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For Release: Monday, February 25, 2019

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

Exams to be Held April 12; Registration Deadline is March 22

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that examinations are scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019, 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.

The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional Offices across the state. A list of DEC Regional Offices can be found on DEC's website. The deadline for registering to take any of these free exams is Friday, March 22, 2019. Exam registration forms can be found on DEC's website.

Apprentice Falconry License

Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world and requires a significant commitment of time and effort. 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 from DEC and can be found 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; and
  • maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing falconry raptors.

Wildlife Rehabilitator License

Wildlife rehabilitators provide for the care of injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals to then return 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 from DEC's website. There is no cost for a wildlife rehabilitator license, which is valid for five years.

To qualify for the Wildlife Rehabilitator License, applicants must:

  • score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;
  • be at least 16 years of age; 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 a valuable service by helping hunters locate wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost from 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.

To apply for any of these exams, visit the DEC Special Licenses Unit website and complete an exam registration form. Applicants 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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