Mike and Karen Yates, Kenny Sterner, Tom and Kathy Maechtle,
Murray and Nancy Feldman, Lori and Lance Christensen, New Mexico
Falconers Association, North American Falconers’ Association,
Colorado Hawking Club, Greg Thomas, Agnes Baxter, Pattison Family
Frank was an amazingly humble, gifted, and quiet
man who always found the time to help and
counsel anyone who requested aid. He was
generous, honest, diligent, and disciplined.
By Ralph Rogers
In 1943, Frank Bond was born in Albuquerque New Mexico. He
joined three other Frank Bonds already famous in that state, his father,
grandfather, and great-grandfather, were all Frank Bonds. All the Frank
Bonds were famous as honest forthright wool buyers who had an eye for
business, and most importantly, could get along with anyone, friend or
foe. Young Frank lived by the fundamental lessons, and skills about how
to get along with people from his grandfathers and kept them with him
to adulthood.
Frank was raised in Espanola while the family ranched on the Valle
Caldera ranch, 125,000 acres (51,000 hectare) of some of the most
beautiful land in the United States. He spent his summers in and
amongst the cowboys, and vaqueros, learning the American Hispanic
culture and language. This place, the Bond Ranch, is now protected by
the US Government as a natural area, they wanted to make a national
park out of it… This land has been the filming stage of 10 Hollywood
movies. Living in this beautiful place is where Frank developed his love
for the natural world and hunting and why he always wanted to return to
His house, in Espanola, is now a museum on the Register of Historic
Falconry was lucky in 1943 and became lucky again because of an odd set
of circumstances. Frank Bond was on the lacrosse team when he went to
University, The Colorado College. There Frank’s coach was Dr. Robert
Stabler, a very important falconer in US history. Frank was mentored by
Stabler as he became involved in falconry.
His love of the outdoors and hunting, his friendship with Robert Stabler
and his studies of the Spanish language all made the perfect combination
for Frank.
At a young age of 27, Frank’s dedication and reputation as a
conservationist and falconer drew him together with Tom Cade, Bob
Berry, and Jim Weaver to found the Peregrine fund. Frank donated some
of the first birds to breed in that environment and his birds constitute
an important part of the genetics of the peregrines we see in western
America today. While the re-establishment of the peregrine was the
work of many, all agree that the founding of the Peregrine Fund was the
most important single act of that massively successful effort. Falconers
today can enjoy a harvest of wild peregrine in the US …and all who do,
owe Frank (among others) thanks. Frank spent many hours researching
a take of a wild New Mexico peregrine during the 2014 season. Before the
cancer had begun to hurt him badly, he had located many eyries and was
deciding from which one to take his bird.
The 1960’s through the 1970’s was a time of transition for falconry in
America. American falconers like Frank were changing from possession
of raptors, to developing skills of hunting American quarry with these
raptors. Frank was part of that transition and would join in various
camps” with friends, most of whom became leaders of this transition,
and a transition into political and conservation activities. While we were
learning to hunt at the same time, Frank was forever our leader dealing
with politics. The 1970’s also forced us to deal with the legalization of
falconry. In 1976, the final regulations allowing falconry throughout the
United States was passed. Though young, Frank was a big part of the
implementation of those regulations.
Franks reputation as an old style” politician who could work to find
solutions to problems with anyone was firmed by his two terms of service
in the New Mexico legislature.
Immediately after his first year,
he was given a high leadership
position in his party. His
reputation grew as an individual
who was honest, friendly, and
who could find common ground
with political friend or foe.
Frank could disagree completely
with folks, and they admired
him even more.
He ran for governor of the
state twice as a republican;
New Mexico is traditionally a
Democratic state. He narrowly
lost them both, but gained huge
respect from all candidates in both parties. This experience also gained
him notoriety on the national level; this power base coupled with Franks
personality literally helped save US falconry from destruction caused
by over-regulation proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service following
Operation Falcon.
Most NAFA presidents used Frank as the ultimate weapon. The stories of
what almost happened to falconry in the United States in the mid 1980’s
are legend…and the look of our great atmosphere for falconry would
be completely different today if it hadn’t been for Frank. In the end of
this 8 year battle, Frank got an appointment for us with the Secretary of
Interior, in the US Presidents Cabinet ( an old personal family friend
from New Mexico). Because of the doors Franks was able to open, the
final regulations appeared as a blessing to falconers in this country,
along with the words. The US Fish and Wildlife Service finds falconry
an honorable sport, its practitioners abide by the regulations and have
a deep and abiding regard for the resource. The USFWS supports the
sport of falconry.
By 2000 Frank had moved on to devoting his effort with the IAF. But
not before: founding the P-Fund, founding the North American Grouse
Partnership (NAGP), and serving as long-term board member of the
Holistic Range Management Group. Even during his tenure as leadership
in the IAF he continued to serve as NAFAs General Counsel and NAGP’s
General Counsel.
In the late1990’s after years of working on a rewrite of the US falconry
regulations and having them stalled in Washington DC, NAFA sent
Frank and Ralph Rogers to meet with the Department of Interior. They
had an appointment with the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife
Service and his staff. Shortly after they shook ahnds and sat down, the
Director thanked Frank for getting him confirmed” by the US Congress.
Frank just smiled and said…”it was nothing, I just made a few phone
calls”. Frank never really appreciated the power he had, or the respect
he garnered from everyone, whether a President of the US, or a cowboy
working for day wages.
