Nongame Wildlife Program

Raptor Propagation

A Raptor Propagation Permit is required for residents to breed and raise raptors; capture raptors from the wild for propagation purposes; and possess, transport, import, purchase, barter, or offer to sell, purchase, or barter any raptor, raptor egg, or raptor semen for propagation purposes.  "Raptor" means a bird of the family Falconidae, the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), or a bird of the family Accipitridae, other than the bald eagle or golden eagle.  Raptors considered threatened or endangered under state or federal regulations require additional authorizations and permits for possession and breeding (propagators must also have at least 2 years of experience handling raptors in a propagation program). 

Wild Raptors

Captive Bred Raptors

Topics in this section include:

  1. Obtaining a Raptor Propagation Permit
  2. Classes of Raptor Propagator
  3. Regulations specific to Raptor Propagation Permits
  4. How to Renew your Permit


1. To Obtain a Raptor Propagation Permit:

  1.  A person must either:
    • Be the holder of a valid Master Falconry Permit in good standing; or
    • Demonstrate through written or other documentation at least two years' experience propagating raptors and either:
      • Have a valid General Falconry Permit in good standing with 24 months of experience with a raptor at the general level; or
      • Be conducting research on raptors for an educational or governmental institution and submit a research proposal.
  2. Construct facilities (both mews and weathering area) and pass the facility and equipment inspection.
    • NOTE: Facility schematics must be included with the application form.  Facility schematics must include dimensions for each holding area, the number of birds stored in each holding area, and whether the birds will be tethered or free in each holding area.
  3. Apply for and receive a Federal Raptor Propagation Permit.
  4. Return the completed Propagation Permit Application Form and all required documentation to the Falconry Coordinator at heidi.cyr@state.mn.us.
    • NOTE: Both Standard Propagators and Specialized Propagators must use the Propagation Permit Application Form; however, only permittees requesting permission to possess more than 25 birds under their propagation permit need to complete section VII.
    • NOTE: Submission of the application form and required documentation constitute the "proposal or business plan" listed in regulation for Specialized Propagators.


2. Classes of Raptor Propagator

State propagation regulations were written to allow for expansion in the raptor propagation program by creating two propagation classes, the revision to the program was not meant to be a restriction.  During the rule writing process, the “six propagation birds” limit for the “standard” permit was derived through several meetings with the MFA and falconers.  No propagator at the time had more than that number.  The distinction was made so that the small breeders could conduct business as usual.  Because several people spoke of the potential for future larger breeding facilities (40, 60, 100 birds), the Revisor's office helped with the language that would allow the “Specialized” propagation permit to be flexible enough that it could encompass unforeseen issues with larger breeding facilities —humane standards, waste disposal issues, food source issues, etc.  Propagation permits classes as follows:

  1. Standard Class Propagator
    • Propagators requesting to possess 1-6 birds under their propagation permit.
  2. Specialized Class Propagator
    • Propagators requesting to possess 7 or more birds under their propagation permit
    • Permits for propagators that possess between 7 and 25 birds will vary very little from those of a Standard Class Propagator.
    • Permits for propagators that possess greater than 25 birds will be individualized based on the number of birds proposed to ensure public health and safety and for the welfare of the raptors.
    • The large numbers of raptors allowed under a Specialized Class Propagator Permit are meant to be used for a specialized purpose such as education, business, reintroduction, research, abatement, or another similar activity authorized by the commissioner.

The number of birds possessed under each class does not include:


3. Regulations Specific to Raptor Propagation Permits

Unless further restricted in state or federal regulations (50-CFR 21.30), raptors must be cared for, banded, reported, etc. as specified under Minnesota Regulations, Chapter 6238 or Federal Regulations 50-CFR 21.30.  See Care, Facilities, and Inspections; Take and Importing Raptors to Minnesota; Flying, Hunting, and Release; Banding and Reporting; and Conservation Education Programs.


4. How to Renew your Permit

Minnesota Raptor Propagation Permits are valid for 3 years, and expire on September 30 of the 3rd year.  Please note: Federal Raptor Propagation Permits are valid for 5 years (although the FWS may make the federal permit expiration coincide with the state permit expiration).  To renew your Raptor Propagation Permit you must:

  1. Pass a facilities and equipment inspection performed by a Conservation Officer, Nongame Specialist, or Falconry Coordinator.
  2. Apply for and receive a Federal Raptor Propagation Permit.
  3. Return the completed Raptor Propagation Permit Application Form This link leads to an external site. This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. and all required documentation to heidi.cyr@state.mn.us when replying via email to the Annual Falconry Information Email.
  4. Renewal requests must be submitted 30 days before the permit expires.

The above information is a brief summary of the state and federal falconry regulations. For complete falconry and raptor propagation regulations, consult Minnesota Rules Chapter 6234.0800, Chapter 6238, and Federal Regulations 50-CRF 21.29 and 50-CRF 21.30.