Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Falconry Regulations

Hunting Migratory Birds with Trained Raptors

Female falconer in the field with her falcon
Leah Valerio, Wild Center curator.
Photo courtesy of The Wild Center.

Special State and Federal rules apply to taking of migratory game birds by falconers when hunting with trained raptors. This supplement summarizes those special regulations. Falconers should also consult the current Small Game Hunting Guide and the annual Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations brochure for general regulations that apply to all migratory game bird hunters.

Definitions: In New York, migratory game birds are wild ducks, geese, brant, coot, rails, gallinules, woodcock, snipe, and crows. Migratory waterfowl are wild ducks, geese, brant and coot.

License Requirements: Any person who hunts migratory game birds with a raptor must possess a valid falconry license and a valid license authorizing the hunting of small game, and be registered in New York's Harvest Information Program (HIP registration is not required to hunt crows). Any person who hunts migratory waterfowl with a raptor must also possess a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp ("duck stamp").

Regular Hunting Seasons

Falconers may take migratory game birds during the respective regular seasons for each species. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons are published annually in the regulations brochure soon after they are finalized in September each year. Regular seasons for other migratory game birds are listed in the annual Hunting Guide.

Extended Hunting Seasons

In addition to regular seasons, falconers may take ducks, coots, and mergansers during special "extended" seasons in some areas of the state. These extended seasons are as follows:

In the Western, Northeastern, and Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones, any ducks, coots, and mergansers for which regular seasons are established may be taken by falconers (when hunting with trained raptors) on any day from October 1 through January 13 (inclusive) in addition to the regular season for these species.

In the Long Island Waterfowl Hunting Zone, any ducks, coots and mergansers for which regular seasons are established may be taken by falconers (when hunting with trained raptors) on any day from November 1 through February 13 (inclusive) in addition to the regular season for these species.

In the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone, there are no extended waterfowl seasons for falconers. Ducks, coots, and mergansers may be taken by falconers only during the regular seasons for these species.

Falconers may not take Canada geese during special September or Late Canada goose hunting seasons. Falconers also may not take sea ducks during any part of the special sea duck hunting season that occurs outside of the regular or extended duck seasons, as described above.

Bag Limits: Regular bag limits for migratory game bird hunting do not apply to taking by falconry. For falconers, the daily bag limit is 3 and the possession limit is 6 for all migratory game birds for which the seasons are open, singly or in combination. Only those species which may be taken by shooting may be taken by falconry. A falconer whose raptor kills any wildlife that is out of season or of the wrong species or sex shall leave the dead wildlife where it lies, except that the raptor may feed upon the wildlife prior to leaving the site of the kill.

Hunting Hours: Hunting hours for taking migratory game birds with trained raptors are the same as for shooting. Migratory waterfowl may be taken during their respective open seasons from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Hunting hours for woodcock and crows are sunrise to sunset. Hunting hours for all other migratory game birds are the same as for waterfowl.

For More Information: For more information on migratory game bird hunting seasons and regulations, consult the current regulations brochure, the annual Hunting Guide, Official DEC regulations (6 NYCRR 2.30), the Fish and Wildlife Law, or contact the nearest Environmental Conservation Officer or Regional Wildlife Office.

For information on regulations pertaining to the possession and care of raptors and related matters, contact DEC's Special Licenses Unit, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 625 Broadway 5th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-4752, phone: 518-402-8985.

  • Contact for this Page
    Bureau of Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4755
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions