International Meeting Of Women Falconers In Belgium 2011

International Meeting Of Women Falconers In Belgium 2011

The initiators

On the last weekend in October 2011 Veronique Blontrok, secretary of the Belgian Falconers Club “Club Marie de Bourgogne”, hosted a meeting for women falconers from different countries. This idea originated by chance in 2010 at the IAF meeting in the Czech Republic. Tula Stapert is a very dedicated falconer from Holland. She and Veronique shared a hotel room at this meeting. Two female falconers have met.  A new friendship, new ideas and the desire was developed to organize something for women falconers. Shortly before, Dianne Moller, a board member of NAFA and also an active falconer in Wisconsin (USA) published an interesting report in the NAFA Journal on various international female falconers (U.S., Canada and Europe). The women presented their ideas and thoughts on values and attitudes in falconry.

The interviewed women described how they were influenced and got into the sport of falconry. At that time, the report of Lauren McGough (USA) struck me. Lauren has an unbelievable passion for falconry, almost quite fanatically!  Her big dream was to trap a Berkutschi eagle and hunt foxes. She held onto her dream and by herself went to live for 11 months in Mongolia with a falconer's family and to make her dream real. This report was also translated on the side ÖFB by Christian Habich into German and was published. Today Lauren lives in Scotland and studies there and flies a golden eagle on snow hares in the highlands.

The Ladies

I got the invitation for this group of ladies from Christine Basset, board member of the Swiss falconer's union and also friends for many years with Veronique.

We met on Friday evening at Veronique’s home close to Brussels; Dianne and her daughter-in-law Ali from the USA, Lauren from Scotland and Tula from Holland. The Frenchwoman Valerie Collet wanted to come only on Sunday evening and, unfortunately, Christine Basset from Switzerland and Saneta Zelnorova from Czechia had to cancel due to personal reasons. Klaus, my husband was present as a photographer and many thank to him for the wonderful pictures. Tula had brought her apprentice Werner and immediately the first evening was teased about the man's program.  Both men were offered a shopping tour in Brussels. Nevertheless, the big sad eyes of men allowed softening our hearts and we took them with us the next day to hunt!

We went hunting approx. 60 km south-east of Brussels in the hunting district of Veronique. She and other hunters and falconers are members of a very good game district.  They were interested in the women who hunt with birds of prey and we did not disappoint them! The birds flew a big distance and were not just pretty to look at.
On Sunday the Belgium falconer's club “Club Marie de Bourgogne” had a meeting and their president Patrick Morel also hunted with his falcons. Many Belgian falconers and some guests from Germany were present and the weather was great for hunting on crows, pheasants and partridges. In the evening there was an excellent dinner prepared by the wives of the hunters. Soup, main dish, dessert and drinks were plentiful and only a small contribution was asked by the club to help with expenses.  We ate outside under a tent and the mood rose with every hour. We joked a lot and many future meet ideas were forged.

We were in the best mood and Tula told about her plan to create an Internet site for women falconers to exchange ideas and organize meetings. In depth talks on this subject will continue at the international falconer's meeting in Al Ain! There will see each other again where we will determine the direction of an organization. We welcome the participation of other women falconers. I am sure you will be hearing a lot from us!