Falconry is the sport of taking wild quarry by the use of trained raptors. Falconry involves capturing a wild bird or obtaining a captive-bred raptor, training it for use in hunting, and providing adequate housing and daily care for bird.
All raptors are protected by federal, state and international law. Therefore, all falconers must obtain the required permits to practice falconry. Prior to 2014, falconers were required to obtain both a Federal and a State permit. The FWS discontinued the Federal permit program and delegated permitting to the States, provided the State regulations comply with Federal regulations. The Federal regulations are found in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at § 21.29. Each State’s falconry regulations may vary, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of 50 CFR 21.29. Becoming a falconer is not as easy as simply buying a license over the counter, but involves passing a falconry exam, obtaining a sponsor, constructing raptor facilities, dedication and practice. It takes a minimum of seven years to become a Master falconer.
The FWS has evaluated the take of raptors from the wild for use in falconry and determined that the biological impacts are small. However, there are instances where take may impact a species with a small or recovering population, such as the Peregrine Falcon. Take of a wild peregrine is highly sought-after by falconers and take limits are imposed by the FWS. The nongame migratory bird technical committees of the Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic Flyway provide annual recommendations to the FWS for distributing the take of wild passage Peregrine Falcons in a manner that maximizes opportunities for falconers but has minimal impact on the population.