Our History and founding
The North Carolina Falconers Guild was formed in the late summer of 1987 when long time falconer, Bill Halstead, contacted all the permitted falconers in the state and invited them to a meeting at Umstead Park in Raleigh. At this meeting the North Carolina Falconers Guild was formed and a president was elected. Over the next year, the Guild installed a board of directors, established by-laws, accepted a mission statement and set up a flexible meeting schedule for the future. In June of 2007, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary as an organization and we continue to grow today.
Where we are today
Currently our officers are a president, vice president, a secretary and a treasurer. The Guild membership is made up of “regular” members (permitted falconers) and “associate” members (members who are not falconers), “honorary” members and “life” members. Regular members vote on Guild matters. Officers are elected by the regular membership and serve for a term of 2 years. Officers approve financial transactions and conduct the business of the Guild. The duties of the officers are fully described in our by-laws. The NCFG regular membership is made up of approximately 80% of all licensed and practicing falconers in the State. This is one of highest ratios in the country. The NCFG is one of the most highly respected organizations of its kind in the United States. The Guild is also an affiliate of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and of the North American Falconers Association (NAFA) and is a strong supporter of this national organization. Currently, about 85% of NCFG members are also NAFA members.
The NCFG has several internal committees. The committee members are appointed by the officers and consist of regular and associate members. Today we have a legislative/legal committee, education committee, nominations committee and a meets committee.
The legal/legislative committee is responsible for interfacing and coordinating with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service on regulatory and legal matters concerning falconry.
The education committee is responsible for coordination of all educational programs and developing outlines for presenters to use during such programs as well as public information materials.
The meets committee is responsible for assisting in locations to hold our meetings and field meets and to assist meet hosts with logistics before and during the meet.
The nominations committee is responsible for soliciting (from the regular membership) qualified candidates for office in the Guild and submitting those names prior to the election of officers. The president and secretary are elected in even numbered years and serve a two year term. The vice president and treasurer are elected in odd numbered years and serve a two year term.
The guild publishes a newsletter
“NCFG NOTES”, which is sent to all members quarterly. Flyers and reminders are also mailed prior to the next meeting or field meet in order to announce the location and details of the meeting. The Guild also develops, updates and maintains this website. The Guild regularly communicates fast breaking news and events with members via email and members are encouraged to have an up-to-date email address.
The guild Meets 5 times a year
We have 2 social meetings during the spring/summer (off season) and at least 3 field meets during the winter (hunting season). The first summer meeting is usually in May or June and usually in the Raleigh area. Known as the Spring Picnic, at this meeting we discuss Guild business that has arisen since the last meeting, enjoy good food and the fellowship of our members.
The second meeting is usually the first Saturday, following Labor Day, in September and is usually in the Salisbury area. Known as the Fall Picnic and Auction, it is about the same as the other social meeting except at this meeting we hold an auction. Members bring donated falconry or hunting related items (a pair of bells, a hunting knife, etc.) which are auctioned to the other members and attendees. The money raised at this auction is then donated to raptor related organizations and projects (The Peregrine Fund, The Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissions non game and endangered wildlife program, and others).
The first of the field meets, traditionally, is in the western part of the state in November. We have a meet in the central part of the state, usually in the Raleigh area, where we hunt rabbit and squirrels. Then, we have a meet in the eastern part on the state, usually in Trenton or Goldsboro. Sometimes we have a fourth meet which may be anywhere in the state. There are NCFG T-shirts, sweat shirts, and falconry related items for sale at the meetings and meets. Be sure to check the Schedule of Events on this website.
Visitors and members or the public
Are often welcome to accompany us in the field, but are expected to follow the requests of the falconer whose bird is flying (some birds are shy or jumpy around strangers). When in doubt, ask one of the falconers, they can tell you what the “ground rules” are. Please contact a NCFG member if you wish to attend a field meet. Visitors are also expected to obey all laws of North Carolina and Rules and Regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and any rules of the landowner. Participants must be licensed as hunters in North Carolina. Observers however, are not required to be licensed. The Guild members, nor its officers or landowners assume any liability or responsibility for any injury or loss at any Guild event. All persons are expected to follow appropriate field etiquette and respect landowner permission and private property rights. Consumption of alcoholic beverages in the field, abrasive language, disruptive behavior, use of firearms, littering or similar behaviors are prohibited at any Guild event.
Are required for the first two years (four years if you are 12) of a new falconer’s entry into the sport. Sponsors are essential to the learning and development of a new or potential falconer, they are also a regulatory requirement. Being a sponsor is also being a mentor and a person with experience that can be relied upon for information and guidance. Most general or master falconers who agree to sponsor a new or potential falconer do so because of a genuine love for falconry and a desire to help others who are sincere and dedicated to pursuing falconry. No general or master falconer is required to be a sponsor. It is strictly voluntary. Most will require you hunt with them and experience falconry first hand for as much as a year or more before they consider sponsoring you. A truly dedicated sponsor will be available to answer questions and help guide you for your first two years. This is a huge commitment on behalf of the sponsor, so expect to do a lot of work finding the right person and a person willing to help you. No one will offer to be your sponsor and no one will accept a potential apprentice without having spent considerable time getting to know them first. The best and perhaps the easiest way to meet a potential sponsor is at a Guild function. It is inappropriate to ask someone to sponsor you if you have never even met in person.
Educational Programs and Apprentice Workshops
Since 2001 the Guild has conducted an Apprentice Workshop. The Workshop is open to all apprentices and interested members of the public. A nominal fee is charged to attend the Workshop to cover costs. The Workshop may be held in any area of the State and potential attendees may wish to visit this website often for up-to-date information, which will appear in our Schedule of Events.
The Guild Works Closely with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission
On falconry and bird of prey issues, over the years the Guild has requested and been granted:
- changes to the State’s falconry facilities requirements.
- changes to the advancement system, by which a falconer advances from apprentice to general to master falconer.
- allowed to sell captive bred Coopers Hawks
- changes to allow falconry on game lands in archery areas and in safety zones.
- combined seasons for squirrel and rabbit for falconry.
- federal permits now valid for three (3) years
- deleted golden eagles from the definition of raptors not included as falconry birds (now defined simply as a “…live migratory bird of the Order Falconiformes or the Order Strigiformes…”
- removal of the Coopers hawk from the species of special concern in NC.
- extended seasons for migratory game bird take by means of falconry.
- additional opportunities for small game take by means of falconry are now seven days a week during lawful seasons)
The Guild is currently asking the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to consider:
- allowing resident and non-resident falconers to take a very limited number of passage peregrines (p.tundris) under guidelines established in the USFWS Environmental Assessment for Passage Peregrine Take and guidelines of the NCWRC..
Be sure to visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website for information about wildlife in this State, as well as fishing, trapping and hunting regulations.
In the North Carolina Falconers Guild is $20 per year, dues are remitted in January of each year. A simple membership application is required to be filled out when joining. New applicants for membership must have the recommendation of a current NCFG member. You can apply for a membership online or obtain an application online by clicking here
New members, once accepted, receive all newsletters and flyers, a copy of the Guild by-laws, a Guild decal, and an open invitation to all meets and social events for the member and his/her guest(s).