News Release

Final Falconry Regulations Published

October 8, 2008

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Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a major revision to the regulations governing falconry in the United States and its territories.  The changes, published in todays Federal Register, simplify the agencys regulations and reflect current practices in the traditional use of raptors for sport hunting.

"Falconers care deeply about wild raptors, hunting and the legacy of their sport," said Service Director H. Dale Hall. "At the request of state fish and wildlife agencies and falconers nationwide, the new regulations streamline the permitting process and clarify what is considered as acceptable falconry practices."

Highlights of the new falconry regulations include:

  • Elimination of the federal permit in favor of state, tribal or territorial falconry permits. States, except Hawaii, already administer falconry permitting programs. Dual state/federal permitting will no longer be necessary. The Service will approve falconry regulations to be promulgated under state, tribal or territorial laws and regulations by January 1, 2014, when the federal permit program will be discontinued.
  • Establishment of electronic reporting of the acquisition, transfer or loss of falconry raptors, to replace the current paper reporting system.
  • Allowance of experienced falconers to assist federal and state-permitted wildlife rehabilitators in conditioning raptors for release to the wild.

The Service first proposed the revisions and opened a public comment period on February 9, 2005, in response to a request from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (state fish and wildlife agencies).  The request asked the Service to consider eliminating the duplicative federal/state falconry permit system. During the 90 day public comment period, the Service received 967 comments from individuals and organizations, including 30 from states and 3 from other government entities on the proposed rule.   The final rule can be found at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov.

The Service is the Federal agency with the primary responsibility for managing migratory birds.  Falconry regulations are based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which implements conventions with Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia.  Falconry regulations for golden eagles are based on the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
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