Frank was an amazingly humble, gifted, and quiet man who always
found the time to help and counsel anyone who requested aid. He was
generous, honest, diligent, and disciplined. No matter who approached
him, they left knowing Frank had listened closely to them, and they felt
appreciated. While this disease took Frank very quickly, in the end he
always had time to speak with friends. Frank said that he didn’t want to
be remembered as just a falconer but that he was most proud of his work
as a diplomat, and his many friends.
Falconry has lost one of its greatest champions; we have all lost a dear
(Continued on next page)
Frank and Ata Annamamedov from
Turkmenistan, switching hats.
Frank and good NAFA friends attended longtime NAFA
officer Ed Freienmuths funeral in 1993.
Franks campaign flyer for Govenor.
Frank with his first Saluqui “Lahaq
Frank and his friend Paul Domski flying in
their native New Mexico.
By Tom Cade
Frank Bond had an abiding interest in all things to do with raptors
and falconry, as revealed by the voluminous files he left behind on
his involvement with The Peregrine Fund, the North American
Falconers Association, and the International Association of Falconry
and Conservation of Birds of Prey. After receiving his law degree and
license to practice in New Mexico in 1983 he served as legal counsel
to all three of these organizations and eventually was President of the
IAF for six years, at the time that organization successfully established
falconry internationally as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” under
UNESCO sponsorship.
Frank developed an early interest in the Peregrine breeding program
at Cornell University, placing two pairs of New Mexican Peregrines,
which he and Tom Smylie had put together, on permanent loan to
the program. He was one of the four original founders of the 501(c)
(3), non-profit organization that came to be known as The Peregrine
Fund, Inc. in 1974. As such he was a permanent member of the board
of directors until his death on Christmas day 2013. He had a special
concern for the Archives of Falconry and worked hard in the last year
of life, even after bedridden, to secure a sound legal basis for its future.
As a young man Frank spent time in Spain studying Spanish at the
University of Madrid. During that time he became acquainted with
the famous Spanish falconer, Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente and his
vivacious, French wife, Marcelle Parmentier. They became friends,
and Frank often went hawking with Rodriguez, who soon after had
an international reputation for his TV program on wildlife [the
Marlin Perkins of Spain] and widely proclaimed as “El Amigo de los
In 1972, Frank arranged for the two of us to visit Rodriguez for
the purpose of obtaining some young Spanish Peregrines to add to
our growing population of potential breeders at Cornell. We spent
a couple of weeks with Rodriguez’s falconers examining some 20
eyries in the Castilian countryside around Madrid and Valladolid,
where nesting pairs often located near palomars” full of free-flying
pigeons. At Peñafiel we visited the old castle where in the 14th Century
Don Juan Manuel could look out from its battlements and see four
Peregrine eyries; three were still occupied in 1972. We brought back
two fine pairs of youngsters, which developed into productive breeders
at Cornell. Felix and Marcelle remained good friends of The Peregrine
Fund until his tragic death in an airplane crash in 1980 while filming
a documentary on the Iditarod dog-sled race in Alaska. Later Frank
helped Marcelle with some legal matters resulting from her husband’s
Following soon after Spain, our next trip together in May of 1972 was
to Arizona to search for anatum Peregrines. The P-Fund had obtained
a generous permit from the Arizona Game and Fish Department
to collect five pairs of young Peregrines for our breeding program.
Unfortunately we had specific locations for only a few eyries; but
an acquaintance, Don Prentice, told us that he had recently found
Peregrines nesting along the Mogollon Rim. We went there but found
it to be very rough terrain to travel in and saw only a single adult falcon
on the whole trip, which also included Cave Creek in the Chiricahuas
and elsewhere. Regrettably we were unable to take advantage of the
permit, which was our last state permit before Peregrines and other
birds of prey were placed under the U. S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act
later that year. If we had only known then what we know now about
the distribution and abundance of Peregrines in Arizona our trip
might have turned out differently, although this was the time when
Peregrines were at their lowest numbers throughout North America.
In 1980, Frank and I took our most adventuresome trip down the
Colville River on the Arctic Slope of Alaska to count Peregrines. We
traveled downstream in a motorized Avon inflatable raft from the
mouth of the Etivluk River to Ocean Point at the delta, the standard
survey route first established in 1952. We found some 22 occupied
Peregrine eyries, twice the lowest count of 10 pairs in 1975. The
Bureau of Land Management asked us to take photographs and record
locations of all the falcon nesting cliffs along the river, an assignment
that fitted well with
Franks penchant for photography – a skill he refined by studying
under the famed Ansel Adams.
The weather was good to us with mostly sunny days, and we had a
great time bonding more closely in our friendship. I remember one
camp near the mouth of the Awuna River where we were awakened by
a grizzly bear pawing around our outdoor kitchen. Frank had his rifle
ready, but the bear just moved on through, apparently not smelling us
inside our tents, although it passed within 30 feet. Another time, as
we were approaching the long cliff [#41] on the left limit of the river
opposite the mouths of the Oolamnagavik and Killik tributaries, we
saw a beautiful jerkin displaying as it flew along the cliff face. He was
pure white on his underneath parts but rather heavily marked with
dark bars on his upperparts. He was performing a series of undulating
dives up and down. As he approached the bottom of each dive, he
rolled rapidly from side to side with outstretched wings, producing a
spectacular flashing of white contrasting with his darker back. It was
one of those natural scenes one never forgets—like seeing the white
wolf glowing golden in the midnight sun with Walter Spofford along
the same stretch of river in 1968.
Frank was a special companion—Der Kumpan—a man who was
always at my back looking out for my best interests and keeping me
out of trouble when I occasionally shot my mouth off too rashly at
bureaucrats and politicians. Good to have had a friend who was also a