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History of the IFA

Some History of Falconry in Idaho

 The First Record of a Gyrfalcon in Idaho


Department of Biology
Idaho State University
Pocatello, Idaho 83201

(Condor: Vol. 70, No. 4, July-August, 1968)

On 26 February 1968 falconers R. L. Siler and T. N. Smith of Pocatello captured a gray-phase Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) in open farming country eight miles east of American Falls, Power County, Idaho. This represents the first record of this species in Idaho (T. D. Burleigh, in litt. ). A nylon-leader noose carpet placed over a pigeon that the falcon had killed earlier was used to effect the capture. The falcon weighed 1.446 kg when taken and was in first basic (= first winter) plumage. There is no evidence that it had previously been in captivity. I wish to thank Siler and Smith for allowing me to note this record. (Present address: Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico) Accepted for publication 20 March 1968.


The Beginning

Photo of Rich Howard circa 1969Photo of Rich Howard circa 1969

For several years, during the late 1970s individuals and small groups of falconers had been attempting to get some desired changes in the Idaho falconry regulations , such as longer hunting seasons. After these initial attempts failed, a serious discussion was started by some of the more active Idaho falconers in both the eastern and the southwestern part of the state, that maybe a better approach would be to form an association or club to represent their common desires. There was, at that time , as with many other states, a reluctance to forming a state wide organization. It was felt that the North American Falconers Assoc (NAFA) was enough. After several discussions with such individuals such as Charles Schwartz, Richard Howard, Todd Shepherd and others, ,In April 1977, Jesse Woody, the Director-at-Large for NAFA and Charles Schwartz sent out a letter to licensed falconers around the state requesting their view, on longer seasons, standardizing Fish & Game Department policies on captive breeding and the possible support of a state falconry organization.

Photo of Jesse Woody circa 1954Photo of Jesse Woody circa 1954

Woody also wrote Will Godfry, the Chairman of the Idaho Fish & Game Commission seeking support for the Idaho falconers request for longer seasons. The response from the Commission was positive, but it was suggested that falconers should have a more organized approach to the request. The response from falconers was low, but those who did respond, supported the concept of a statewide club organized for informational and political purposes only. Elected regional spokespersons and a newsletter would keep members informed.


On June 20, 1978, Todd Shepard of Pocatello, as acting coordinator, sent out a letter explaining that over 50% of the Idaho falconers supported the action suggested in the April inquiry, declared the formation of a statewide club and dubbed it the Idaho Falconers Association. All recipients of the letter would be considered members unless a written refusal was sent to Todd within 10 days. A draft copy of the Constitution , written by Charles Schwartz was included. The Idaho Falconers Association was born!