AFC Draft Model Set of State Falconry Regulations

 1st Revision

(Note: This model is to be used as a resource for state fish and game departments and falconry clubs when making decisions related to their falconry regulations. AFC hopes that it is of some benefit to U.S. falconers. Additional modifications to this model may be necessary upon release of the new federal regulations.)

“Raptor” means a live native migratory bird of the family Accipitridae or of the family Falconidae or of the family Strigidae.
“Haggard” means a raptor which is greater than one year old.
“Passager” or “passage” means a raptor from the wild which is less than one year old and is not a nestling, brancher, or a haggard.
“Brancher” means a young hawk which has left the nest or the eyrie, but which has not yet
left the immediate vicinity.
“Eyass” means a young raptor which is still in the nest and is not yet capable of flying.
“Take” means to trap or capture, or attempt to trap or capture, a raptor for the purpose of falconry.
“Falconry” means the sport of taking quarry by means of a trained raptor.
“Bred in captivity” or “captive-bred” means raptors, including eggs, hatched in captivity from parents that mated or otherwise transferred gametes in captivity.
“Sponsor” means a person who possesses a valid general or master falconry license with at least 5 years experience and who will be responsible for individually instructing and training an apprentice falconer under his supervision in the fundamentals of falconry.
“Mews” means the building or room in which hawks are kept, i.e. housing facilities.
“Bate” or “bating” means to flutter of the perch in an abortive attempt to fly when the bird is restrained by the leash.
“Service” means the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
“Commissioner/Director” means the executive manager of the Fish & Game Department of the State.
“Department” means the Fish & Game Department.
“Secretary” means the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Falconry permits.
a) Each individual engaged in falconry shall possess a current state falconry permit and may use his or her raptors for all other purposes not expressly prohibited.
b) Each individual holding a valid and current falconry permit from another state and moving to this state with the intent to establish residency shall apply for a falconry permit within 60 days after moving to this state, if such individual intends to practice falconry in this state.
c) Each falconry permit shall be valid from the date of issuance through December 31 in the third calendar year after issuance.
d) A falconry permit may be renewed without the permit holder retaking a written or verbal examination.

Falconry permit classes and requirements.

a) Apprentice class.
1. Each applicant for an apprentice class permit shall be at least 12 years of age.
2. A permit shall not be issued to an applicant for apprentice class unless the applicant passes an examination and the applicant’s raptor housing facilities and equipment have been inspected and certified by the department or a department representative, such as a department-designated master falconer, as meeting minimum standards.
3. An apprentice falconer shall be instructed by a sponsor during the first two seasons that the apprentice falconry permit is in force, and each apprentice falconer shall notify the department within 30 days of any change in sponsorship.
4. Each apprentice falconer shall possess no more than one raptor at a time and shall not take more than one replacement raptor from the wild during a one year period from Jan. 1st through Dec. 31st.
5. An apprentice falconer and his sponsor shall determine which raptors are best suited for the apprentice falconer.

b) General class.
1. Each applicant for a general class permit shall be at least 16 years of age.
2. Each applicant for a general class permit shall have at least two seasons of experience at the apprentice class level or its equivalent.
3. Each general falconer shall possess no more than three raptors and shall not take ore than two raptors from the wild during any 12 month period beginning on Jan 1st and ending on Dec. 31st.

c) Master class.
1. Each applicant for a master class permit shall have at least five years of experience at the general class level or its equivalent. [The limit on wild take at this class level should be determined by each state based upon biological criteria contemporaneously at hand; or based upon previous experience]
2. There is no limit on how many raptors a master class falconer may possess.

d) Sponsors
1. Each sponsor of an apprentice falconer shall hold a master or general class permit with at least 5 years total experience in the sport of falconry.
2. Each sponsor shall supervise no more than three apprentice class falconers at any one time.
3. If a sponsor of an apprentice falconer withdraws sponsorship, the sponsor shall notify the apprentice falconer immediately upon withdrawing sponsorship and shall notify the department in writing within 30 days of withdrawing sponsorship.

