Flying, Hunting, and Release

A person trapping, transporting, working with, or flying raptors must have their falconry permit or legible copies of their permit in their immediate possession when not at their permitted raptor facilities. 

All applicable state and federal game and fish laws, licenses, permits, and stamps apply for taking game.

Falconry permits do not authorize trespass; all applicable state and federal trespass regulations must be followed.  Special or written permission is not required to fly or release a falconry bird on public lands if it is authorized. However, permittees must comply with all applicable federal, state, tribal, or territorial laws regarding falconry activities, including hunting. Falconry permits do not authorize raptor release or the practice of falconry on public lands if it is prohibited on those lands or on private property without the permission of the landowner or custodian.

Topics in this section include:

  1. Free flight and Transmitter Requirements
  2. Hunting
  3. Release Restrictions

 

1. Free Flight and Transmitter Requirements

  • When flown free, hybrid raptors and raptor that are not native to Minnesota must have at least two functioning radio transmitters attached to assist in locating the raptors.
    • EXCEPTION: A raptor listed as an unregulated species under part 6216.0270 is exempt from this subpart.
    • EXCEPTION: A raptor designated as appropriate for introduction according to the process under part 6216.0290 for the review of proposed introductions of unlisted nonnative species is exempt from this subpart.
  • All other raptor species used in falconry are not required to have a transmitter.
  • When training raptors for falconry, permittees may use falconry training or conditioning techniques, such as, but not limited to, the use of creance (tethered) flying, lures, balloons, or kites in training or conditioning falconry raptors. Permittees also may fly falconry birds at bird species not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or at pen-raised animals.
  • When training raptors produced under a Raptor Propagation Permit, permittees may use falconry training or conditioning techniques, such as, but not limited to, the use of creance (tethered) flying, lures, balloons, or kites in training or conditioning captive-bred progeny of raptors held under a propagation permit. Captive-bred offspring may be used in actual hunting as a means of training them.
    • Such training is only allowed until the captive-bred offspring are 1 year old
    • During training, the raptors do not need to be transferred to another permit type.
    • Any hybrid raptor or raptor that is not native to Minnesota that is flown free must have at least two attached radio transmitters to help locate the bird.
    • Captive-bred offspring, over 1 year old, and held under a propagation permit may not be used in hunting at any time.
    • All other raptors possessed under a Raptor Propagation Permit may not be used in hunting at any time.
  • General or Master falconers and Raptor Propagators may hack (temporary release to the wild) their raptors and allow them to adjust to the wild:
    • Hacking must be done at an appropriate time of year and an appropriate location.
    • A raptor the permittee is hacking counts against their possession limit and must be a species that they are authorized to possess.
    • Any hybrid raptor or raptor that is not native to Minnesota that the permittee hacks must have two attached functioning radio transmitters during hacking.
    • Permittees may not hack their raptor near a nesting area of a State or Federally threatened or endangered bird species or in any other location where the raptor is likely to harm a State or Federally listed threatened or endangered animal species that might be disturbed or taken by their bird.

2. Hunting

All applicable state and federal game and fish laws, licenses, permits, and stamps apply for taking game.  Please refer to the MN DNR Hunting main page for more information on hunting in Minnesota including the Dates of the Hunting Seasons and Current Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Booklet to verify hunting seasons and bag limits.

Falconry specific regulations:

  • Permittees may not hunt by falconry while in possession of, or having under control, any firearm or bow and arrow.
  • Raptors held under a Raptor Propagation Permit cannot be flown for falconry purposes, they must first be transferred to a Falconry Permit.
  • Bag limits:
    • Permittees may not take more than three small game animals per day in the aggregate or possess more than six small game animals in the aggregate. 
    • EXCEPTION: Permittees may take and possess the limits of rabbits and squirrels allowed under parts 6234.0600 and 6234.0700.
  • Open Season and hours for non-migratory small game:
    • Falconry hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except that pheasants may not be taken before 9:00 a.m.
    • Non-migratory small game may be taken by falconry from September 1 to the last day in February. 
  • Open Season and hours for migratory game birds:
    • Falconry hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except during the regular waterfowl season when falconry hours are the same as waterfowl shooting hours.
    • Woodcock, sora and Virginia rails, mourning dove, and common snipe may be taken by falconry from September 1 to December 16. 
    • Ducks, coots, and moorhens (Gallinules) may be taken by falconry as designated in the current Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Handbook
    • Geese may be taken by falconry during the open season. 
    • Crows may be taken by falconry during the open season. 
  • In practicing falconry, permittees must ensure that their activities do not cause the "take" of state or federally listed threatened or endangered wildlife.
    • “Take” under the Endangered Species Act means “to harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct” (Endangered Species Act § 3(18)).
    • Within this definition, “harass” means any act that may injure wildlife by disrupting normal behavior, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering, and harm” means an act that actually kills or injures wildlife (50 CFR 17.3).
    • More information about threatened or endangered species in Minnesota
    • Outside Minnesota, please contact the State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates falconry.
    • Please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office for information on federally-listed species.
  • In the event of accidental take (prey item killed by a falconry bird without your intent) including an animal taken outside of a regular hunting season:
    • The permittee may allow the falconry bird to feed on the animal, but you may not take the animal into possession.
    • The permittee must report the take of any state or federally listed threatened or endangered species.
  • Permittees may take a bird of any species listed in 50 CFR 21.43, 44, 45, or 46 for which a state and federal depredation order is in place at any time in accordance with the conditions of the applicable depredation order, as long as the permittee is not paid for doing so.

 

3. Release Restrictions

Hybrid raptors and raptor that are not native to Minnesota cannot be released into the wild. 

Captive-bred raptors native to Minnesota cannot be released into the wild (unless direct authorization from the Falconry Coordinator has been received as part of a reintroduction program, in which case an additional permit would be required).

For wild-caught raptors, native to Minnesota that are to be released to the wild, permittees:

  • Must make a reasonable determination that a raptor held in captivity for an extended period of time can capture and consume native prey prior to release into the wild.
  • Must release the raptor only at an appropriate time of year and an appropriate location for the species to be released.
  • Must remove plastic falconry bands before release and surrender the bands to the Falconry Coordinator.
  • Must report the release of the raptor within ten days.

 

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