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Becoming A Falconer
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  1. Contact your state wildlife department or agency Each state (US and Mexico) and province (Canada) has slightly different requirements. Ask them for information about falconry. Also ask for a current list of currently licensed/permitted falconers in your state.
  2. You may have a local or state falconry organization that you may wish to contact. Check with your state/provincial wildlife officials for the contact person in your area. Not all states or provinces have clubs or organizations. Those that do often have websites.
  3. Study the materials and information sent to you by your state.
  4. Based on the materials and information you gather, decide if you will have the time, energy, space and other necessary requirements to train, care for and hunt with a bird of prey. This is a huge commitment on your part and a huge investment of time and money. This decision to pursue falconry will change your life and the lives of those around you.
  5. Study. A list of books may be sent to you and included in the materials either from the state wildlife officials or your local or state falconry organization or both. Books are not cheap and the majority of these books will not be found at your local public library. Study the regulations of your state and study the federal falconry regulations.
  6. Find a falconer who will be willing to talk to you. Call them and make an appointment to go see them. Keep the appointment and be prepared to spend considerable time asking questions. Most falconers are skeptical of persons who only have a passing interest. Be prepared to demonstrate your commitment to falconry by the work you have already done studying and reading. If possible, or invited, go hunting with them.
  7. Attend (by invitation) a meeting of your state or provincial falconry organization.
  8. Find a sponsor. New falconers are required to have a sponsor for at least the first two years. New falconers are called Apprentices and serve under either a General or Master class falconer. Federal regulations (United States) require that you be at least 12 years of age. Some states require you to be older. The minimum age is set by your state. Some potential sponsors require an aspiring apprentice hunt with them for a much as a full year before they will consider sponsorship. Remember too that you may be required by your state to complete a hunter safety education course before you are able to obtain any required hunting license. This is separate from a falconry license or permit.
  9. A written examination is required before your permit or license can be obtained.  Make an appointment to take your examination. The exam consists of questions designed to test your knowledge of birds of prey, raptor biology, health care of the birds, laws and more. You must pass the examination with a score of 80% or better. This is a requirement of current federal and state regulations.
  10. Construct your facilities that will house your bird, under the guidance of your sponsor, so they meet or exceed the legal requirements. Have your facilities inspected by your state wildlife agency or an official representative of your state wildlife agency and pass the inspection. These are requirements of current regulations.
  11. Have all of your equipment purchased or made and on hand prior to your inspection. It too will be inspected by state wildlife officials or official representatives of your state wildlife agency. These are requirements of current federal and state regulations.
  12. Submit your applications and application fees to the proper wildlife officials for approval and the issuance of permits.
  13. Receive your permits, licenses and other documents before attempting to acquire your first bird. You must have all necessary permits, licenses, etc. before acquiring a bird.
  14. Be ready for your first bird with all the food, equipment, facilities and time that it is going to take and be ready to enjoy this lifestyle you have chosen.



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