General Information

History and Background of Falconry in Mississippi

Falconry has been around for centuries, dating back to 1000 BC, and has been a staple in many cultures. There have been many types of falconers over the years, from lowly peasants to kings and emperors. Falconry was first introduced to the United States in 1622 by England.

The sport has evolved over the years; however, the bond between a hunter and their bird has remained the same. Falconry is a very demanding and tedious sport. Below you'll find more information on falconry and how to get involved. If you have any questions and/or need assistance with anything, feel free to contact the falconry coordinator using the info in the Contact Information section.

How to Get Involved in Falconry

Here's some basic information you 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 a bird is very demanding. As mentioned above, becoming an apprentice falconer takes a minimum of two years, while becoming a master falconer can take over eight years. Don't let this scare you away, but be aware that 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

Falconry has a very strong ethical core. Falconers are very dedicated to 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 impulse can demonstrate careless handling of a bird and have a negative effect on this bird and other birds, if the bird is ever released. This kind of carelessness can cause the public to view the sport of falconry in a negative light. 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. You must provide shelter, food, perches, and a variety of other specific equipment to get started in falconry. Not only do you need to purchase or build your own equipment, but you must acquire the proper permits.

The permitting process involves studying, studying, and more studying for the test. After you pass the test, the falconry permit fee is $100. 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 who will sponsor you, 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 must have a place to fly your bird, and your bird will need exercise and plenty of land to hunt on. Locations must be picked carefully because of the variety of potential dangers for the bird. Power lines and roads can be especially dangerous for your bird.

Furthermore, different birds require different types of land. A falcon such as a 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-tailed hawk, are short-winged birds that require smaller fields or farms.

Peregrine Falcon Take Applications

Available again in August 2024.

Falconry Literature

Below is a list of recommended books on falconry:

  • The Red-Tailed Hawk by Liam J. McGranaghan
  • Apprentice Manual by California Hawking Club
  • A Falconry Manual by Frank L. Beebe
  • North American Falconry & Hunting Hawks by Frank L. Beebe and Harold Webster
  • American Kestrels in Modern Falconry by Matthew Mullenix
  • The Falconer's Apprentice by William C. Oakes