Wildlife & Hunting

General Falconry Information

So, you want to know more about Falconry? You came to the right place! 
Falconry is defined as hunting for game with a trained falcon. Another definition is the art of training a falcon or hawk to hunt for wild game.  Falconry is a very demanding and tedious sport.  Below is more information on falconry and how to get involved.


Want to get involved?
There is some information everyone should know before getting involved in falconry.  First, falconry is a very time consuming sport.  There are three levels in falconry:

  • Apprentice falconer: Requires you to work with a master falconer for at least two years. 
  • General falconer: Requires experience with raptors and hunting. 
  • Master falconer:  Requires a minimum of eight years of experience. 

Training and working with the bird are very demanding.  As mentioned above, becoming an apprentice falconer takes a minimum of two years, and to become a master falconer it can take over eight years.  Now, do not let this scare you away, but taking care of a raptor is not like taking care of a pet.  However, it is very rewarding to see your bird take down a rabbit or a duck!


An ethical sport
In falconry there is a very strong ethical core.  Falconers are very dedicated in training and protecting their raptors.  All raptors used in falconry, including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls, are integral parts of the ecosystem.  It is important for a person interested in falconry to understand that the sport requires dedication.  A person who is simply acting on an impulse can demonstrate careless handling of a bird and can create a negative effect on this bird and other birds, if it is ever released.  People like this can shed a negative light on the sport to the public.  For this reason, most falconers want to see a high level of dedication from any new falconer. 


Fees and permits
When getting started in falconry, most people believe that the bird is the largest expense, but it is only the beginning.  It is necessary to provide shelter, food, perches, and a variety of other specific equipment to get started in falconry.  Not only do you have to purchase or build your own equipment, but you have to acquire permits.  The permitting process involves studying, studying, and MORE studying for the test. After you pass the test, the falconry permit fee is 100 dollars.  The permit can be purchased from the MDWFP main office in Jackson.  This permit must be renewed every 5 years.  After that, you can find a master or general falconer that will sponsor you and then go trap your bird.  Trapping your first bird is a requirement in falconry.  Falconers have trapped their first birds for hundreds of years.


Access to land
Another important part of falconry is having access to land.  You have to have a place to fly your bird and your bird will need exercise as well as plenty of land to hunt on.  Locations have to be picked carefully because of the variety of dangers to the bird.  Power lines and roads can be especially dangerous for your bird.  Different birds require different types of land.  A falcon such as the Peregrine is a long-winged bird that requires a wide open field setting where it can fly high over the falconer's head and circle for prey.  Hawks such as the Red-tail are short-winged birds that require smaller fields or farms.


(Content from NAFA website)

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