Falconry Permit Application Requirements

This section contains information on:

  • Applying for a falconry permit (new falconers)
  • A current or former falconer applying for a Minnesota falconry permit
  • Renewing a falconry permit

 

How to apply for a falconry permit

All falconers are required to obtain a state permit through the Minnesota DNR to practice falconry in Minnesota. The falconry permitting process often takes several months. The process and timeline are outlined in the Apprentice Falconer Checklist.

To receive a permit:

1. View or download the Minnesota DNR falconry packet

Complete the Minnesota Falconry Packet

  1. Is falconry right for me?
  2. Parent Factsheet
  3. Steps to Become a Falconer
  4. Apprentice Falconer Checklist
  5. Apprentice/Sponsor Guidelines
  6. Exam Factsheet

2. Study state and federal regulations and recommended reading materials

3. Contact DNR Falconry Coordinator to take the written exam

Heidi Cyr, Falconry Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155-4025
[email protected]

4. Pass the falconry exam with a score of at least 80%

Examination questions emphasize the practical aspects and obligations of being a falconer. Knowledge of scientific names and obscure publications is not required. The examination has 100 multiple choice questions, and requires at least 80 correct answers to pass. An applicant who fails the examination must wait at least two weeks before retaking the exam. More information on the falconry exam is located in the Falconry Packet under Exam Factsheet.

5. Find a sponsor

All Junior Apprentice and Apprentice class permit holders are required to have a General or Master class falconry permittee as a sponsor. General class sponsors must have at least 24 months' experience with their own birds at General class. The mentoring between the sponsor and the Apprentice is considered to be essential to insure proper development of the Apprentice's falconry skills. An Apprentice's training will include capturing, caring for, training, flying, hunting, and releasing raptors. Your sponsor must confirm that they will act as your sponsor by singing the Sponsor's Certification in the application form or downloading a Sponsor Certification Form. More information on the roles and responsibilities of sponsors and Apprentices is located in the Minnesota Falconry Packet.

6. Construct your facilities (both mews and weathering areas) and pass the Facility and Equipment Inspection

Before a falconry permit is issued, the raptor housing facilities and falconry equipment must be inspected and approved by a Conservation Officer, Nongame Specialist, or Falconry Coordinator. All permitted falconers must have and maintain both a mews (indoor housing) and weathering area (outdoor housing) that will accommodate all raptors they possess. Do not start construction on your facilities until you have completed steps 1-5.

For information on facilities and equipment requirements, see Falconry Care, Facilities, and Inspections.

7. Mail the completed permit application form

Mail the completed permit application form to the Minnesota DNR Falconry Coordinator:

Heidi Cyr, Falconry Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155-4025
[email protected]

Will I get my falconry permit in time for the fall hunting season?

  • Most new permittees start the process in May by taking the exam.
  • They then find their sponsor and build their facilities usually during June and July.
  • Once all equipment has been purchased, their facilities are complete, and their sponsor has signed off, a new permittee should schedule a time for a conservation officer or nongame specialist to inspect their facilities. This usually happens in July or August.
  • They can then submit a completed application for thier permit, usually in August or September.

Permittees who follow this schedule will have their permit in time for the fall hunting season. A person who starts the process later or completes the steps more slowly than outlined above may be able to get permitted, capture their bird, and hunt during the small game season; however, since their time flying and hunting the bird would be limited the Apprentice falconer may not be able to count that first hunting season as a "season for advancement" to upgrade to General falconer within the normal two years (they would need three years). For a falconry season to count for advancement, a new permittee would need to capture their bird by November 1, hunt with the bird during small game season, and then they would need to keep the bird at least until April 30 of the next year.

Please note: New permittee exams, inspections, and permits are generally not conducted between December 1 and May 1 due to workloads associated with other permit programs. Exceptions can be made as time permits.

 

Current or Former Falconers Applying for a Minnesota Falconry Permit

New Permittee Exemptions to Steps 1-7

  • Applicants permanently moving to Minnesota with a falconry permit issued by another state:
    • Do not need to take the exam.
    • Do not need a sponsor, unless they are still an Apprentice. 
    • Must construct facilities, pass the Facility and Equipment Inspection, and submit a complete permit application.
    • Must submit copies of their current permit, 3-186a's for all current birds that they plan to import, and Board of Health Certifications for any birds imported to Minnesota (attained from a veterinarian just prior to importation).
    • Apprentices and General falconers should also submit copies of the first permit in their current class and all 3-186a's that had been submitted since they attained their current class (necessary to determine when the applicant will be able to upgrade to the next class).
    • Must complete permit application form.
  • Applicants who are nonresident falconers but reside in Minnesota for more than 120 days with their raptors (part-time residents)
    • Do not need to take the exam.
    • Do not need a sponsor, unless they are still an Apprentice.
    • Must construct facilities, pass the Facility and Equipment Inspection, and submit a complete permit application.
    • Must submit copies of their current permit, 3-186a's for all current birds, and Board of Health Certifications for any birds imported to Minnesota attained from a veterinarian before they are imported to Minnesota.
    • Must complete permit application form.
  • Applicants who have had a falconry permit in the past but have allowed it to lapse:
    • Do not need to take the exam, unless it has been more than five years since they were last permitted.
    • Do not need a sponsor unless their last valid permit was at the Apprentice class.
    • Must construct facilities, pass the Facility and Equipment Inspection, and submit a complete permit application.
    • May need to submit copies of previous permits (particularly if they were permitted in another state or it has been over five years and their file is not available).
    • Must complete permit application form.
    • Returning falconers are permitted at the same level as their last valid permit.
  • Applicants from another country
    • Must complete steps 1 through 7.
    • Regardless of experience, they are initially permitted at the Apprentice level.
    • After a minimum of four months practicing falconry during the hunting season (capturing, training, hunting, and flying) with their own raptor and with their sponsor's approval they may apply for a General or Master falconry permit. Records from their country of origin must be submitted with the permit application.

 

How to Renew your Permit

Falconry Permits are valid for three years, and expire on September 30 of the 3rd year. To renew your Falconry Permit you must:

  1. Pass a facilities and equipment inspection performed by a Conservation Officer, Nongame Specialist, or Falconry Coordinator.
  2. Reply to the Annual Falconry Informational Email (sent in July).
  3. Return the completed Flaconry Permit Application Form with a signed copy of your new permit (sent by the Falconry Coordinator) via U.S. postal mail to Heidi Cyr. Include a copy of your annual report if you have not already submitted it electronically.
  4. To ensure permit continuity, renewal requests should be submitted 30 days before the permit expires. Under both federal and state regulations, you cannot possess raptors or fly raptors for falconry without a valid falconry permit. If you allow your permit to lapse, you will be required to release your birds or transfer them to a falconer with a valid permit until your permit issue has been resolved.