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For Release: Monday, July 19, 2021

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

Online Exams Scheduled Aug. 27; Registration Deadline Aug. 20

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, Aug. 27, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. To make the examinations more widely accessible, DEC is offering the examinations online; in-person exams will not be offered this year.

To register for these exams, visit the Special License Exams Registration webpage and follow the directions provided. Exam registrants will receive an email acknowledging registration and will receive a one-time link to access the website on the date of the exam at a later date.

The deadline for registering to take any of these free exams is Friday, Aug. 20. The link to the registration webpage is also available on the DEC 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. 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 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 from DEC. There is no cost for the five-year wildlife rehabilitation license. 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 in aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost from DEC. There is a $50 license fee for the five-year leashed tracking dog 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 register for any of these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website. The link to the registration webpage is provided on each of the individual license web pages.

For more information, contact the Special Licenses Unit by mail: NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752; phone: 518-402-8985; fax: 518-402-8925; or email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov.

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