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For Release: Thursday, July 7, 2016

DEC Announces Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator and Leashed Tracking Dog License Examinations

Exams Slated for August 12; Exam Registration Deadline July 22, 2016

Examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, to become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, August 12, 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional offices across the state. The list of Regional Offices can be found on DEC's website. The deadline for registering to take any of these exams is Friday, July 22, 2016. Exam Registration Forms are available via 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 of time and effort and the novice must be prepared to accept the responsibility. 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:

  • be a resident of New York State;
  • 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 facilities for housing falconry raptors, which are approved by DEC.

Wildlife Rehabilitator License

Wildlife rehabilitators provide care for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals, for the sole purpose of returning rehabilitated animals back 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 via 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 dogs to track and recover dead, wounded or injured big game. Leashed tracking dog handlers provide an invaluable service to hunters by locating wounded big game that otherwise may have gone unrecovered.

A Leashed Tracking Dog Study Guide is available at no cost via 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 find out more about these licenses or apply for any of these exams, visit the Special Licenses Unit pages on DEC's 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:

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