unchanged, the take season remains September 20 to October 20 annually, and the take of passage peregrine falcons is restricted to areas in the United States east of 100 degrees W. longitude). Therefore, the environmental impact of authorizing take of passage peregrine falcons under the preferred alternative will remain unchanged from that analyzed in the 2008 EA. Because this assessment addresses only take east of 100 degrees W. longitude, the general provisions for take of peregrine falcons west of 100 degrees W. longitude remain as described in our 2010 Federal Register notice (75 FR 56555, September 16, 2010).
We will continue to review peregrine falcon population and take data for Canada, the United States, and Mexico every 5 years, or at the request of the Flyway Councils, to reassess the allowable take limits. We will publish a notice in the Federal Register if we determine that the take limits for peregrine falcons should be changed again in the future.
Franke, A. 2016. Population estimates for Northern juvenile peregrine falcons with implications for harvest levels in North America. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 7:36-45.
Franke, A., J. Duxbury, H. Qi, T. Coplen, G.L. Holroyd, and B.A. Millsap. 2017. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report: hydrogen stable isotope analysis of peregrine falcons in the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Washington, DC.
Sauer, J.R., D.K. Niven, J.E. Hines, D.J. Ziolkowski, K.L. Pardieck, J.E. Fallon, and W.A. Link. 2017. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966-2015, Version 2.07.2017. https://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/atlasa15.pl?03560&1&15&csrfmiddlewaretoken=3YKakk7LxT2ki6NSpl4mstudYCqdW02C.
Dated: August 24, 2017.
Gregory J. Sheehan,
Principal Deputy Director,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-19140 Filed 9-8-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
OFA Fall Field Meet!!!
November 3rd - 5th
101 Meadowridge Drive
Elk City, OK 73644
For those who would prefer not to stay at the hotel, there will be a group of us staying in the same spot as last year, camping at the Elk City Lake Park. Below is a map indicating how to get there from the hotel. If last year was any indication of how this meet will play out, this will probably be the meet up spot in the mornings, before everyone heads out to get down on some hawking.
I have already hollered at Dean, and he has graciously offered us access to the K Bar Ranch again. I intend to touch base with a few more of the land owners we met during NAFA as well, to see if any of them would mind having us back. I suspect that we will be in a similar situation as the last OFA meet in January, where we have so much land access that we barely touch a quarter of it. I suspect that quail out there had another banner year, cotton tails should be good, and there will be no issues finding a lot of duck slips. Jacks are around, but I personally never went after them during the meet, so you will probably have to find them on your own.
I'm looking forward to getting this season kicked off with another excellent field meet, and am excited to see you all there!
All the best,
OFA Winter Field Meet!
January 19th - 21st, 2018
Mountain Park, OK
"Holy Crap! Where the heck is Mountain Park?!?!" one might ask. Well, it's nestled right next to the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma, about 30 minutes northwest of Lawton. The town of Mountain Park began as a trading post named Burford where a post office was established in August of 1901, just after the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Reservation opened for settlement by Non-Native Americans. In February of 1902, the town that had sprung up around the trading post changed it's name to Mountain Park. Fires destroyed most of the wood frame building along the Main Street in 1906 and 1908, and the town was rebuilt with all brick structures.
"Sweet! This is going to be a lot of fun! So where are we staying?"
I (Krys Langevin) am hosting the meet, and you are all welcome to stay at my place. I am on a section just off of OK 54 that sits up on top of a hill, which is about a quarter mile off of the road. Ya'll are welcome to do a few things...you can bring a tent and stay on the property, you can stay in the main house, or you can stay in the loft area of the garage. The house is a barndominium, and the garage portion is very large. The loft area is the part above the house. The garage has a large propane heater and can keep the space comfortable enough. Bring air mattresses or sleeping bags. Your other option of course, is to find a hotel/motel in the area. People are welcome to come early or stay later, but I will be working and won't be readily available. There is a full kitchen in the house, grills outside, and extra fridge and freezers in the garage. There is a full bathroom in the garage with a shower. The house has tank-less hot water, so there will be plenty for everyone.
