Becoming a Falconer

Hunting with a wild bird of prey is an exhilarating and fulfilling endeavor.  There is nothing quite like watching your hawk pursue and ultimately take its quarry.  Or marveling as it flies toward you through the trees and lands deftly on your waiting glove.  The bond between falconer and bird is a lifelong, deeply treasured relationship.  It takes years to reach this state.  It is an incredible process and achievement, full of challenges and rewards.  But becoming a falconer must be done with great forethought and readiness.  It requires seriousness and maturity.  It requires considerable time and resources.  It is not to be taken lightly.  It is not a hobby.  It is a lifestyle.  And you must be ready and willing to accept this responsibility, without fail.  The life and well being of your bird, as well as your reputation as a falconer, depend on it.  The initial process of testing and licensing can take up to 6-8 months - or longer.  The responsibilities of keeping your hawk healthy and flying it on game are 24/7/365.  If you are prepared to devote the time, energy, and resources necessary to become a falconer, then read on….

Below is a list of the steps to becoming a falconer in New York State:

1.  Research
-Raptor biology, Falconry, History of Falconry
-Books and DVDs are both good resources

2.  Apply for Falconry Packet from NYSDEC Special License Unit
-This can be done from this link the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website.

3.  Study Packet – study the Questions & Answers;  know them by heart
-100 questions – you must score 80 or higher to pass this test
-Test offered twice a year. Second Friday of April and August each year at DEC regional offices statewide.

4.  Take New York State Hunter Safety Education Class
-Contact NYSDEC Regional Office for schedule of available classes

5.  Purchase a NYS Hunting License

6.  Find a Sponsor
-DEC will supply you with a registry of licensed falconers in New York State after yoy pass the written test.
-Our association is dedicated to fostering the sport and therefore have committed to helping those individuals serious about becoming falconers find a sponsor.  Please use the following links to identify which region you are in and which Director to contact.  Each of our regional directors is prepared to help locate a suitable sponsor based on geographical proximity and willingness to fill the role.

Region Map

Regional Directors

7.  Build Facility and acquire necessary equipment
-Mew and Weathering area
-Anklets, Jesses, Leash
-Refer to NYSDEC Inspection Checklist
-Refer to List of Vendors

8.  Have Facility and Equipment Inspection

9.  Apply for State Falconry License

10.  Acquire food Source

11.  Build Traps

12.  Trap Bird

13.  Train and hunt your bird


Hyperlinks and Phone Numbers

NYSDEC Special License Unit
Email- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone Number (518)-402-8985
Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4752

NYSDEC Falconry Introduction Pamphlet

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Unit Region 5
Email- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(413) 253-864
P.O. Box 779
Hadley, MA 01035-077

Further Information and Learning