C. H. Wim de Bois, William Mattox, John Swift,
Valkeniersverbond “Adriaan Mollen” Netherlands
J. H. M. PIETERS (1893-1971)
By William G. Mattox
Falconry lost one of its best friends and finest expo-
nents on 16 February 1971 when J. H. M. Pieters died
at the age of 77 at Enschede, Holland.
In a sport which seems to foster personality clashes,
back-biting, and petty rivalries, Hans Pieters differed.
He stood out as a goodand honorable man—forthright
and scrupulously honest. He did not suffer fools, hated
the pompous, and held suspect those who tried to
make a spectacle of falconry. His philosophy was that
since falconry and birds of prey had rewarded him with
pleasures, excitement, and knowledge, even to consider
selling hawks was unthinkable. He supplied countless
goshawks to falconers in Europe and North America,
even at times loaning out his own trained goshawks
to falconers when replacements from the wild were
unavailable. He expected only reimbursement for the
cost of air freight, but this often came out of his own
pocket when a falconer was churlish enough to refuse
Hans Pieters was a gifted man. He had a deep interest
in all animals and possessed a unique knowledge of
raptors—especially goshawks. His
fine book collection
did not sit undisturbed on his shelves as a showpiece
to collect dust and the admiring glances of visiting fal-
coners. He read everything. His mind remained keen
to the end.
Hans Pieters made all of his falconry furniture, from
hoods and bags to bells stamped from his own dies.
He gave up bag-making when his legs failed-and he
could no longer hold his saddlemaker’s clamp. But
the gloves kept coming, stitched in recent years by his
beloved wife Corrie.
Pieters was a skilled taxidermist. He prepared every-
thing from trophies of roe deer for local hunters to
a massive woolly rhinocerous for the Natural History
Museum of Enschede. The rhino project taxed even
Pieter’s ingenuity. Through 1952 and 1953, Hans ex-
perimented with a framework material which would
be light but still strong enough. He had striking suc-
cess and the rhino, moved in 1968 to the hall of the
new building of Enschede’s Natuurmuseum, stands as
testimony to his skill and perseverance.
Pieters supplied hawks and equipment to falconers
in many lands, but his greatest gift was helping and
encouraging younger men. I first met Hans Pieters
in 1954, arriving in Holland withanaddress sent me
by Corny McFadden, who had known him follow-
ing World War II. As a stranger I was a bit hesitant to
knock at the door of the neat brick house on Groen
van Prinstererlaan, but a broad smile and firm hand-
shake from Hans Pieters dispelled all this in seconds.
We talked in English, which Pieters commanded with
surprising ease. He had, he said, been born in Ahaus,
Germany, just over the border not far from Enschede.
As a youth of 14, he had gone to Switzerland to learn
about operating factories and for many years he man-
aged a leather factory in Enschede. He retired at an
early age—I suspect that as an avid hawker he could
not bear the 9 to 5 routine, or was it 7 to 7 in those
days?«and he had contact with the factory only to ob-
tain scraps of leather for jesses and hoods and for his
Pieters knew all the falconers of Europe and he was
perhaps the most respected and beloved one of all.
Honorary memberships were bestowed upon him
On February the 16
, 1971 our Honorary
Member J.H.M. PIETERS passed away in his 78
Falconer, austringer, ornithologist, breeder of
dogs, ferrets and black game, taxidermist and
maker of excellent hoods.
But in our memory he will live on chiefly as The
Protector of Goshawks: it is impossible to say
how many gosses’ lives he has saved in the years
1945-1960 through his good relations with game-
keepers and shooters. Many falconers at home
and abroad have had their share of them, and I
really don’t know whose joy was the greater: that
of the falconer who got one or that of the man
who presented it.
We wish his hospitable wife all the courage and
strength to bear this great loss.
Knegsel, Summer 1971 — G. A. van Nie
(From page 30 of the Yearbook 1970,
Valkeniersverbond “Adriaan Mollen”)
Johannes Heinrich Moritz Pieters
by the leading falconry clubs of the continent and by
NAFA. He refused to join his own
Dutch Falconers
Club in a typical gesture: he saw no need for a formal
organization when there were only three or four fal-
coners in Holland. “It would have been silly”, he said
to me once, “a president, a secretary, a treasurer, and a
member—perhaps that’s the position they wanted me
Hans Pieters went to his last falconry meet at
Burgsteinfurt in 1966 (Deutscher Falkenorden). I re-
member him there swapping stories with his friend
Renz Waller. By good fortune many of his friends
were there whom he had not seen in a while, among
them Eric Awender and Heidi. Hans spoke warmly of
this outing in his last days. He had seen the hawks fly
again, flown by men whom he had helped along the
They don’t make men like Hans Pieters any more. We
would all do well to be more like him; we certainly
owe it to the sport. I was honored to have Hans Pieters
as a friend for 17 years. What he stood for left me with
indelible impressions.
Long live the memory of this good and gifted man.
The death of J. H. M. Pieters
On 16 February [1971] our friend Mr. J. H. M.
Pieters died suddenly at the age of 77 years.
In the last years it had become more and more
difficult for him to walk, so that especially the
younger people among us have not met him of-
ten. However, those who knew this many-sided
man in his good years knew that he, besides his
daily work, was an excellent taxidermist, an all-
round animal lover and breeder who was always
trying to learn new techniques.
His great love was for birds of prey and owls,
and we consider him the father of many Dutch
falconers. He, for himself and others inside and
outside Holland, prepared all the equipment
necessary for falconry such as gloves, bags, jess-
es, and bells. He knew the art of the falconer as
no other did, and it was unbelievable how quick-
ly he could man a wild bird.
Over the years he brought together an enormous
collection of objects and books which had to do
with falconry. Nevertheless, it was not only the
collecting, but also all the books were studied
carefully and the things which were mentioned
in them were engraved in his memory, which un-
til his great age still worked perfectly. Many peo-
ple have profited from his extensive knowledge.
We should be thankful to him for the great dif-
ficulty and care, not to mention the financial sac-
rifices, which he took for many years to save our
birds of prey.
Although there were laws and regulations, ev-
eryone knew that they, for the sake of monetary
advantage, were violated many times. With much
money and many good words Mr. Pieters man-
aged to save countless birds which were released
in safe places.
By the very nature of things, our Museum has
had much contact with Mr. Pieters. He was one
of those who christened our Museum in 1921,
and he prepared many of the animals which were
brought to us over the course of the years.
A special event was the reconstruction of a wool-
ly rhinoceros, which came to being in the years
1952-53. It was a job which was completely new
even for Mr. Pieters. In addition, they did not yet
have the variety of materials that is now available,
so that continual experiments had to be made in
order to achieve as light and as strong construc-
tion as possible.
In the beginning, we were forced, due to lack of
space, to place this unique piece [rhino] in the
diorama hall of the old museum, but in 1968 we
were able to give it the place it deserved: in the
hall of our new building. May this perpetuate for
a long time the memory of this gifted man.
—translated from the Dutch by Bill Mattox, origi-
nally published in a newsletter of the Enschede
Natural History Museum