Ducks, jacks, quail, and cotton tails! Last year at this time, the area had ducks on every pond. We will be working hard to secure pond access between now and then. Cotton tails and quail are everywhere! Jack numbers seem to be at a high as well. They are everywhere right now as well! Some fields are way better than others, but they can be found just about anywhere that looks like good jack habitat. One thing that I will ask is that you please not hunt anything but ducks on my property. The rest of my fields will be open to all though, and no one will have issues getting into game.
There will be more details to come as we get closer to the time of the event, but if you have any questions feel free to contact me or one of our board members. My e-mail and phone number are in the directory, but Dan will also be posting my contact information and address on the okiehawkers private Facebook page. For those of you who are not OFA members yet but would still like to attend, feel free to e-mail someone from the board, and they will get the appropriate information sent along your way.
All the best,
The KHC/OFA Annual Friends Meet!
March 2nd - 4th, 2018
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
204 NE 60 Rd
Great Bend, KS 67530
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area lies two miles east of U.S. Highway 281, midway between Great Bend and Hoisington. Access is also available from K-156, or by turning off K-4 Highway at Redwing.
Cheyenne Bottoms is a wetland in the central Great plains of North America. Occupying approximately 41,000 acres in central Kansas, it is the largest wetland in the interior United States. The Bottoms is a critical stopping point on the Central Flyway for millions of birds which migrate through the region annually.
According to legend, a battle in 1825 between the Cheyenne and the Kiowa (or Pawnee) turned one of the streams blood red. Blood Creek now flows into the lowlands. Greyhound racing in the United States traces its start to a coursing event in the bottoms in 1886.
In 1900, a project known as the Koen Ditch attempted to divert Arkansas River water 12 miles to the Bottoms so that it could be used for irrigation. The ditch washed out in a flood. During the 1920s, various plans were put forth to drain the Bottoms and convert it to farmland. However, residents downstream in Hutchinson, KS protested that doing so would create flooding problems for them.
In 1925, the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission was created to develop and care for the Bottoms. In August 1927, 14 inches (36 cm) of rain upstream turned it overnight into "Lake Cheyenne" and caused flooding downstream of Little Cheyenne Creek. Kansas politicians including Clifford Hope, Charles Curtis, Henry Allan, and Arthur Capper made an unsuccessful plea to get federal money to convert it into a National Wildlife Refuge. Following the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, which taxed sporting arms and ammunition, funds became available to develop the Bottoms.
In 1952, after the construction of dikes, roads and hunting blinds, part of the area was opened to public hunting. In 1957, a new canal from the Arkansas River was built. However, relatively little water from the Arkansas was pumped into the wetland because of drought and claims by other entities on the water supply. In the 1990s, an extensive renovation subdivided the marshes.
Cheyenne Bottoms is especially noted for the concentration of migratory shorebirds that go there to feed on the mudflats. As many as 600,000 shorebirds from 39 species pass through Cheyenne Bottoms during spring migration and up to 200,000 in fall. About 45 percent of all shorebirds in North America utilize the area. Cheyenne Bottoms is critical habitat for many endangered species, including the whooping crane. At least 340 species of birds have been observed at Cheyenne Bottoms.
As a critical habitat for threatened and endangered bird species, Cheyenne Bottoms is one of 29 places in the United States on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance.
Hunting is not allowed in the refuge areas (see map). Hunting pressure on the Bottoms can be heavy during waterfowl season, particularly on weekends. Hunters planning trips to the Bottoms should consider weekday hunts. Prior to hunting any species on Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, all hunters are required to obtain and complete a Daily Hunt Permit. These permits can be found at all entrances to the wildlife area, at all parking lots and most boat ramps. Silver colored, iron dispensers are located at these points. Each permit is a two piece card. Before hunting, complete the top portion of the card and separate it from the lower portion and place it in the permit box. Carry the lower portion of the permit with you while hunting. Upon completion of your hunt, fill out the lower portion and place it in a permit box. Each hunter must complete one for each day hunting at Cheyenne Bottoms. Pools 1, 5 and a portion of Pool 2 are refuge areas and closed to all activities. Exceptions to this occur for some special hunts. Check with wildlife area personnel for more information. In addition to waterfowl, other game may be legally taken at Cheyenne Bottoms. Pheasant hunting is usually good. Snipe and rail hunting is good along the shallow marsh margins. Quail and deer are also present in fair numbers. A handicapped accessible hunting/photo blind is available by reservation. Call the office for additional information and reservations. In the event of whooping crane activity, the pool the birds are in is closed to all hunting and the goose hunting zones are closed to crane and light goose hunting.