Each applicant for a new apprentice falconry permit shall successfully pass an examination administered by the fish & game department prior to receiving his or her permit.
a) The examination shall cover topics including basic biology, disease & treatment, training, care & handling of raptors, literature, law, regulations, and other appropriate subject matter relating to falconry and raptors.
b) A score of 80 percent shall be required as a minimum passing score.
c) Each applicant failing the examination may reapply after a period of 30 days.
d) Any applicant holding a valid falconry permit from another state shall not be required to take an examination when applying for a similar falconry permit in this state.

a) All licensed falconers shall maintain housing facilities which adequately protect each raptor from predators, excessive sun and wind, and inclement weather.
1. If a mews is to be used, the applicant shall assure that:
A) each chamber is large enough to allow easy access for the caring of raptors housed therein;
B) if windows are provided, they are protected on the inside by vertical bars, spaced t intervals narrower than the width of the raptor’s body;
C) the floor of the mews permits easy cleaning and shall be well drained; and
A) at least one perch per raptor is provided.
2. If an outdoor weathering area is to be used, the applicant shall assure that:
B) the enclosed area is large enough that the raptor cannot strike the enclosure hen bating from the perch; and
C) at least one perch per raptor is provided.

a) Each applicant shall possess the following equipment prior to receiving a permit:
1. at least one pair of alymeri jesses, or jesses of a similar type, are to be used when raptors are free flown; or jesses can be removed when free flown;
2. at least one leash and one strong swivel;
3. at least one bath container for each raptor that is at least two inches deep and wider than the length of the raptor; and
4. a scale or balance suitable for weighing raptors that is graduated to increments of not more than ½ ounce (15 grams).

Acquisition of raptors.
a) Every falconer obtaining a raptor shall possess a falconry permit.
b) The season for taking wild raptors shall have no limits.
c) Eyasses may be taken only by general and master falconers.
d) Passagers may be taken from the wild or otherwise obtained by apprentice, general, and master falconers.
e) Haggards of the following species of raptors may be taken from the wild or otherwise obtained , by apprentice, general, and master falconers:
1. American kestrel (Falco sparverius); and
2. Great-horned owl (Bubo virginianus).
f) At least one eyass shall be left in the nest when a wild eyass is taken.
g) No species listed by the state as endangered shall be taken from the wild within the state unless authorized. Only one raptor of any species listed by the state as threatened may be authorized per year for any general or master class falconer. Breeding by falconers of threatened and endangered species shall be encouraged.
h) Nothing shall prohibit a resident falconer from legally obtaining from outside the home state a species listed by the home state as threatened or endangered, providing the falconer complies with the requirements of the state from which the raptor species is acquired.
i) An electronic migratory bird acquisition and disposition report, form 3-186A, shall be completed and submitted directly to the Service (and state?) within 30 days of acquisition, loss (due to escape, release, theft or death) or re-banding (due to loss or illegibility of previously attached band).
j) Raptors marked with falconry bands or carrying falconry equipment may be recaptured at any time.
k) Permittees shall maintain for a period of five years complete records of information required in the migratory bird acquisition and disposition reports of all raptors acquired, transferred, lost or released.
l) Each falconer shall purchase, receive, sell, barter, or transfer raptors only in compliance with all applicable federal regulations.
m) Purchase – No person, other than a person in possession of a valid raptor propagation permit issued by the Service or a valid state wildlife agency falconry permit, may purchase, or acquire by barter, any captive bred raptor for falconry purposes.
n) Captive-bred raptors of any species may be used by falconers.
o) Depredating raptors may be trapped by falconers for use in falconry or they may be caught and released at another location within the state.
p) A nonresident falconer may acquire a raptor from the wild in this state so long as he possesses a current falconry permit issued by his home state, and the home state provides reciprocal trapping privileges for falconers who are residents of this state.
q) Nonresidents shall notify the Department of all raptor trapping activities prior to taking part in those activities.
r) Raptors may be captured only using traps or nets that are safe in design and operation. Swedish goshawk traps, or other stationary or compartment type traps, must be attended regularly at least at eight (8) hour intervals during daylight hours. All other trapping devices must be constantly attended while in use.
s) Rehabilitated raptors, or raptors taken or held under special purpose federal permits, may be transferred to falconers for use in falconry. Rehabilitators may use falconers to complete the rehabilitation process in order to ensure that raptors are self-sufficient prior to permanently releasing them. If there are numerical restrictions on the take of any species of raptor, raptors rehabilitated by falconers in this fashion will not be considered
for purposes of those numerical restrictions.

