The sport of falconry has a rich history
throughout the world. It involves a
dedicated and knowledgeable falconer,
and a healthy well-trained raptor
working together as a hunting team.
Pictured above is an American kestrel,
a perfect bird for an apprentice falconer
~Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and
This license authorizes a New York State resident to participate in the sport of falconry. Falconry includes hunting small game with a trained raptor such as a falcon, hawk or owl. The license allows a person to obtain, buy, sell, barter, possess and train raptors for falconry purposes.
There are 3 different levels of a falconry license:
- Level 1 - Apprentice:
- Must train under sponsorship of a master or general falconer
- Can have 1 raptor
- Must be 14-years of age or older
- Level 2 - General:
- Must have at least 2 years' experience as an apprentice falconer
- Can have up to 3 raptors
- Must be 18-years of age or older
- Level 3 - Master:
- Must have at least 5 years' experience as a general falconer
- Can have up to 13 raptors
What This License Allows
- Obtaining, buying, selling, bartering, possessing and training raptors
- Hunting small game and migratory game birds with raptors
- Hunting domestic game birds with raptors on a licensed shooting preserve
- Breeding raptors on a limited basis
- Displaying raptors for educational purposes
- Master level only - Using raptors to scare, flush and pursue wildlife causing damage to property or threatening human health or safety
Other Pertinent Information
Falconry hunting seasons:
Building/facility and equipment requirements:
- Falconers must meet the building facility (MEWS) requirements for raptors. (link leaves DEC's website)
How to Apply
Applying for the Apprentice License
Download the exam study guide (PDF) (2.6 MB)
and the practice exam manual (PDF) (622 KB)
to prepare for the exam and learn more about
- Pass the falconry examination with a score of 80% or higher.
- Exam Registration Form (PDF) (76 KB): complete and submit at least three weeks prior to exam dates. You will be notified by DEC on the location and time to take the exam.
- Exam Dates and Locations: second Friday of April and August each year at DEC regional offices statewide.
- Exam Fee: No fee.
- Exam Study Materials:
- New York State Falconry Guide (PDF) (2.6 MB)
- New York State Falconry Examination Manual (PDF) (622 KB)
- After passing the exam, an application packet will be sent by mail with further instructions on how to apply, including:
- Have a current year hunting license.
- Complete and submit the Falconry License Application (sent with the application packet after passing the exam).
Applying/Upgrading to the General or Master License
- Meet the minimum requirements:
- General Falconer
- 18-years of age or older
- Trained and hunted with raptor for at least 4 months annually out of the 2-years as an apprentice falconer.
- Master Falconer
- Trained and hunted with raptor for at least 3 years out of the 5 years as a general falconer
- General Falconer
- Submit the following to DEC's Special Licenses Unit:
- Written summary detailing your experience maintaining raptors. Must include a summary of the raptor species you held, and the length of time you had each bird
- Written recommendation and approval for advancement to the next level:
- General falconer: from your sponsor and at least one other general or master falconer who has evaluated your apprenticeship in the field
- Master falconer: from 3 master falconers who evaluated you in the field and from the NYS Falconry Advisory Board
Renewing & Reporting
Licenses expire on December 31 every 5th year after the license was issued. A renewal form will be sent by mail prior to the license expiration date noted on the license. If a license renewal form is not received at least 2-weeks prior to the expiration date, please contact us.
Complete the Falconry Annual Report Form (PDF) (134 KB) and submit by December 31 each year. Required for all licensed falconers.
Laws & Regulations
New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)
The following links all leave DEC's website
- Part 173: Falconry
- Part 175: Special Licenses and Permits - Definitions and Uniform Procedures
- Part 2 - Section 2.25(f): Hunting Upland Game Birds
- Part 2 - Section 2.30(e): Migratory Game Bird Open Seasons
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)
All following links leave DEC website. To find these laws, follow the link, click on ENV, find Article 11, and click on the law.
- Title 50 Section 21.29: Falconry Standards and Falconry Permitting (link leaves DEC website)
DEC Special Licenses Unit
Address: 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
Other Resources and Information
NYS Falconry Association (Link leaves DEC website) - statewide association for prospective and current falconers.