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Falconry License

An American kestrel getting trained by a falconer
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
Wildlife Service

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.

License Details

Fees License Duration
$40 5-year License

License Types

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:

How to Apply

Applying for the Apprentice License

falconry guide cover image
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
  1. Pass the falconry examination with a score of 80% or higher.
  2. Exam Registration Form (PDF, 331 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.
  3. After passing the exam, an application packet will be sent by mail with further instructions on how to apply, including:
    • Finding a General or Master Falconer as your sponsor
    • Building your facility.
    • Acquiring your equipment.
    • Getting a facility and equipment inspection by DEC
  4. Have a current year hunting license.
  5. Complete and submit the Falconry License Application (sent with the application packet after passing the exam).

Applying/Upgrading to the General or Master License

  1. 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
  2. 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

License Renewal

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.

Annual Reporting

Complete the Falconry Annual Report Form (PDF, 254 KB) and submit by December 31 each year. Required for all licensed falconers.

Laws & Regulations

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)

Please visit New York State Legislature (Leaves DEC website)

  • 11-1001 Definitions
  • 11-1003 Falconry License
  • 11-1007 Department authority
  • 11-1009 Prohibitions

New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

Federal Law

Contact Information

DEC Special Licenses Unit
Address: 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
Phone: 518-402-8985

Other Resources and Information

NYS Falconry Association (Leaves DEC website) - statewide association for prospective and current falconers.

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    Albany, NY 12233-4752
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