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For Release: Monday, March 16, 2015

DEC Announces Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator and Leashed Tracking Dog Examinations

Exams Slated for April 10; Exam Applications Due March 27

Examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, April 10, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

The exams will run from 10:00 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional offices across the state. The list of Regional Offices can be found on the DEC website. The deadline for registering to take any of these exams is March 27. Exam registration forms can be found on DEC's website. There is no charge to take any of the written exams.

Apprentice Falconry License
Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world. Falconry is a demanding sport which requires a significant commitment in time and effort. The novice must be prepared to accept the responsibility that is part of falconry. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel or a red-tailed hawk.

A falconry study guide and examination manual are available at no cost on DEC's website. The cost of a five-year falconry license is $40.

To qualify for the Apprentice Falconry license, applicants must:

  • score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;
  • be at least 14 years of age;
  • possess a valid New York State hunting license which authorizes the hunting of small game, and;
  • maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing falconry raptors.

Wildlife Rehabilitator License

Wildlife rehabilitators provide the service of caring for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals, for the purpose of returning rehabilitated animals to the wild. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available at no cost on DEC's website.

To qualify for the Wildlife Rehabilitation license, applicants must:

  • score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;
  • be at least 16 years of age;
  • submit two character references along with their application, and;
  • be interviewed by DEC regional wildlife staff.

Leashed Tracking Dog Handler

Leashed tracking dog handlers use their dogs to track and recover dead, wounded or injured big game. Leashed tracking dog handlers provide an invaluable service in aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may have gone unrecovered.

A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost on DEC's website.

There is a $50 license fee for the five-year license, and a $25 non-refundable application fee.

To qualify for a Leashed Tracking Dog Handler License, applicants must:

  • score 80 percent or higher on the written exam, and;
  • possess a valid New York State hunting license which authorizes the hunting of big-game.

To apply for any of these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website and fill out an exam registration form. You can mail, fax or email the completed form to: NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 Phone: 518-402-8985, Fax: 518-402-8925, Email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov.


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