Robert and Karen Reuter
While stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Jack assisted local falconers in presenting falconry’s case
before Alaska’s wildlife officials.
— By S. Kent Carnie
When I learned of Hei Heiberg’s passing, my
first thought was that Jack Young must write the
memorial. The closest of friends for decades, they
had in common both their Air Force careers and
their long-standing interests in falconry. It was not
to be. A week and a day after we lost Hei, Jack also
was gone from us.
Jack’s name may be unfamiliar to many of
our younger generation, yet despite his never hav-
ing held any official NAFA position, all of us with
any involvement in NAFA (or in the sport gener-
ally) owe this man a considerable debt. Jack was
an Air Force lawyer. An assignment at the Air Force
Academy early in its involvement with falcons
revived memories of a goshawk possessed in his
youth. Heiberg was working on the Academy fal-
con program at the time, resulting in a friendship
that was to last the rest of their lives. Early on, Luff
Meredith had called on Jack’s legal expertise to
produce a constitution for the old Falconry Club
of America. Together, Jack and Hei produced that
1958 constitution. Jack later contributed his pro-
fessional experience in a second collaboration with
Heiberg in revision of the early NAFA constitution,
resulting in the basis of that which has come down
to us today. It was Hei’s disappointment that no
mention was made of Jack in the dedication print-
ed on the most recently published edition of that
Without going into the details of Jack’s life,
I would share one recollection which particularly
exemplified him in my memory. In the mid-1960s,
discussions were underway between local falcon-
ers and Maryland’s game department to legalize
falconry there. Maryland was especially impor-
tant because it included Assateague Island, then a
major source of passage peregrines for American
falconers. With a considerable history of trapping,
not altogether well understood by its officialdom,
legalization was strongly opposed by the state’s
head of law enforcement.
A group of us from the Washington, DC area,
including Jack, went up to Annapolis as “expert”
witnesses to testify before the Game Commission
in the legalization hearings. We all were prepared
for a considerable battle. Pressures of the military
required Jack to be back at The Pentagon as soon
as possible. Explaining this to the Commission
chairman, Jack was allowed to speak first. Jack’s
“courtroom presence” that day would have done
the greatest of his profession proud. Quiet, unas-
suming, Jack introduced falconry and our desires
to a Commission that obviously didn’t know one
chicken hawk from another. He didn’t lecture to
them but just talked about the sport in ordinary
terms the Commission could readily understand
and appreciate — all in his soft, Texas “good ole
boy” accent. Within a few minutes Jack clearly had
the entire Commission in the palm of his hand.
Any of us could have recounted those basic facts
that Jack described. But none of us had that pres-
ence, that finesse, that ability built on years of
courtroom experience that let Jack read his audi-
ence so accurately and perfectly tailor his presenta-
tion to it.
Finishing his introduction, Jack started to
turn the podium over to the others of us who were
to describe the technical side of our position. Be-
fore we could start, the Chairman, with nods from
his fellow Commissioners, indicated that he felt
they now understood our situation and, looking
straight at his Chief of Law Enforcement, asked if
there were any to speak in opposition. Whatever
his objections to the sport, the Chief Warden had
not achieved his position without developing an
ability to judge a situation — and the way the wind
was blowing that afternoon was clear to him! He
disclaimed any opposition — and falconry was le-
gal in Maryland.
Jack did other things with his hawking — his
writings on progesterone effects on the molt are
still with us — but even had he done no more
after Maryland’s legalization, he’d won his place!
He showed us all a real professional in action that
afternoon in Annapolis.
Doubtless, Jack and Hei are flying ‘em down
up there today. Thanks, Jack; we won’t forget! Rest
in Peace.
Hawk Chalk Vol. XXX, No. 1 April 1991
The Effect of Progesterone on the
Molt Of A Peregrine Falcon
by Jack C. Young
For the interest of those falconers who may
wish to utilize progesterone to speed the molt
the following account of the 1957 molt of my
peregrine falcon, Lady Helen, is offered.
Helen was trapped as a passager in the fall
of 1956. The molt described was thus her first
and normally quite late. She flew free during
the winter of 1956 and the spring of 1957, flying
to both lure and pigeon. Flying weight was 28 ½
ounces to 29 ounces
Excerpt from Falconry News and Notes, the
Journal of the Falconry Club of Americas Sept. 1958,
Vol 2, No. 1
Jack’s famous “Lady Helen” was the model for his line of pendants, cufflinks, and earrings.
“Lady Helen” — a passage female Peregrine
trapped Nov. 1956