Club History

Joe Sibel Request Letter

June 16th, 1976

Sibel Follow Up Letter

July 21, 1976

Formation of PFHT

August 21, 1976

First Annual Field Meet – Galeton, PA

January, 1977

First Wingbeat Publication

December, 1977

On June 16, 1976, in anticipation of the PA Game Commission adopting the newly enacted Federal Falconry Regulations, a Philadelphia area falconer named Joe Sibel sent a letter to all PA falconry permitees inquiring about their interest in forming a PA State Falconry Club.  The purpose of the club would be to act as the unified voice for all PA falconers in negotiating state falconry regulations with the PA Game Commission.  Joe received 60 positive responses and on July 21, 1976 sent a letter to all PA falconers announcing a meeting to form a PA falconry Club.  The meeting was held on August 21, 1976 in Burnt Cabins, PA (below the description you will find a scanned copy of Sibel’s original and follow up letters for your enjoyment).  Forty four falconers attended that initial meeting.  Twenty paid advanced dues at that time.

The formation of the club was approved and those in attendance selected the name suggested by Roy Frock (who was the NAFA Northeastern Director at the time) The Pennsylvania Falconry and Hawk Trust.   A committee was appointed to draw up proposed Constitution and By-Laws.  The proposed Articles were approved at a second meeting in Burnt Cabins where officers and Directors were elected. The club’s Constitution and By-Laws mirrored those of NAFA only altered to conform to a state rather than a national format. It consisted of 2 Directors –at – Large (one to act as President and the other as Vice President) and 3 Regional Directors (one each from the Western, Eastern and the Central regions on the state).

The PFHT held its first PA Meet in January of 1977 in Galeton, PA. It was a well attended but because of the cold and snowy conditions, only two rabbits were taken.  In December of 1977, the PFHT published its first Journal the Wing Beat. By then we had 57 paid members. Ironically, Joe Sibel never joined the club.

In those days, the hierarchy of the PA Game was erroneously convinced that falconers were profiteering from wildlife by selling wild trapped hawks and falcons.  As a result, the Commission placed many restrictions on falconers. (No non-PA native species, very limited trapping/taking seasons, no captive bred birds, no extended season, no let-it -lay provision, no non-resident take for falconry, etc.)  We had an uphill battle convincing them that their suspicions were completely unfounded.  Because of the efforts of the PFHT the Game Commission officials were finally convinced that falconers were not outlaws but rather are conservationists in the truest sense.  Today, PA falconers enjoy some of the most liberal and least restrictive falconry regulations in the country.

Founding Meeting Attendees

Advance Paid Attendees Attendees
Bob Leonard George Kump
John Bilak Dieter Jordan
Allen Knepp Marek Plater
Joe Harmer Dave Fluri
Ken Felix Frank Gobris
Rod Gehrlein Pete Scarfaro
Ellen Gehrlein Bill MacBride
Dana Scouten John Anderson
Dave Belgard Dan Hayes
Bob Bland Roy Frock
Mark Shields Mac Moore
Russ Wood Errol Orrs
Scott Wood Tom Frantz
Earl Schriver John McGowen
Eleanor Schriver Lynn Appleman
Gary Ratay Hope Carpenter
Mary Ester Wood Chet Sinnk
Ed Cheslock Gary Bolis
Ruth Cheslock Dan McKay
Mike Jurcevich Joe Sibel
John Schroeder
Bob Berry
? Jurcevich

Founding Directors and Officers

  • Director-At- Large  – Ken Felix
  • Director -At- Large  – Bill MacBride
  • Eastern Director – Dave Fluri
  • Central Director – George Kump
  • Western Director – Russ Wood
  • President – Ken Felix
  • Vice President – Bill MacBride
  • Secretary /Treasurer – Dana Scouten
  • Newsletter – Dana Scouten
  • Wing Beat – Mary MacBride