Before You Purchase a Falcon or Other Raptor, You Need to Be Licensed for Falconry

If you have always been fascinated by falconry and have decided you want to buy your first falcon, then it's important to note it is illegal to buy a raptor in the United States unless you have a wildlife rehabilitation license or possess a falconry license.

Though the sport of falconry has been practiced for millennia all over the globe by everyone from commoners to kings, there are now regulations in place to protect birds from abuse and to protect innocent people and pets from injury. Before you can purchase your first raptor, you will need to comply with these requirements.

State and Federal Falconry Licenses

Whether you want to hunt small game like quail and rabbits with your falcon or simply want to enjoy the sport of falconry, you need to obtain both a state and federal falconry license.

Falconry license requirements are regulated in each individual state by their Department of Fish and Game offices except in Hawaii, where raptor hunting is illegal. Additionally, you will also need a federal license, and information on attaining one is available online

Obtaining Your Federal Beginner's Permit Is the First Step

Before you can own or train a falcon, first, you must obtain a federal beginner's permit. To obtain the permit, you will be required to take a written test and pass it. There are many books and websites available to help you study for the test. The test covers a variety of different aspects of falconry, including the following:

  • raptor biology
  • raptor care and feeding
  • raptor training

In addition, the test also covers the basic veterinary care of raptors held in captivity.

The 3 Levels of Falconry Licenses

Falconry licenses are issued in three different classifications: beginning, general, and master. General falconers and master falconers can legally own and fly a variety of different raptors, while beginners need to participate in an apprenticeship before owning their own bird. 

The Falconry Apprenticeship

A falconry apprenticeship is necessary before you can move from a beginner to general or master falconer. To complete this requirement, you need to work with an established falconer who holds a general or master license who will help teach you the intricacies of owning and housing a raptor and training them to fly and hunt, as well as the ethics surrounding the falconry sport.

Your Next Step

Finally, if you want to become a falconer and buy a falcon of your own, then you need to first obtain your beginner permit from the federal government and find a local falconer who agrees to help with your two-year apprenticeship.

Contact a company like Flint Hills Falcons LLC if you are interested in buying a falcon.