Vehicles are permitted only on established roads and parking areas. Camping is permitted only in the primitive campground located 1 mile west of the area office (which is where we will all be staying!). The use of watercraft is restricted. Watercraft are not permitted in the refuge areas. During the waterfowl season, in-water propeller-driven boats and hand powered boats can be utilized in Pools 2, 3 and 4. Airboats are not allowed at any time. Outside the waterfowl seasons, only hand-powered boats are allowed. From April 15 to August 15, hand powered watercraft are not permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Life jacket laws will be enforced. Littering is prohibited. Take all trash with you. Boats, decoys, ammunition, binoculars and other supplies are not available at the area office. The Mitigation Marsh, located in the southeast portion of the Wildlife Area, is managed as a youth hunting area. It is open to hunters less than 16 years old hunters accompanied by no more than two adults. Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting. The possession of lead shot in the field is prohibited. No shooting is allowed on or from the dikes. No holes or pits may be dug for any purpose. Portable blinds and temporary blinds made of native vegetation may be used but must be removed within 10 days after the close of the hunting season or after the last day of use.
I've mentioned hunting in the refugee above, mainly just for informational purposes. Honestly, I havn't even looked to see if any actual hunting will be open in the WMA during the meet dates, so if that's something that sounds appealing to you, please make sure and check out all of the regulations (specific to Cheyenne bottoms) PRIOR to arriving at the meet. As always though, the majority of our hawking will be done on the private property our Kansas buddies have been working so hard on securing. We will all be staying at the free campsite, which is a mile west of the refuge. If you don't want to camp, then you will have to jump on google and figure out where the closest hotels are, as I have no earthly idea where they are. This is generally a relaxed, not very formal meet. It's how we signal the end to another great hawking season for both of our clubs, is an opportunity to hang out and swap lies about all of the great hunts we had this year, and a chance to catch up with all of our long time buddies. Duck hawking should be out of control, cotton tail and jack numbers seem high, and there will be plenty of game around to keep everyone happy and satisfied. I know i'm looking forward to the meet, and I hope to see everyone there!
All the best,
2017 OFA Picnic and Business Meeting!
Another fantastic hawking season has come and gone for the Oklahoma Falconers’ Association. As it happens for us every year, when the mercury begins to rise in our thermometers, and feathers are consistently hitting the floors of our mews, thoughts turn toward making plans to attend OFA’s annual picnic and business meeting. This year was no exception, and on the 10th day of June, falconers from all over the sooner state converged on the little town of Perry Oklahoma with the high hopes of seeing old friends, making some new ones, and enjoying an afternoon jam packed with good times. As is our custom, we accomplished this task in fine style, and managed to kick off the 2017/2018 falconry season with flying colors!
The boat house at the CCC Lake and Park was the venue of choice for us this year, and as people began to arrive by the car load, we launched our event with an excellent presentation on training pointing dogs. Phil Salvati ran through it all, starting at the very beginning with tips on selecting the right pup, and going all the way through to the end goal of creating a long term hunting companion. I personally felt that his talk was accentuated by the fact that he didn’t bring a finished dog with him to aid in the discussion, but instead brought a green pup, that was in the very beginning stages of training. Being that I’m a very visual learner, actually seeing issues being encountered and addressed first hand was very beneficial, and I suspect others gained a lot of insight because of that as well.
After Phil wrapped up his training presentation, we quickly moved into a Raptor Health Round Table discussion, courtesy of Dr. Perry White and Krys Langevin. The talk began with a run through of the basic first aid kit they feel every falconer should have in their rig, and then moved along to more complex discussions pertains to things such as asper and what not. Whether it was an apprentice hearing some of the information for the first time, or one of the old guard receiving a much appreciated refresher course, everyone there benefitted greatly from the time and preparation those gentlemen put into their talk. Additionally, I feel it’s pretty safe to say that everyone there walked away with at least one or two new tricks up their sleeves, and to me, that’s the sign of a great presentation!