Other provisions
a) Each falconer possessing raptors before January 1, 1974 in excess of the number permitted may retain his or her raptors without being subject to falconry requirements. Each such raptor shall be identified by a permanent marker provided by the Service, and the raptor shall not be replaced.
b) If all federal and state requirements are met, any raptor possessed under authority of a falconry permit may be temporarily held and cared for by a person other than the permittee.
c) Feathers and carcasses of raptors may be retained and exchanged by falconers or other raptor permittees such as educators, rehabilitators, etc.
d) Nonresident falconers may import their raptors into the state for hunting and for all other uses that are not expressly prohibited.
e) Each falconer shall notify the department of any permanent change of address within 30 days after the change.
f) A falconer may export a raptor to another state for any purpose not expressly prohibited if the falconer is in compliance with all federal laws and regulations and the laws and regulations of the state to which the raptor is to be exported.
g) Those species required by the Service to be marked shall be marked in compliance with all federal requirements.
h) Markers on deceased, destroyed or released raptors shall be returned to the Department within 30 days of the death or release of each such raptor.
i) The season for taking game birds by falconry shall be September 1 through March 31.
j) Falconers may possess hen pheasants that are taken by falconry means during the established falconry game bird season.
k) Care for raptors shall at all times include provision and maintenance of conditions sufficient for health, safety and security of the raptor.
l) Conviction for violation of any falconry regulation while hunting with a raptor may result in suspension or revocation of a falconry license.
m) If a permittee’s hunting raptor accidentally kills quarry that is out of season, prohibited for take, or of the wrong species or sex, the falconer shall leave the dead quarry where it lies, except that the raptor may feed upon the quarry prior to leaving the site of the kill.
n) Any subspecies cross or hybrid raptor shall have a marker and a functioning radio telemetry transmitter attached to it whenever flown free of a tether. These raptors shall never be permanently released in the state.

Raptor propagation permit: application, reporting and general provisions.
a) Any person desiring to possess a raptor for propagation purposes, with the intention of selling the progeny, shall submit a copy of the person’s application for a federal raptor propagation permit to the Secretary. A letter of approval issued by the Secretary shall satisfy the Department’s raptor propagation permit requirement, but shall not be effective until the applicant has been issued a federal raptor propagation permit by the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service. A falconry permit is also required in addition to the propagation permit.
b) Each person issued a federal raptor propagation permit shall submit to the Department a copy of the approved federal permit and copies of all reports required by the federal permit.
c) A propagation permit shall not be required for master class falconers breeding raptors exclusively for personal use. DNA identification can be used to identify the parentage and offspring; the cost of such DNA identification will be borne by the falconer. A special marker may be used to identify raptors bred exclusively for personal use. These birds shall not be sold.
d) Each permittee shall allow for inspection of his or her raptor propagation records by Department officials.
e) Sale – No person may sell or transfer to another person by barter any raptor or raptor egg other than as provided by a valid U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raptor propagation permit or state falconry permit.
f) All raptors purchased, sold or bartered, or offered for sale or barter must be marked with a Service seamless numbered band provided to the propagator by the Service. States should have these minimum requirements for harmonization purposes so that each state can respect the falconry permits and other provisions of all other states (Full faith and credit principles should be embraced – in the same way drivers licenses are respected across the nation).

1. Statutes, as opposed to administrative orders, should be in place that recognize or declare falconry and the taking of raptors from the wild for falconry purposes as legitimate and allowable hunting activities.
2. Ensure that all game species can be taken by raptors for falconry.
3. Ensure falconers can use purchased game for falconry purposes.
4. Hunting/trapping roadway and domicile buffer restrictions should be removed for falconry (research Iowa law).
5. State pass-through of falconry raptors in transit should be allowed. Some States require a falconer to possess their falconry license to pass through their State.
6. Orange hat laws should be removed for falconry during non-rifle seasons.
7. Both eyass and passage birds should be allowed to be taken by falconers. (Several states do not provide for eyass take)
8. Somehow cover pigeons, starlings, and English sparrows in either code or regulation so that they do not fall under humane animal act by default.
9. All activities pertaining to falconry should fall under state preemption authority (i.e. local governments are not authorized to regulate or restrict raptor use or possession – only the state wildlife agency has jurisdiction).
10. The removal of daylight hour restrictions for hawking should be applied (consider hunting with owls as well as abatement efforts).
11. Falconry and falconry raptors should be covered under wildlife code and regulations and excluded from humane animal laws, which are typically under the jurisdiction of state agriculture departments.
12. Provide for the taking and hazing of nuisance black birds and other species during nuisance times. Ohio has such a provision.
13. Right to retrieve one’s raptor and game on private property with a statutory anti-litigation clause to protect property owner (research Iowa law).
14. Pick the best statutes from WI, IN, and IL for fashioning a law which clarifies ownership of captive wildlife.