I
first met Karen Rose McAfee in the spring of 1964. She was staying with her sister in California
to help with a yet unborn child. I, Larry Cottrell, was visiting with my sister who lived on the
same street. We were both 19 years old. Karen had suffered a nose bleed and she and her sister
came to my sister’s house for assistance.
Our first date was to try to find an apricot colored mouse that I intended to use to catch a nearby
Kestrel. It was obvious to me that she was a bit different from most girls as she was interested and
anxious to participate in such an adventure.
I was able to eventually get my first Kestrel and Karen was an active participant in her training. It
wasnt long before she also wanted to work with raptors. I was hopelessly in love with her.
We married in January of 1965, and shortly thereafter moved to Oregon. She followed me to Alaska
and North Carolina after I had joined the Army. After my hitch was completed, we returned to
Oregon.
After our return, we both got serious about falconry, and continued our self-education of the practice.
At the time there was no recognized falconry in Oregon. Raptors were held with a holding permit”
costing $1.00. That didn’t last long as there were more and more people interested in the sport.
Eventually ODFW decided that hunting with hawks was illegal.
A group of interested falconers met in Eugene to see if we could get the
state to allow falconry. We elected a president, Ben Elliot. He and his wife
managed to get the legislature to allow falconry if we would pay our own
way in the administrative costs. The legislature set a price of either $125
or $150.00 per year. We paid it and began the slow fight to get better
regulations.
I became the next president. It was my job to make the regulations
reasonable. While I appeared as the figurehead, Karens job was just as
important as was mine. She worked tirelessly to help me with the endless
letters, presentations, and meetings in which she played her part with
the officials that were impressed just because she also was a falconer. At
that time there were very few women that were capable falconers. Words
cannot possibly convey the things that she did for Oregon falconry which
would have been so much more difficult without her.
As time went on, and regulations improved, club membership began to
increase. Karen was a bit of a role model for young women who wanted
to be falconers. She served as president, secretary, treasurer as well as
regional director for Oregon Falconers Association. She hosted many
meets and fed hungry falconers. She made time to hawk as well. She flew Accipiters, Harris Hawks,
Prairies, Hybrids and Peregrines. I think her most valued moment of recognition was her “Honorary”
membership in Washingtons “No Mercy Hawking Club.
In the last few years her heart began to wear out. She could no longer make the physical effort required
for falconry. She compensated by driving along as I hunted my Harris. It wasn’t much but she was out
there doing the best she could. She agreed to a heart valve replacement, the second, in the hopes that
she would again have the stamina to go hawking. Unfortunately it did not work out. Her heart failed
Jan 31, 2018.
by Larry Cottrell
Karen was a bit of a
role model for young
women who wanted
to be falconers. She
served as president,
secretary, treasurer as
well as regional director
for Oregon Falconers
Association.
DONORS:
Oregon Falconers Association, Robert Welle, Bruce and Evelyn Haak, Clifford
and Janna Kellogg, North American Falconers Association
Karen’s Life
Karen and Jessie
Karen in Bend, Oregon
Larry and Karen, 1964
Words cannot possibly convey the things that
she did for Oregon falconry which would have
been so much more difcult without her.