Up next was grub time, and we were treated to some delicious food brought in from Head BBQ. I’m sure most of you all are familiar with Head Country BBQ sauce, but until you’ve had the opportunity to experience it fresh from the shop (and paired up with some of their delicious meats), it’s hard to really appreciate just how great of an operation those cats have going on! A big thank you to Phil and Gayla Salvati for not only organizing the picnic this year, but for picking out such great food for us!
Stomachs full and smiles all around, we jumped head first into the business meeting. Though I swore up and down it was going to be way shorter than last year, I still managed to drone on for an extra thirty or forty minutes (sorry friends :-)!). We got a lot of topics covered though, and made some big plans for the upcoming season. I want to extend a special thank you to NAFA’s own Sheldon Nichole, who took the time out of his busy schedule to come up to Oklahoma for the picnic. He gave an excellent presentation during our meeting about expanding our affiliate membership with NAFA, and I’m excited to begin the process of putting that plan into action.
When I finally stopped rambling on and called the meeting to a close, the group was rewarded with what they had really showed up for…the raffle!!! Chris Kimble absolutely out did himself this year, and his time and effort resulted in one of the best raffles in club history! We raised a significant amount of money, which will allow us to not only continue on with the conservation projects we have been involved with over the past couple of years, but to also expand our efforts into all new areas! A VERY big thank you goes out to all of those who generously donated items this year. Without your continued support of our club, we wouldn’t be able to continue making a positive influence for falconry in Oklahoma. THANK YOU!
The end of the raffle signified the completion of another successful picnic and business meeting. As people began to trickle off toward their different portions of the state, I found myself really excited for the upcoming season. It has been a pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve the club as a board member for the past couple of years, and as I handed the reigns over to the newly elected board members, I felt confident in the direction they will be taking the club. OFA is comprised of a lot of talented, highly motivated people, and in their hands, there’s no telling what accomplishments are on the horizon for the Oklahoma Falconers’ Association.
All the best my friends,
OFA Members Apprentice Workshop-Traps and Trapping!
July 29th, 2017
First and foremost, I would like to thank Chris Kimble for taking the time to share his experience and skills, in order to ensure the safety of the falconers and hawks when trapping a bird of prey for falconry! Also, I would like to thank everyone who came to the workshop and brought their personal traps to aid in the discussion, to Ron Lloyd for organizing the event and venue, and to the Edmond Fire Department for allowing us the use of their facilities.
Perry White, giving a little personal insight into the current discussion
Chris covered a lot of information to ensure safe trapping. The beginning portion of the workshop had a focus on trapping red tails, where the latter half was geared toward prairie falcons. Chris had various traps on hand for use as examples, as well as video and slide presentations to aid in the discussion. His goal was to teach and/or remind us the proper way to trap our first (or even 100th) falconry bird safely, which he more than effectively accomplished. Whether using a BC or Phai trap, pigeon harness or noose carpets, he heavily emphasized the importance of safety for both the bird being trapped, and also for the bait animals being used during the adventure.
Super slick sparrow carousel, created by Chris Kimble
It would take a long time to highlight all of the well thought out and delivered topics from the workshop, but a few of them included the different materials used when making BCs, along with ways of making sure you don't have sharp edges on and around them. There were discussions on proper nooses (whether monofilament or steel leaders), different ways of tieing them, and how to camouflage them by using various dying techniques. He discussed tips and tricks for identifying raptors from a long ways off, and went into the importance of selecting the right trap not only for the species of raptor being targeted, but for the time of year as well (since often times the preferred trap will change, depending on whether or not one is doing early or late season trapping). Presenting the various different types of traps to the raptors was also discussed, along with the modifications one would make to these techniques to increase their effectiveness depending on the type of terrain one is trapping in.
Gayla Salvati intently listening to Chris' presentation. Phil may have been a little distracted...
This workshop was an incredible learning opportunity for falconers at all experience levels. Whether they were a first year apprentice or a seasoned falconer, I feel everyone walked away having learned at least something new. I have no doubt that this new insight will help everyone in their future trapping endeavors, and this workshop was definitely one fantastic way to kick off the 2017/2018 falconry season! To all of my friends who will be heading out to the dirt roads this season looking for their next big adventure, I wish you the best of luck, remind you to be smart and stay safe, and to have one heck of a great time!